Tony Brown. Black Lies, White Lies: The Truth According to Tony Brown. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1995. xix + 379 pp. $23.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-688-13270-5.
Reviewed by Frank Salamone (Iona College)
Published on H-PCAACA (August, 1996)
Tony Brown as Pundit, Prophet, and Conservative
Tony Brown has chosen an independent path for himself which makes him sometimes infuriating, occasionally puerile, and always stimulating. His book is a curious mixture of these three elements.
Brown has decided that being a conservative is the path to promote Black power and unity. He makes an interesting case for the need to stimulate self-help in the Black community, to promote African-American pride, and to free people from the dangers of Big Brother. Somehow, he never mentions the name of Booker T. Washington, who had similar ideas. But he does mention almost every prominent African American whose ideas he feels differ from his own. Along the way, he attempts to trash the Harlem Renaissance, W.E.B. Du Bois, Duke Ellington, and any other famous person of color.
He does not attempt to trash Martin Luther King but he does argue that King was "confused" about the meaning of desegregation and integration. Brown, at times, appears to argue for separatism and then states that all Americans must rise or fall together. Therefore, he embraces and attacks at the same time.
At times, Brown goes into never-never land, the world of paranoia. He appears to argue that AIDS does not exist and that the medical profession has a plot to spread the rumor of the disease. Moreover, the medical treatment of HIV leads to the deaths of people, most of whom, Brown seems to say, are Black.
In his conclusion, however, and in his personal narrative, Brown does make sense. He offers thoughtful arguments for the need for more African Americans to consider the conservative position. He argues that being taken for granted by the Democrats, from whom all bad things come, has not helped the African American cause.
I found Brown's ideas to be stimulating. Certainly, I disagreed at many points. But I was never bored. It is a book that should be read by Blacks and Whites, for indeed we must all work together, as Brown notes, or the pathology that is infecting our society will continue to spread and destroy us all.
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Frank Salamone. Review of Brown, Tony, Black Lies, White Lies: The Truth According to Tony Brown.
H-PCAACA, H-Net Reviews.
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