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One Drop of Blood: The American Misadventure…

One Drop of Blood: The American Misadventure of Race

by Scott L. Malcomson

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Part history, part memoir, Malcomson's book is one of the most insightful and illuminating treatments of the concept that race is a social construction. His most important contribution is to recognize and elucidate the triangular interplay of Native American, European, and African identities in the New World, demonstrating how central this interplay is to the concept of America itself. ( )
  cwhig | Jan 19, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374527946, Paperback)

In this exhaustive, introspective study of America's obsession with color, nobody escapes author Scott L. Malcomson's probing. The obvious white supremacists share scrutiny with the Indians, Hispanics, and African Americans who have turned inward in their reaction to racism and called for their own noninclusive territory. The book's imposing size and scope--it roves from early assimilation attempts by Indians to the Harlem Renaissance to white flight through the ages--may put off some who mistake it for a stale textbook. That would be a shame. Malcomson writes with a lyrical, storytelling quality. He mixes solid reporting with his own thoughtful speculation in tracing the histories of Indians, whites, and blacks in this country. Woven through this vivid narrative are the author's conversations with descendants of his own ancestors, who commingled in marriage and love with Cherokees and former slaves. Raised by a seemingly colorblind Baptist preacher father, Malcomson writes of his dismay as a boy as he and his friends began to "think with our skins" and separate by race as they grew older. "These were roles prepared by the American generations that had gone before; the past was forming us, and so we would carry that past into the future. I have never ceased regretting that process, because it diminished each of us." It's clear how Malcomson feels about what he calls America's "tragic drama," but he avoids preaching and gains credibility in doing so. His account is worthy reading for anybody who believes the drama's ending has yet to be written. --Jodi Mailander Farrell

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:59 -0400)

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