In Defense of Uncle Tom : Why Blacks Must Police Racial Loyalty by Starkey, Brando Simeo
Cambridge University Press | 29 April 2015
Hardback | 372 pages
'Uncle Tom' is the most piercing epithet blacks can hurl at one another. It marks targets as race traitors, and that painful stain is often permanent. Much more than a slur, Uncle Tom is a vital component of a system of social norms in the black community that deters treachery. In this book, Brando Simeo Starkey provocatively argues that blacks must police racial loyalty and that those successfully prosecuted must be punished with the label Uncle Tom. This book shadows Uncle Tom throughout history to understand how these norms were constructed, disseminated, applied, and enforced. Why were Martin Luther King, Jr, Marcus Garvey, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and others accused of racial betrayal? In Defense of Uncle Tom answers this and other questions and insists that Uncle Tom is too valuable to discard. Because it deters treachery, this epithet helps build black solidarity, a golden tool in promoting racial progress.