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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Black Lies, White Lies: The Truth According to Tony Brown by Tony Brown

This book is up and down with an absolutely bizarre middle.

Originally published in 1997.

As you may know, I taught for 7 years in an inner-city middle school. The issue of race in America came up daily, and some days it was an ever-present feature. I was forced to think about it all of the time and all I know is that I don't know enough to solve the issues and no one ever will. Nevertheless, on occasion I am moved to visit these issues again. This book seemed to be as good a place as any.

Tony Brown is a Black man (he prefers that term) who has hosted a PBS discussion show called "Tony Brown's Journal" for years. He also hosts a Saturday talk show on WLS 890 AM out of Chicago that can be heard throughout the Midwest thanks to their high wattage broadcast strength.

He is an interesting man and a good discussion leader on his shows. His views were fairly consistent with my own, although I think that his perceptions of white america are a little off, just as he would undoubtedly think that my views of black America are off. The first 1/3 and the last 1/3 are full of pretty good thoughts, observations and ideas, except for their repetitiveness.

The middle 1/3 is a bit bizarre. It concerns AIDS and his denial that it even exists. He claims that AIDS is not real because there are 30+ diseases that are associated with it. He wonders how certain types of cancers and certain types of fungal infections and viruses can all be from the same disease. He misunderstands that these diseases are presumed to be symptoms of AIDS since they are rare and usually are only present to people with depressed immune systems - which happens to people with AIDS (thus its name). He also touts a theory that claims that AIDS was started accidentally by using viruses from Monkeys to create a Smallpox vaccine that was used in Africa in the 1970s. After doing a Google search I can tell you that he is not alone with this belief, but most others who share it assume that it was a racist plot by the US government in an effort to control population.

I was disappointed by "Black Lies, White Lies" because I like Brown's TV and radio shows. I give this book '2 stars' for its repetitive nature and the bizarre middle of the book.

As an addendum, I thought I would add these conclusions that were gleaned from a poll and interviews by the "Washington Post" of black students and their beliefs concerning education that Brown quoted. I thought the poll pretty much encapsulated the attitudes of black students (as a whole) that I had in the Indianapolis Public Schools:

*Black students are poor and stay poor because they are dumber than Whites.
*Black kids who do their homework and behave must want to be white. White kids who do poorly or dress cool want to be Black.
*Black people don't want to work hard.
*Blacks don't need to work hard because it won't matter in the end.
*Blacks have to be bad so they can fight and defend themselves from other Blacks.
*Blacks see their badness as natural.
*Black men make women pregnant and leave.
*Black boys expect to die unnaturally.
*White people are smart and have money.

In my experience, the poll-takers nailed these attitudes dead on. I fought against these feelings for years, but to be honest, I got wore out and left the Indianapolis Public Schools partially because I couldn't turn it around and could not stand to watch kids destroy themselves for no good reason.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Black Lies, White Lies

I rate this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed on August 13, 2004.

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