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Randall L. Kennedy, Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal (Pantheon 2008).

Abstract: Kennedy grapples with a stigmatized phrase: "selling out," or racial betrayal, a subject of much anxiety and acrimony in Black America. He atomizes the changing meanings of the term and shows how its usage bedevils blacks and whites. He begins his exploration with a historical definition of the "black" community, accounting for who is considered black and who is not. He looks at the ways in which prominent members of that community--Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama, among others--have been stigmatized as sellouts. He outlines the history of the suspicion of racial betrayal among blacks, shows how current fears of selling out are expressed in thought and practice, and offers a case study of the quintessential "sellout"--Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the most vilified black public official in American history.