Slim's Table: Race, Respectability, and Masculinity / Edition 2

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At the Valois "See Your Food" cafeteria on Chicago's South Side, black and white men gather around formica tables finding companionship over hot coffee and steam-table food. Mitchell Duneier spent four years at Valois writing this moving profile of the black men who congregate at "Slim's table." They take center stage in stories that illuminate a new image of black masculinity and respectability. Duneier introduces us to Slim, a car mechanic living in the ghetto, who shows his concern for Bart, a prejudiced white senior citizen. In this story of black masculinity and the possibilities of racial integration, Slim treats Bart with care and affection, which moves the old man to the limits of his own potential for tolerance and respect. We meet at Valois a group of men who are firm, resolute, sincere, and sensitive. There is Ted, retired from the army and working in a photo lab, whose pronouncements about American society and politics illustrate the standard of respectability in black America. And Jackson, a semi-retired crane operator and longshoreman who lives in a ramshackle apartment without a telephone. In his old age, he struggles lifting boxes at the docks to pay off overwhelming medical bills. Slim's Table helps demolish the narrow sociological picture of black men and the simple, media-reinforced stereotypes which restrict blacks to one of two groups - the ghetto underclass and the so-called middle-class role models. In between is a "respectable" citizenry, too often ignored and little understood. Duneier demonstrates that a proper understanding of the men at Slim's table calls into question fundamental assumptions that have long dominated discussions of urban poverty. This leads him to fashion a new way of looking at role models and at the exodus of the black middle class from the inner city. In a pioneering, revisionist analysis of many classic works in black studies, he also argues that some of the most "enlightened" books ultimately confirm the basest

At the Valois "See Your Food" cafeteria on Chicago's South Side, black and white men gather together, finding companionship over hot coffee. Duneier spent four years at Valois writing this moving profile of the black men who congregate there. They take center stage in stories that illuminate a new iamge of black masculinity and respectability. (Univ. of Chicago Press)

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Editorial Reviews

Sociologist Duneier spent four years at a cafeteria on Chicago's south side, and explores how working-class black men who gather there live by a distinct set of values. Identifies a blacks not seen in the media stereotypes of the ghetto underclass and the rising middle-class. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226170305
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,508,021
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. One: The Caring Community
1. Slim and Bart
2. Black Men: Transcending Roles and Images
Pt. Two: The Moral Community
3. Valois as a "Black Metropolis"
4. The Standard of Respectability
Pt. Three: Membership in Society
5. Openness
6. The Need for Contact with Society
7. A Higher Self
Pt. Four: You're White, He's Black, I'm a Sociologist: Who's Innocent?
8. The Underclass and the Middle Class
9. The Stereotype of Blacks in Sociology and Journalism
10. Conclusion

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