The Trouble with Post-Blackness

Paperback | February 7, 2017

EditorHouston A. Baker, K. Merinda Simmons

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An America in which the color of one's skin no longer matters would be unprecedented. With the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, that future suddenly seemed possible. Obama's rise reflects a nation of fluid populations and fortunes, a society in which a biracial individual could be embraced as a leader by all. Yet complicating this vision are shifting demographics, rapid redefinitions of race, and the instant invention of brands, trends, and identities that determine how we think about ourselves and the place of others.

This collection of original essays confronts the premise, advanced by black intellectuals, that the Obama administration marked the start of a "post-racial" era in the United States. While the "transcendent" and post-racial black elite declare victory over America's longstanding codes of racial exclusion and racist violence, their evidence relies largely on their own salaries and celebrity. These essays strike at the certainty of those who insist that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are now independent of skin color and race in America. They argue, signify, and testify that "post-blackness" is a problematic mythology masquerading as fact-a dangerous new "race science" motivated by black transcendentalist individualism. Through rigorous analysis, these essays expose the idea of a post-racial nation as a pleasurable entitlement for a black elite, enabling them to reject the ethics and urgency of improving the well-being of the black majority.

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An America in which the color of one's skin no longer matters would be unprecedented. With the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, that future suddenly seemed possible. Obama's rise reflects a nation of fluid populations and fortunes, a society in which a biracial individual could be embraced as a leader by all. Yet complicati...

Houston A. Baker is Distinguished University Professor at Vanderbilt University and a scholar of African American literature and culture. He is a member of the pioneering generation of the 1960s that sought to expand the canons and definitions of the humanities in the academy. He served as director of Afro-American studies and founded...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:February 7, 2017Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231169353

ISBN - 13:9780231169356

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: The Dubious Stage of Post-Blackness-Performing Otherness, Conserving Dominance, by K. Merinda Simmons1. What Was Is: The Time and Space of Entanglement Erased by Post-Blackness, by Margo Natalie Crawford2. Black Literary Writers and Post-Blackness, by Stephanie Li3. African Diasporic Blackness Out of Line: Trouble for "Post-Black" African Americanism, by Greg Thomas4. Fear of a Performative Planet: Troubling the Concept of "Post-Blackness", by Rone Shavers5. E-Raced: #Touré, Twitter, and Trayvon, by Riché Richardson6. Post-Blackness and All of the Black Americas, by Heather D. Russell7. Embodying Africa: Roots-Seekers and the Politics of Blackness, by Bayo Holsey8. "The world is a ghetto": Post-Racial America(s) and the Apocalypse, by Patrice Rankine9. The Long Road Home, by Erin Aubry Kaplan10. Half as Good, by John L. Jackson Jr.11. "Whither Now and Why": Content Mastery and Pedagogy-a Critique and a Challenge, by Dana A. Williams12. Fallacies of the Post-Race Presidency, by Ishmael Reed13. Thirteen Ways of Looking at Post-Blackness (after Wallace Stevens), by Emily RaboteauConclusion: Why the Lega Mask Has Many Mouths and Multiple Eyes, by Houston A. Baker Jr.List of ContributorsIndex

Editorial Reviews

An excellent collection of essays from impressive minds responding openly to what black identity was, is, and perhaps will be.... Anyone with an expressed interest in racial history and identity will enjoy this read.