The truth is that there are no races: there is nothing in the world that
can do all we ask race to do for us . . . even the biologist’s notion has
only limited uses. . . . Talk of ‘‘race’’ is particularly distressing for
those of us who take culture seriously. For, where race works—in
places where ‘‘gross di√erences of morphology’’ are correlated with
‘‘subtle di√erences’’ of temperament, belief, and intention—it works
as an attempt at metonym for culture, and it does so only at the price
of biologizing what is culture, ideology.
—Kwame Anthony Appiah, In My Father’s House
In the autobiographical Coal to Cream: A Black Man’s Journey
beyond Color to an A≈rmation of Race, Eugene Robinson as-
serts the importance of ‘‘race’’ and the feelings it generates in
the life of black Americans. In a reversal of his initial enthusi-
asm for the conviviality among people of di√erent colors
that he encountered on his trip to Brazil, Robinson opts for
the familiar racial separation he experienced back home. Dis-
appointed with the striking levels of Brazilian racial inequal-
ity, which at first he had not noticed, the author extols the
benefits of ‘‘racial anger’’ for those who are victims of racism.
He equates racial anger with rocket fuel: ‘‘It can go up in
flames at the wrong moment and lead to a spectacular self-
destruction on the launching pad, but it can also cause the
rocket to detonate a target better than anything else on
earth’’ (1999, 180).
Bothered by the absence of racial anger among black Bra-
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