The Ambivalence of Citizenship:

Kevin Gaines

in The Fractious Nation?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520220430
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936911 | DOI:
The Ambivalence of Citizenship:

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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This chapter shows that Blacks continue to provoke white fears of the unassimilable black fragment, and the special history of blacks in this country complicates the efforts of black intellectuals to find the right balance of particularism and universalism, It notes however that today's African-American intellectuals, by and large, find themselves in a less onerous, but still trying, condition of spiritual exile as they search for a community of their own. It observes that African-American intellectuals, spurned by many in black communities as “sellouts”, are faulted for having more in common with the white world than with their communities of origin. It further observes that in spite of their efforts to counter this charge by serving as advocates of black interests, it provoke accusations among many white intellectuals, including many progressives, that they exploit an illegitimate identity politics of race at the expense of larger national or oppositional cultures.

Keywords: Blacks; particularism and universalism; African-American intellectuals; spiritual exile; white intellectuals; progressives; identity politics; race

Chapter.  5302 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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