What's Wrong with Obamamania?: Black America, Black Leadership, and the Death of Political Imagination

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Barack Obama's sudden arrival on the national scene has created a wave of excitement in American politics, a phenomenon that has been dubbed "Obamamania." In What's Wrong with Obamamania?, Ricky L. Jones places Obama's run for the presidency in the context of deep and often disturbing shifts in black leadership since the 1960s. From Charles Hamilton Houston to Thurgood Marshall to Jesse Jackson, from prosperity preachers to megachurches, from W. E. B. Du Bois's Talented Tenth and civil rights advocates to Black ...
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Overview

Barack Obama's sudden arrival on the national scene has created a wave of excitement in American politics, a phenomenon that has been dubbed "Obamamania." In What's Wrong with Obamamania?, Ricky L. Jones places Obama's run for the presidency in the context of deep and often disturbing shifts in black leadership since the 1960s. From Charles Hamilton Houston to Thurgood Marshall to Jesse Jackson, from prosperity preachers to megachurches, from W. E. B. Du Bois's Talented Tenth and civil rights advocates to Black Entertainment Television and hip-hop culture, Jones paints a picture of lowered expectations, cynicism, and nihilism that should give us all pause.

About the Author:
Ricky L. Jones is Associate Professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jones (Black Haze) uses Barack Obama's presidential campaign to launch a fascinating and well-researched exploration into black leadership in America. The author is thoughtful and balanced in his assessment of the changing nature of black leadership—from W.E.B. Du Bois to Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson—and in his evaluation of the challenges facing the black community's newest generation of leaders. In dense, academic prose that often encumbers his analysis, Jones contextualizes the Obama campaign as he documents the troubled state of politics in black America, illustrating the enduring effects of slavery and segregation and charting the burgeoning influence of modern megachurches, hip-hop culture and BET. Although Jones raises more questions than he answers, this book makes a compelling case for black leaders to re-examine, augment and sometimes discard old approaches and methods. Jones lucidly enumerates the challenges, choices and limitations Obama will face as he attempts to win the presidency, and provides a level of racial analysis and exploration that is almost entirely absent in the mainstream media. (June)

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From the Publisher
“...a penetrating look at how race politics has evolved.” — Booklist, starred review

“…a fascinating and well-researched exploration into black leadership in America … this book makes a compelling case for black leaders to re-examine, augment and sometimes discard old approaches and methods. Jones … provides a level of racial analysis and exploration that is almost entirely absent in the mainstream media.” — Publishers Weekly

“With a critical eye, Jones examines leadership style in the black community within the context of larger philosophical arguments about culture, education, political agency, and expectations. This examination will be useful as we attempt to put Barack Obama, and specifically leadership in the black community, into focus.” — Ronald W. Walters, author of Freedom Is Not Enough: Black Voters, Black Candidates, and American Presidential Politics

“This book is an important contribution to intellectual clarity—a scarce commodity at a time of mania.” — Glen Ford, Executive Editor, BlackAgendaReport.com

“Jones revives a tradition of sharp and clear political thinking and courageous moral engagement.” — Joy James, author of Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791475799
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ricky L. Jones is Associate Professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville and the author of Black Haze: Violence, Sacrifice, and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities, also published by SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   J. Blaine Hudson     ix
Introduction: Jesse Jackson Didn't Give a Damn!     1
A Series of Unfortunate (and Unsavory) Events: Paving the Way for "Obamamania"     9
Sorry, DuBois Doesn't Live Here Anymore: The Soulessness of the New Talented Tenth     25
The Witch and the Devil: American Political Philosophy and Black Suffering     43
"Black Hawks" Down: America's War on Terror and the Rise of Bushism     57
I Don't Care What Jesus Would Do; I've Got to Get Paid: The New Black Preacher     75
Before and Beyond Don Imus: On BET, Hip-Hop Culture, and Their Consequences     95
What's Wrong with Us?: The Necessary Death of American Romanticism     113
Chronology: Development and Change in Black Leadership Communities from 1619 to the Present     125
Notes     127
Index     139
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