What's Wrong with Obamamania?

Black America, Black Leadership, and the Death of Political Imagination

By Ricky L. Jones

Subjects: African American Studies, Leadership Studies, American Culture
Paperback : 9780791475805, 158 pages, June 2008
Hardcover : 9780791475799, 158 pages, June 2008

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Table of contents

J. Blaine Hudson
Introduction: Jesse Jackson Didn’t Give a Damn!
1. A Series of Unfortunate (and Unsavory) Events: Paving the Way for “Obamamania”
2. Sorry, DuBois Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: The Soulessness of the New Talented Tenth
3. The Witch and the Devil: American Political Philosophy and Black Suffering
4. “Black Hawks” Down: America’s War on Terror and the Rise of Bushism
5. I Don’t Care What Jesus Would Do; I’ve Got to Get Paid: The New Black Preacher
6. Before and Beyond Don Imus: On BET, Hip-Hop Culture, and Their Consequences
7. What’s Wrong with Us?: The Necessary Death of American Romanticism
Chronology: Development and Change in Black Leadership Communities from 1619 to the Present

Juxtaposes the meteoric rise of Barack Obama with far-reaching—and disturbing—shifts in black leadership in post–Civil Rights America.


Barack Obama's sudden arrival on the national scene has created a wave of excitement in American politics, a phenomenon that has been dubbed "Obamamania. " In What's Wrong with Obamamania?, Ricky L. Jones places Obama's run for the presidency in the context of deep and often disturbing shifts in black leadership since the 1960s. From Charles Hamilton Houston to Thurgood Marshall to Jesse Jackson, from prosperity preachers to megachurches, from W. E. B. Du Bois's Talented Tenth and civil rights advocates to Black Entertainment Television and hip-hop culture, Jones paints a picture of lowered expectations, cynicism, and nihilism that should give us all pause.

Ricky L. Jones is Associate Professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville and the author of Black Haze: Violence, Sacrifice, and Manhood in Black Greek-Letter Fraternities, also published by SUNY Press.


". ..a penetrating look at how race politics has evolved. " — Booklist, starred review

"…a fascinating and well-researched exploration into black leadership in America … this book makes a compelling case for black leaders to re-examine, augment and sometimes discard old approaches and methods. Jones … provides a level of racial analysis and exploration that is almost entirely absent in the mainstream media. " — Publishers Weekly

"With a critical eye, Jones examines leadership style in the black community within the context of larger philosophical arguments about culture, education, political agency, and expectations. This examination will be useful as we attempt to put Barack Obama, and specifically leadership in the black community, into focus. " — Ronald W. Walters, author of Freedom Is Not Enough: Black Voters, Black Candidates, and American Presidential Politics

"This book is an important contribution to intellectual clarity—a scarce commodity at a time of mania. " — Glen Ford, Executive Editor, BlackAgendaReport. com

"Jones revives a tradition of sharp and clear political thinking and courageous moral engagement. " — Joy James, author of Transcending the Talented Tenth: Black Leaders and American Intellectuals