Class, race and gender
Race Rebels points out the hard work of poor and unorganised black working class people who have contributed to the identity of African American racial groups in America. The term way way below indicates the contribution of millions of poor people who struggled on their own at workplace without resisting the oppressive culture through organisations or specific political movement but resisted the situation in their own way. These working class poor people are the ones who have gained the racial identity and the changes in the national policy stand testimony to the power of the work of these unidentified poor working class black people(Smith.
Kelley narrates that all African American history has taken shape from the lower strata of the society. This is where the importance of class arises. The political alignment of the black working class people is described as less important with respect to race but stresses that the political philosophy is a combination of gender, class and race.
Kelley also denounces the idea that radicalism, politics and revolt are referred to organization and institutions. Race Rebels is a narrative about the history of black working class written in three parts: significant part of culture in resistance, hidden history of resistance and the role of working class in redefining communism on their terms. The fundamental idea of the author is to bring to the light, the hard work of black working class who contributed, changed and caused an affect on politics and struggle that leads to various other significant assertions and themes. In the initial chapters, the traditional method of struggle through institution, unions and workplace has been replaced by struggle in public space. With the mention of change of the arena of struggle to public space, Kelley takes the reader to experience struggle in everyday affairs and the short but continuous resistance that occur daily and are allowed to occur for the success of resistance movements.
Through the introduction of public space as a place of struggle, Kelley shows that black people wanted a space of their own and did not want to mingle with the whites and the use of public space for revolt enabled them to escape quickly and made it complex for the police to hold them up. Therefore resistance found a new face of anonymous and unorganized move that encouraged more working class people to participate in the movement against racism.
Kelley also challenges political movements and the contribution of marginalized people. He also indicates that the working class stayed in their terms and did not look forward to meet higher standards. Thus the black working class did not transform to suit the communist party but transformed the party to suit to their needs. Kelley then stresses on the importance of culture in resistance and revolt of the black working class (Hoerger. 2004).
Kelley asks readers not to compare the struggle and resistance of black people with the self degrading personality like Malcolm X. Accordng to him there are gangsta rappers but they should be related to politics and rebellions and viewed as a subculture of the society (Smith.1996).
Race Rebels indicates how a cultural world can turn into a political way of resistance. African American working class often felt at odds with racist whites and the black middle class but these women and men followed the strategies of revolt against the status quo. The resistance was followed even by sub cultures who did not participate in the mainstream black politics. They stood against racist oppression and race politics of the middle class whether it was the masking acts of organizational sabotage or the comments of a white conductor in a street car. Kelley has given the attention and recognition which black race rebels of America deserve for their work from the period of Jim Crow to the current scenario. The extent of agitation through revolting movements like civil rights and communism and shift of rebellion to public space, workplace and home and then the revolt that took its place in fashion and gangsta rap all determine the role of individualized resistance. In short, Race Rebels has brought out the hidden stories of the poor working class people who in fact are the real day to day heroes who have resisted racism through unseen and unknown weapons. The significance of black working class has obtained a new perspective with Robin D.G.Kelley’s Race Rebels (Zenosbooks.com. 2008).
Hoerger, M. 2004. Available: http://www.boxcarbooks.org/index.php?name=Reviews&req=showcontent&id=34 . Accessed on November 28, 2008
Smith, D.E.1996. Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class. Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1546/is_1_11/ai_61525030. Accessed on November 28, 2008
Zenosbooks.com. 2008. Available: https://www.zenosbooks.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=79. Accessed on November 28, 2008
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