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Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
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Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  999 ratings  ·  178 reviews
A powerful polemic on the state of black America that savages the idea of a post-racial society
America’s great promise of equality has always rung hollow in the ears of African Americans. But today the situation has grown even more dire. From the murders of black youth by the police, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the disaster visited upon poor and middle
Hardcover, 274 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Crown
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Fayelle No. It explains history, injustice, value, seemingly fairly. If you're looking to find fault, you'll find it, but there is so much factual education, …moreNo. It explains history, injustice, value, seemingly fairly. If you're looking to find fault, you'll find it, but there is so much factual education, explained in a way that's understandable by nearly everyone.(less)

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Breaking Out of the Cage

They will get you. If you are black in America, they will get you. They will get you before they get anyone else. And they will get you more forcefully and more ruthlessly just because you are black. Everything depends on this: politics, economics, education, crime, defence, corporate health and the general well-being of America. It is the unwritten constitutional guarantee of the country - whatever happens will happen first and worst to black folk. Glaude is unequivocal:
Over the few years, I've read many books about race, racism and racial equality in the US and the world at large. This book looks at the state of the world through a passionate, black intellectualism. Eddie Glaude, a professor at Princeton University and a respected media pundit, presents an unfiltered yet somewhat idealistic view of the state race in America. Written in 2016, it comes across like a time capsule. There has been so much social/racial turbulence that the period now seems like raci ...more
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I am grateful to have received an early reviewer copy of this book.

Overall, Democracy in Black is worth reading, with a couple caveats. Written by a Princeton professor whose specialty is African-American religious history, the book is well organized and the writing is a real pleasure to read. It opens with an analysis of racial inequality in America today, coming out of the Great Recession. The author then sets out his central argument:
"When we think about the differences between whites and bl
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Professor Eddie Glaude Jr., of Princeton comes out firing on all cylinders in this book. He really has his pulse on the race situation that continues to plague America and has come up with some thoughts that I'm sure will become part of the prescript of any discussions concerning race. One such idea is the "value gap", which Eddie describes as, "...(the belief that white people are valued more than others) and racial habits (the things we do, without thinking, that sustain the value gap) undergi ...more
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a 4.5 read for me.

Professor Glaude provides us with an illuminating, coherent, thoughtful tome on the historical and timely issue of racism directed towards African-American. In a powerful and passionate voice the necessary examination of structured and unknowing racism through polices and misguided assumptions in a logical way provides the groundwork for the next set of deeper scrutiny Glaude will present. For me the strength of this book is the discussion why we do not/cannot move for
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have some quibbles with this book--the main being that it's criticisms of Obama and other black leaders are not grounded in reality. Glaude admits that we all projected our expectations on Obama, but then doesn't hold back when it comes to being disappointed in his not meeting our expectations. The book is a fast read and it really captures the race problem today. Also, I would love to hear more conversations about his proposal that blacks not vote in 2016. I completely understand the logic th ...more
I’ll have a lot to say in due time. I’ll say this for now: he wrote in the Conclusion that there are people in America who are willing to turn their backs on democracy in order to protect their privileges. He’s right: it’s happening now. Mas tarde.
John Onwuchekwa
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: important
real rating: 4.5

Glaude does impressive work here in his patiently constructed, disciplined presentation of how white supremacy works, and the way it has impacted both black Americans and the options left to those who try to improve the lives of African Americans through political channels. What's perhaps most valuable about the first part of the book is the language Glaude uses and how clearly he makes his case -- in so doing, he very likely will open the eyes of some Americans to the realities
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read MICHELLE Alexander's "The New Jim Crow" - I worried that this would be a carbon copy or closely aligned. It's not! It stands solidly on its on footing with an urgent and uncomfortable message that needs to be read, discussed, and used as a resource for substantive action. ...more
Tonstant Weader
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul contributes important ideas to the struggle of black liberation. The author, Eddie S. Glaude Jr. argues that the core of the issue is a “value gap” that is woven into the entire fabric of our society, from its foundational myths and documents through its laws, customs and its values. That value gap is the simple, incontrovertible fact that black lives are valued less than white lives. If anyone seriously doubts that fact, I can refer ...more
Todd Miles
Important book for me to listen to (literally - on Audible). There was much that was hard to hear and there was some with which I disagreed fundamentally. But I needed hear this perspective. Though I do not think that government is the ultimate or final solution, it has been a huge part of the problem since before the nation's founding. Therefore, it has to play some significant role in the solution. The question is what will that role be. There is where the need for wisdom is greatest. ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
I initially picked up this book to better understand the issues with the race issues that currently exist in our country. To me, there were hits and misses in this book - from my perspective.

My parents raised me, pretty much to the effect of Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of people being judged by the content of their character. So for me, I always saw people for who they were - not what they looked liked. Furthermore, I learned skin color is determined by your ancestor's exposure to the sun -
Arlena Dean
Title: Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
Author: Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
Publisher: Broadway Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"Democracy in Black: How Race Stills Enslaves the American Soul" by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.

My Thoughts...

What a read that Dr. Glaude gives the reader some interesting perceptions of 'why the 2008 recession disproportionately' did impact black people and so much more. Yes, this is a book about race. Now, I will say I had to sit back and t
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Democracy in Black, Glaude discusses in detail how and why the 2008 recession disproportionately impacted black people. He also writes about the value gap – the fact that white people are valued more than black people. His analysis is hard to dispute. Glaude doesn’t pull any punches. Anyone is fair game for criticism, not just conservatives. In fact, President Obama receives some of his harshest.

I’m always looking for more articulate ways to explain systematic and institutional racism to peo
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is excellent at describing what the problem is, but a bit lacking in practical solutions on how to solve the problem. Professor Glaude isn't responsible for single-handedly solving the race problems in the U.S.A., of course, but I did think that at the beginning of the book he said that he would focus on what could be done other than more preaching to the choir. The #1 problem, as summed up in this book, is that white Americans fundamentally need to change the way we view African-Ameri ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I won this ARC through a LibraryThing giveaway.

Glaude does a wonderful job outlining, through discussion, statistics, and antedotal narratives the current plight of black America. "The reality is that by every relevant statistical measure (employment, wages, wealth, etc.) black America has experienced and is experiencing a depression. This is more like the symptoms of a national congenital disease than the flu." For any one who knows the stats (e.g., graduation rate, incarceration rate, high sch
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Glaude's fundamental arguments and analysis are sharp and necessary. Glaude's critique of Black liberals is the strongest chapter, showing how traditional Black liberals (e.g., John Lewis), conservative Black liberals (e.g., Clarence Thomas), and post-Black liberals (e.g., Obama) all stifle more liberatory visions that figures like Du Bois and Robeson fought for. Glaude's prose, though, is at times repetitive and overly simplistic. For a stretch of the book, almost every paragraph opens with som ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anti-racism
Glaude writes a clear and readable narrative of racism, how it is the foundation of the country, how it is built into virtually every system created by our government and institutions, and how liberal calls for everyone to get along will not change anything. Our country has a vested interest in keeping racism alive and well, though often couched in dog whistle. What I especially liked was his tribute to young activists who are paving their own creative pathways to revolution and to the intersect ...more
Sofia Lemons
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting perspective on structural racism, even though many of the facts will likely not be news to those informed on racial bias and its impact on black communities. The arguments pertaining to the value gap give good language around implicit bias and the realities of racism. Does a good job of dispelling the myth of racism being conscious and/or individual. The arguments are well situated in historical and contemporary contexts, including discussion of the newer models of anti-racist o ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
I won this in a Goodreads giveaway.
This gives a very good perspective on being black. Though he outlines the issues and frustrating parts of racism in this country, not voting is the wrong step. Handing the leadership of this country to the likes of Cruz or even worse Trump would be worse than what we are living in today. Remove that from this book!
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I guess this book is geared towards a more general audience because it's not particularly academic and traffics in a lot of surface level black history (so much time spent on MLK) and pop culture politics (I forgot Michele Bachmann was a thing). I think the first half has something to offer to those who have never thought about contemporary black politics. The second half begins to get more in depth even if not as critical as I might like (the division of black liberals was so extensive as to ma ...more
Jocelyn Khan
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found Prof. Glaude's book to be both painful and thought provoking. I think he is absolutely correct about the existence of a value gap wherein in white people are more valued than people of color, and that this is associated with a variety of racial habits. However, like many complex social problems, it's one thing to talk about diagnoses and another to come up with meaningful cures. The author identifies three components of a "value revolution": (1) a change in how we view government; (2) a ...more
H. Dair
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: molly-bright
I rounded up again from 3.5. I did so because I really appreciate many of the points he's making and many of the issues he highlighted in this book. Here's just one excellent passage:

"Racial habits are formed by the outcomes we see in the world rather than by the complex processes that produced those outcomes. We see black and white sides of town and internalize certain assumptions about what that separation means, but rarely are those assumptions informed by the history of deliberate policies t
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a novel in which the author's voice is clear and impactful to the reader. Reading this work reminded me of some of my college seminars. I wanted to underline and dog ear and write notes to myself, so that I could go in the next day and ask "what were your thoughts behind this passage?" or "can you provide clarity and deeper insight on this subject?" Democracy in Black inspires discussion, or at least it should. My difficulty with the book was that I was reading it on my own and did not h ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book expresses many of the reasons I roll my eyes every time someone says America is the greatest democracy, like I should be happy I am not living somewhere else because the oppression would be even worse. We do not have to choose between the lesser of two evils when it comes to democracy - a great reminder as the 2016 presidential side show continues to unfold. The author's idea of a "blank-out" for the upcoming election, or turning in blank ballots in protest of our options for president ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is an interesting, insightful, enlightening and eye-opening book on the issues it “threatened” to discuss and dissect, including American polity, issues relating to Africa-Americans, and the rampant racial discrimination widely prevalent in the country. Author Eddie S. Glaude Jr. may be a professor at Princeton University, teaching in the religion department and the Department of African American Studies, but th ...more
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Democracy in Black blends history, anecdote, and fact to create a smart analysis and an astute critique of black liberal politics and racial democracy. Well-researched with a structure crafted with the classroom in mind, Democracy in Black is written persuasively and clearly enough to be accessible to those outside of academia as well. That being said, this book is not for the uninitiated. The pacing of Democracy in Black is very much driven by Glaude’s passion; he doesn’t wait for you to get wi ...more
Lauren Reed
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely a push out of my comfy white zone, but not in the way I thought it would be. Professor Glaude speaks in great length about the differing political philosophies of black liberals, notably Barack Obama. It was hard to read criticisms of a person I hold in great honor, but examining others in turn helps us examine ourselves. Because this book was published in 2016, some of the content is dated, but it’s easy to piece together where we’ve continued to slide as a country and ...more
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Reading Along Wit...: Eddie Glaude: “Democracy In Black” 1 9 Jan 13, 2016 06:32AM  

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Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University and author of Democracy in Black.

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“James Baldwin’s words haunt: “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.” Are we a nation of monsters?” 11 likes
“Correction of past wrongdoings, like ending slavery and dismantling legal segregation, confirmed the rightness of our ideals. Nothing fundamental about those ideals needed to change. We simply had to be better people. I want no part of that story. It blinds us to how the value gap has been so fundamental to who we are as a nation. Over and over again, we have confronted the overriding belief, held by our government and exhibited in our daily lives, in white supremacy. The story blinds most white Americans to the harsh reality of this country.” 6 likes
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