Democracy RemixedThe Amazing Book by Cathy Cohen Is In Stores!


While Barack Obama’s victory led many to believe that America’s racial divide had significantly narrowed, the lived experience of many black youth belie this. Young black Americans today continue to be plagued by low levels of employment, high levels of incarceration, and a profound lack of trust in the government and broader political community. Yet discussions of why this is have been largely anecdotal, often putting the blame on black youth themselves–even when the commentators are also black. Think of the criticisms that Bill Cosby has leveled, for example.

In Democracy Remixed , award-winning scholar Cathy J. Cohen offers an authoritative analysis of the state of black youth in America today. Utilizing the results from the Black Youth Project, a groundbreaking national survey, Cohen focuses on what young black Americans actually experience and think–and underscores the political repercussions. Featuring their stories, she reveals that black youth largely want what most Americans want–a good job, a fulfilling life, safety, respect, and equality. But while members of this generation have much in common with the rest of America, they also believe that equality does not yet exist, at least not in their lives. Many believe that they are treated as second-class citizens. Also, for a significant number the future seems bleak when they look at their neighborhoods, their schools, and even their own lives and choices. Through their words, these young people provide a complex and balanced picture of the intersection of opportunity and discrimination in their lives.

Democracy Remixed provides the insight and information necessary to help us reshape the future of both young black Americans and American democracy.

Table of Contents

  1. My Petition“: Black Youth and the Promise of Democratic Citizenship
  2. Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It“: Bill Cosby, Don Imus, and Black Moral Panics
  3. Baby Mama“: Black Love, Black Deviance, and the Sexual Politics of Morality
  4. Minoritiy Report“: Kanye West, Barack Obama, and Political Alienation (with Jamila Celestine-Michener )
  5. Fight the Power“: From Jena to the White House
  6. My President Is Black“: Barack Obama and the Postracial Illusion
  7. Epilogue: Policy and Politics


An important and fresh look at the crises facing young black Americans, Democracy Remixed is a fierce, critical examination of the newest generation of black youth caught between American democracy s promise and its failure. Bold, uncompromising, and fearless, Cathy Cohen points us toward solutions.

–Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation

After decades of listening to elected officials and cultural critics talk about young black people, Cathy Cohen offers an opportunity to listen to black youth speak for themselves. There are two very different stories told about American youth today. One celebrates a post-racial revolution led by Obama-inspired young voters. The other condemns the cultural expressions and personal choices of black youth as a source of moral degradation. Cohen examines the meanings and consequences of these competing narratives by talking to black youth about their own experiences in contemporary America. The result is a compelling account of the complex struggles and innovative strategies of young black people who are facing a dynamic political world.

–Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies, Princeton University, and author of Barbershops, Bibles and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought

A mashup of political theory, challenges to the cult of black respectability, progressive thought and just good ol’ common sense, Democracy Remixed, is Cathy Cohen at her brilliant best. Perfectly pitched for both the skeptics and converts of post-Race America, Democracy Remixed is must read for all those navigating the troubled waters of race, class, gender and sexuality in the 21st Century.

–Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity

Democracy Remixed does what so many pundits, politicians and scholars alike have refused to do: actually talk and listen to the thoughts, experiences and perceptions of young black people. But Cathy Cohen’s powerful new work does more than this: it combines careful empirical research with nuanced analysis to reveal much more complex conditions and responses among black youth. Instead of the usual pontificating, Cohen has rolled up her sleeves to find meaningful answers to a terrible crisis in U.S. society. This is a transforming, humanizing, and politically-smart must read!

— Tricia Rose, author of The Hip Hop Wars

Press/Media on Book

About the Author

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago. She is the author of The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics and co-editor of Women Transforming Politics: An Alternative Reader.

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