Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America
The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson is the one single person at the WaPo that I hold (the most from a larger group of troglodytes, I am sure) responsible for the destruction of the visual arts coverage in the Post, in his case in the Style section while he was editor of Style a few years ago. Robinson allowed the decimation and destruction of what was left of Style's gallery and visual arts coverage to take place and for that I hold him responsible.
Robinson did it; or at least he didn't stop them from doing it: arts coverage killer.
But he is also a pretty good book author who picks damned interesting topics for his books - always somewhat prejudiced by the poison, passion and spice that is the American obsession and cultural misunderstanding of race.
His Coal to Cream: A Black Man's Journey Beyond Color to an Affirmation of Race is one of the most interesting books that I've ever read on Latin American racism, if somewhat acutely flawed by his American viewpoint of race that often doesn't apply anywhere else but America.
One of his other books, Last Dance in Havana was also near and dear to my heart and quite interesting, if again curiously naive in attempting to speak for Afro-Cubans from an American perspective that was agonizingly patronizing.
Robinson's newest book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America , returns to Robinson's obsession with race (which is richly reflected in his opinion columns in the WaPo) and I am really looking forward to reading it.
It makes its debut in four days with an Amazon Bestsellers pre-release rank of #57,201 in books (today), so it looks like I am one of five people on the planet who will actually buy and read this book, so I will let you know what I think of it once I am finished.
From Publishers Weekly:
In this clear-eyed and compassionate study, Robinson (Coal to Cream), Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist for the Washington Post, marshals persuasive evidence that the African-American population has splintered into four distinct and increasingly disconnected entities: a small elite with enormous influence, a mainstream middle-class majority, a newly emergent group of recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean, and an abandoned minority "with less hope of escaping poverty than at any time since Reconstruction's end." Drawing on census records, polling data, sociological studies, and his own experiences growing up in a segregated South Carolina college town during the 1950s, Robinson explores 140 years of black history in America, focusing on how the civil rights movement, desegregation, and affirmative action contributed to the fragmentation. Of particular interest is the discussion of how immigrants from Africa, the "best-educated group coming to live in the United States," are changing what being black means. Robinson notes that despite the enormous strides African-Americans have made in the past 40 years, the problems of poor blacks remain more intractable than ever, though his solution--"a domestic Marshall Plan aimed at black America"--seems implausible in this era of cash-strapped state and local governments.Buy the book here.