July 10, 2018
On sale today: The Marginalized Majority by Onnesha Roychoudhuri
by Melville House
Today, we’re majorly excited to be publishing The Marginalized Majority: Claiming our Power in a Post-Truth America, by writer, editor, and educator Onnesha Roychoudhuri. It’s a key book for the Trump era — and one that Naomi Klein calls “a daring intervention to get us back in the game — and a witty, delightfully personal meditation on collective power.”
Ever since the 2016 election, pundits have been saying our country has never been more divided — that if progressives want to reclaim power, we need to be “pragmatic,” reach across the aisle, and look past identity politics.
But what if we’re getting the story all wrong?
In The Marginalized Majority, Onnesha Roychoudhuri makes the galvanizing case that our voices are already the majority — and that our plurality of identities is not only our greatest strength, but is also at the indisputable core of successful progressive change throughout history.
It’s a book that offers analysis, courage, and a lot of helpful perspective, and it’s on sale now. To get you excited and keep you excited, here’s a brief excerpt.
When we see history as a timeline composed of only the most pivotal moments, we project a narrative of intuitive cause and effect. Hard-fought battles for equality and social change take on the aura of inevitability, of pragmatism, common sense. But what we deem to be pragmatic or common sense is constantly changing, subject to the whims of our current sociopolitical moment. Which means there can be no conversation about “common sense” without examining how it hinges on privilege.
The fact that the majority of Americans thought black Americans during the civil rights era were hurting the integration cause by protesting speaks volumes. To believe that nonviolent protest is unnecessary, pointless, over-the-top, or reflective of an unreasonable “impatience” presupposes that your day-to-day existence is tolerable and acceptable. In the heyday of the civil rights movement, a constant criticism leveled at activists and leaders was that they were being too impatient, that change would come in time through the passage of laws and the court system enforcing those laws. In his famous letter, written while in a Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., responded by saying,
We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights … I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society … when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness” — then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.
In other words, “wait” is what you say when waiting does not threaten your, or your family’s, daily existence and dignity.