Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic
What do Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Cosby, Oprah, Michael Jackson, and Michael Jordan have in common? At some point, they've all been labeled a sellout — to their race. Another person who knows what it's like to be called a sellout is Randall Kennedy, and he takes up the topic in his latest book, Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal:
A "sellout" is a person who betrays something to which she is said to owe allegiance. When used in a racial context among African Americans, "sellout" is a disparaging term that refers to blacks who knowingly or with gross negligence act against the interest of blacks as a whole.
Perhaps surprisingly, Kennedy defends the existence of the "sellout" label, though with such a narrow definition that few — if any — people meet the criteria. Have you ever been accused of being a sellout? Is it something you worry about?