Patriotism Black and White
The Color of American Exceptionalism
392 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9781481309578
- Published: December 2018
American civil religion unifies the nation’s culture, regulates national emotions, and fosters a storied national identity. American civil religion celebrates the nation’s founding documents, holidays, presidents, martyrs and, above all, those who died in its wars.
Patriotism Black and White investigates the relationship between patriotism and civil religion in a politically populist community comprised of black and white evangelicals in rural Tennessee. By measuring the effort to remember national sacrifice, Patriotism Black and White probes deeply into how patriotism funds civil religion in light of two changes to America—the election of its first Black president and the initiation of a modern, religiously inspired war.
Based on her four years of ethnographic research, Nichole Phillips discovers that both black and white evangelicals feel marginalized and isolated from the rest of the country. Bound by regional identity, both groups respond similarly to these drastic changes. Black and white constituents continue to express patriotism and embrace a robust national identity. Despite the commonality of being rural and southern, Phillips’ study reveals that racial experiences are markers for distinguishable responses to radical social change. As Phillips shows, racial identity led to differing responses to the War on Terror and the Obama administration, and thus to a crisis in American national identity, opening the door to new nativistic and triumphalist interpretations of American exceptionalism. It is through this door that Phillips takes readers in Patriotism Black and White.
Patriotism Black and White is an interesting ethnographic study of a community in rural Tennessee. It compares rural black and white evangelicals and feelings about faith and patriotism in the United States using 9/11 and the election of Barack Obama as backdrops. Standing on four years of research, this book makes the case that America’s national identity crisis relies on a ‘nativistic and triumphalistic’ American exceptionalism.~Tamelyn N. Tucker-Worgs, Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies, Hood College