cover image Black Liberation in Conservative America

Black Liberation in Conservative America

Manning Marable. South End Press, $40 (285pp) ISBN 978-0-89608-560-2

Director of Columbia's University's Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Marable (Beyond Black and White) writes a regular political commentary (""Along the Color Line""), mainly for black newspapers, and this book weaves those columns from the last five years into essays that offer a good introduction to a left-wing perspective on issues relating to black America. ""[T]o end racism, we must end inequality,"" Marable declares sensibly, but his laundry list of those victimized (not just blacks but Latinos, women, working people, etc.) ignores the hard work of coalition building. He reminds us that prisons are ""vast warehouses for the poor and unemployed,"" while white-collar criminals rarely go to prison. He suggests we recognize a link between abortion and poverty, though his formulation ignores what some might call abortions of convenience for the middle class. He supports the idea of Afrocentric education as a way to help end violence among African American youth, though he criticizes the essentialism of college students who say their ethnic studies should be limited to their group. Rejecting the two major political parties, Marable suggests that proportional representation might enable a new party to grow. Noting that the defining issues of the civil rights movement no longer exist, and that Louis Farrakhan articulates the untreated rage of oppressed blacks, Marable thoughtfully calls for a new black youth protest movement, a new center for political strategy and a regular public opinion poll to assess the views of black America. (Feb.)