From The Daily Beast:
"Colby, emerging from the “comedians who died young” pigeonhole that he had made for himself after penning biographies of both Chris Farley and John Belushi, finds a new way into a national discussion, which is so cluttered at this point that it can be difficult to find the floor.
His refreshing angle is based in aw-shucks honesty and an earnest humor. As he lays out in the preface, the book came about when Colby (who is white) realized, in the wake of the Obama election, that he had no close black friends. With this admission as an end point, he goes back to try to figure out how, even after a half-century of integration policies, the “standard middle-class pipeline” could have moved him through a public education, college, and a professional life in New York City without forming any substantive relationships with people of a different skin color.
This is not a legal history but rather a series of vignettes about everyday people and their experiences with integration across four different venues: school, real estate, the office, and the church. The picture Colby creates, of base tribalism and failed good intentions, is simultaneously disheartening and inspiring, but this contradiction seems perfectly in keeping with the larger contradictions of the land of the free."