Shelf Help: ‘Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans’ - Pacific Standard

Shelf Help: ‘Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans’

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Taking the measure of non-celebrity black Republicans, who find themselves a single-digit minority within both party and race.

By Peter C. Baker

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Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans. (Photo: University of California Press)

Black Elephants in the Room: The Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans
Corey D. Fields
University of California Press

In 2016, the black Republican is widely recognized as an anachronism, oxymoron, or joke; at all events a laughable figure to be mocked by Key and Peele. Corey D. Fields, a Stanford University sociologist, looks past the Ben Carsons and Herman Cains to take the measure of non-celebrity black Republicans, who find themselves a single-digit minority within both party and race. Fields finds they are not a monolith, but instead split into two major groups. Some espouse a “color-blind” view of racial life, and wish their fellow blacks would do the same. Others recognize the structural influence of race, but think conservative policies offer the best opportunities for the black community. Members of this race-conscious group tend to have a difficult time in the contemporary GOP, which rarely advances policies that help black communities, and frequently laces its discourse with barely concealed racism.

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