Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Life Arts

Eugene Robinson's Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

By       Message Anne Grant       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   4 comments

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...)
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 12/28/10

Author 57385

Eugene Robinson
(Image by Julia Ewan)
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

African-Americans disagreed among themselves about removing the word "Plantations" from Rhode Island's official name this fall. Though our founder, Roger Williams, steadfastly opposed slavery, the word that "planted" his colony now evokes strong feelings, because it often conjures up genteel white privilege built upon the brutal treatment of blacks.

Debate over the word demonstrated the point of Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Eugene Robinson in Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America. If ever there was a single "black America," it no longer exists.

Instead, at least four distinct perspectives have emerged to challenge stereotypes and public policies, he writes. Most African-Americans stand in the "Mainstream" and enjoy "a full ownership stake in American society." However, a significant minority, whom he calls the "Abandoned," is losing ground to entrenched poverty and dysfunction. Smaller groups include the "Transcendent," whose wealth and power dazzle in the Age of Obama. Two "Emergent" groups--those of mixed race and recent immigrants--"make us wonder what 'black' is even supposed to mean."

- Advertisement -

These groups often distrust each other as much as they do naïve whites, like conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly, who ventured uptown to a classy Harlem restaurant in 2007 and marveled that "there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."

Robinson critiques civil rights organizations: The National Urban League's annual "State of Black America" does not "point the way toward specific policies for different segments of a diverse population." The NAACP continues to look for a unifying "black agenda," when "there is a need for multiple agendas."

He writes of the Mainstream living a "double life" due to segregated housing. But he celebrates their heroic rise as "truly a great American success story--arguably the greatest of all."

- Advertisement -

In contrast, he witnessed the government's horrifying failure to evacuate the Abandoned when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. He proposes "a domestic Marshall Plan aimed at Abandoned black America" with a means test, so affirmative action scholarships are not monopolized by children of Transcendents who could pay their own way. But what legislator would risk losing Transcendent campaign contributions with such a sensible proposal?

Robinson sidesteps the sexual divide: He seems to disdain movies like "Precious" and "The Color Purple," which expose domestic violence--as if they betray family secrets.

Strangers passing on the street used to offer a nod of recognition for their shared status as blacks, writes Robinson. But lately he notices fewer nods, a sign of widening divisions among black Americans.

Anne Grant writes online and elsewhere about the legal abuse of children in domestic violence custody cases.


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

In addition to her book reviews and general writing, much of Anne Grant's research focuses on legal abuse in family courts and child protective services that place traumatized children at greater risk. She writes several blogs, including those that (more...)

Anne Grant Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

How lawyers manipulate doctors in custody cases: Do-No-Harm vs. Take-No-Prisoners

Dr. Gardner's ghost still haunts Rhode Island

Eugene Robinson's Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

Reflections on Jessica Stern's Denial: A Memoir of Terror

Jodi Picoult's House Rules

Ayaan Hirsi Ali's NOMAD: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations