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.
From the civil rights movement to the Women's March and Saturday Night Live to the mainstream media, Roychoudhuri holds the myths about our disenfranchisement up to the light, illuminating narratives from history that reveal we have far more power than we're often led to believe. With both clear-eyed hope and electrifying power, she examines our ideas about what's possible, and what's necessary - opening up space for action, new realities, and, ultimately, survival.
Now, Roychoudhuri urges us, is the time to fight like the majority we already are.
What members say
A great guide to directing your post-election rage
I listened to this just after finishing Beautiful Country Burn Again by Ben Fountain, and the two books are great counterparts. Fountain's book makes you re-live (if you dare) the entire 2016 election, including the primaries. His dives into history to explain the moment are searching and dismaying. This book picks up about where Fountain leaves off, at the 2016 election. Roychoudhuri toggles, as Fountain does, between our current reality and history (more recent history in this case). However, the author is not seeking to assign blame for Trump as much as to remind us, the people, of how and when we've fought back, and why it's necessary that we keep doing so. The tone and message called to mind Rebecca Solnit. I admired how the author parses and annihilates the rationale of recent Democrats who decry identity politics and beg the electorate to play it safe by voting for "pragmatic" candidates (read: candidates who will only reproduce the system)-- she reframes this issue to reveal how a politics based on people acting and speaking from the truths of their lives is the greatest tool the people have to establish a broad-based politics that can challenge the 1%. This book makes a great case for learning from the political struggles of marginalized people because these struggles have kept the promise of America alive and account for much, if not most, of the progress we can point to. People organized, resisted bravely, and burned slowly to keep their ideals and purpose warm (a great metaphor or Roychoudhuri's) but not so hot as to flame out in rage. If you're wondering what you can do now, and especially if you feel powerless, this book is a shot in the arm and a brilliant critique of contemporary cynicism.