Book Review: Jamaican by Birth American by ChoicePublished Aug 9, 2010
About the book
Legally sanctioned racial bias no longer exists in America. Nonetheless, bias remains a deeply divisive and debilitating scourge that ravages social intercourse. The inevitability of increasing diversity presents a severe dilemma that divides America — a country that remains exemplary in so many other respects. Confronting bias is therefore as much a critically significant interpersonal challenge as it is an extremely prickly opportunity. Spectacular, relentless demographic changes along with the paranoia associated with the resulting inescapable browning, or diminution in whiteness, of America, merely complicate this already worrisome dilemma.
Especially to a Third World immigrant, America is simultaneously a place of great opportunity and much contradiction. To succeed, the immigrant must embrace the promise of bountiful opportunity even as he confronts daunting contradiction. Like Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier, he has to persevere. Jamaican by Birth American by Choice examines the impact of deliberate personal choices as it explores interpersonal, institutional, and cultural relationships in Jamaica, the Caribbean, North America and East and Southern Africa from a unique perspective that directly influences the writer’s view of race in post Obama America.
“.......represents a prodigious achievement. It is remarkable for its panoramic range, frankness and poetic quality. It is a gripping and credible portrait of the political sociology of race, class, color and greed in American corporate and social life. This perceptive work is a justification of what a political autobiography should be: observant, honest, even-handed, compelling.” Prof. Dr. Edwin Jones
“......your book makes interesting reading and should be enjoyed by all as it shows our mettle as a chosen people who can overcome no matter where they find themselves.” Dr. Basil Bryan
“.......great job.......I can’t wait to see it in print!” Regine Racine-Bowen
“I very much enjoyed reading the book....... I found the sections on the latter part of your career in Africa especially interesting beginning with the unique challenges associated with operating a business in a very different culture along with all HR-related politics that were always under the surface.” Scott Salmon
“Your remarkable navigation of the turbulent waters of American corporate racism, your improbable career journey across cultures and continents and your moral courage in tackling the obstacles that arose at every turn, are a wonderful inspiration for the young black person in Jamaica and America. Your thoughtful, pragmatic and positive approach to the intractable problem of race in America is also a model for the young.” Shirley Carby
About the Author
Owen Everard James is a graduate of the Mico Teachers’ College (now the Mico University) in Jamaica and an honors graduate of Howard University in the United States. Mr. James also holds a diploma in Production Management from the Institute for Advanced Technical and Vocational Training in Italy. He has been a teacher, civil servant, banker and restaurateur and worked for nearly thirty years as a manufacturing executive with a Fortune 500 American multi-national corporation. He has lived and worked in the Caribbean, Canada, the United States and East and Southern Africa. He is retired and resides in Florida.
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My congratulations Owen!. This is a bold and brilliant piece of virtual art that confidently combines history, culture, sociology, struggle, adventure, ambition and audacity on one portrait to express, in practical ways, what many others in the diaspora experience in their search for spiritual and economic fulfilment.
I am really entranced by the depth of your story. A thought-provoking read. The poems have given your book an added dimension which adds to the sophistication of the narrative. Great job, Owen.