Beginning with slavery and concluding with the present, Clarke describes how the combined effects of state-sanctioned mob violence and the discriminatory administration of ârace-blindâ criminal and contract labor laws terrorized and immobilized the black population in the post-emancipation South. In this fashion an agricultural system, based on debt peonage and convict labor, quickly replaced slavery and remained the back-bone of the region's economy well into the twentieth century.
Quoting the actual words of victims and witnessesÃ¢â¬â¢from former slaves to âgangstaâ rappersÃ¢â¬â¢Clarke documents the erosion of black confidence in American criminal justice. In so doing, he also traces the evolution, across many generations, of a black subculture of violence, in which disputes are settled personally, and without recourse to the legal system. That subculture, the author concludes, accounts for historically high rates of black-on-black violence which now threatens to destroy the black inner city from within. The Lineaments of Wrath puts America's race issues into a completely original historical perspective. Those in the fields of political science, sociology, history, psychology, public policy, race relations, and law will find Clarke's work of profound importance.
More Beautiful and More Terrible compels us to think beyond this insufficient dichotomy in order to see how racial inequality is perpetuated. Imani Perry asserts that the U.S. is in a new and distinct phase of racism that is “post-intentional”: neither based on the intentional discrimination of the past, nor drawing upon biological concepts of race. Drawing upon the insights and tools of critical race theory, social policy, law, sociology and cultural studies, she demonstrates how post-intentional racism works and maintains that it cannot be addressed solely through the kinds of structural solutions of the Left or the values arguments of the Right. Rather, the author identifies a place in the middle—a space of “righteous hope”—and articulates a notion of ethics and human agency that will allow us to expand and amplify that hope.
To paraphrase James Baldwin, when talking about race, it is both more terrible than most think, but also more beautiful than most can imagine, with limitless and open-ended possibility. Perry leads readers down the path of imagining the possible and points to the way forward.