By Robin D.G. Kelley

During this brilliant, thought-provoking publication, Kelley, "the preeminant historian of black pop culture writing at the present time" (Cornel West) exhibits how the multicolored city operating type is the answer to the ills of yank towns. He undermines common misunderstandings of black tradition and indicates how they've got contributed to the failure of social coverage to avoid wasting our towns.

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2 In some respects, Sullivan is right: the conservatives who maintain that persistent poverty in the inner city is the result of the behavior of the poor, the product of some cultural deficiency, have garnered so much opposition from many liberals and radicals that few scholars are willing even to discuss culture. S. economy, labor force composition, and resultant changes in marriage patterns to explain the underclass. 4 On the contrary, it has been as central to the work of liberal structuralists and radical Marxists as it has been to that of the conservative culturalists.

S have about as much basis in hard evidence as anything coming out of the dozens, but without the subtlety, irony, and humor. In his defense of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein's The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, for example, Richard Lynn wrote, "There is one thing the underclass is good at, and that is producing children. " 3 Whether we are short on cognitive ability or Page 4 long on sexual drive, it all adds up to a merciless attack on black mothers specifically, and black families more generally.

It is not the sort of defense that turns the discourse on its head, "flipping the script" in order to paint a noble, unblemished portrait of the black urban poor. Instead, I see this book as a defense of black people's humanity and a condemnation of scholars and policyrnakers for their inability to see complexity. Part of the book attempts to recognize the importance of pleasure and laughter in people's lives, to see culture and community as more than responses to, or products of, oppression. Hence, when we reflect on the dozens as the book's underlying metaphor, we have to acknowledge the artistry, the fun, the gamesmanship that continues to exist, if not thrive, in a world marked by survival and struggle.

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