3 out of 4 stars
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“Racism is real but WE are all stronger than racism.” – Andre Davis
Andre Davis was born in Detroit, Michigan in the early 1970s. Our Two Societies is his story. In this autobiography, he tackles the ever-present topic of racism. While doing so, he discusses the importance of acquiring the skills needed in a free market society. It is within this free market society that Andre Davis believes America’s greatness lies. Andre Davis was prompted to write this autobiography after developing concerns about the future of America’s workforce. In his own words, “America is still the land of opportunity for opportunist[s].”
Our Two Societies not only celebrates the possibilities provided by a free market society, it also warns of the pitfalls of a second society. The author invites us to journey with him as he encounters these two societies and how they influence American life. During our journey, we glimpse through the eyes of a young Andre Davis, 1970s life in the projects of Detroit. The 1980s bring to us our author’s teenage years in a middle-class neighborhood of Detroit. Andre Davis takes us considerably further in the 1990s. Here, the reader experiences life in Japan through the eyes of a college-aged Afro-American.
Before we begin our adventure in the Brewster Projects, Andre Davis describes for us a brief encounter he had with four police officers while he was studying outdoors for the Oregon Bar Exam. Apparently, the officers received report of a suspicious person in the neighborhood. Of course, Andre Davis was not doing anything suspicious. However, the call had still been made. Later in this introduction, the author brings up a discussion on Affirmative Action his class was having one day. Without going into too much of the discussion, I want to note that it is during this class that Andre asks his professor, “Why do I have to separate myself from black people to be considered successful?” Years after law school, this question still plagued our author. He began to realize that it was not his professor who needed to answer this question. It was he who needed to answer it. Our Two Societies is trying to do just that.
This book is emotional and gripping. There were occasions when I was near tears. Can you imagine being treated better in a foreign country than in your own homeland? As a minority, I am no stranger to racism, but I cannot pretend to know what our author was going through while growing up. I can only empathize, open my eyes and heart, and keep raising my children as loving and open-minded people.
The publication of this book is definitely timely. The reader is given insight into the racial and social inequalities of today’s America. Although the subject can often be complex, this book is highly approachable. I had difficulty even putting it down.
The only issue I had with this book was the lack of editing. There were many errors such as the use of the term Klu Klux Klan instead of Ku Klux Klan and the appearance of random quotation marks in several places throughout the text. Because of the sheer number of errors, I feel it necessary to assign a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. However, I also feel it is truly important to mention that the content of this book is worthy of a 4 star rating. I sincerely hope the author publishes a revised edition in the near future. Even if he does not, however, his ideas will still shine through regardless of any mistakes in his writing.
As far as my recommendations go, I simply think everyone should read this book. Normally, I do not make such blanket recommendations. However, that is the impact this book has had on me. I think you should read it. After that, I think you should loan the book to family and friends.
Our Two Societies
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