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A Realistic Blacktopia: Why We Must Unite To Fight

"How can we enlarge the freedom and enhance the life prospects of African Americans when so many people are convinced that racism is no longer a serious problem? Derrick Darby answers this urgent question with an enlightening blend of philosophical argument and empirical evidence. He not only offers a practical and powerful response to the enduring significance of racism in the United States but also forcefully challenges progressive thinkers and activists to reconsider their usual policy proposals and strategies of resistance. An essential contribution to Black philosophy."


author of Dark Ghettos: Injustice, Dissent, and Reform


"The number of problems confronting African Americans is truly quite daunting to think about. It stretches across politics/public policy, economics, law, sociology, health (mental and physical; diagnosis and treatment). Drawing on decades worth of thought, Derrick Darby masterfully and carefully offers us a way out, a way forward as well as an idea of what the world would look like when we arrive at the end. This is an amazing book but it's so much more: it's a museum/prison of thoughts gone by, it's a prism/kaleidoscope of perspective and vision, it's a map to places as yet unexplored, and (perhaps most importantly) it's a ticket to ride - together."


 author of The Death and Life of State Repression


"Derrick Darby offers an innovative approach to achieving social justice in the face of America's deep divisions on race. Combining the disciplined analysis of philosophy with a hard-edged realism about our current moment, Darby recognizes that race-centered approaches cannot, standing alone, overcome the psychological, sociological, and structural barriers that foster ongoing racial disparities across multiple measures of well-being. Bringing together a number of themes reflected in his prior work, A Realistic Blacktopia argues for problem-centered solutions to social injustice that can appeal to supporters across the racial divide. It places Darby among the preeminent American scholars on the subject of racial justice."


J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Kansas School of Law

The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice 

"There is, of course, no dearth of American scholarship on these themes, and the reader may be forgiven for thinking she will encounter little that isn’t already known. Fortunately, however, the tack the authors take deviates in several important ways from most scholarship. . . . Given the book's title and theme, it is reasonable to assume that most readers will be those already convinced of its premises . . . . But it would be a shame if this book were read only by those already ‘in the know’. It would equally be a shame if the book's genealogical approach were to suggest to non-American readers that the Color of Mind is a uniquely American phenomenon. . . . though it was not the authors’ intention to shed light on institutionally racist thinking outside of the United States, for those with eyes to see, this book also issues an invitation to begin moving in that direction. It is long overdue."


"The Color of Mind belongs to a series, History and Philosophy of Education, that aims to bring a humanities perspective to issues of education generally dominated by the social sciences. The book entirely vindicates the value of this approach. It brings an unaccustomed and quite valuable historical sweep to three issues: the development of the color of mind ideology, intellectual criticisms of that ideology, and the history of educational practices with respect to black Americans, including black-led educational institutions during the segregation era. Additionally, it brings a rich normative philosophical perspective to an area often hobbled by the value neutrality of the social sciences. . . . Darby and Rury’s sweep of intellectual history here will be familiar to contemporary philosophers of race, but it is particularly illuminating in the context of education, showing that contemporary views of black students are deeply embedded in American history. . . . The Color of Mind will be an indispensable text for understanding educational racial injustice and contributing to initiatives to mitigate it."


“‘Achievement gap’—the phrase seems as normal or natural as anything we know about education. However, The Color of Mind meticulously documents the historical, social, political, and cultural context in which disparity was manufactured and is currently maintained. Everyone who cares about educational inequality should read this book.”


University of Wisconsin

“‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste’—but if the minds in question are black, then from the perspective of white racist educational policies, there’s really nothing much to lose to begin with. In this powerful indictment of the long history of discriminatory practices in U.S. schools, Derrick Darby and John L. Rury demonstrate how traditional racist assumptions about the ‘color of mind’ have systematically denied black students equal dignity and respect, and created the longstanding racial achievement gap in education. They demand corrective educational justice—a demand every decent American should support.”


Graduate Center, City University of New York

“The Color of Mind is timely intervention into debates and discourses about the relationship between race, justice, and American education. From philosophy it offers a useful genealogy of the ethics of white supremacy and its impact on mutual racial respect; from history it offers a lean and direct account of the development of not only education policy but also the background conditions that preempted certain policies while making others possible. The authors have done a remarkable thing – they have made the hard work of pairing conceptual and historical work on an issue and topic that has been at the center of American debates for more than a century look easy and effortless to read.”


Johns Hopkins University

"The Color of Mind insists that no educational reform can succeed without teachers and school leaders knowing that black children were never supposed to learn or achieve by the same standards of their white counterparts. This pernicious idea and practice is at the root of today’s black-white achievement gap. Knowing this history is the first and most consequential step towards ensuring that every school respects the dignity of black lives and black minds. Then comes the obvious, as this brilliant work shows: dismantling every policy of racially disparate tracking, disciplining or special education if real justice is ever to be achieved."


author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America

Rights, Race, and Recognition 

"....Rights, Race and Recognition offers an engaging and stimulating exploration of meta-ethical questions regarding moral rights, and, Darby's inclusion of the use of rights discourse in struggles for racial justice gives his text a political focus and immediacy that is most welcome.... Rights, Race and Recognition offers a rich theoretical landscape to be explored, and I have no doubt that others will find it equally compelling and stimulating. The book should be of interest to all those interested in the ways in which our theorization of rights can impact our political practice to ensure and protect those rights."

Marquette University, Social Theory and Practice

Hip-Hop and Philosophy: Rhyme 2 Reason 

“These hip-hop scholars put aside the divide between high and low culture and just hit you with depth and realness. Big Up!"


author of Prophets of the Hood


“Derrick Darby and Tommie Shelby… dare to support the claim that hip hop is a legitimate worldview, primed to redefine what it means to be one with the world.” 


author of New Black Man


"Step aside Socrates, Kant, and Sartre-new seekers of philosophical wisdom are on the scene…Big props to Derrick Darby, Tommie Shelby, and their philosophical crew for maintaining existential and ontological authenticity, aka keeping it real, in bringing us their message. Word up!"


author of The Racial Contract


"The level of philosophical inquiry is consistently high and the spirit of hip hop is carefully, lovingly evoked in ways that enrich our understanding of the contemporary human condition."


author of The 'Hood Comes First

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