Twelve Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today

Edited by Gregory S. Parks and Matthew W. Hughey, intro. by Lani Guinier, New Press, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59558-538-7
Although there is some thematic repetition, these essays on racial profiling are extraordinarily compelling. Contributors include journalists, federal prosecutors, and hip-hop artists; diverse in background, age, and education, they share one identity—being black—and one rite of passage—"the silent reality most black men have to live with," the frequency with which the police demand they produce identity papers; search their bodies, their cars, and their homes; and even maim or murder them for any perceived threat, imaginary and real. Fortunately, these 12 live to tell twice-told tales that still seem new. The congressman, with means, time, and "faith in the judicial system," fights back in court; the sports commentator brings a successful lawsuit. One says, perhaps for all, "In tolerating these transgressions day in and day out, I sometimes feel like my humanity is being chipped away." Legal scholar Guinier's introduction provides a helpful statistical and political context as well as a vigorous argument against the entrenched police practices that undergird the brief potent individual vignettes. Bantamweight in size, this book packs a heavyweight wallop. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/18/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
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