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Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line Paperback – September 2, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 2, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679781560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679781561
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This collection of essays by Michael Eric Dyson, who teaches communications at the University of North Carolina, deals with the problem of racial division in America, and explores divisions within the black community. A discussion of O. J. Simpson focuses on the tensions between black celebrities who find a favored niche in white society and those who must contend with a more mundane existence where racism is sharper. Another intra-commnity division arises in the tension between black women and men. One essay points to the similar support bases of Louis Farrakhan and Colin Powell. Another to the rivalries that have developed between the star-studded casts of newly prominent black intellectuals. Dyson offers a wide survey of African-American concerns from racism to rap. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this somewhat disjointed essay collection, Dyson (Between God and Gangsta Rap) argues that "we haven't learned our lessons" about racial etiquette. This ordained minister writes with rhythm and power, even if he sometimes travels well-trod ground, as when he teases out the racial ironies and subtexts in the O.J. Simpson case or analyzes the respective appeals of Colin Powell and Louis Farrakhan. Dyson also presents a self-indulgent essay on black public intellectuals; while he cogently explains this recent phenomenon, he goes on to offer tongue-in-cheek "awards" to various intellectuals and their critics. Much more interesting is his exploration of the tension between black sexuality and the black church, in which he argues that the church must develop "a theology of eroticism" to supplant "guilty repression or gutless promiscuity." Dyson, who is in his mid-30s, lectures his elders that the criticism rap music generates was once faced by jazz; he goes on to dispute Cornel West's attack on black nihilism by urging a focus on how power in the inner cities has shifted to a dangerous "juvenocracy." A final essay on Waiting to Exhale seems a throwaway, but before that, Dyson thoughtfully urges black leaders to "transform" race, to challenge white supremacy and black orthodoxy and to link to "other forms of political resistance." Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I respect and love Dyson as a thinker and leader.
Cory J. May
As a great fan of rap music, I couldn't agree more with the author.
"amdub"
Dr. Dyson is amazing as he explains race in America.
P. A Lewis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Heard the taped version of RACE RULES, written and read by
Michael Eric Dyson . . . it is a collection of essays that deal with
the problem of racial division in America, as well as with divisions
within the black community.
Dyson, a former welfare father and now an ordained Baptist
minister and professor of Communications Studies at the University
of North Carolina, starts by talking about O.J. Simpson . . . I recall
initially thinking, "not this subject again," yet was pleasantly
surprised by how he got me to realize that there was more--a lot
more--to the subject than the media presented . . . another essay
dealt with the sate of black women and the inequities they have had
to face due to not only their race but also their gender . . . lastly,
I found it fascinating how Dyson agreed with both the integrationist
ideas of Colin Powell and the separationist beliefs of Louis Farrakhan--and
then denounced them both as being only road to racial salvation.
Dyson made me think about subject matter that ordinarily isn't on my
radar screen . . . for that, I'm grateful.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By mistermaxxx08 HALL OF FAME on January 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
this man is a genius.whenever he speaks or debates someone i'm all ears and eyes.i've enjoyed all of his books.he has a of wording ideas and thoughts and tieing everything as one.he could connect dr.king,michael jackson,malcolm x&stevie wonder into one with the plight&struggle.i once saw him on sinbad's vibe show with the brillant nikki giovanni and he was talking and resighting the brillant lyrics of rakim.my mouth hit the floor.i wish he had a show alongside of tony brown&rev jessie jackson.this man speaks volumes in this book and is highly intelligent.a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Dyson, the acknowledged "Dean" of America's black public intellectuals, struts his stuff here, as he waxes eloquent on a wide range of sensitive social issues, from the OJ trial, to the internecine warfare among black public intellectuals, to the black church, to Ganga rap and on...

Dyson a self-admitted self-promoter (what self-ordained Baptist Minister is not one?) is not shy, nor does he mince his words: He is as outspoken as he is brilliant. Which is more than I can say for one of his main detractors, Adolph Reed. Since I read them both and have no dog in that fight, I am not bashful in saying one represents quantity and the other represents quality both spelled with a capital "Q." You be the judge of who is guilty of which one. Even when you disagree with Dyson, as I do here on his eroticization of the Black Church, he does not half-step in bringing you his best and nothing less. And his best is not just something to admire, it is something to behold and to marvel at! (Oh, but if we had more thinkers like Dyson dealing with problems of race in America, where would we be today?)

Case in point: Dyson's analysis of the OJ trial may just be the best essay on the trial in existence. He didn't just nail it, he put a frame around it and placed it on the academic mantle piece. He did this by putting it in the context of his own sophisticated philosophical paradigm for social analysis, a paradigm that has deep currency and resonance in analyzing and better understanding American social problems.

To wit, he defines the two-tiered universe of perceptions that revolve around the axis of race as the most efficacious metaphor for explaining the 10.0 seismic "racequake" that went off as whites reacted to OJ's acquittal.
Read more ›
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By Shameeka L Burton on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author brings our very important points about the state of black America. He also points out some of the causes of our current state as people. Good read!
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By MamaDink on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book and I believe all people not just blacks should read it..It answers questions we have of one another and debunks myths that keep racism rampant...
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Format: Paperback
As the author of a new book on Race called Plain Talk, I decided to read as many books that I could before writing Vol. 2 of Plain Talk. One of the books that I brought was Race Rules. I had favorites and not so favorites in this book. Some may not be interested in the million man march or the dynamics of the lack of feminist influence on the march. However, you may be interested in MED's introspective rendering of the inner sanctrum of the pastor's circle. I won't give it away, but MED bares his soul. I also enjoyed the discussion on O.J. and what it said about our society. In my book Plain Talk, I also examine the polarizing aspects of this whole episode, as well as many other events. There is something for everyone in Race Rules. Enjoy.Plain Talk - Volume 1
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