Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America by Tanner Colby, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America

1.8 12
by Tanner Colby
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

An irreverent, yet powerful exploration of race relations by the New York Times-bestselling author of The Chris Farley Show

Frank, funny, and incisive, Some of My Best Friends Are Black offers a profoundly honest portrait of race in America. In a book that is part reportage, part history, part social commentary, Tanner Colby explores

Overview

An irreverent, yet powerful exploration of race relations by the New York Times-bestselling author of The Chris Farley Show

Frank, funny, and incisive, Some of My Best Friends Are Black offers a profoundly honest portrait of race in America. In a book that is part reportage, part history, part social commentary, Tanner Colby explores why the civil rights movement ultimately produced such little true integration in schools, neighborhoods, offices, and churches—the very places where social change needed to unfold. Weaving together the personal, intimate stories of everyday people—black and white—Colby reveals the strange, sordid history of what was supposed to be the end of Jim Crow, but turned out to be more of the same with no name. He shows us how far we have come in our journey to leave mistrust and anger behind—and how far all of us have left to go. 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest, Colby (The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts) takes a fresh, honest look at race relations, tackling the issue in four realms: school, neighborhood, workplace, and church. He probes school integration’s turbulent history in Birmingham, Ala.—test case for Brown v. Board of Education, and also the place Colby went to high school. He visits his old school district to track its bumpy progress from racial homogeneity to integration and to find out whether the black kids and the white kids still sit at different tables in the lunchroom. In Kansas City, Mo., he uncovers how real estate practices like blockbusting, redlining, and racial covenants created ghettos and urban blight, and how one neighborhood group is fighting back. Then, a former adman himself, Colby returns to Madison Avenue to examine an industry still divided into mainstream white agencies and niche-market black agencies. Finally, he winds up in a Louisiana Catholic parish scarred by racial violence and learns how the church was able to overcome a self-segregation perpetuated by decades of silence and mistrust. Pointing out the shortfalls of court-ordered busing, affirmative action, and other well-intentioned programs, Colby’s charming and surprisingly funny book shows us both how far we’ve come in bridging the racial divide and how far we’ve yet to go. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (July)
Library Journal
Who would expect a coauthor of two Saturday Night Live alumni biographies (The Chris Farley Show; Belushi) to pen a thoughtful, judicious, yet provocative social history of American race relations? Colby quips that ignorance is his one qualification as a white writer on race, then gets serious in exploring four key areas: school desegregation (in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham, AL), homeownership and neighborhood (in Kansas City's 49/63 area), advertising—as a career and a product (in Madison Avenue's old boys' network), and church membership (in Grand Coteau, LA). Colby considers the close connections among suburban development, advertising, and racial fear. His tour of Kansas City, still divided racially by one thoroughfare, underlines how years of misguided federal housing and loan policies institutionalized residential racial stratification. And he reveals how, after 40 years, 13 pastors, and untold strife, it took a hurricane and an ailing priest to integrate neighboring black and white Catholic parishes in one Louisiana town. VERDICT Evenhanded, felicitously written, and animated by numerous interviews, Colby's book is a pleasure despite its overall bleak message. It updates, with only slightly more hope, Leonard Steinhorn and Barbara Diggs-Brown's By the Color of Our Skin: The Illusion of Integration and the Reality of Race.—Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus
Kirkus Reviews
Colby (The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, 2008) turns his attention to one of the most vexing and violent topics in American social history. With depressing persuasiveness, the author argues that we haven't achieved racial integration, because, well, we don't really want to. He looks at several social institutions--schools, real estate, advertising, churches--and finds just one faint glimmer of hope in a Catholic parish in Louisiana, a place where the separate black and white congregations, after decades of debate and nastiness, eventually merged. There is a personal dimension to most of the narrative. Colby visited the Alabama public school he attended as a child, and he looks closely at the case of Kansas City and its struggles to integrate some neighborhoods. A former copywriter, he examines Madison Avenue's glacial acceptance of blacks into the world of advertising, a process that's been both slow and icy. He also explores the irony of profoundly segregated Christian churches. School integration, he writes, came at enormous economic and psychological cost--and even in schools where both whites and blacks attend in large numbers, they tend to stay separate. Rapacious and amoral real-estate agents and complicit civic officials engaged for years in the gross practices of "red-lining" and "block-busting." Madison Avenue was clueless about how to sell to black markets and hired black personnel only under enormous pressure--and didn't know what to do with their new employees, many of whom left, some to establish all-black agencies. Intransigence and even violence have characterized attempts to blend church congregations; beneath it all flows a deep, turbulent river of white entitlement. Occasionally thick with statistics and explication, but the author's personal voice is compelling and his thesis is most disturbing. Recommended reading for anyone who still thinks we live in a post-racial America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143123637
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/30/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
463,439
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Tanner Colby is the author of Belushi: A Biography and the New York Times bestseller The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America 1.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing! One star.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mediocre at best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shallow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A weak book for strong times.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Trendy topic but disappointing coverage. This book could have been good....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Catchy title but not much else! One star.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Not very good.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Not good.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Mostly boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a KC Realtor and as a JoCo kid who grew up in the 1970's (SM West Class of '83) I found the book enlightening to a history I didn't even know existed in our local market. Disturbing to say the least. But also obvious that author grew up in a culture at least 15 years behind mine. I never really knew discrimination until I left KC and went to DC for 15 years. There I got a crash course in an "integrated" neighbothood. As a white guy I saw it from both blacks and whites and was sad for everyone involved. Book is a great read. Author says he puts aside politics but never misses a chance to bust on a Republican administration all the while forgetting it was the Dems calling for easier access to mortgages in the late 90's and early 2000s. But this conservative finds this a must read for everyone.
gonetothedogs More than 1 year ago
When I purchased this book it was not quite what I expected by the title but extremely interesting. Having grown up during the time in history in the 50's and 60's when changes were starting to take place, my information about many of the changes was from the perspective of my parents in a white north. They talked about the issues, such as block busting, in a negative way blaming the black community for the things that happened, rather than white greed and exploitation. The author, provided alot of insite into what was and is really behind these issues. In each of the areas he noted the pros and cons of integration that I was not aware of, and the struggles, on both sides of the issue, to resolve some of the problems that lingered throughout the years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago