ERASING RACISM: The Survival of the American Nation

Molefi Kete Asante, Author . Prometheus $27 (294p) ISBN 978-1-59102-069-1

In this scathing analysis of the history of racism in America, Asante divides the nation into two camps: a white majority who perceives America as a land of promise, and a black minority that is relegated to exist in a wilderness on the margins of society. Asante, the chair of African-American studies at Temple University and a proponent of Afro-centrism, lays out a non-linear history of racial matters in America, weaving the 17th century arrival of the first indentured African servants with the Los Angeles race riots of 1992 and his own experiences as a black man in America. The key to bridging the racial divide, he argues, lies in getting all Americans to understand and confront the history of slavery. Otherwise, the gap will remain open and the significance of all subsequent racial injustices, from lynchings to police profiling, is lost. Asante can be sketchy in some of his examples of headline-making events involving race (including the 1985 MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, for instance). Whether one agrees with him or not, however, he backs many of his harsh accusations with tough questions, carefully crafted solutions and engaging personal anecdotes. In the end, anyone who has struggled to understand race relations in America or to engage others in open debate about it will glean something valuable from this book. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/03/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
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