The Splintering of Black America

Book - 2010
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Instead of one black America, today there are four.

"There was a time when there were agreed-upon 'black leaders,' when there was a clear 'black agenda,' when we could talk confidently about 'the state of black America'--but not anymore." --from Disintegration

The African American population in the United States has always been seen as a single entity: a "Black America" with unified interests and needs. In his groundbreaking book, Disintegration , Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson argues that over decades of desegregation, affirmative action, and immigration, the concept of Black America has shattered. Instead of one black America, now there are four:

* a Mainstream middle-class majority with a full ownership stake in American society;

* a large, Abandoned minority with less hope of escaping poverty and dysfunction than at any time since Reconstruction's crushing end;
* a small Transcendent elite with such enormous wealth, power, and influence that even white folks have to genuflect;

* and two newly Emergent groups--individuals of mixed-race heritage and communities of recent black immigrants--that make us wonder what "black" is even supposed to mean.

Robinson shows that the four black Americas are increasingly distinct, separated by demography, geography, and psychology. They have different profiles, different mindsets, different hopes, fears, and dreams. What's more, these groups have become so distinct that they view each other with mistrust and apprehension. And yet all are reluctant to acknowledge division.

Disintegration offers a new paradigm for understanding race in America, with implications both hopeful and dispiriting. It shines necessary light on debates about affirmative action, racial identity, and the ultimate question of whether the black community will endure.
Publisher: New York :, Doubleday,, [2010]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780385526548
Branch Call Number: 305.896073 RO
Characteristics: pages ; cm


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LMcShaneCLE Jan 26, 2012

Writers and Readers Book Talk
2/2/2012 » 4:30 PM
Discussion of Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America
by journalist Eugene Robinson, featured speaker for the
Writers and Readers author series. Young adults are
encouraged to read his book and attend this discussion in
preparation for Robinson’s visit on Saturday, February 4,
2012. Free all-day bus passes and reserved seating to the
program for all teens who attend the book talk. Call 216-623-6920 for details.

Library: Brooklyn
Event Type: NONE
Age(s): Teens

oldhag Jan 14, 2012

After dividing black America into four categories, The Mainstream, The Abandoned, The Transcendent, and The Emergent, Robinson references a book by Bill Cosby and Alvin Poussaint, "...that sternly lectured poor African Americans on the need to change their ways. They pointed out that there is an alarming crisis among black men in this country, and urged young men to do better-to stay in school, cut out the violence, stop fathering children out of wedlock, and generally behave like 'real men' instead of caricatures. They advised black women to 'hang in there' and provide support that might help change black men's erring ways". What? Black women don't get to have their own dreams and desires, agenda and ambitions? The only role for black women is to 'mammy' black men? Considering Bill Cosby's own personal behavior (see Michael Eric Dyson's "Is Bill Cosby Right or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?") perhaps his outrageous advice shouldn't be a surprise.

crankylibrarian Apr 29, 2011

Well argued, well thought out analysis of the current state of Black America, which Robinson sees as comprised of 5 different groups:the mainstream, The Transcendent (think Oprah and Tiger), The Abandoned (aka underclass, ghetto) and 2 new groups, Biracials and Caribbean and African immigrants. These new groups, which he dubs "The Emergents" call into question the meaning of "African American"


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