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About Cora Daniels; provocative commentator on diversity, family, social and business issues

Impolite Conversations

Cora Daniels
Photo Credit: Bruno J. Navarro

Cora Daniels is an award-winning journalist and author of three crtically acclaimed books. She was a long-time staff writer at Fortune, an editor at Working Mother magazine, and is currentkly a contributing writer for Essence. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company magazine, Men’s Fitness, O: The Oprah Magazine and USA Today, among others. As an author, Cora has been called “dynamic”, “perceptive”, and “a powerful voice.”

Cora’s Daniels’ latest work is the much anticipated book, Impolite Conversations: on RACE, POLITICS, SEX, MONEY, and RELIGION (Simon & Schuster, 2014). In it, she teamed up with cultural anthropologist, John L. Jackson, Jr., to put forth a series of candid essays on America’s top hot-button issues. These opinions may be widely held in private but are rarely heard in public.

The intent of the dialogue is to surprise, provoke, affirm or challenge the reader. The tell-it-like-it-is honesty applied to grown-up issues–all “third rail” topics–opens up the possibility that there can be honest discussion about important and timely concerns. It is also a challengeto have such discussions across race, class, and gender lines.

In alternating essays, the co-authors use reporting, interviews, facts, and figures to back up their arguments while staying firmly rooted in the real world. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they don’t, but because of their respective backgrounds they add insight ot sensitive issues that can be eye opening and entertaining. See below for an expanded Table of Contents*.

Cora’s last book, GHETTONATION: A Journey Into the Land of Bling and Home of the Shameless (Doubleday), was published in March, 2007 and received natonal press attention and acclaim. . (The paperback edition, GHETTONATION: Dispatches from America's Culture War, was published in September, 2008). The provocative work discussed the lure of the ghetto mindset and how it has contributed to the decline of American culture. In USA Today, she opined that “The bar has dropped so low (for acceptable behavior) that we don’t even know where it is anymore...this is not a black thing. It’s a national thing.”

Through meticulous reporting, Cora revealed how bling-infested hysteria has altered our speech, dress and mindset but more importantly our standards. GHETTONATION was a call for action to stir up opinions with the purpose of furthering the debate on a topic that is profoundly affecting our culture.

Her first book, BLACK POWER, INC.: The New Voice of Success (John Wiley & Sons, 2004) was dubbed "thought provoking" by The Washington Post and a "must read" by Black Issues Book Review. In it, Cora explored the emergence of a new black elite that viewed business and economics as the true base of American power, rather than politics. To fully analyze this development, she revealed both the post-civil rights young professionals who drive this movement and their motivation for doing so.

A sought after expert on diversity and business issues she has served as a commentator on ABC News, CNN, CNBC, BET, NPR, and “The Charlie Rose Show”. In 2002, she spearheaded Fortune's first ever search for the 50 most powerful Black executives in America. In 2005, her much acclaimed Fortune cover story, The Bravest Generation, about the original Black corporate pioneers, created national attention for this overlooked part of civil rights history.

Cora is a native New Yorker and lives in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History and earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. Cora is also currently on the journalism faculty of New York University.

Portions of the above text are reprinted with permission. For more information on Cora’s books, go to


Link to Videos of Cora Daniels

C-SPAN discussion of Ghettonation


Suggested Speech Topics

Impolite Conversations on Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion

Talking to our children about the news and other sensitive issues

Economic Mobility: the Great American Myth

The Case Against the N-word Euphemism

Raising Sexually Empowered Daughters

Ghettonation: The National Impact of Lower Standards on Future Generations

The African-American Challenge: Maintaining a Strong Self-Image in the Face of Ghetto-ization

Black Power Inc.: How the Elite Benefit from Working the System Without Resorting to Politics

Attracting, Managing, and Retaining a Multi-Racial Workforce


Table of Contents*- Impolite Conversations

     CORA: Let’s pray for sexually active daughters.
     JOHN: There’s a conspiracy to hypermasculinize black boys

     CORA: We’re not movin’ on up.
     JOHN: Watching TV is better than listening to jazz.

     JOHN: Is Twitter the new religion?
     CORA: Can a nation still have faith if it has lost its hope?
     JOHN: Aren’t black people still overchurched?

     JOHN: I could be a Republican.
     CORA: It’s time to rethink the American Dream.
     JOHN: Obama makes whites whiter.
     CORA: I don’t care about first black presidents.
     CORA: It actually is Mama’s fault.

     JOHN: We’re all haters.
     CORA: One box rules.
     CORA: Color Wars!
     JOHN: All my friends are light-skinned women.
     CORA: F*ck the N-word! Bring back the word “Nigger”.
     JOHN: Nigger, please!
     JOHN: Is half as good better than nothing?
     CORA: Mediocrity Nation?
     JOHN: No more Sojourners.


Also by Cora Daniels

Ghettonation: Dispatches from America’s Culture War
GHETTONATION: Dispatches from America’s Culture War (2008, Broadway Books)

Ghettonation: A Journey into the Land of the Bling and the Home of the Shameless
GHETTONATION: A Journey into the Land of the Bling and the Home of the Shameless (2007, Doubleday)

Black Power Inc.
BLACK POWER INC: The New Voice of Success (2004, John Wiley & Sons)


Reviews of Cora Daniels, Author

Ghettonation: Dispatches from America’s Culture War

"Writer Cora Daniels nails it...This new, commodified ghetto is inhabited not only by hip-hop stars but [also] politicians, celebrities, pundits, and athletes...Residents of the Ghettonation create, condone, or ignore ghetto behavior. The ghetto is us."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Rather brilliantly, what [Daniels] describes as 'ghetto' behavior and thought is not color-coded...That such a brave and unflinching book could be written by a black woman in this time is quite inspiring."
Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News

"With wit and wisdom, [Daniels] explores and exposes the ghetto 'mindset' that demeans women, devalues education, ridicules proper English, celebrates criminality, discards traditional parenthood, and celebrates tacky fashion. Yet Ms. Daniels writes with an undertone of love. She softens the inevitable 'elitist' label that some critics have pinned on Bill Cosby by spreading the blame. At a time of great national argument over who is to blame for poverty, racism, or bad habits, Ms. Daniels reveals that society can be blamed."
Pulitzer Prize winner, Clarence Page, Baltimore Sun

"Daniels widens the scope in a way that is blunt, personal, and challenging."
Entertainment Weekly

"Cheeky, heartfelt, and hip. Daniels's casual, extemporaneous tone keeps this sophisticated work accessible to a wide audience..."
Publishers Weekly

"Daniels's is a sobering critique that should be understood by every American."
Steve Goddard's History Wire

BLACK POWER INC.: The New Voice Of Success

BLACK POWER INC. is a poignant and penetrating examination of the attitudes, aspirations, and lingering ambivalence of the post-Civil Rights generation, which is the best educated and most accomplished in the annals of the African-American community. This generation is thriving as never before in the fiercely competitive American mainstream where race both matters and doesn’t matter. At the same time it is struggling mightily to reconcile it’s collective responsibility for the ‘have-nots’ among us with its hell-bent determination to become securely ensconced among society’s ‘haves’.”
Hugh B. Price, Senior Advisor, Piper Rudnick LLP and former President, National Urban League

“It is a striking reality that our rising Black business and political leaders have been reared after legal segregation and the public protests against it. But BLACK POWER INC. vividly illustrates that more covert forms of discrimination still exist, and that the post-Civil Rights generation has not shirked its responsibility to continue the struggle. But this time, it’s from within. If you are a twenty-or-thirty-something Black professional, you’ll want to give this book to your supervisor and say ‘This is how I feel!’ Daniels captures the aspirations, successes, frustrations, and determinations of this new generation in a way that is wonderfully entertaining yet powerfully serious.”
Mary Pattillo, author of Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class

“Cora Daniels understands something that a lot of others who are still stuck in a time warp do not; she understands that ‘gettin’ money’, for Black people born in the post-Civil Rights era, is a political act of the highest order. From the ‘hood to Wall street and everywhere in between, BLACK POWER INC. Knows that it’s ‘all about money, ain’t a damn think funny!’ Don’t sleep, read this book!”
Dr. Todd Boyd, Professor of Critical Studies at University of Southern California and author of Young Black Rich and Famous and The New H.N.I.C.

“Step firmly into the minds and hearts of our twenty-first century African-American leaders with Cora Daniels. Look into their world. Hear their voices. Allow them to help us raise the bar and strive for greater collective success.”
Paula A. Banks, Senior VP, Global Diversity/Inclusion & Organizational Partnerships, PepsiCo

The Washington Post

"..a must read.”
Black Issues Book Review


Comments about Cora Daniels, Speaker

“Your talk was inspiring, educational, challenging and down-to-earth. We could have listened to you for hours. The idea of reshaping our standards and moving beyond the familiar was refreshing. Students, faculty and staff alike remarked on your brilliant presentation. It is our hope to bring you back to continue the dialogue.”
Antoinette Ellis-Williams, Ph.D., Director, Lee Hagan Africana Center, New Jersey City University

“Cora visit was great and we had good attendance. It was a pleasure working with you.”
Nicole Asong Nfonoyim, Assistant Director, Multicultural Resource Center, Oberlin (OH) College

“Thank you again for coming to Sarah Lawrence College. The event was a great success and sparked some great conversation and debate amongst those who attended and even afterwards.”
Natalie A. Gross, Director of Racial/Ethnic Diversity and Campus Engagement, Sarah Lawrence College


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MasterMedia Speakers Bureau
14 Laurel Drive, Easthampton, MA 01027-2577
Phone: (800) 453-2887 - Fax: (888) 359-1647

Outside the USA Phone: 413-529-1769 and Fax: 413-529-7120