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The Trouble with Post-Blackness (Hardcover)
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An America in which the color of one's skin no longer matters would be unprecedented. With the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, that future suddenly seemed possible. Obama's rise reflects a nation of fluid populations and fortunes, a society in which a biracial individual could be embraced as a leader by all. Yet complicating this vision are shifting demographics, rapid redefinitions of race, and the instant invention of brands, trends, and identities that determine how we think about ourselves and the place of others. This collection of original essays confronts the premise, advanced by black intellectuals, that the Obama administration marked the start of a "post-racial" era in the United States. While the "transcendent" and post-racial black elite declare victory over America's longstanding codes of racial exclusion and racist violence, their evidence relies largely on their own salaries and celebrity. These essays strike at the certainty of those who insist that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are now independent of skin color and race in America. They argue, signify, and testify that "post-blackness" is a problematic mythology masquerading as fact--a dangerous new "race science" motivated by black transcendentalist individualism. Through rigorous analysis, these essays expose the idea of a post-racial nation as a pleasurable entitlement for a black elite, enabling them to reject the ethics and urgency of improving the well-being of the black majority.
About the Author
Houston A. Baker is Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt University and a scholar of African American literature and culture. He is a member of the pioneering generation of the 1960s that sought to expand the canons and definitions of the humanities in the academy. He served as director of Afro-American studies and founded and directed the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania. His book Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era received an American Book Award. K. Merinda Simmons is associate professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama. She is author of Changing the Subject: Writing Women Across the African Diaspora and coeditor, with Maha Marouan, of Race and Displacement: Nation, Migration, and Displacement in the Twenty-First Century. Her areas of research and publication combine literary, religious, and Southern studies, with critical emphases on theories of gender and race.