THE RECKONING by Randall Robinson


What Blacks Owe Each Other
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The story of a man who is making a significant difference to young African-Americans, told within the framework of a general condemnation of African-American circumstances in today's America, from activist Robinson (The Debt, 2000, etc.).

What can be done for today’s young black men—a truly endangered generation—in America today? Two years back, Robinson suggested that America ought to make some financial reparations to African-Americans for the legacy of dysfunctional families, poor education and health acre, poverty, and prospects not worth a dime, the modern day pain and hopelessness engendered by old policies as well as the institutionalization of racism, that have been that have been the African-American life for the past few hundred years. But reparations, even if understood an act of national survival, will not have an impact on the people in jeopardy now, says Robinson. That will be the task of African-Americans themselves, and they better get started. Certainly the nurturing experience starts with children at home, where the elemental demands on personal responsibility are first posed. But there is a lot of wreckage out there and a lot of salvaging to be done. As an example, Robinson unfurls the life story of Peewee Kirkland, a man who now runs a center delivering love and caring for African-American youths, and a decent shot of political, social, and cultural awareness. The tumultuous life he led prior to his current work gives him a credibility demonstrated by his effect upon New Child Lynch, another man destined to wreak havoc on his society rather than be a valuable contribution to its betterment. Robinson takes particular care to explain the workings of the correctional system that housed Kirkland for seven years and was likely to take in Lynch as well, as a “catch-and-cage rural-development juggernaut,” a grotesque pork-barrel scheme that profits vastly by the incarceration of African-Americans.

Robinson is a sharp storyteller, jarring and fascinating as he goes, which makes his message of personal responsibility, of the kind of sacrifice and vision that have always been in short supply, a welcome obligation.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 2002
ISBN: 0-525-94625-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2001


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