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4134Re: When White is Black (Book Review)

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  • rosanna_armendariz
    Nov 5, 2010
      I'm glad to see that there are an increasing number of people writing from the perspective that race is a social construct. Hopefully the idea will catch on one of these days! Right now, sadly, America is still entrenched in the whole Black vs. White thing.

      In Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com,
      "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:

      When White is Black

      --- written by John A. Martin Jr

      Book Description

      This memoir describes the social aspects of a young boy
      and his family growing up in an America where the shade
      of your skin can determine your fate and where the
      racist One-Drop Rule has far-reaching ramifications.

      John Martin's interest in American race relations is
      so deeply embedded in his family heritage, that he
      finds it impossible to identify its beginnings.

      He believes that race as a social construct became
      an unavoidable fact of life at the point of conception
      for most African-Americans of his generation.

      [H]e considers himself fortunate to be a small part of
      the continuing movement ... which transcends race.

      John Martin fervently hopes that When White is Black,
      his first published book, will offer some help in our
      ongoing quest to understand and move beyond the
      many onerous repercussions of race in America.


      "An early morning phone call announcing his mother's accidental
      death and the coroner's inquiry regarding her race set Martin
      pondering the complicated Mixed-Race heritage of his family.
      His mother, who appeared White, was Mixed,
      with White, Black, and Seminole Indian blood.
      Martin explores the tortured complexities of how the
      Mixture of White and Black was historically recorded and
      determined and eventually evolved into the One-Drop Rule.
      He recalls a great-grandfather so fair he lived as a White man ...
      Martin's mother was light enough to "pass" for White;
      instead, she navigated a balance between demanding
      respect and accepting any advantages that came
      with fair skin but also eventually became an alcoholic.
      Martin's recollection of his family history is a poignant example
      of the complexity and effect of racial designations in America."
      Vanessa Bush © American Library Association.

      "An extraordinary story -- a richly textured genealogy
      that is also a vehicle for searing social commentary
      about two centuries of race in America.
      John Martin displays an uncanny ability to
      combine passion and restraint -- and he provides
      us with unusual insight into the lived experience of
      navigating along the nation's most volatile faultline."
      --- Troy Duster, Author of 'Whitewashing
      Race: The Myth of a Colorblind Society'.

      "Looking back on his family's history, John Martin visits a
      fascinating cast of characters, some of whom he knew and
      loved, some of whom he heard about and admired, all
      of whom, whatever their lineage or skin tone, fought to
      survive in a nation where the One-drop Rule of racism
      relegated African-Americans to what U.S. Supreme
      Court Chief Justice Taney described in 1857
      as a "subordinate and inferior class of beings."
      Fully aware that echoes of Taney's
      pronouncement still reverberate in the
      twenty-first century, Martin expressively argues
      that with the demise of the One-drop Rule, his
      variously hued children and grandchildren
      have a chance to live ... in an America that
      may some day achieve the full meaning of its
      designation as "The World's First Multicultural Society.
      Martin has written a memoir that matters."
      --- Mason Drukman, Ph.D and author
      of 'Community and Purpose in America
      and Wayne Morse – A Political Biography'.

      "A deeply moving story of a Mixed-Race family's struggle
      for survival and Identity through several generations.
      They and the underlying theme of racism make this
      family story a compelling and truly American tale."
      --- Michael O'Neill, Professor of Nonprofit
      Management and Founder of the Institute
      for Nonprofit Organization Management
      at the University of San Francisco.

      "Very moving because of its painful honesty.
      He records the corrosive effects of racism and
      discrimination on realpeople in American society.
      He is courageous in revealing his own
      emotional responses to that racism and to the
      disruptions in his own life that it has caused.
      'When White is Black' represents the culmination of a long
      and important career during which (Martin) shaped the
      program of Stiles Hall at the University of California
      at Berkeley to educate generations of young men
      and women to be leaders in the fight against racism.
      His life is a true model of activism and this
      book should be an inspiration to young leaders
      as they pursue their goals of a just society."
      --- Clara Sue Kidwell, Professor and Director
      of the Native American Studies Program
      at the University of Oklahoma.

      About the Author

      John Martin Jr., was raised in Berkeley, California,
      where he later spent the bulk of his professional
      career, as the general director of a social service agency.
      His life journey has included four
      years of service in the U.S. Air Force,
      B.A. and M.A. degrees from San Francisco State
      University and the University of Omaha respectively,
      post Master's degree study at Tufts University and
      the University of California at Berkeley, and a
      wonderfully satisfying professional life working
      in anti-poverty programs, social service,
      education, and Civil Rights organizations.


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