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The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black Politics (Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0199739677
ISBN-10: 0199739676
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...timely, uncompromising, and insightful..."--Transition

Winner of the 2013 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction.


"Harris is a vivid storyteller, bringing to life the men and women responsible for the rise of black politics in the 20th century. He doesn't shy away from juicy foibles of character, although his focus is on ideological conflict . . . This is an enlightening, readable, important, and deeply worrying book." --Publishers Weekly


"The Price of the Ticket is a bold intervention in contemporary American politics. Harris provides evidence for our intuitions: that, even with an African American president (perhaps because of that fact) black folk languish in the shadows of 21st century America. With his use of history and his courage to look the facts squarely in the face, Harris has offered us a wake-up call. Of course, the question is will we listen and act." -- Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.,
William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University


"With its expert attention to the intersections of black politics and history, and the workings of American democracy, The Price of the Ticket will quickly become the gold standard for studies of the Obama presidency through the lens of race. Fredrick Harris has produced the book for those looking for a sober, intelligent, and informed, analysis of the racial implications of the current regime." -- Richard Iton, Professor of African American Studies, Northwestern University and author of In Search of the Black Fantastic


"The Price of the Ticket is an insightful, probing look at the Obama Presidency and Race. Harris deftly shows that while the election of the first Black President was a watershed moment for America, that same moment marked the end of political coalitions and grass roots activism within the African American community. The price of the ticket has been a hefty one indeed, and Fred Harris deftly shows just how much the ticket President Obama cashed has cost Black America." -- Anthea Butler, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Graduate Chair of Religion, The University of Pennsylvania


About the Author


Fredrick C. Harris is Professor of Political Science and the Director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. He is the triple award winner of the book Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism and the co-author of Countervailing Forces in African-American Civic Activism, 1973-1994, which received the 2006 W.E.B. DuBois Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the 2007 Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association. He has been a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. and is a 2012 recipient of the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award at Columbia University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199739676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199739677
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fredrick C. Harris is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center on African American Politics and Society at Columbia University. He is the author of Something Within and Countervailing Forces in African-American Civic Activism. (photo credit: Eileen Barroso)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on August 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Here, Professor Harris has given us a very thought-provoking summary of Black political actions and strategies since the Civil Rights era. Carefully highlighting its key events and then trying to properly situate Mr. Obama's "post-racial" and so called "race-neutral" political approach within that history. The author concludes that by publicly "distancing" himself from both his Chicago political mentors (mainly Jessie Jackson Senior and Harold Washington), and his main constituency, black inner city residents, Mr. Obama, throughout his first term, has as at times been aloof, callous, disinterested, ungrateful, gratuitously disrespectful and down right politically calculating, but has never been openly responsive to his most supportive constituency, black Americans. This has made our first black president a "hollow prize" for those who saw him as a black success and thus voted for him at the 95% level.

Given that blacks suffered more than most under the eight-year Bush debacle -- losing fully two-thirds of their total wealth, continuing racial disparities in income and education, owning a disproportionate number of under water mortgages, epidemic incarceration and unemployment rates, rampant HIV and the continuing breakdown in the black family, it is not unreasonable that those who supported Mr. Obama at the 95% level would expect at least a signal from him that he would put their issues high up on his presidential agenda?

Not so according to this author, in fact, curiously, Mr. Obama, in Professor Harris' view, has done just the opposite.

In this careful, nuanced, but uncompromising analysis, the author takes us on an excursion into why this might be so? Why has Mr. Obama, repeatedly "dissed" and gratuitously insulted his black audiences?
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By The Messenger on June 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book is fantastic. My book group is ordering it for next month. What do I love about it? First, it covers a lot of territory about black politics but it is a light and punchy read. It is very easy to get through. Second, whoa...Harris really rips of the Band-Aid!!! His message is consistent throughout the book. Wake up folks! Charismatic minority politicians are not publicly going to advocate for their own group. Obama cannot and the book provides historical context to explain why. I am an avid Obama supporter but this book really gave me some new ideas to think about. I loved it. Definitely buy this book if you are interested in Obama specifically or social movements of any kind more generally.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Detroit Red on July 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In his illuminating book, Harris provides a historical framework for how Barrack Obama was elected President. Courageously, he also shows (with detailed facts) just how much the election of President Obama cost black America in terms of political clout. One of the most important and disturbing bits of counterintuitive information that I learned from reading the book was that, as a result the election of President Obama, issues that uniquely affected black Americans (e.g., high employment rates, disproportionate incarceration rates) were longer appropriate for public policy discussions. Apparently, the administration (and many of their supporters) was concerned that some white Americans would realize the President was black if these issues received serious policy consideration. Of course, this is not only sad, but also deeply troubling for those of us who erroneously thought the election of President Obama would bring about meaningful policy changes as they relate to issues that uniquely affect black Americans. Thank you Fredrick Harris for this enlightening but disturbing read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marc Polite on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
With three full years of an Obama administration to observe, a number of political thinkers are assessing what this presidency has accomplished. At a time when President Obama is running for re-election, the conversation centers on its effectiveness or lack thereof in tending to the problems of the country. While many analysts of one leaning or another can and do argue on those points, others choose to focus on how President Obama relates to his different constituencies. A vocal minority in the Black community point out that there is a marked difference in the way President Obama addresses Black voters.

Scholars of African-American history and politics have joined the dialogue on the issue of President Obama and his relationship with the Black electorate. Columbia University professor Fredrick Harris is the latest to raise this often contentious issue. In his new book The Price of the Ticket: Barack Obama and the Rise and Decline of Black politics, Harris makes a bold assertion. Namely, that Obama's success has come at a high price for Black politics.

To substantiate this claim, Harris explores the history of Black electoral politics of the past 40 years. Examining the presidential campaigns of Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson, he highlights them as predecessors to Barack Obama. By documenting exactly how their bids for the presidency paved the way, Harris reveals how much the Black struggle has played a role in electoral politics. As time passes, that influence has waned, and today is somewhat muted.

This book, which is named after a collection of essays about race by James Baldwin, delves into contemporary Black political matters and takes the long view.
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