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Publisher's Summary

A people-driven ethnography that portrays how race, particularly Blackness, is experienced and performed in different socioeconomic contexts in the contemporary urban American South. 

There once was a time when Black Americans up and down the socioeconomic ladder lived in and around the same neighborhoods. Part of this was a consequence of racially discriminatory federal, state, and city housing policies, such as exclusionary Federal Housing Authority practices and racially restrictive deeds and covenants, which prevented those who had the financial means from living anywhere else. Today, many of these neighborhoods are now centers of concentrated poverty. The ones who are able have left; those who remain do so only with others who are poor like them and are unable to leave. Getting Something to Eat in Jackson, a people-driven ethnography, portrays how race, particularly Blackness, is experienced and performed in different socioeconomic contexts in the contemporary urban American South. 

The author argues that Black American life is splintered along class lines, using using food and eating as a thread as he is moving through the various socioeconomic groups. This book’s overarching goal is to illustrate that there is a paradox in social mobility for Black Americans. On the one hand, the upwardly mobile enjoy some socioeconomic gains, but they never escape neighborhoods because their very sense of self is tied to Blacks in poverty. On the other hand, the ones who are left behind bear the harshest brunt of nearly all measures of inequality in the country, but they retain the symbolisms of Blackness. The book challenges persistent homogenizations of Blackness, draw out the consequences for continuing to do so, and point to the usefulness of recognizing class variation in Black American life.

©2021 Joseph C. Ewoodzie, Jr. (P)2021 Recorded Books, Inc.

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