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Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 12, 2016

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Eddie Glaude speaks some hard truths in this important new book. Glaude is the fiercest of thinkers, and this book is a brilliant and crucial prescription for necessary change.” —Henry Louis Gates Jr.
“This powerful and timely book should shape the framework for a post-Obama America—a bold rejection of black liberal politics and a prophetic call for a revolution of value that reinvigorates our democratic life with imagination and courage.”
 —Cornel West
Democracy in Black tells necessary truths about the state of race and justice in America and challenges us to embrace genuinely -- not merely rhetorically -- the revolution of values preached by Dr. King.”Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

“Eddie Glaude has written a book that challenges and demands as well as one that informs and inspires. This is a very important book, I am better for having read it and even more motivated in my work and mission.” –U.S. Senator Cory Booker
“Eloquent and impassioned, insightful and factual, Democracy in Black powerfully reimagines black politics and presents strategies for remaking American democracy.”  —Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University and author of The History of White People.
Democracy in Black is an urgent, clear-eyed manifesto.  It proves not only that Black Lives Matter, but Black social movements matter if the nation ever hopes to lift the veil of racism and long shadow of slavery.” –Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“Eddie Glaude writes compellingly of the collective moral and intellectual failures locking Americans into a repetitive “human value gap.” This book documents why and how race remains our ultimate, even dedicated, civic irrationality.” –Patricia J. Williams, author of Seeing a Color-blind Future
Democracy in Black tells a powerful story about democracy in action in the streets of Ferguson. People should read it and be transformed by Eddie Glaude’s call for a revolution of values. I hope it is read widely.” —James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary
Democracy in Black puts a Toni Morrison question to a nation ‘between worlds’:  ‘Wanna fly?’ Listen up: ‘You got to give up the shit that weighs you down.’ Easier said than done. Read all about it. I did. Now I’m thinking about it all.” —Robert P. Moses, President, The Algebra Project, Inc.

“He proves his point cogently… with more than enough documentation to move the argument along this new and painful track…This is every bit as important a book as Coates’ more personal account: essential reading.” --Booklist 

"A book for the ages...one of the most imaginative, daring books of the 21st century" --Los Angeles Times

About the Author

EDDIE S. GLAUDE JR. is a professor at Princeton University, teaching in the religion department and the Department of African American Studies.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (January 12, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804137412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804137416
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,082 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book resonated with me on so many levels. The first being I’m not crazy/out of touch - someone else share my thoughts (a scholar even). The author, Glaude, unfolds masterfully the true condition of Black Americans in America; he pulls no punches. This book is so informative. I found myself reading this book every chance I got.
The author’s verbiage/break down of the “value gap” - how some men and women are valued less than others because of the color of their skin - and how this gap is infused in our so called ‘democratic’ system, as well as ‘racial habits’ (things we do to sustain this gap) could be considered the theme of this book. This value gaps informs all decisions -employment, educ, housing, and policy etc. To quote the author, ‘…black America has experienced and is experiencing a depression…more like the symptoms of a national congenital disease than the flu.’
The author illuminates how we like to think of our nation as the chosen moral nation (‘shining city on the hill’ Ronald Reagan) and how our collective active forgetting/dismembering determines the kind of story we tell ourselves. We tend to forget all the hypocrisy this country was built on as well as how much of Black history dealt with ‘waging a relentless war against white supremacy’.
The book reports on heart wrenching personal stories of the effect on the foreclosure crisis that hit African Americans (AA) more than anyone else – not only monetarily but also mentally – entire family breakdowns and more than likely will be broke down for generations not to mention how we’re raising our children with the belief that their lives don’t matter.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., of Princeton comes out firing on all cylinders in this book. He really has his pulse on the race situation that continues to plague America and has come up with some thoughts that I'm sure will become part of the prescript of any discussions concerning race. One such idea is the "value gap", which Eddie describes as, "...(the belief that white people are valued more than others) and racial habits (the things we do, without thinking, that sustain the value gap) undergird racial inequality, and how white and black fears block the way to racial justice in this country."

"We talk about the achievement gap in education or the wealth gap between white Americans and other groups, but the value gap reflects something more basic: that no matter our stated principles or how much progress we think we’ve made, white people are valued more than others in this country, and that fact continues to shape the life chances of millions of Americans. The value gap is in our national DNA."

This is an interesting new angle in which to view the issue of racism, i.e., white supremacy. When you frame white supremacy in those terms, there certainly isn't much to argue with there. Clearly white people and white lives are valued more than others in America. In support of this "value gap" theory he quotes from Dr. King,
"that in this country the idea of racial equality remains 'a loose expression for improvement.'"

And by the way his understanding of Dr. King is superb, many try to lock King into a dream state, but if you listen to and read King from 1967 to the time of his assassination, you would think of him as a totally different person than the I have a dream King.
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Format: Hardcover
Like many people, I find discussions about race difficult. It is hard to build up the trust to speak honestly without judgment. It is awkward and difficult. So when I saw this book available for review I thought I'd get a copy, as if Eddie Glaude Jr. and I were sitting across the table from one another in a beer-less summit of sorts.

There are many good things about this book. He tells it like he honestly sees it (which means it can be painfully honest). Politically, he doesn't portray Democrats as perfect, or even President Obama, not Republicans as all evil (though he disagrees strongly with many policies). We will get to that later.

The strength of the book, for me, was chapters 2-4. He attempts to get to the heart of the long-term, on-going race issues in this nation. This has to do with the value gap, racial habits and white fear. From the beginning this nation has valued blacks less than whites. The end of slavery hasn't ended it. The end of Jim Crow laws hasn't ended it. It is a matter of the heart that is worked out in society. I think some of his examples are flawed. For instance, on page 31 he addresses the diseases that kill blacks at a higher rate than whites. But heart disease, cancer and AIDS get plenty of press and research money. It isn't like these diseases are ignored because they kill blacks. But I agree with him that there is a value gap. Generally speaking, black lives don't seem to matter as much in our society. The rates of incarcerated blacks is not just about poverty and crime, but also a flawed criminal justice system.

His discussion of disremembering is particularly helpful. This is the collective memory of a society which leaves out some of the ugly realities of our history or particular events.
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