Back to black retelling black radicalism
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Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century by Kehinde Andrews – review
There is a rich and noble history of Black radicalism that dates as far back as slavery. Although the term Black radicalism has been widely used, it is in fact an umbrella term that describes a variety of movements, protests, philosophies or ideologies, approaches, tactics, revolts and other forms black resistance against racial oppression. Each act of resistance is a product of a time and a place, influenced by prevailing circumstances of the period in question. However, the historiography of Black radicalism is not merely an attempt to describe a particular past event but also to critically examine methods and approaches their successes and failures as a way of understanding as well as shaping the discourse on the Black radical tradition. Between the prologue and the epilogue are eight chapters that roughly divide into two parts: the first part discusses various forms of racial oppression, while the second part deals with methods of resistance. With regards to the first part, the contention is that many of the so-called freedoms that black people appear have won since slavery cannot be properly described as freedom.
Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century
Kehinde Andrews. Zed Books. Find this book:. Back to Black addresses these geopolitical issues head on, centring the condition of anti-Blackness in Western politics. Similar to the theoretical stance of David Theo Goldberg , Andrews argues that the Western nation-orientated state is essentially racist and anti-Black at its foundations.
B lack radicalism, Kehinde Andrews argues, is the most misunderstood ideology of the 20th century. The reasons for misunderstanding black radicalism are intertwined with the reasons it exists in the first place — black thought has been minimised, dismissed and treated with contempt. If that has presented a kind of vicious cycle, with Back to Black Andrews is positioning himself as a key figure to break it with this lucid, fluent and lively journey through what is — or what he believes is wrongly alleged to be — radical black thought. He takes the reader on a rapid-fire tour of black intellectual traditions, dismissing them on the basis of their flaws with apparent ease. Black nationalism is, he argues, doomed to fail. And while he includes an important discussion on the gender politics associated with movements such as the Black Panthers, Back to Black does not do enough to reinsert the women who helped develop these ideologies — including, in the case of Pan-Africanism, key female figures from Egypt, Sudan, South Africa and Ghana.
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