cover image The New Black: What Has Changed—and What Has Not—with Race in America

The New Black: What Has Changed—and What Has Not—with Race in America

Edited by Kenneth W. Mack and Guy-Urial Charles. New Press, $21.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-59558-677-3

Positing that the civil rights idea “has begun to unravel,” law professors Mack (Representing the Race) and Charles offer 11 essays from scholars, writers, and cultural critics on “postracialism consequent to Obama’s election.” Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres propose the fresh concept of “political race,” consisting of “a group of people who ultimately are defined by their politics rather than by their physiognomy,” while Cristina Rodriguez questions the applicability of civil rights principles to immigration reform. Jeannine Bell addresses the “tolerance-violence paradox” as violent racism occurs “in the same space and time as... increases in racial tolerance,” while Angela Onwuachi-Willig discusses the newsworthy arrest of Henry Louis Gates. Glenn Loury argues that “Obama’s election has neither fulfilled King’s dream nor does it usher in any sort of a new era,” and that “the imperatives of office in the position of the American presidency” take Obama away from the “black prophetic tradition.” “Postracial America,” one contributor observes, “is the dream that we would prefer to believe, and the one that many would rather see depicted.” Mack and Charles have staged an eminently readable event for wrestling with that idea. (Sept.)