Book Reviews

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"In this 21st Century, Africans have humbly begun to unite cognitively, physically, mentally, spiritually, and economically for our future generations." Author Cohen begins her narrative with a bitter, lengthy divorce. Through this, she discovered and exercised her legal rights while seeing that the American ethos of "we the people" did not generally apply to a poor female of African descent. Being a resolute individual, she realized the need for a new "American experiment" and founded the Link-Up 2 Lift-Up to connect people with critical ideas and services. One linkage involved her meeting with a man who was reaching out to senior citizens in the mainly Africentric neighborhood where she worked. Together they began setting up lively gatherings to apprise seniors of their rights. In support of Barack Obama's bid for the presidency, Cohen placed voter registration assistance in a local bar and grill, to the gratitude of many patrons. Some of them were unaware of their right to vote and were walked through the process by Cohen and her team. Calling on her fellow African citizens, activist and educator Cohen expertly presents her case for a unified, "woke" perspective. She is an adept, articulate wordsmith who offers emotive personal experiences that have gradually led her to this significant new initiative, as well as practical planning models for the kind of team efforts she espouses. She calls her viewpoint "emic"—coming from within the group being described. Cohen effectively contrasts those Africans in the US who have chosen, in one way or another, to cooperate with or try to ignore the country's systemic racism with the smaller group she calls Exceptional Citizens, who are self-actualizing and rebellious while remaining humble yet strong. With Cohen's guiding vision, Link-Up 2 Lift-Up continues to expand its horizons, aiming to energize and further the cause of these Exceptional Citizens by combatting ingrained American racism—an unacceptable phenomenon that should concern all citizens at all levels.
Of all the social issues facing our world today, one of the most vile and persistent has to be systemic racism. The culture of hate and violence in the name of racism has become a central focus in the world, especially in the United States. The hope remains that someday we can live in a world where this hatred has faltered. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” In author Doreszell Cohen’s Link-Up 2 Lift-Up: Sorting Through Our Culture Kingdom for Our Future Generations, the author takes readers right into the heart of the problems that still persist to bring down the descendants of the slaves who were brought to the United States centuries ago. Utilizing a technique known as emic perspectives, the author showcases through personal experience, ecological models and universal perspectives how these issues continue to be a problem and hopefully add a path towards both mental liberation and independence from the institutions that continue these practices against what the author labels citizen Africans within the United States. This is a powerful, well-written and both emotionally and philosophically driven book which has truly highlighted the struggles of the citizen Africans within the United States. For many who are not a part of this sub-community, some of the eye-opening things that stood out were the need to find one’s identity within the community, as well as how institutions like the justice system are stacked heavily against people of color. The interesting thing that really stood out to me as a reader was the utilization of emic perspectives, which is the study of a specific social community from an insider perspective, as opposed to etic perspectives which is the study of that same community from an outsider’s perspective. These studies are so interesting as they showcase the differences in how a group of people are viewed from different individuals based on where they stand with respect to the community, something so many people who are not of color don’t recognize about this group of people. This is the perfect book for those who enjoy non-fiction reads that utilize both personal and educational viewpoints of a particular social issue, as well as books which can serve as a reference guide to those who are interested in this particular field of study of social rights. As a firm believer in equal rights for all, this was a fantastic book to delve into to see the injustices many know exist, but have never actually experienced before. The author’s use of personal stories related to them that highlight their own struggles in this arena truly made the statistics, facts and outlook the author was expressing feel much more connected and emotional, something that many people can relate to. A brilliant, short yet powerful read, author Doreszell Cohen’s Link-Up 2 Lift-Up: Sorting Through Our Culture Kingdom for Our Future Generations is a must-read book. The author’s message really was driven home throughout this book, and the blend of emotional and philosophical narratives help the facts and studies mentioned in this book. The author really did a great job of highlighting a struggle that is gaining more and more momentum in the modern age. People who are not of color will never truly know the struggle of those who are of color, but the author has done a great job of using emic perspectives to at least give readers a firmer understanding of what those struggles are like, and how we can hopefully one day break that cycle.
Tony Espinoza
Pacific Book Review