Customer Reviews: Quitting America: The Departure of a Black Man from His Native Land
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on February 3, 2004
I'm not black, but I thoroughly agree with Mr. Robinson's anger and disgust at what the USA has become. Many whites like myself would also love to "quit America" and are seriously considering it. The ugly face of America has been on full display since 9/11, tho it was always there of course, as Robinson ably explains in his books. It's true that blacks and Native Americans are the ones to have borne the full brunt of American atrocities, hypocrisy and oppression throughout its history. But many of us who have not experienced the same depth of suffering and marginalization but who are not rich, who have to struggle for every penny every day while we see our tax dollars benefitting only the richest, who believe in the same principles that Robinson does (justice, compassion, a deep hatred of the hypocritical chauvinism and ugly self-centeredness that is so prevalent in the US, esp. among the complacent and dominant white privileged upper and middle classes) yearn to live in a place where--as in St. Kitts--people care about each other, take care of each other, where arrogance and ignorance of the sentiments of other peoples is condemned, not celebrated. Robinson had the good fortune to have been able to move himself and his family to a better place, a place where people value each other. I know I am not the only one to have gone with him in spirit.
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on April 11, 2004
MLK said it was one of the great wonders of the 20th century, black people's loyalty and literally dying devotion to the United States--checked the Iraq casualties lately? It is a hard place to live in with black skin. Just yesterday in my neighborhood I witnessed Rodney King II. No less than four white cops beating an unharmed black motorist nearly half to death over a minor traffic incident. Just last week I was spoken to and treated in a most unbelievable way, in a way that I know no white person in America would have been treated by one of our civil servants in blue, a traffic cop. Why? I drove up to an EZ pass lane where they were no longer accepting cash. I was called every name in the book, handcuffed etc for an honest and I would think common mistake. You would have thought I committed a capital crime. It's hard living with this sort of thing as a matter of routine. I could go on but won't. Randall made a good case for why no black person should be sticking around these parts. The ship's sinking anyway and we're the canary in the mine so we know. Time to tell America bye bye. It's been grand. Yeah. But we're tired of saving your white a$$ from itself, over and over and over again how many times since 1776? See ya later, take care. Life in the third world isn't so bad at least when Uncle Sam doesn't have a boot on their third world necks. Bravo RR.
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on February 12, 2004
Randall Robinson has put his detractors in a curious position: they have told him all his life that if America is such a bad place, why not just leave? Well, now he has. Quitting America soberly sheds light on the fact that many of us have grown increasingly aware of, that this country is without hope. The powers are too deeply entrenched, minds obsessed with too many glittering distractions and rhyming falsehoods, skulls and skins too thick to think or care anymore, a wasted horde of human beings compelled to the end to taking and taking and taking for the sake of a progress whose true face lay ugly and deep within the unconscious racial and class prejudices of western man. The logical consequence of European culture. Most Americans will live and die in America in quiet desperation, but it is to Robinson's great credit that he shows that there are warm shores to swim to for those who still have the spirit to leap overboard and flee the sinking ship. There is still hope for humanity, not because of America, but rather without America.
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on February 2, 2004
Everything Randall Robinson says here is true. Every word of it. God bless him and the people he's stood up and fought for. I like the fact that he doesn't waste his time trying to suffer fools gladly. I know of a few black middle class professional people who have left the US for other places in Canada, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean in the last couple of years. Following in the steps of WEB DuBois, and other intellectuals tired of feeding the monster. Well done RR.
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on January 30, 2004
First off, know that I'm white, not black, so my glowing recommendation isn't "one brother supporting another." Robinson's writing is quietly impassioned, Koppel-crisp, calmly clear. His observations on the US's political, military and social errors are beautifully, intelligently, prudently stated. I found it hard to argue with Robinson's emotions or logic, which he exquisitely balances in simple yet powerful, unarguably honest descriptions.
Though fed up with what America has been and has become for him as a black man, his observations and opinions echo much that my wife and I have felt for years. He has chosen to move to a smaller, simpler, more honest and direct society in the Caribbean, and he describes the steps to that decision in spartan prose reminiscent of a Thoreau or Hemingway.
Reading Robinson is akin to contemplating the clean lines of Danish furniture. This is a book that, aesthetically and ideologically, deserves to be read. I can't imagine any sensible, sensitive and honest person being disappointed by this gracefully and skillfully crafted book.
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on January 31, 2004
I give only the greatest praise to Randall for his honesty and straight forwardness in this book. He not only gives examples of his own life experiences in America, but also exposes this country for what it isn't. America has never been, and never will be a democracy, free, just, or equal.
From the time of the imperialist Columbus, to the warmonger Bush, America has seen Africans and all others of color as "invisible persons", not worthy of white peoples concern. Randall explains the annialation of native american civilization, genocide and enslavement of Africans, and contemporary indifference to anyone not of Euro-descent.
He explains that peace of mind, cultural belonging, and his Africanness, are more important than possessions and property. I applaud Randall for his honesty, and uprightness. He'll never miss America, I wish I were him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on January 17, 2004
America: the biggest, greatest, wealthiest country in the world. So why would an educated, well-known activist find it hard to live here? Why indeed would he turn his back on the country of his birth? In QUITTING AMERICA Randall Robinson gives us an unvarnished view of what life is really like for a Black man in America. With a no-holds-barred style, he lets us in on not only the unpublished, uncensored history of the United States but also how that history has affected all of us through the years. For instance, he uses a Black boy on the streets of Rochester, New York as an example of a person who doesn't know where he came from and therefore has no idea and even less control over where he is going. He calls him Man-boy. Man-boy sees himself only as the United States sees him: a Black male to be feared. The United States left out Man-boy's history when they stole his ancestors from somewhere in Africa. His memory banks have been erased about the powerful and wonderful people from whom he sprang. Man-boy is doomed before he even gets started.
Robinson also delves deeply into the politics of the United States. He explains the hatred shown by Columbus when he "discovered" the New World toward the indigenous populations that offered him a warm welcome. Seeing only profit and land to steal, Columbus disrupted the peaceful life-styles and attempted to turn the natives into slaves for the Europeans back home. Failing that, countries in Africa were raided and the inhabitants were brought to the New World to accomplish his sick goals. This need to conquer and control, the desire for all things material still determines the direction the United States takes in its fatal attempts to rule the world.
In addition, Robinson gives us the historical background of the democracy next door to us and the reasons for the hatred shown toward Haiti. The Haitian Slave Revolt literally revolted American sensibilities and their perceived reasons for the existence of Blacks. Because of that anger, the United States is still mistreating Haitians, whether it's the unequal treatment of Haitian refugees or the unfair embargoes placed upon the island nation itself.
QUITTING AMERICA is a dynamite book that should be mandatory reading for all Americans, especially those who have and are causing problems for U.S. citizens as well as the rest of the countries of the world. Unfortunately, as Robinson points out, very few white people will read it because he is not saying what they want to hear. He is too truthful and too hard-hitting. He is not squeamish, even when it comes to national Black "heroes" such as Condaleeza Rice and Colin Powell. He tells the truth even when it would be prudent to go along with the status quo. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Reviewed by alice Holman
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
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on February 1, 2013
I purchased this book because I felt that I could relate to the plight of the author. Sadly, I completely relate to his American experience from the perspective of a descendant of "native-Africans-forced_into_American_slavery-American." I understand his sarcasm, his disillusionment, his frustrations and his yearning for something more normal, natural and serene. I understand his statements "Americans don't know how to be equals." And the American arrogance when he states "Americans don't bother to notice anybody else in the world." There is so much more that I could write, but I wont. I'll just say this, reading this book is not for the faint of heart, the indoctrinated American dreamer or those that lead a socially and racially insular life style. I am truly pleased with this book and the writers perspectives.
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on June 15, 2004
This book is arguably Robinson's best work. He has the eloquence/anger that is reminiscent of Du Bois in The Soul of Black Folks and David Walker in Appeal with a dash of James Baldwin's non-fictional work (e.g. The fire next time) He speaks with honestly and seems to follow a higher sense of being. For example, the story that he tells in the book about not accepting the honorary degree from Georgetown University reveals that he has a lot of strength and honor without appearing preachy or self-righteous. He taught me lesions about Simon Bolivar's relationship with Haiti that I didn't know and I have a degree in history.
Lastly, the above review states that the situation in Rwanda shows that Africans can be as brutal as Americans. But, the question has to be asked, who laid the foundation that eventually led to the hatred that the Hutu had for the Tutsi? It was the Belgians that all but ignored the aforementioned Hutu and gave the Tutsi's the few positions of power within the country. This example once again shows the inherit evil intent of some European powers. One would be wise to learn from the "two-cradle theory" of Dr. Cheik Anta Diop, that states that the majority of Euro centric societies have proven themselves to be: paternalistic, war like, and private in land ownership. While the ancient societies of native America, Africa, and Asia had proven to be the exact opposite.
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on March 11, 2004
He tells a story rarely told, about the emotional, psychological and physical cruelties of racism. The quenching of human hope and spirit that is so casually embraced as normal in our country. From the lost urban youths which he refers to as "man boys" to the black elite that still finds itself irrelevant in our polarized country, to those who have "sold out" to the white power structure and become as much as liar as they (ie. colin powell, condeleeza rice). His book illustrates how genocide, segregation, and violence against blacks and other brown people are trivialized by the united states and europeans in general. Tell the truth brother; thank you that someone is finally telling the truth.
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