In this incisive and unflinching study, Randall Kennedy, author of "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, "tackles another stigma of America's racial discourse: "selling out." He explains the origins of the concept and shows how fear of this label has haunted prominent members of the black community--including, most recently, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama. Sellout also contains a rigorously fair case study of America's quintessential racial "sellout"--Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In the book's final section, Kennedy recounts how he himself has dealt with accusations of being a sellout after meeting fierce criticism at Harvard upon the publication of his book, "Nigger.
About the Author
Randall Kennedy is the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and his law degree from Yale. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and is a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He is the author of five previous books, including Race, Crime, and the Law, for which he received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. A member of the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States and the District of Columbia, and of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he lives in Massachusetts.
“Sellout is brisk and enjoyable, no small feat given the density of its ideas. . . . Worth reading for the light it shines on many subtleties of black history.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review“Thought-provoking. . . . [Kennedy offers] illuminating evidence that, despite great marks of progress, race's stranglehold on the nation's collective conscious remains as strong as ever.” —The Washington Post“Fresh. . . . Elegant and open-minded. . . . Sellout does a great deal to complicate the politics of racial betrayal.” —Salon.com“A cool, clean case against the use of a backwards epithet that discourages something black America can hardly do without-coherent and original thought.” —The New York Sun