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Awakening to Race Individualism and Social Consciousness in America

ISBN-10: 0226817121
ISBN-13: 9780226817125
Edition: 2012
Authors: Jack Turner
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Description: The election of America’s first black president has led many to believe that race is no longer a real obstacle to success and that remaining racial inequality stems largely from the failure of minority groups to take personal responsibility for  More...

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Book details

List price: $28.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/1/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 216
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

The election of America’s first black president has led many to believe that race is no longer a real obstacle to success and that remaining racial inequality stems largely from the failure of minority groups to take personal responsibility for seeking out opportunities. Often this argument is made in the name of the long tradition of self-reliance and American individualism. InAwakening to Race,Jack Turner upends this view, arguing that it expresses not a deep commitment to the values of individualism, but a narrow understanding of them. Drawing on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Ralph Ellison, and James Baldwin, Turner offers an original reconstruction of democratic individualism in American thought. All these thinkers, he shows, held that personal responsibility entails a refusal to be complicit in injustice and a duty to combat the conditions and structures that support it. At a time when individualism is invoked as a reason for inaction, Turner makes the individualist tradition the basis of a bold and impassioned case for race consciousness—consciousness of the ways that race continues to constrain opportunity in America. Turner’s “new individualism” becomes the grounds for concerted public action against racial injustice.

Jack Turner is assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington and a member of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Sexuality. He is the editor of A Political Companion to Henry David Thoreau.

List of Figures
Preface
Awakening to Race
Racial Injustice and Individualist Ideals
The Problem of Acknowledgment
Democratic Individualism
From Emerson to Baldwin
A Usable Past?
Talking to Strangers
Self-Reliance and Social Responsibility
Atomistic Individualism
Awakening
The Idea of Complicity
Self-Reliance and Complicity
Action and Citizenship
Self-Reliance and Justice
Democratic Individualist Responsibility
Self-Help and Social Structure
Self-Help
Social Structure
Liberal Democracy, Properly Understood
Race and Democratic Individuality
Democratic Individuality in Black
Diagnosing White Supremacy
Reconstructing Vision
Love, Fraternity, Gender, and Democracy
Awakening to Power
Democratic Reconstitution
Creative Individuality, Radical Responsibility
The White Innocence of American Liberalism
Democratic Reconstitution
Speech and Self-Understanding
Democratic Individualism Revisited
A New Individualism
Rhetorical Jujitsu
All That Beauty
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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