MOBI Lawrence Otis Graham ñ A Member of the Club Reflections on Life in a Racially ñ

Taking up where he ended his highly controversial New York Magazine cover story Invisible Man Graham continues his candid search for racial and ethnic understanding Graham dares to tackle public issues previously undiscussed scrutinizing private actions whose implications are inevitably public and political

10 thoughts on “A Member of the Club Reflections on Life in a Racially Polarized World

  1. says:

    One of the best analysis' of Racism that I have ever read Graham uses his personal experiences to underscore the Racism's connection to institution Not only did this book validate my own personal experiences it is also made me laugh and cry simultaneously

  2. says:

    I picked up this book after hearing a story about the author on This American Life Graham a black East Coast lawyer found that he could not gain membership in any of the country clubs where his white colleagues made contacts and closed deals He decided to get an inside look the only way he could by getting hired as a busboy Between his interactions with the other staff members and the conversations he overhears between the club's patrons it's clear that racism is alive and well in an almost astonishingly overt wayAs a reader I found the rest of the essays hit or miss Part of this was due to the fact that Graham's audience shifts starkly from piece to piece addressing white people sometimes to explain something about black people and other black people at other times to criticize some trend he sees within the black community There was also the fact that this book was published almost twenty years ago so the constant slew of current events references was difficult to follow for someone who was barely in middle school at the time Much of Graham's remarks were about the current state of things in one area or another and it was hard to know which problems have persisted and which have changed in the past two decades in particular Graham's comments on black leadership left me with the impression that he never considered we might have a black president within 15 yearsThat said there were a few different essays that particularly struck me as providing a new and valuable perspective I had not considered enough that of the well to do black professional who moves in primarily white circles Most memorable were a series of restaurant reviews that Graham provided of some of the top restaurants in New York City restaurants which his white colleagues and friends had recommended but which by and large proved to provide an uncomfortable experience for a black man including being stared at regularly mistaken for a staff member blatantly lied to and ignored by employeesHaving recently read Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and My Beloved World I thought that Graham's apparent disdain for any kind of self selected racial segregation and desire for an aggressive push for integration from on high in all settings illustrated the extent to which his perspective was colored by his own particular upbringing in predominantly white settings Nonetheless in the areas where he was sharing his own uniue experiences and not attempting to speak on behalf of all black people something he criticized and yet did freuently himself I found this book valuable and insightful

  3. says:

    12152007 Just finished the first chapter really great and pretty shocking I had heard about this book from This American Life 12272007 A great read I liked most of the book with the exception of the interracial dating chapter and the chapter on the NAACP The former was out of touch and the latter was just boring But the rest of the book was so interesting especially his writings on his time at Princeton the undercover stint at the country club and the Black professional chapter

  4. says:

    This is a very interesting book of experiences and essays on what it's like to be black in America This account is especially interesting because this man comes from a wealthy black family and has a different perspective on the stereo types given to black men especially I came away with a much broader view on the race issue

  5. says:

    A bit of a different read Thought it was a bit heavy handed

  6. says:

    I personally think the authors valuable insight come from his experience as a middle class professional black man but the author kind of goes into other areas where I don’t think his insight is needed The first chapter is about his experience as an undercover bus boy and his last is similarly about living undercover in Harlem The author did not let you forget that this was an experience for him and that he is actually part of a higher class; It seems like he’s fixated on his place in the social hierarchyclass Regardless his experience in the professional middle class is undeniable valuable and he should put emphasis on those experiences and implications

  7. says:

    I was reuired to read this book as an undergrad As it turned out I was the only person in my class to actually read it My classmates really missed outThis book sparked my interest in sociology so greatly that I went on to study the subject for yearsand still am It challenged me to see the world around me differently and to consider WHY I might be treated the way that I am and why OTHERS might be treated the way they are treated It challenged me to pay attention to my surroundings and my own reactions to specific situations I cannot tell you how many times I have looked around a restaurant to see who is seated where read book to understand thisI really appreciate any book that can impact my life and stay with me for years to come and Member of the Club has done a fine job impacting me

  8. says:

    I originally began reading this book because one of the essays was discussed on This American Life While the first essay the same one read on the radio was really good and thought provoking I began to feel as if the book was no longer necessarily reflective of our society At least I really hope it isn't And when he began discussing the pros and cons of interracial marriage and coming down kind of hard on interracial marriage I began to seriously disagree with what he was saying I don't know It's hard because I am not black and haven't had to deal with all of that But I'd like to think the world is a better place than he makes it out to be Particularly because the book was published over ten years ago Call me naive

  9. says:

    This is a great though dated early 90s book that offers needed perspective on this issue of race Graham tackles AffirmativeAction mixed race relationships upper middle class life and other issues mixing the black and white experience The only uibble I have other than the age of the book I think there needs to be a 2nd Edition post Obama is that the author describes himself as middle class when he is obviously richvery upper middle class But I wish a lot of people would read this so we could have a REAL discussion on race

  10. says:

    Beautifully written painfully honest and definitely likely to make some readers uncomfortable this is a compelling collection of essays about race in America True it was published in 1995 but I keep my eyes and ears open and don't think we've come nearly as far as one would hope; the book is certainly not a testament to some bygone era much as I would like that to be the case Whether you agree with the author's opinions or not his descriptions of his experiences are sincere and important to consider