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
Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of Afro-American Studies and Chair of the History of American Civilization Program at Harvard University. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including "The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature", "Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader", and "Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature", all available from NYU Press.
“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