Retelling Black Rad­i­cal­ism for the 21st Cen­tury

Foreword Reviews - - Foresight Political And Social Science -

Ke­hinde An­drews, Zed Books (SEPTEM­BER) Hard­cover $24.95 (256pp), 978-1-78699-278-9

Back to Black pulls no punches. In the first few pages, Ke­hinde An­drews con­demns lib­er­al­ism and the en­tire foun­da­tion of Western so­ci­ety, and does not do so in a gen­tle man­ner.

Best for those who are al­ready some­what fa­mil­iar with black rad­i­cal the­ory and anti-racist ef­forts, the book ex­plores the ad­van­tages and lim­i­ta­tions of all types of pro-black ide­olo­gies, from pan-african­ism to Gar­vey­ism to black na­tion­al­ism and be­yond. Mal­colm X, Martin Luther King Jr., As­sata Shakur, and An­gela Davis are among the cast of black rad­i­cals that the text an­a­lyzes and dis­sects. It moves through this history of black rad­i­cal­ism in or­der to present a mod­ern it­er­a­tion in the hopes of com­bat­ting racism.

The book fol­lows in the tra­di­tion of rad­i­cal­ism by al­ways fix­at­ing on the root of so­cial prob­lems. An­drews is scathing in his de­nounce­ment of pol­i­tics that only ad­dress the “symp­toms of racism.” From main­stream politi­cians to es­teemed schol­ars in his own field, no one is spared crit­i­cism.

An­drews writes with ab­so­lute au­thor­ity, sup­ply­ing chap­ter af­ter chap­ter of in­for­ma­tion about var­i­ous forms of black pol­i­tics and history. Pas­sion and in­sis­tence sat­u­rate his tone from start to fin­ish. He deems the world lack­ing in rad­i­cal frame­works, and works to cor­rect that. At times, the text falls into a very di­dac­tic space; the book seems to claim an all-know­ing per­spec­tive on black pol­i­tics.

Back to Black is a fiery, in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion of black rad­i­cal­ism and a call for a more rev­o­lu­tion­ary, lib­er­ated so­ci­ety across the globe.

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