Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Chris Arnade

Narrated By: Donte Bonner

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: June 2019

Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes

Summary:

'Candid, empathetic portraits of silenced men, women, and children.' --Kirkus

Widely acclaimed photographer and writer Chris Arnade shines new light on America's poor, drug-addicted, and forgotten--both urban and rural, blue state and red state--and indicts the elitists who've left them behind.

Like Jacob Riis in the 1890s, Walker Evans in the 1930s, or Michael Harrington in the 1960s, Chris Arnade bares the reality of our current class divide in unforgettable true stories. Arnade's raw, deeply reported accounts cut through today's clickbait media headlines and indict the elitists who misunderstood poverty and addiction in America for decades.

After abandoning his Wall Street career, Arnade decided to document poverty and addiction in the Bronx. He began interviewing, photographing, and becoming close friends with homeless addicts, and spent hours in drug dens and McDonald's. Then he started driving across America to see how the rest of the country compared. He found the same types of stories everywhere, across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, and geography. 

The people he got to know, from Alabama and California to Maine and Nevada, gave Arnade a new respect for the dignity and resilience of what he calls America's Back Row--those who lack the credentials and advantages of the so-called meritocratic upper class. The strivers in the Front Row, with their advanced degrees and upward mobility, see the Back Row's values as worthless. They scorn anyone who stays in a dying town or city as foolish, and mock anyone who clings to religion or tradition as naïve.

As Takeesha, a woman in the Bronx, told Arnade, she wants to be seen she sees herself: 'a prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God.' This book is his attempt to help the rest of us truly see, hear, and respect millions of people who've been left behind.

Genres:

  • Lorraine O.

    Who are the people in the “ back row.” How do we get to understand them and why they are there ? His best statement was “:if you want to understand the people in this country go to McDonald’s .” The author spent 5 years traveling around the country photographing and talking to people in the back row. Many are drug addicts, homeless, jobless and deeply poor. Why do they stay in their poor communities. It is due to lack of money, skills but mostly they wanted to stay in the community where they had family and friends. It is depressing because these people lack dignity and respect which leads them into a life of drugs. These communities still have poverty and segregation. We need to listen more and be less judgmental. Whether you live in a car in the parking lot of Walmart or in huge house in suburbs, all people deserve our respect and Dignity. The more we learn about those in the back row the more human and like us they become.

Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America

by Chris Arnade

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Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America, Chris Arnade
Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America, Chris Arnade
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This title is due for release on June 4, 2019
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