Boundaries of Blackness the Latest Book Review

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" It is thus unclear how Cohen exactly deems when these silences or transformations occur.

This ambiguous approach to identifying when transformation begins does not negate Cohen's argument regarding the fragmentation in the black community. After all, in her content analysis of media reports, Cohen has shown ample proof of the "silence" regarding the AIDS crisis. However, a discussion of when transformations in leaderships occur will be helpful if future scholars want to replicate Cohen's research in other minority groups.

Another issue that could be raised regarding Cohen's book concerns her argument regarding the transformation of the African-American political agenda in general. Cohen obviously takes a "trickle up" approach to political action. She argues that the political agenda of marginalized groups in general can be reshaped by pressure from below. Based on this framework, gay and lesbian African-Americans had power to shape the thinking of the black community regarding AIDS.

However, the growing awareness of AIDS in the African-American community could also be attributed to the rise of AIDS to prominence among mainstream Americans.
Several other studies have looked at how issues in the white political arena affect black politics as well. The fact that AIDS rose to prominence in both mainstream and African-American politics could be related.

Further analysis -- perhaps a comparison between how black and white leaders responded to the growing AIDS crisis -- could provide greater contrast and could therefore shore up Cohen's original thesis.

In conclusion, Cohen challenges the notion of a cohesive African-American vote. African-Americans failed to become a strong political force because their political, business and church leaders focused on imbibing the values of mainstream, middle-class America.

This could be discerned in the failure of black leaders to galvanize the community around the AIDS issue. The result was a secondary marginalization of gays and lesbians, who due to their race and sexual orientation remained among the….....

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