Race matters

by Cornel West

Paper Book, 2001


Essays. Philosophy. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:The twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the groundbreaking classic, with a new introduction First published in 1993, on the one-year anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, Race Matters became a national best seller that has gone on to sell more than half a million copies. This classic treatise on race contains Dr. West's most incisive essays on the issues relevant to black Americans, including the crisis in leadership in the Black community, Black conservatism, Black-Jewish relations, myths about Black sexuality, and the legacy of Malcolm X. The insights Dr. West brings to these complex problems remain relevant, provocative, creative, and compassionate. In a new introduction for the twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, Dr. West argues that we are in the midst of a spiritual blackout characterized by imperial decline, racial animosity, and unchecked brutality and terror as seen in Baltimore, Ferguson, and Charlottesville. Calling for a moral and spiritual awakening, Dr. West finds hope in the collective and visionary resistance exemplified by the Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock, and the Black freedom tradition. Now more than ever, Race Matters is an essential book for all Americans, helping us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.… (more)



Call number



New York : Vintage Books, 2001.

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LibraryThing member psybre
I am writing this review fifteen years after "Race Matters" was reprinted following the L.A. riots, and the introduction to this new edition read as truth to me; I was a resident in L.A. County at the time of the riots.
The essays primarily propose solutions by disputing common ideological liberal
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and conservative views and solutions. Generally, the thought-provoking, analytical observation of race matters was excellent. The optimism, if cautious, was not well supported. Some solutions are explicitly proposed but are not greatly examined. West has produced more thorough work with greater examination. As a short primer to matters of race this is an important and interesting book. He does provide at the beginning of each chapter terrific quotes from other writers that do more thoroughly examine the issues. The description is quite fair in saying that West "never hesitates to confront the prejudices of all his readers or wavers in his insistence that they share a common destiny" and this is the book's greatest strength and most visible teaching.
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LibraryThing member GraceWing-YuanToy
I didn't really understand this upon my original reading during my early-mid 20s, but plan to read it again.
LibraryThing member cdogzilla
Humane, insightful, and no less relevant than when it was written.
LibraryThing member smallself
I remember that when I was very young and self-pitying, I didn’t understand white privilege and I didn’t like hearing about all the white presidents, because I figured that that had nothing to do with my life and that people were just going to ascribe to me a power that I didn’t have. After
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having read books like this one, I see that this sort of thing is actually more of a problem that black people would have: one isolated black person gets past the system, enabling people who don’t care to have another girl excuse why the concerns of the colored are not real.

Anyway, I read this book and I took little mental notes about the other books mentioned in it that I want to read, like “Beloved”, and it was great.
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LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
West engages in a thoughtful and insightful critique of systemic racial oppression in the United States. I appreciated his brevity and depth of moral vision. Drawing on the influence of the prophetic tradition of black intellectuals allows West to disrupt partisan discourse, critiquing liberal and
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conservative points of view with a clarion call for justice.
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LibraryThing member chrisblocker
I love hearing Brother Cornel West speak. I've long been attracted to his unique perspective, style, and eloquence. He's a very likable and dynamic scholar. And that's why I've long been eager to read some of his works.

I thought all of these wonderful qualities would translate well to text, but
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they really don't. West's brilliance is here, but the POW! is missing. Partly, this is because this slim volume isn't given the space that is needed. Each essay is more of a snippet of a much bigger thought. Part is the age, most of the essays are from the early 1990s, and topics such as Clarence Thomas seem antiquated. Still, Race Matters is an important and very scholarly collection, but not one that left this reader in awe.
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