Lawyer. Mother. Elected Official. Target. Traci O’Neal was thrust into the national spotlight in 2017 when local threats grew into a national racist outcry after a former GOP Presidential candidate singled her out on social media. What followed was a deeply disturbing and widespread campaign of hatred and egregiously racist attacks. The death threats, harassment, and vitriol reinforced what Traci had always understood – there’s no room in white America for an Exceptional Negro.
The Exceptional Negro: Racism, White Privilege and the Lie of Respectability Politics tells the story of how Traci went from a black, female attorney, living a very solidly middle-class life, feeling insulated from “too much” racism because of her education and socioeconomic status, to the realization that it was all the lie of respectability politics, and at the end of day, she is still a negro in white America’s eyes, albeit an exceptional one.
The Exceptional Negro is a frank discussion of race, law, and politics. Through Traci’s lens as a “reformed Exceptional Negro”, she issues a call to action for white folks to dismantle systemic racism and more importantly, for black folks to discuss and consider the “Pro-Black Reconstruction Strategy” to lessen dependence on America’s racist systems, and thus, the impact of racism in their lives. America expects black people to assimilate, which by definition, fixes "whiteness" as the standard. But what would happen if black people challenge and resist that notion?
An award-winning fierce, unwavering social justice advocate, Traci D. O'Neal is a frequent speaker on race, law and politics, as well as equity and leadership. Traci earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University and a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law. Visit www.theexceptionalnegro.com for more information.