Beschreibung des Verlags
A provocative case for integration as the single most radical, discomfiting idea in America, yet the only enduring solution to the racism that threatens our democracy.
Americans have prided ourselves on how far we've come from slavery, lynching, and legal segregation-measuring ourselves by incremental progress instead of by how far we have to go. But fifty years after the last meaningful effort toward civil rights, the US remains overwhelmingly segregated and unjust. Our current solutions -- diversity, representation, and desegregation -- are not enough.
As acclaimed writer Calvin Baker argues in this bracing, necessary book, we first need to envision a society no longer defined by the structures of race in order to create one. The only meaningful remedy is integration: the full self-determination and participation of all African-Americans, and all other oppressed groups, in every facet of national life. This is the deepest threat to the racial order and the real goal of civil rights.
At once a profound, masterful reading of US history from the colonial era forward and a trenchant critique of the obstacles in our current political and cultural moment, A More Perfect Reunion is also a call to action. As Baker reminds us, we live in a revolutionary democracy. We are one of the best-positioned generations in history to finish that revolution.
In this rich, meditative account, novelist Baker (Grace) identifies the current "backlash of white bigotry" following the election of the first African-American president as a moment of national reckoning akin to the Continental Congress, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. In the process of examining why and how those earlier opportunities to "escape from the original sin and eternal problem of race" by fully integrating blacks and other minority groups into American society fell short, Baker offers a wide-ranging and erudite analysis of U.S. history, politics, and culture from the arrival of the first slave ship at Port Comfort, Va., in 1619 to discriminatory policies built into FDR's New Deal and an interracial adoption story line on the TV show This Is Us. He critiques identity politics ("my grievance versus your grievance") on both the right and the left, and accuses liberals of preserving racist power structures by reaching compromises with white supremacists in order to advance piecemeal progressive reforms. Though Baker doesn't make the mechanisms for "extend the full social contract" to African-Americans clear, he paints an incisive picture of the gaps in wages, education, life expectancy, and criminal justice that he says need to be closed in order for the promise of democracy to be fulfilled. This powerful call to action resonates.