The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other. (nonfiction reviews).
The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other by Randall Robinson Dutton, January 2002, $24.95 ISBN 0-525-94625-X
Randall Robinson's The Reckoning: What Blacks Owe to Each Other is one of those books that reads like an urgent telegram in . the middle of the night--it usually comes bearing bad news. With his solemn expression on the jacket cover, Robinson, in many ways, represents a true Jeremiah.
In his previous book, The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks, Robinson delivered the harsh truth to white America--clearly and unequivocally asserting that America's great capitalist success story was built on the backs of black people. The Reckoning, however, offers a dose of harsh reality Harsh Reality are a little-known, proto-prog band born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire out of the remnants of the Freightliner Blues Band (formerly the Revolution) in the early sixties. for African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. .
Robinson lays out his thesis using various public figures whose stories help illustrate the political issues confronting the black community. As expected, he skewers the usual suspects: Ronald Reagan, the Bushes, along with Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams Anthony Williams or Tony Williams is the name of several well-known persons named :
Not surprisingly, Robinson, who is critical of politics and politicians of all stripes, has earned his bully pulpit bully pulpit
An advantageous position, as for making one's views known or rallying support: "The presidency had been transformed from a bully pulpit on Pennsylvania Avenue to a stage the size of the world" . He's a hard-working intellectual who likes to shake things up.
Robinson takes a gloomy look at the future of black America in a chapter entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: "Washington D.C. in the year 2076." Despite its ambitions, this chapter of the book is underdeveloped un·der·de·vel·oped
Not adequately or normally developed; immature. , heavy-handed, with thinly disguised, predictable villains. Things probably won't turn out as badly as Robinson predicts here, but he's not barking up the wrong tree entirely. If we don't put the brakes on the prison industrial complex, he warns, and if we don't reverse certain trends, we're likely to wake up one day wondering what happened to black people.
Indeed, some of the most alarming issues raised in The Debt are statistics about prison construction and the frightening rates at which the criminal justice system is filling these facilities with non-violent black offenders. That alone should have African Americans up in arms armed for war; in a state of hostility.
See also: Arms .
Although much of the information here is not new, it is nevertheless convincingly presented. There are more than enough ideas and quotes salted throughout the book to make it a worthwhile read.
--Breena Clarke is the author of River, Cross My Heart, a novel on the November 1999 Oprah Book Club selection.