THE CRISIS IN BLACK AND BLACK by Earl Ofari Hutchinson


Email this review


Pundit Hutchinson picks up where he left off in The Assassination of the Black Male Image (1996) with a series of polemical essays on matters racial. Nearly 40 years ago, Charles Silberman offered an astute and comprehensive report on the state of race relations in America in Crisis in Black and White. Hutchinson, in a deliberate homage to Silberman's book, has recrafted its title to reflect the dramatic, almost tragic shift in the problems plaguing the African-American community. In a series of 20 essays, the author takes on a wide range of issues, attacking black homophobes, neoconservatives, intellectuals, ""gangsta"" rappers, street criminals, and O.J. Simpson with almost gleeful abandon. Hutchinson's position is clear: Blacks ""must recognize that many of the problems that confront African-Americans are in reality American problems."" He seethes with rage at the depiction of black men as little more than street thugs, a stereotype that he argues is derived as much from black image-makers as white media. He is appalled by black writers and polemicists who view all problems as the result of racist conspiracies. And he urges Americans to recognize that the values of the overwhelming majority of African-Americans are traditional American values. Regrettably, although his ardor and his stance are both admirable, his own writing too often descends into mere polemic. Moreover, the book is riddled with solecisms and factual errors (to cite only one, Manchild in the Promised Land is not a novel, as claimed, but a memoir). Silberman's book was the product of extensive reporting and research; by comparison, this reads like a series of TV commentaries.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 226pp
Publisher: "Middle Passage Press (5517 Secrest Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90043)"