The Spook Who Sat by the Door Online Discussion

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Synopsis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spook_Who_Sat_By_The_Door_(novel)

Google Books preview of the book: http://books.google.com/books?id=IU0ct2eG15oC

About Sam Greenlee– id=IU0ct2eG15oCttp://biography.jrank.org/pages/2413/Greenlee-Sam.html

Discussion Topic One:

Dan Freeman, the spook who literally sat by the CIA’s door in Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel, puts the “movement” in the Black Liberation Movement when he uses his spy training with the intelligence agency to train and deploy an urban guerilla force made up of the members of some of Chicago’s most notorious street gangs.

Forty years later, though, the Black Liberation Movement has fallen out of vogue in our time when the spotlight was shined on comments made by President Obama’s former minister, Jeremiah Wright.

Dan Freeman’s world was one of overt and covert racism and discrimination, perhaps justifying some of the vitriol heaped upon white characters in Greenlee’s satire. Is there still an air of racism and discrimination that would necessitate a modern day Black Liberation Movement? Would an active modern-day BLM require political and/or non-violent action? Is there smoldering violence just beneath the surface of everyday black experience that is just waiting for a riot to set it loose? Are there other racial and ethnic groups besides African Americans that may be preparing their own “freedom fighters” force?

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Native Son Online Book Discussion

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Welcome to the Native Son Online Book Discussion

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About Native Son:

Read a Summary or a Preview of Native Son

Place a hold on a copy of Native Son from Salinas Public Library


About the Author: Richard Wright

Read a biography of Richard Wright or what Wright has said about the writing of Native Son

 


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Discussion One: Black World—White World—Post-racial World

Playing white” with his friends on a Chicago street corner is a grim substitute for living white, for living in a world, that is, where one may presumably be an aviator, or a President or a millionaire or whatever one wants to be.      –Samuel Sillen, New Masses (1940)

 

In Book One—Fear, we are introduced to Bigger Thomas, a twenty year old black man, surviving in the Black Belt of 1930s Chicago. In the Sillen quote above, we get an idea of what life is like for Bigger— there is the “white” world, where all things seem possible, and the “black” world where opportunities are either limited or the “stuff” of make-believe. When Bigger’s world of poverty and discrimination converges with the privileged world of his employer, the Dalton Family, tragedy falls upon both the black and white communities of Native Son’s Chicago.

Fast forwarding to the 21st Century, there are many that would say that we are in a “post-racial” world because of the election of Barak Obama, the product of a white mother and black father, as President of the United States. It may be premature to suggest that our country has completely moved on from the separation of races and classes of its citizens, but what do you think? Are your personal experiences more in line with Bigger’s “black” world, the Daltons’ “white” world, or are you living in the harmonic promise of an Obama Era where there is equality for all?