“…no one belongs to the black community anymore.”
Writer, Greg Thomas Recommended:
Raymond Arsenault, The Great Unraveling, NYTimes says: Robinson tells us at the outset, live and work in a privileged world of wealth and power. Despite the color of their skin, they do not belong to the black community. Fair enough, but Robinson does not stop there. Over the next 200 pages, he demonstrates rather convincingly that no one belongs to the black community anymore. The race-based community that was a fixture of American life for generations — the traditional locus of racial experience and solidarity, the idealized entity that many of us still refer to, indeed still cling to, as an institutional and social reality — no longer exists. That, in a nutshell, is the thesis of this slim but powerful book.
By Mark Sumner “Devilstower” from Imperial, MO USA on Amazon.com says: Robinson’s book details the way in which Civil Rights lifted the cap on income and opportunities for a few in the black community, but the rest of the community paid a price in a loss of cohesive, whole neighborhoods. Perversely, the result is that while the number of blacks in the middle and upper classes increased sharply, those percentages represent only a small part of the overall population. And as those “stars” left the community, the opportunities for those left behind — Robinson’s “abandoned class” — may have actually diminished.
This is not a book that pines for the “good old days.” Robinson is frank about the grim truth of life in black America before Civil Rights. However, he recognizes that the passage of Civil Rights legislation was a step, not the completion of a journey, and that no matter how bright this goal, there were still dark and unintended consequences.
While Robinson’s book is focused on the black community, the effects he notes are happening across racial divides. The increasingly polar communities he describes are applicable to America as a whole as the gap between rich and poor has widened ever more sharply over the last three decades. The resulting stagnation and isolation of the abandoned class and the constant celebration of the accomplished class is something that’s affecting all of America, not just black America. These effects are illustrated most fully in the black community, where the limits of Jim Crow laws kept the gap between rich and poor very small for the better part of a century, but the same forces of income and educational inequality don’t just threaten to shatter — they are shattering — the nation as a whole. If we don’t learn to address the problems Robinson discusses, we may all soon find out what it’s like to be part of the abandoned class. Just as black America has illustrated what can happen when rapid social change drives communities apart, let’s hope that solutions can be found there that can heal us all.
Get your copy of “Disintegration” here.