Paul Robeson, JR. Speaks to America

Paul Robeson, Author
Paul Robeson, Author Rutgers University Press $59 (254p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1985-2
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 04/01/1993
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-8135-2322-4
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In didactic prose, Robeson, a lecturer who is the son of the famous singer/actor/activist, offers 10 uneven, sometimes redundant essays on multiculturalism. Because the concept of America as a melting pot does not accommodate the assimilation of blacks, he argues, only ``group'' rights, an idea he doesn't adequately explain, can guarantee equal opportunity. His essay on the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas adds little to the debate, while a more powerful piece describes his father's passion for both Afrocentrism and universalism. Robeson makes a thought-provoking distinction between affirmative action, which he supports for minorities, and quotas, which should help the poor. Analyzing tensions between blacks and Jews, he suggests that the conflict has been exaggerated. Robeson's energetic faith in the Democratic Party's progressivism seems wishful. These essays would have gained power had Robeson offered more of a personal touch or done more to knit them together. (June)
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