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Who Are We—And Should It Matter in the 21st Century? Hardcover – June 28, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary Younge is a columnist for the Guardian and the Nation. His books include No Place Like Home, which was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition edition (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568586604
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568586601
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary Younge is an author, broadcaster and award-winning columnist for The Guardian, based in Chicago. He also writes a monthly column, Beneath the Radar, for the Nation magazine and is the Alfred Knobler Fellow for The Nation Institute. He has written three books, Who Are We?, And Should it Matter in the 21st century, Stranger in a Strange Land, Travels in the Disunited States and No Place Like Home, A Black Briton's Journey Through the Deep South. Gary has made several radio and television documentaries on subjects ranging from the tea party to hip hop culture.
After several years of reporting from all over Europe, Africa, the US and the Caribbean Gary was appointed The Guardian's New York correspondent in 2003. In 2009 he won the James Cameron award for the "combined moral vision and professional integrity" of his coverage of the Obama campaign.
In 2011 he moved to Chicago.

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Format: Hardcover
The author is a well-traveled Columnist for the Guardian and the Nation magazines. He holds British citizenship and shares with us here some of the things he has learned as a result of having lived and traveled for extended periods of time in several countries (UK, the Netherlands, The West Indies, Sudan, and the U.S. among others). This is his attempt to unravel the enigma of identity, and to do so without resorting to a psychological explanation or a strictly psychological framework.

And although he makes a big dent in increasing our understanding about the phenomenon, especially regarding the invisibility of powerful (or majority groups, usually spelled white), I am still not sure that avoiding psychology entirely was the most efficacious approach to the topic of identity. That said if one reads between the lines, his take easily could be described as an oblique attack on the powerful, or majority groups who use their power for (among other stratagems) to selectively deny that they have an identity at all.

One of the best examples in the book is white denial about being guiltless about slavery -- since as they collectively put it, "they were not around at the time." Yet, Younge points out that this is a typical tactic of powerful groups since in the same breathe as their denials, they have no problem taking credit for more culturally enlightening and elevating behaviors that occurred at the same time as slavery? This kind of selective denial, according to the author, is just one of many tactics powerful groups (spelled white) use to evade the implications of their own neutralized and universalized identity.

Other tactics include calling anything that involves whiteness as "tradition," "heritage," or simply "history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent & sharp writer . Brilliant sense of humour to argue about very contemporary race & ethnicity matters . Highly recommendable .
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