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Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams - The Age of Obama and Beyond by Julius Bailey is a gorgeously written, exceedingly intelligent, impeccably nuanced polemic against the current state of race relations in America. Dr. Bailey includes a bibliographical reference list by chapter that securely establishes his hard-won collection of incontrovertible facts and figures from which he makes his passionate but objective claims, and tentatively prescribes a better future for us all. In a deft move toward placing this highly sensitive discussion in its proper context, Dr. Bailey begins his indelible work by re-emphasizing the mandate of our Declaration of Independence and then offering the irrefutable present day conclusion: “Our current society has chosen liberty, not equality, as the paramount goal to be achieved by our political and social systems.” The ramifications of this rather subtle observation are revealed and documented at great length and in great depth and with an academic mastery that is neither dry nor boringly belabored, covering in turn the historical roots of the present, the multi-faceted aspects of racial reality – including the modern immigration controversy and the distinctly adversarial approach to poverty in our nation, as well as the hyperbolic, manipulated rise of income inequality – with an ironic nod to the shouted aphorisms of American exceptionalism touted by us in the larger world.
In Racial Realities and Post-Racial Dreams, Julius Bailey never steps away from the humanity of his subject. As he so eloquently states, “There is a single note at the heart of this cry: as a putatively moral nation, we are not what we would have ourselves be.” As he is obligated to mention in relation to the heroic and blood-letting Civil Rights Movement with its heartfelt initial gains, “We have lost the path (and especially the togetherness that characterized our first steps on it), and we have become more and more lost, unsure of the future.” One cannot read this deeply moving, brilliant assessment of racial realities today and not come away profoundly touched, significantly enlightened, and oh-so-very tentatively hopeful that the path might be found again, and that we, as a nation, might find our post-racial dreams coming true at last. One of the finest non-fiction books I have ever read. It was a pleasure and a privilege to review.