Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought

Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought

by Melissa Victoria Harris-Lacewell
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Princeton University Press
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Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought

What is the best way to understand black political ideology? Just listen to the everyday talk that emerges in public spaces, suggests Melissa Harris-Lacewell. And listen this author has--to black college students talking about the Million Man March and welfare, to Southern, black Baptists discussing homosexuality in the church, to black men in a barbershop early on a Saturday morning, to the voices of hip-hop music and Black Entertainment Television.

Using statistical, experimental, and ethnographic methods Barbershops, Bibles, and B.E.T offers a new perspective on the way public opinion and ideologies are formed at the grassroots level. The book makes an important contribution to our understanding of black politics by shifting the focus from the influence of national elites in opinion formation to the influence of local elites and people in daily interaction with each other. Arguing that African Americans use community dialogue to jointly develop understandings of their collective political interests, Harris-Lacewell identifies four political ideologies that constitute the framework of contemporary black political thought: Black Nationalism, Black Feminism, Black Conservatism and Liberal Integrationism. These ideologies, the book posits, help African Americans to understand persistent social and economic inequality, to identify the significance of race in that inequality, and to devise strategies for overcoming it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691114057
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/29/2004
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables ix

List of Figures xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xvii

Chapter One

Everyday Talk and Ideology 1

Chapter Two

Ideology in Action: The Promise of Orange Grove 35

Chapter Three

Black Talk, Black Thought: Evidence in National Data 79

Chapter Four

Policing Conservatives, Believing Feminists: Reactions to Unpopular Ideologies in Everyday Black Talk 110

Appendix 4.1 153

Appendix 4.2 157

Chapter Five

Truth and Soul: Black Talk in the Barbershop Written with Quincy T. Mills 162

Chapter Six

Speaking to, Speaking for, Speaking with: Black Ideological Elites 204

Chapter Seven

Everyday Black Talk at the Turn of the Twenty-first Century 250

Notes 265

Bibliography 287

Index 313

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