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Racism 101 Hardcover – February 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 203 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (February 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688043321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688043322
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These brief essays by poet Giovanni ( Sacred Cows and Other Edibles ) on subjects both personal and societal are fluid, often perceptive musings that beg for more substance. Written since she joined the English faculty at Virginia Polytechnic five years ago, the pieces contain her reflections on the path of her career and offer advice to black students on how to apply themselves scholastically, as well as how to deal with stupid questions from whites. Giovanni values the influence of W.E.B. Du Bois's intellectual honesty but also criticizes those whom she sees as his neoconservative progeny, writer Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Justice Clarence Thomas among them. She is harsh on Spike Lee's film, Malcom X , calling it a "sick joke," and lionizes novelist Toni Morrison. Asserting that she doesn't feel alienated from Western culture ("my people have contributed so much that is vital and good to it"), Giovanni adds, "I am alienated from the people . . . who think they own Western tradition." Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Her books having sold nearly 400,000 copies, Giovanni is proof that poetry remains vibrant. Here she forsakes verse for political essays touching on Malcolm X, affirmative action, and the Sixties.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I though this was a great reader. The accounts of her life and the lesson that she is giving to her son and the readers kept me very interested in this book. She gives you the tools that one needs to combat racism. I especially like her critique of Spike Lee's movies!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M.G. Long on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was my first encounter with Giovanni besides her poetry, and I was amazed at her perspective observations. This book was recommended to me because of it's chapter about black college students. This single chapter did wonders for helping me with my adjustment into the college setting. If I had an opportunity to thank the author face to face, I would definately ask her what influenced the to shape philosophies about race relations on college campuses, ironically we agree for the most part. It is refreshing to me to find a person of her stature willing to voice her own opinions about important issues without holding back.I strongly recommend this book to every serious black student. The necessity of this book before you enter the college classroom is more than you could understand until actually encounter the writer's truths.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lily Bart on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
Nikki Giovanni is an incredibly passionate, courageous, and imaginative poet. This book is full of amazing insights into the ways Black americans have contributed to American society. Even the more playful sections, like where she talks about how great Star Trek is and how much she admires Lieutenant Uhura, are full of important ideas.

Oddly enough, even though I've never been a big fan of Spike Lee, I think her attacks on his movie MALCOLM X are extremely distorted and unfair. She rages at Spike for five pages for "daring" to show Malcolm X chasing white women and wearing a zoot suit during his Harlem days when he was a small time gangster known as "Detroit Red." But what was Spike supposed to do? In his autobiography Malcolm completely admits to doing these things -- and he discusses his own mistakes with total frankness. Does Nikki Giovanni think black people are too fragile to handle the truth? Malcolm X didn't think so!

If Nikki Giovanni thinks Spike Lee is a third-rate filmmaker at best, that's fine. I agree with her completely. He's no John Ford. He's no Howard Hawks. He's no Alfred Hitchcock or Sam Peckinpah. He's not even a Steven Spielberg or a Martin Scorsese. What Spike Lee is (and I never thought I'd say this) is a determined, defiant black man in a smug, dishonest, all-white industry who defied enormous odds to get his Malcolm X movie made in the first place. In another part of the book Nikki asks that we remember that black slaves would never have got Sunday off if the black preacher hadn't been smart enough, and brave enough, to get the master's approval. It doesn't sound like much today, but it was heroic at the time. The same thing applies to Spike Lee's movies -- even if they really are pretty third rate as entertainment.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C.L. Doublin on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Unless you are seeking a much needed feminist sensibility against Morrison's abusive Tar Baby narrative, I wouldn't bother. The rest of it is vague, presumptuous, shockingly lacking in self-reflection and criticism. For the most part, her flirtations at clear, responsible thought all to easily descend into her typical scolding tirades! She insults everyone's intelligence by speaking as if she is getting after an errant five year old!
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