July 2, 2018

Summer book preview: The Marginalized Majority by Onnesha Roychoudhuri


As summer gets going in earnest, we’re taking a look at some of the books we have forthcoming in the next few months. Honestly, we’re getting pretty excited. Right now, let’s have a look at Onnesha Roychoudhuri’s The Marginalized Majority, which hits shelves July 10th.

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.

The Marginalized Majority hits bookstores on July 10th—and who knows what might be happening in the US by then—so in the meantime, here’s a short passage from the book’s first chapter:

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.


The Marginalized Majority by Onnesha Roychoudhuri
PAGES: 224
ISBN: 9781612196992
ON SALE: July 10, 2018