Customer Reviews for

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

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  • Posted January 5, 2011

    Right Issue -- Wrong Analysis!

    I am a major fan of Eugene Robinson, whom I consider one of the best journalist and political analysts among the 24-hour news-cycle commentators. And, like Eugene, many of us have observed and participated in the major social and economic changes that have taken place in the African American community since the historic Civil Rights Movement, Civil Rights legislation, and affirmative action. However, rather than describing this phenomenon as the "blossoming" of the rich and diverse African American community previously locked up in a segregated society, Robinson describes it as "disintegration", which leads me to conclude he too is victim of the current circumscribed nostalgia that has beset many of our generation that sees in the old days a simple "oneness" where we all lived in a simple harmony,in concentrated communities where we got our hair done at the same barber shops or beauty parlors (many still do) and worshiped at an all Black church. As bad as segregation may have been, being cloistered together in slums, ghettos or later, "communities" at least kept us socially, culturally, and economically united. Sedcond, I find his "affirmative action" remedy rather unthoughtful for those "abandoned" (his word) in the inner-cities. While many whites lament "unqualified" African Americans taking "their jobs", in fact, affirmative action programs removed racial barriers -- coded and otherwise -- and allowed those of us unable to break into closed professions and industries the opportunity to enter and excell. We were educated (or ready to be educated), experienced, smart and ready to go. But, for the majority of those "abandoned", there is no affirmative action program that can qualify them for 21st century jobs. Manufacturing jobs -- skilled and unskilled -- have left the country and the "new jobs" -- whatever they may be -- require skills, discipline, and workplace socialization "abandoned" young people do not have. I would recommend the following: First, since our community has disaggregated and dispersed (rather than disintegrated) toward its promise and potential, I think the central problemmatic is how to estsablish social and cultural institutions -- many sponsored within our own community -- that will continue to bind us together as a unique historical people. Kwanzaa, Juneteenth, Sunday morning church, Black History Month, and other African American holidays and traditions have that potential if widely popularized and internalized at the household and community levels. Second, we need more neighborhood-based "uplift" socio-economic institutions, aided financially by government -- to help those with strong desires to achieve. Middle class civic organizations that reach deep into the community to mentor, provide scholarships, job opportunities and access to the wider society for the "abandoned" are critical. And, while we need new programs that actively affirm our societal commitment to foster opportunity for all, the new "affirmative action" (and we need a new name) Robinson proposes requires more than opportunity but a stronger integration of education, economics, and personal discipline -- my aunt's "Women's Civic Improvement Club" of Sacramento, CA, founded in 1936 to uplift low-incomeyoung African American women comes to mind.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2011

    Excellent

    Disintegration talks directly at the reader without holding back because it has to be 'politically correct.' I enjoyed the theme, the reasoning behind it, and how it was tied in to every day life in America. A great read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Awareness of self

    We need to read more books like this to learn how we (black people) are perceived by others and by those in our own communities.

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  • Posted November 17, 2011

    Great book!

    Excellent book. Should be required reading for policy makers. Gives voice to observations that most Americans have made.

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