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A Member of the Club
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A Member of the Club

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  93 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Informed and driven by his experience as an upper-middle-class African American who lives and works in a predominately white environment, provocative author Lawrence Otis Graham offers a unique perspective on the subject of race. An uncompromising work that will challenge the mindset of every reader, "Member of the Club" is a searching book of essays ranging from examining ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1995)
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One of the best analysis' of Racism that I have ever read. Graham uses his personal experiences to underscore the Racism's connection to institution. Not only did this book validate my own personal experiences, it is also made me laugh and cry simultaneously.
12/15/2007: Just finished the first chapter - really great and pretty shocking. I had heard about this book from This American Life.

12/27/2007: A great read. I liked most of the book, with the exception of the interracial dating chapter and the chapter on the NAACP. The former was out of touch and the latter was just boring. But the rest of the book was so interesting, especially his writings on his time at Princeton, the undercover stint at the country club, and the Black professional chapter.
This is a very interesting book of experiences and essays on what it's like to be black in America. This account is especially interesting because this man comes from a wealthy black family and has a different perspective on the stereo-types given to black men especially. I came away with a much broader view on the race issue.
A bit of a different read. Thought it was a bit heavy handed.
Jun 02, 2014 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: This American Life
I picked up this book after hearing a story about the author on This American Life. Graham, a black East Coast lawyer, found that he could not gain membership in any of the country clubs where his white colleagues made contacts and closed deals. He decided to get an inside look the only way he could -- by getting hired as a busboy. Between his interactions with the other staff members and the conversations he overhears between the club's patrons, it's clear that racism is alive and well in an al ...more
I originally began reading this book because one of the essays was discussed on This American Life. While the first essay- the same one read on the radio- was really good and thought-provoking, I began to feel as if the book was no longer necessarily reflective of our society. At least, I really hope it isn't. And when he began discussing the pros and cons of interracial marriage, and coming down kind of hard on interracial marriage, I began to seriously disagree with what he was saying. I don't ...more
This is a great, though dated (early 90s), book that offers needed perspective on this issue of race. Graham tackles AffirmativeAction, mixed race relationships, upper middle class life, and other issues, mixing the black and white experience. The only quibble I have, other than the age of the book (I think there needs to be a 2nd Edition post-Obama), is that the author describes himself as middle class when he is obviously rich/very upper middle class. But I wish a lot of people would read this ...more
Beautifully written, painfully honest and definitely likely to make some readers uncomfortable, this is a compelling collection of essays about race in America. True, it was published in 1995, but I keep my eyes and ears open and don't think we've come nearly as far as one would hope; the book is certainly not a testament to some bygone era, much as I would like that to be the case. Whether you agree with the author's opinions or not, his descriptions of his experiences are sincere and important ...more
I grabbed this after the This American Life piece on the author's undercover country club escapade. The rest of his essays are thought-provoking, offering a viewpoint not often encountered, or at least publicized frequently.
Susan Rothenberg
Very interesting essays about the issues dealt with on a daily basis by upper-middle class African American people relating to white America, as well as some issues dealing with less educated black Americans.
heard him on npr--powerful piece on unseen racism of the upper classes. Hard hitting, but hard to take his privilege at times.
Oct 31, 2007 Alicia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Listened to him on This American Life and his story seems fascinating
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