At the Valois "See Your Food" cafeteria on Chicago's South Side, black and white men gather over cups of coffee and steam-table food. Mitchell Duneier, a sociologist, spent four years at the Valois writing this moving profile of the black men who congregate at "Slim's Table." Praised as "a marvelous study of those who should not be forgotten" by the "Wall Street Journal, " "Slim's Table" helps demolish the narrow sociological picture of black men and simple media-reinforced stereotypes. In between is a "respectable" citizenry, too often ignored and little understood.
""Slim's Table" is an astonishment. Duneier manages to fling open windows of perception into what it means to be working-class black, how a caring community can proceed from the most ordinary transactions, all the while smashing media-induced stereotypes of the races and race relations."--Citation for "Chicago Sun Times" Chicago Book of the Year Award
"An instant classic of ethnography that will provoke debate and provide insight for years to come."--Michael Eric Dyson, "Chicago Tribune"
"Mr. Duneier sees the subjects of his study as people and he sees the scale of their lives as fully human, rather than as diminished versions of grander lives lived elsewhere by people of another color. . . . A welcome antidote to trends in both journalism and sociology."--Roger Wilkins, "New York Times Book Review"
Essential black study by a young white sociologist/law student. Feelings abound under the clear surface of Duneier's debut book as he weighs his four years of research on a group of poor, working-class blacks in the Valois "See Your Food" Cafeteria on Chicago's South Side - with some whites included. Duneier explodes stereotypes and shows these ghetto men as "respectable" while not conforming to middle-class black (or white) stereotypes. Slim, a car mechanic, is more or less the respected bachelor master of the table where the diners meet once or twice a day for anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes a meal. We watch Slim as he substitutes an elderly white diner, Bart, as his father figure and cares for him, although Bart still has a southerner's belief in racial superiority and is a tight-lipped recluse. Bart tells a southern visitor that Slim is his friend, but when Bart is hospitalized he cannot bring himself to thank Slim for some candy - he'd rather refuse the gift. The diners form a moral community that transcends roles and images. Duneier is good at building a sense of their masculinity as they disclose personal weaknesses and fail to dominate women or even to coexist with them. Ozzie, a regular, tells of having to give up dating a woman who is too well known on the street, has five children by five different men, likes reefers and coke, and seems a sitting cluck for AIDS. The author shoots clown many otherwise sensitive landmark black studies of the past half-century for generalizing about working-class blacks, often from essentially middle-class studies and unsatisfactory evidence, thus confirming inaccurate black stereotypes. The media get bashed as well. Fresh fieldwork on innocence and racial stereotyping in the ghetto. Rewires your thinking. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: American Studies Collection
Number Of Pages: 200
Published: 1st January 1992
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.4 x 14.2
Weight (kg): 0.24
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: New edition