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Synopsis

When Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was approached by the police on the front porch of his home in an affluent section of Cambridge, many people across the country reacted with surprise and disbelief. But many African American men from coast to coast were not surprised in the least. “Gatesgate” serves as the most recent manifestation of a phenomenon many black men experience regularly: being the subject of increased suspicion because of the color of their skin.

In Twelve Angry Men, a dozen eloquent authors tell their own personal versions of this story. From a Harvard law school student tackled by security guard on the streets of Manhattan, a federal prosecutor detained while walking in his own neighborhood in Washington, DC, and a high school student in Colorado arrested for “loitering” in the subway station as he waits for the train home, to a bike rider in Austin, Texas, a professor at a big ten university in Iowa, and the head of the ACLU’s racial profiling initiative (who was pursued by national guardsmen after arriving on the red-eye in Boston’s Logan airport), here are true stories of law-abiding Americans who happen also to be black men.

Cumulatively, the effect is staggering, and will open the eyes of anyone who thinks we live in a “post-racial” or “color-blind” America.

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