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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and W.E.B. Du Bois are names closely associated with literature that casts a critical look at the color line in very powerful ways. Now, Greg Salter, in his non-fiction book, Raising Cain: The Plight of the Black Male in America, re-examines the black problem in contemporary America, touching on issues that directly or indirectly affect the freedom, pursuit of opportunity, and the peace of the black soul in today’s American society. This book, slim as it seems, articulates truths that are often overlooked and truths that create a powerful divide in society. This book answers the questions: What is the black problem in today’s society and how does it affect the culture and economy?
Raising Cain: The Plight of the Black Male in America is the kind of book for anyone who is interested in knowing what it feels like to be a black youth or a black man in the US. This is a collection of well-written essays that combine social commentaries with personal stories to examine themes like racism, discrimination, and thought patterns that draw a line between mainstream America and the negro. Writing about the causes and effects of the marginalization of blacks, for instance, the author shows great mastery of psychology and social behavior.
Here is a passage with deep truths, a reality that doesn’t immediately catch the eye of many people: “When students don’t feel good about themselves, it affects how they get along with other students, and usually leads to them lashing-out in a manner that’s counterproductive. The lack of interest and lashing-out usually leads to disciplinary action by teachers and school administrators. This further exacerbates the frustration and marginalization of young black boys.”
This book comes across as a very useful tool to educators, sociologists, psychologists, policy makers, and students. It is an unmitigated exposé of the black conundrum, a beautifully written work that powerfully showcases black reality in the US.