In Codes of Conduct, Karla Holloway meditates on the dynamics of race and ethnicity as they are negotiated in the realms of power. Her uniquely insightful and intelligent analysis guides us in a fresh way through Anita Hill’s interrogation, the assault on Tawana Brawley, the mass murders of Atlanta’s children, the schisms between the personal and public domains of her life as a black professor, and––in a moving epilogue––the story of her son’s difficulties growing up as a young black male in contemporary society. Its three main sections: “The Body Politic,” “Language, Thought, and Culture,” and “The Moral Lives of Children,” relate these issues to the visual power of the black and female body, the aesthetic resonance and racialized drama of language, and our children’s precarious habits of surviving. Throughout, Holloway questions the consequences in African-American community life of citizenship that is meted out sparingly when one’s ethnicity is colored.
This is a book of a culture’s stories––from literature, public life, contemporary and historical events, aesthetic expression, and popular culture––all located within the common ground of African-American ethnicity. Holloway writes with a passion, urgency, and wit that carry the reader swiftly through each chapter. The book should take its place among those other important contemporary works that speak to the future relationships between whites and blacks in this country.