The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto

The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto

by Tavis Smiley, Cornel West


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Record unemployment and rampant corporate avarice, empty houses but homeless families, dwindling opportunities in an increasingly paralyzed nation—these are the realities of 21st-century America, land of the free and home of the new middle class poor. Award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West, one of the nation’s leading democratic intellectuals, co-hosts of Public Radio’s Smiley & West , now take on the "P" word—poverty.The Rich and the Rest of Us is the next step in the journey that began with "The Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience." Smiley and West’s 18-city bus tour gave voice to the plight of impoverished Americans of all races, colors, and creeds. With 150 million Americans persistently poor or near poor, the highest numbers in over five decades, Smiley and West argue that now is the time to confront the underlying conditions of systemic poverty in America before it’s too late.By placing the eradication of poverty in the context of the nation’s greatest moments of social transformation— such as the abolition of slavery, woman’s suffrage, and the labor and civil rights movements—ending poverty is sure to emerge as America’s 21st -century civil rights struggle.As the middle class disappears and the safety net is shredded, Smiley and West, building on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., ask us to confront our fear and complacency with 12 poverty changing ideas. They challenge us to re-examine our assumptions about poverty in America—what it really is and how to eliminate it now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401940638
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication date: 04/17/2012
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 483,399
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders as a broadcaster, author, advocate, and philanthropist, Tavis Smiley continues to be an outstanding voice for change. Currently, Smiley hosts the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS; The Tavis Smiley Show, distributed by Public Radio International (PRI); and is a co-host of Smiley & West (PRI). He is the first American to simultaneously host signature talk shows on both public television and public radio. In addition to his radio and television work, Smiley has authored 16 books, including his New York Times bestselling memoir What I Know For Sure and the book he edited, the #1 New York Times bestseller, Covenant with Black America. He is also the presenter and creative force behind America I AM: The African American Imprint—an unprecedented and award-winning traveling museum exhibition celebrating the extraordinary impact of African American contributions to our nation and to the world. In 2009, Tavis Smiley was named one of TIME’s "100 Most Influential People in the World." Educator and philosopher Cornel West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton University. Known as one of America’s most gifted, provocative, and important democratic intellectuals, he is the author of the contemporary classic Race Matters, which changed the course of America’s dialogue on race and justice; the New York Times bestseller Democracy Matters; and the memoir Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. He is the author of 17 other texts and the recipient of the American Book Award. West holds more than 20 honorary degrees, and will return this fall as Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Portrait of Poverty 13

Chapter 2 Poverty of Opportunity 41

Chapter 3 Poverty of Affirmation 71

Chapter 4 Poverty of Courage 95

Chapter 5 Poverty of Compassion 117

Chapter 6 Poverty of Imagination 137

Chapter 7 A Poverty Manifesto 169

Appendix 205

Notes 211

Acknowledgments 219

About the Authors 221


Smiley - CA; West - NJ

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The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Tess74 More than 1 year ago
Smiley and West have written an excellent book detailing historical, political (but non-partisan) and psychological roots of how this country has gotten to this point with regard to poverty. They detail it with personal stories that are vital to remind every one of us that those who suffer in poverty are real, hardworking people: people that cannot be forgotten or written off.
Dr_Wilson_Trivino More than 1 year ago
There is no doubt that there are some tough times out there, but what can we do about it? In The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley & Cornel West, this book is a call for action. Tavis Smiley notes in the book “We wanted people who are struggling in this current economy to know that they are not alone and not forgotten.” The book portrays a broken system, one of economic inequality. As the United States transitions into a nation of majority minority, it still lacks the market place cohesion to provide for a ladder of economic success. With the great recession, many households and individuals are unable to sustain themselves. Not since Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty has there been a laser like focus on solving the ills of the poor. Smiley & West call for action the powers to be. The poverty manifesto has twelve points that are important if something should be done about it. First of all there needs to be a fundamental fairness with a living wage. Some others are to bring jobs, others to look at our prison and mass incarceration rates. The most important issue a call for a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty and a sample letter is given to send to the President. This book is a result of the authors’ travels and an attempt to continue the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. King in his final days was rally with the “people’s campaign”, one that centered on poor folk. The The Rich and the Rest of Us by Tavis Smiley & Cornel West is a compelling exploration of the current state of the United States and will certainly start the dialogue for change. It is a good book for those who want to read the hard numbers and also serves as a wakeup call that something has to be done. This book and tour is to spread the message that there needs to be a national policy on poverty and the book lays out a case for the dismal economic state we find our nation in.
je917 More than 1 year ago
If we could get 10 politicians to follow these 10 steps this country would be so much better. We can not become rich until we help our poor. This book will help us all become better nation.
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crltnmbr1 More than 1 year ago
An awesome book!!! This should be on the reading list on every college campus!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book paints a clear picture of the lives of Americans today; 99% are in pain and suffering due to the greed of 1% of the rich and wealthy. The authors articulate their message eloquently with exception of giving credit to Ghandi, who is a well known racist in India. To the author's credit they state facts supported by statistics, history, and other credible sources; they give credit to individuals regardless of their negative personas/agendas. This allows the authors to remain objective instead of bias and successfully describe The Rich & the Rest of Us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If these men are examples of American black intellect, then we can see why American black communities are a disaster! The one star is for effort:(