Full Dissidence: Notes from an Uneven Playing Field

 

Howard Bryant's previous books-- among them The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron and The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism--have dealt with issues of race in the sports world.  Full Dissidence, Bryant's latest book and his first collection of essays, offers an in-depth analysis of the connections among race, militarism, police presence, and privilege, both on and off the playing field. He lays out the ways in which The NFL, who funneled money into the Trump campaign, insists that politics has no place in sports and suppresses political expression on the part of its athletes.He analyses the situation of superstar athletes, who are afraid to jeopardize their advantages, though their income and prestige might position them to speak out against injustices on and off  the field, and be listened to; they are conditioned to be grateful for what they have. One chapter, called "Copaganda,"  exposes how the police, routinely glamourized in the media, are  "the enforcement arm of whiteness." These and other issues are the focus of these incisive, lucid, and devastating essays.  Full Dissidence makes it abundantly clear that the spectacle that is the world of sports is no fantasy refuge from the real world, but pervaded through and through by its contradictions and injustices.  This book is, quite simply, one of the books you need to read to understand how race works in this country.