Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

Tanner Colby. Viking, $27.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-670-02371-4
In his latest, Colby (The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts) takes a fresh, honest look at race relations, tackling the issue in four realms: school, neighborhood, workplace, and church. He probes school integration’s turbulent history in Birmingham, Ala.—test case for Brown v. Board of Education, and also the place Colby went to high school. He visits his old school district to track its bumpy progress from racial homogeneity to integration and to find out whether the black kids and the white kids still sit at different tables in the lunchroom. In Kansas City, Mo., he uncovers how real estate practices like blockbusting, redlining, and racial covenants created ghettos and urban blight, and how one neighborhood group is fighting back. Then, a former adman himself, Colby returns to Madison Avenue to examine an industry still divided into mainstream white agencies and niche-market black agencies. Finally, he winds up in a Louisiana Catholic parish scarred by racial violence and learns how the church was able to overcome a self-segregation perpetuated by decades of silence and mistrust. Pointing out the shortfalls of court-ordered busing, affirmative action, and other well-intentioned programs, Colby’s charming and surprisingly funny book shows us both how far we’ve come in bridging the racial divide and how far we’ve yet to go. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/16/2012
Release date: 07/05/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-58369-2
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-0-14-312363-7
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-58339-5
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