Book Review: The End Of Anger: A New Generation’s Take On Race And Rage
by Ellis Cose
Book Reviewed by Kam Williams
"The End of Anger is an exploration of why it is that many blacks are feeling optimistic these days… [This] is a book about success—about a particularly privileged, even indulged, group of African-Americans whose experiences in many respects are far from the norm…
In January 2009, on the eve of President Barack Obama’s inauguration, a CNN poll found that 69% of blacks agreed that Martin Luther King’s vision had been fulfilled… The election of an African-American president was a Rubicon to be crossed… No longer are there any excuses for denying blacks anything or for blacks denying themselves the opportunity to aim as high as they wish."
— Excerpted from the Introduction (pgs. 1-10)
What a difference a generation makes! When
Ellis Cose first conducted a
study of black graduates of elite academic institutions back in 1994, he
encountered a set of relatively-prospering folks who were nonetheless
frustrated about the obstacles they encountered as they endeavored to ascend
the corporate ladder.
Cose, a contributing editor at Newsweek Magazine, published his incendiary findings in The Rage of a Privileged Class. What made that groundbreaking best seller so fascinating was how it revealed widespread discontent amidst members of a black bourgeoisie who were undeniably better off moneywise, if not emotionally, than their lesser-educated brethren they’d left behind in the ghetto.
17 years later, a still curious Cose has subjected a similar demographic to socioeconomic and psychological analysis, and his microscope has again uncovered some surprising developments. Focusing solely on graduates of Harvard Business School and on alumni of a program for gifted minority students called A Better Chance (ABC), the author discovered this time that bourgie blacks, like First Lady Michelle Obama, finally feel pretty darn good about being American.
After all, in spite of the recession, they’re currently flourishing financially, with over 90% being blessed with six-figure salaries. You even have a disgraced captain of industry like former CEO Stan O’Neal managing to retire from Merrill Lynch with a golden parachute of $161 million after having practically run the Fortune 500 Company into the ground. His failings are interpreted as a welcome sign that African-American employees no longer need to worry about being twice as good as their white counterparts to reach the pinnacle of their chosen professions.
Cose’s research further indicates that the black upper crust has come around to appreciating the perks associated with its lofty status. "I am much more optimistic abut the future of my children than I am about the future of all black children," admits a 39 year-old sister with an MBA from Harvard University and the wherewithal to afford to pay for private schools.
In sum, The End of Anger heralds the ushering-in of a post-racial age in America where green is the only color that determines whether you’re gonna reach the Promise Land.