Black Politics Today
The Era of Socioeconomic Transition
Routledge – 2012 – 188 pages
The late 1980s ushered in a new era of black politics, the socioeconomic transition era. Coming on the heels of the protest era and politics era, the current stage is characterized by the emergence of a new black middle class that came of age after the Civil Rights struggle. Although class still isn’t a strong factor in the external politics of the black community, it is increasingly a wedge issue in the community’s internal politics. Black politics today is increasingly less about the interest of the larger group and more about the interest of smaller subgroups within the community.
Theodore J. Davis Jr. argues that the greatest threat to the social and political cohesiveness of the so-called black community may be the rise of a socially and economically privileged group among the ranks of black America. This rift has affected blacks’ ability to organize effectively and influence politics. Davis traces the changes in economic status, public opinion, political power and participation, and leadership over three generations of black politics. The result is an insightful analysis of black politics today.
"The volume is well written and has a thoroughly documented set of notes, and many enlightening tables and figures. It should appeal to readers interested in civil rights and class politics. Summing up: Recommended. All readership levels." - Choice, June 2012
"In Black Politics Today, Theodore J. Davis provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of African American politics and its current state in ‘post-racial’ America. Despite the many elections of black politicians as well as the election of the first African American president, racism, socioeconomic divisions among haves and have-nots, and a leadership void impede economic and political progress in black communities. Black Politics Today is a fine addition to the literature on racial politics and American politics generally."
—Sharon D. Wright Austin, University of Florida
"Ted Davis' Black Politics Today is a comprehensive analysis of black politics in America. Particularly insightful is Davis' examination of the evolution of black politics beginning with the ‘Protest Era’ of the 1940s and continuing up through the ‘New Era of Black Politics,’ which includes the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Davis is especially skillful in showing how race has played a fundamental role in shaping black politics and how the changes in the social and economic structures of the black community have contributed to the political maturation of black politics in America. His book makes a significant scholarly contribution."
—Dewey M. Clayton, University of Louisville
"Davis brings a deep understanding of the complexities of African American political experiences in this important new book on the dynamics of black politics in the age of Obama. The book challenges us to think carefully about the future of American politics in the face of growing economic inequality and diversity."
—Jane Junn, University of Southern California
1: Black Politics Today: The Evolution 2: A Community in Transition and Dividing by Class 3: The Foundations for a Political Divide 4: Attitudes and Perceptions in Black and White: What They Suggests About Race and Politics 5: Blacks’ Public Opinion Today: A Question of Consensus 6: Black Politics and the Continuing Struggle for Political Influence in the Socioeconomic Transition Era 7: Black Political Leadership Today 8: Beyond Socioeconomic Status: Other Factors Influencing Black Politics Today
Theodore J. Davis Jr. is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He has a joint appointment in the Black American Studies Program.