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The Tie That Binds

Identity and Political Attitudes in the Post-Civil Rights Generation

Andrea Simpson

Publication Year: 1998

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.

Published by: NYU Press


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The Tie That Binds


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p. vii

List of Figures and Tables

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pp. viii-ix

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pp. xi-xiii

This book evolved from research done for a doctoral thesis in which evidence for the hypotheses was never discovered. The rejected hypothesis, that the black middle class had a weaker racial group identity than other blacks, hence more conservative political attitudes, led to an inquiry into the nature of racial group identity, ...

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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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 ...

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Chapter 2. The Conservatives, Part 1: The Republican Race Men

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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 ...

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Chapter 3. The Conservatives, Part 2: The Traditional Conservatism of the South and the Struggle against Black Stereotypes

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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 ...

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Chapter 4. Issues of Empowerment and Liability: The Moderates

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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 ...

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Chapter 5. Identity and Integration: The Liberals

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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 ...

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Chapter 6. The Tie That Binds and Redeems: Negotiating Race in the Post–Civil Rights Era

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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 ...

Appendix A: The Research Design

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pp. 163-167

Appendix B: Survey of Political Attitudes of Young African-Americans

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pp. 168-172


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pp. 173-176

Works Cited

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pp. 177-184


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pp. 185-186

About the Author

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814788912
E-ISBN-10: 0814788912
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814781012
Print-ISBN-10: 0814781012

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 1998

OCLC Number: 53482672
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Tie That Binds

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Politics and government.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Political aspects.
  • Liberalism -- United States.
  • Conservatism -- United States.
  • African Americans -- Politics and government.
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