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The Tie That Binds

The Tie That Binds: Identity and Political Attitudes in the Post-Civil Rights Generation

Andrea Y. Simpson
Copyright Date: 1998
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 202
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  • Book Info
    The Tie That Binds
    Book Description:

    What does it mean to be black in a nation increasingly infatuated with colorblindness? In The Tie That Binds, Andrea Y. Simpson seeks to answer this crucial question through the prism of ethnic and political identification. Historically, African Americans have voted overwhelmingly Democratic in governmental elections. In recent years, however, politically conservative blacks--from Clarence Thomas to Louis Farrakhan to Ward Connerly-have attracted much of the media's gaze. What is the nature of black conservatives' constituency, and is it as strong and numerous as conservatives would have us believe? To what extent, if at all, does black conservatism stem from a weakened sense of collective racial identity? Simpson tackles the peculiar institution of black conservatism by interviewing college students to determine their political attitudes and the ways in which these are shaped. The result is a penetrating interrogation of the relations between political affiliation, racial identity, and class situation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-8891-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-28)

    This is a book about what it means to be black, specifically, what it means to be black to members of a generation who many hoped would never have to ponder such a question. It is also a book about how answers to this question influence this generation’s political attitudes. The perspectives of the young men and women in this book are critically important as the debate about the political effectiveness of racial solidarity versus coalition-building rages on. Will race continue to be a powerful and effective determinate of political outcomes? Has integration allowed the post–civil rights generation to...

  6. 2 The Conservatives, Part 1: The Republican Race Men
    (pp. 29-54)

    The most dynamic leaders in the African-American community have emerged from historically black institutions—Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Young, and Maynard Jackson (Morehouse College), to name a few. All the students featured in this chapter are attending two of the three historically black institutions selected for this research: Brooks College and Barnett University. Historically black colleges and universities have proven to be fertile ground for those who would seek to change conditions of poverty and neglect in the black community. Their tactics and strategies for change have ranged from political mobilization and legal challenges to nonviolent protest. The first...

  7. 3 The Conservatives, Part 2: The Traditional Conservatism of the South and the Struggle against Black Stereotypes
    (pp. 55-80)

    The Republican “race men” of the previous chapter are conservative and possess a strong racial group identity. As Clifford Apprey said, his conservatism and his Republicanism are “for black people.” The students in this chapter are also conservative, but their conservatism was not born of a desire for new solutions to black problems. They are not followers or supporters of Louis Farrakhan, and they do not feel that blacks necessarily have an obligation to help other blacks. Their conservatism is the result of their being born and raised in the conservative South, their religiosity, and their need to counter images...

  8. 4 Issues of Empowerment and Liability: The Moderates
    (pp. 81-104)

    Several strands connect the six students who hold more moderate political attitudes: First, all but one are solidly middle class; second, they have not experienced much discrimination; third, all but two attend majority-white institutions; and fourth, all point to the failure of both blacks and whites to solve racial problems. Of the six students, only one is from an urban setting, and three are from single-parent families. This group is the smallest among the interviewees, and, along gender lines, it is the most evenly divided: three women and three men.

    The individualist perspective dominates the views of these moderate students....

  9. 5 Identity and Integration: The Liberals
    (pp. 105-144)

    The young black Republicans whose views we have examined so far believe that problems in the African-American community are not entirely the fault of whites. They also believe that even if whites are responsible in part, they cannot solve those problems. These young men are attracted to the Republican Party because of the self-help ideas of the Jack Kemp variety. Another appealing feature of the Republican Party platform is its stance on moral and cultural issues. The strong racial group identity of the Republican race men has resulted in a hybrid of traditional conservatism and nationalism.

    The black students at...

  10. 6 The Tie That Binds and Redeems: Negotiating Race in the Post–Civil Rights Era
    (pp. 145-162)

    Members of the post–civil rights generation are discovering that confronting race in an era without extreme conditions of racial segregation and oppression is a thorny enterprise. The rise of the black middle class has introduced the confounding element of class into the racial equation, and overt signs of racial segregation and subjugation are nearly nonexistent. Young black women are becoming aware of the double bind of race and gender, and want gender issues on the black political agenda. Race can no longer occupy front and center on the political stage—the “integration generation” must make room for class and...

  11. Appendix A The Research Design
    (pp. 163-167)
  12. Appendix B Survey of Political Attitudes of Young African-Americans
    (pp. 168-172)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 173-176)
  14. Works Cited
    (pp. 177-184)
  15. Index
    (pp. 185-186)
  16. About the Author
    (pp. 187-188)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)