For many progressives, racial identities are the engine of American history, and by extension, contemporary politics. They, in short, want to separate race from class. While policymakers and pundits find an almost metaphysical racism, or the survival of an ancient and primordial tribalism at the heart of American life, these inequities are better understood when traced to more comprehensible forces: to the contradictions in access to New Deal era welfare programs, to the blinders imposed by the Cold War, to Ronald Reagan’s neoliberal assault on the half-century long Keynesian consensus. As Touré Reed argues in this rigorously constructed book, the road to a more just society for African Americans and everyone else, the fate of poor and working-class African Americans is inextricably linked to that of other poor and working-class Americans.
“Reed’s brilliantly argued and accessible book does not just marshal an impressive array of historical evidence in building the brief against race reductionism. It offers a most timely analytical intervention that can give us much needed perspective on the Sanders primary debacle of 2020.”
“A forceful critique of race reductionism.”
“An intricate account of the conservative drift in liberal thinking and policy from the Great Depression to the current moment. Throughout, Reed examines how antiracist demands were continuously isolated from broader demands for economic reforms that would coalesce the interests of working-class Americans to endanger capital.”
“Reed’s study provides a compelling explanation for why successive governments have failed to address a durable racial inequality in the late 20th and 21st century.”