The New Black

What Has Changed—and What Has Not—with Race in America

A fresh, contentious, and illuminating look at twenty-first-century race relations in America by an all-star set of commentators

“Americans of all races and ethnicities need to become racially literate, not post-racially blind . . . [The] conversation on race continues in a new space.” —Lani Guinier, award-winning contributor to The New Black

The election and reelection of Barack Obama ushered in a litany of controversial perspectives about the contemporary state of American race relations. In this incisive volume, some of the country’s most celebrated and original thinkers on race—historians, sociologists, writers, scholars, and cultural critics—reexamine the familiar framework of the civil rights movement with an eye to redirecting our understanding of the politics of race.

Through provocative and insightful essays, The New Black challenges contemporary images of black families, offers a contentious critique of the relevance of presidential politics, transforms ideas about real and perceived political power, defies commonly accepted notions of “blackness,” and generally attempts to sketch the new boundaries of debates over race in America.

Bringing a wealth of novel ideas and fresh perspectives to the public discourse, The New Black represents a major effort to address both persistent inequalities and the changing landscape of race in the new century.


“These insightful essays refocus our attention on race, helping to dissipate the willed delusion of a ‘ postracial’ society. A must-read, and a fun read.”
—Ian Haney Lopez, John H. Boalt Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
“Teeming with critically important reflections on the state of race in America. . . . Whether you agree or disagree with the ideas herein, one thing is for certain: these perspectives ought not be ignored. ”
—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
“An important contribution. . . . As we transform into a majority-minority nation, The New Black gives us thought-provoking inquiries and frameworks that reflect the racial realities of Americans. ”
—Deepa Iyer, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together
“The contributors to this book raise significant questions about the continued relevance of the civil rights ideal and argue persuasively that new ideas are necessary, advancing an important discussion of the shape of race relations beyond the Obama presidency. ”
—Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
The New Black is an indispensable guide to thinking one’s way through the peculiar institutional complexities of our supposedly postracial moment: the tensions among racial progress in some quarters, fierce backlash in others, the shifting demographics of ethnicity, the subtleties of denial and unconscious bias, and the reconfigured challenge of civil rights for all Americans.”
—Patricia J. Williams, columnist at The Nation and James L. Dohr Professor of Law, Columbia University

News and Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"Mack and Charles have staged an eminently readable event..."

Goodreads Reviews