Broadview Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (05/16)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond’ by Julius Bailey on Blogcritics.
“Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond,” by Julius Bailey is a wake-up call for America. There is so much hatred and false information in the media; I have taken a step back from following anything regarding politics. Instead of politicians promoting what they can do, they use the media to tear apart their opponents. The hatred that spews forth sickens me. I made the decision to step away and not discuss politics for the sake of my mental health. How can I choose a leader, when I feel that I have to pick one that is the least likely to cause harm, instead of the one who will do what is best for the people of our country?
My decision to step back has left me very ignorant about what is currently going on outside of my little border town. I chose to read “Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond,” because I wanted to take a peek back into it all and see what is happening. Positive reviews about the author made me feel like this book was a safe choice, and I was correct. The author is a talented writer who managed to incite feelings of indignation in me, instead of hatred, about our current state of affairs. The indignation wants me to step back into the ring and start paying attention again. Julius Bailey doesn’t just talk about the present he also goes into events in the past. He presents pictures that evoke emotions relating to events that were happening at the time. These pictures helped me step into the shoes of the people that were in them, consider what they had been going through, and what they were feeling.
When Obama was elected president, there was a huge hope that racial tensions would be diffused and that our country could start moving forward past the horrors of the past. Bailey refers to this as “Post-racial dreams.” It didn’t happen. While I hope and believe the country is moving forward to get past this issue, it still has a long way to go. Having Obama as president has helped open up decisions about racism, but it has also been made apparent that a lot of disrespect directed at him has been racially motivated, especially by his opponents. Bailey also mentions some disappointment in regards to Obama taking a more centrist stance and being supportive of corporate agenda. Nearing the end of his second term, he has made more progress on addressing the racial inequalities in our country. This is a safe time for him to do so because he doesn’t have to worry about running for office again.
The author covers a wide range of well thought out and referenced topics in the pages of this book. These include the discrepancies between the rich and the poor, education inequality, immigration, black lives matter, xenophobia, gender discrimination, and the higher rates of incarceration for blacks. In his discussion about the recent shootings of unarmed black and Native Americans, he calls these events, “state sanctioned lynchings.” It is awful to think that something like this could still be going on today.
I am really glad that I read, “Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams: The Age of Obama and Beyond,” by Julius Bailey. Perhaps because it is written by a philosopher, I found it much more interesting to read. The author’s words flow, which makes the material, no matter how unsettling, easier to read. Each chapter ends with notes, that give more information about the topics being discussed, and there are almost five pages of citations at the end. The overall feeling that I came out with after reading this book is that the author wants to wake people up to the issues that are going on so that we can work together to make America great. I think it would make a great required reading book for a political science, history, or an African American studies course.