The Times podcast: When the celebrity bigot is a Black man (2015)
This book will become a classic, maybe the most influential work by a black man. It’s a collection of his most important essays, which were originally intended to go into a book that would “address all the issues he could think to have raised in respect to racism in America, from the Civil War to the present, and the way it’s still a major problem and a major problem among Black Americans.” But he never finished it, and for decades he tried to write a book that would be just the first part of a two-part work. He was a man who grew up in a family that made it very clear they believed and accepted the reality of racial reality, and even when he didn’t agree with his father’s views on race he was willing to respect them and work with them.
A few of those essays are collected here:
This volume is his most important work, and the most important one for black people. It contains his thoughts on how we got here, and what we’re trying to do now. It’s a great place to start a discussion of race in America.
As he notes in his essays, “the greatest problem that black people have, and the greatest problem blacks and whites have, is the question of how to live together.” This book is the most important contribution to that discussion.
I had originally planned to share the whole book on the podcast, the way the Times has done with books like We Are Not Afraid by Barack Obama. But after listening to this volume all day, all of these essays I had been trying to put together on the podcast were much harder to put together because I’m not as familiar with most of the essays as I should be, because I’m not as familiar with his arguments about this problem—and I should, because reading and listening to this volume is the best way for me to become familiar enough to make good use of those arguments.
Also, we are talking about a book that’s one year old, and it would be hard to find an