12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today

12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today

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by Gregory S. Parks
     
 

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Called a book “which is factual yet reads like a novel” by the Huffington Post, 12 Angry Men reveals some pointed truths about our nation, as a dozen eloquent authors from across the United States tell their personal stories of being racially profiled.

We hear from Joe Morgan, a former Major League Baseball MVP, who was tackled and

Overview

Called a book “which is factual yet reads like a novel” by the Huffington Post, 12 Angry Men reveals some pointed truths about our nation, as a dozen eloquent authors from across the United States tell their personal stories of being racially profiled.

We hear from Joe Morgan, a former Major League Baseball MVP, who was tackled and falsely arrested at the Los Angeles airport; Paul Butler, a federal prosecutor who was detained while walking in his own neighborhood in Washington, D.C.; Kent, a devoted husband and father, hauled into central booking for trespassing and loitering when he visits his mother’s housing project; Solomon Moore, a former criminal justice reporter for the New York Times, detained by the police while on assignment in North Carolina; and King Downing, former head of the ACLU’s racial profiling initiative, who was himself pursued by National Guardsmen after arriving on the red-eye in Boston’s Logan Airport.

A narrative of another America for men of color emerges in 12 Angry Men as “a dozen brothers are allowed to give full vent to their feelings about [an] indignity routinely suffered by the majority of African American males” and, in doing so, reveal “a serious impediment to the collective American Dream of a colorblind society” (the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Urban Media).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although there is some thematic repetition, these essays on racial profiling are extraordinarily compelling. Contributors include journalists, federal prosecutors, and hip-hop artists; diverse in background, age, and education, they share one identity--being black--and one rite of passage--"the silent reality most black men have to live with," the frequency with which the police demand they produce identity papers; search their bodies, their cars, and their homes; and even maim or murder them for any perceived threat, imaginary and real. Fortunately, these 12 live to tell twice-told tales that still seem new. The congressman, with means, time, and "faith in the judicial system," fights back in court; the sports commentator brings a successful lawsuit. One says, perhaps for all, "In tolerating these transgressions day in and day out, I sometimes feel like my humanity is being chipped away." Legal scholar Guinier's introduction provides a helpful statistical and political context as well as a vigorous argument against the entrenched police practices that undergird the brief potent individual vignettes. Bantamweight in size, this book packs a heavyweight wallop. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

Winner of a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

"Beautifully written, painfully honest."
—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

"Powerful."
—Jet

Library Journal
These men make clear that we do not live in a "post-racial" America. Each tells of his experience of racism, reinforcing that what happened to Henry Lewis Gates Jr. on his own porch is not unique. Baseball hall of famer Joe Morgan is here, but most are not household names.
Kirkus Reviews

Victims of racial profiling recount the particulars of their harassment.

Polls suggest that an overwhelming majority of African-Americans believe racial profiling is ubiquitous in American society. This collection puts faces to the problem, demonstrating that racial profiling occurs in both big cities and small towns. It can happen outside Manhattan's Latin Quarter, in a city park, airport, tony neighborhood or high-crime section of town; its victims include a 19-year-old high-school graduate, a young hip-hop artist, a Harvard Law School graduate, aNew York Timesjournalist, an ACLU attorney, a Hall of Fame baseball player and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In this collaboration, law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals Parks (Critical Race Realism, 2008, etc.) and Hughey (Sociology/Mississippi State Univ.) collect a dozen stories designed to drive home the outrage engendered and the humiliation endured by those stopped and frisked, detained or arrested, for walking, driving, flying, even simply reading while black. Readers shouldn't expect fine writing—only the account byTimesreporter Solomon Moore could be described as eloquent—or balanced discussion of the frequently disputed facts and the always difficult tension that exists at the intersection of individual liberty and civil order. This is raw testimony intended to vividly capture the invasions of privacy and the assaults on dignity that always accompany unreasonable government intrusion. Harvard law professor Lani Guinier's introduction takes a stab at a larger perspective, but her conclusions are overdrawn and her proposed solutions—we must all learn to "read race"—take the form of airy academic locutions.

Of interest to social scientists and criminal-justice students, but not likely to appeal to a wider audience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595587718
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,068,559
Product dimensions:
5.08(w) x 6.94(h) x 0.58(d)

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TK

Meet the Author

Gregory S. Parks is an attorney in private practice and a co-editor of Critical Race Realism (The New Press). He lives in Washington, D.C. Matthew W. Hughey is an assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State University, where he lives, and is the co-editor of The Obamas and a (Post) Racial America. Lani Guinier, a professor at Harvard Law School, was the first black woman ever to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Miner’s Canary and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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