Quitting America The Departure of a Black Man from His Native Land

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-01-26
  • Publisher: E P Dutton

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Bestselling author Randall Robinson, one of our nation's most distinguished African-American leaders, returns with a book certain to be as important and controversial as his classic book on reparations, The Debt. The man hailed by Cornel West as "the greatest pro-Africa freedom fighter of his generation in America" makes a striking departure, figuratively and literally: He leaves America for a life in the Caribbean. Randall Robinson is quitting America, and this book charts his journey from the most powerful nation on earth to the tiny tropical island where his wife was born. His search for a more peaceful and hospitable place grew out of the disappointment and increasing sense of abandonment he felt in the land of his own birth-an America that has sapped the creative energies of his race and "transfigured humanity." Here, in a culture that is as different from America as black is from white, Robinson shares his feelings about the need to escape the racism he has fought all his life. Yet even while he lives among his wife's people, America is never far from his mind. He discusses the current state of political and socioeconomic affairs in our country, and why the leadership we have put in place will continue to fall short of our expectations. Another stirring example of the astonishing breadth and scope of Randall Robinson's vision, Quitting Americademonstrates once again why he is one of the most profound and provocative thinkers of our time.

Author Biography

Randall Robinson is the founder and former president of TransAfrica, the African-American advocacy organization he established to promote constructive and enlightened U.S. policies towards Africa and the Caribbean. The author of the national bestsellers The Reckoning, The Debt, and Defending the Spirit, Mr. Robinson's views on foreign policy and race in America are widely discussed in the American print and television media.

Table of Contents

Five Hundred Years Of White Crimes And Self-Absolution In The Americas
Jewelp. 3
Man-Boyp. 19
Progressp. 32
Theftp. 36
Exterminationp. 46
Racep. 49
Moneyp. 58
Courtesyp. 64
The Unremarked Disintegration Of American Democracy
Leaderp. 75
Insidersp. 79
Dealp. 94
Warp. 97
Iraqp. 106
The Innocence Of Guiltless Small Places
Hubrisp. 127
Fraudsp. 131
Leavingp. 138
Declinep. 147
Culturep. 159
Callousnessp. 171
Friendp. 178
Moralityp. 216
Arrivalp. 223
Afterwordp. 244
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One Jewel You must listen to a place before you can know it, before you can know it even a little. Be quiet and listen. The place, the people, the peculiar textile of the culture will tell you all about itself, by and by, if you, hard though it may be for an American, manage to be respectful enough to shut up for a time and listen.You know this and it is still all but impossible to achieve, particularly here where you are distracted at first so completely by the mesmerizing otherworldly look of the place. Just this morning shortly after six I observed a miles-wide plate of clouds, washed red on the flat underside by the rising sun and balanced on a spit of cotton that appeared to coil up from the depths of a shimmering sea?a sea that triangularly glistened varieties of red fanning forward from the fulcrum cloud?s foot to the distant shores that welcomed the sea?s ageless return. The mountain beside which the sun rose appeared purple on its shadow face, a deep green toward the coming day. The vista was animated by the swaying palm fronds of slender coconut trees that clustered in small sandy bays along a pristine coastline. This is St. Kitts. The early first-century Christian authors of the Gnostic Gospels must have seen a place like this while developing the philosophical conviction that God indeed was in us and everywhere around us. For how else could such matchless natural beauty be possible? The artist Georgia O?Keeffe lamented the modern human?s compromised ability to see natural beauty and thus be spiritually renovated by it. Rendered insensible by steel girders and concrete- surround, what chance have the eyes of the soul to rest upon a bird-of-paradise blossom on a verdant hillside? But here still on this tiny Caribbean island where there is a surviving sanity of scale, where the quaint wood and stone-face buildings decline to dwarf their makers, where traffic is directed by a person and not a machine, where on narrow streets the rules of vehicular behavior are recited solicitously to drivers by every man, woman, and child afoot, here I think, yes, in a small place like this, the soul, the spirit, has a fighting chance. Of course what size chance may depend on the gravity of one?s wounds. America is a big place. Everything about it is big. It has big buildings, big streets, big guns, big money, big power, big hubris, big wounds. Everything about America is big except its people, who, unbeknownst to most Americans, are mere human beings, no bigger or smaller than human beings any place else in the world. They only look smaller, or behave smaller, because they come from a country where everything else, besides them, is so lethally big, so crudely antagonistic to the naked human?s social requirement. Recently at the Ocean Terrace Inn, an American white father was heard saying over dinner to his family and forty-nine fellow dinner guests, waiters, and a maitre d? that he ?couldn?t wait to get out of St. Kitts and back to Trenton.? Trenton? It seemed not to matter to the unhappy American that he had offended the maitre d?, all of the waiters, and most of the dinner guests on racial grounds alone. He was an American with big hubris. He had noticed in his short stay that the weather was ?nice.? He had not noticed, except as backdrop, the people of the country?least of all, apparently, those bringing him his food? and he would return to Trenton without knowing what a bird-of-paradise was. Both the personality type and its ideas are an American commonplace abroad, oozing like a contagion throughout a resort-mad world, replicating resentment toward America by a factor of what? Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty percent of white Americans who vacation in the black and brown world? There is no way to answer this. The evidence is anecdotal. But ask any cab driver in the long lines that begin to form throughout the Caribbe

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