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A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America by David K. Shipler

By David K. Shipler

Original yr of publication: 1997, 1998 - pb

A state of Strangers is an impressive exploration of the mental panorama the place blacks and whites meet. to inform the tale in human instead of summary phrases, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author David okay. Shipler bypasses either extremists and celebrities and takes us between usual american citizens as they come across each other throughout racial lines.

We find out how blacks and whites see one another, how they interpret every one other's habit, and the way convinced harmful pictures and assumptions seep into the activities of even the main impartial. We penetrate into dimensions of stereotyping and discrimination which are often invisible, and notice the unseen prejudices and privileges of white americans, and what black americans make of them.

We discover the competing impulses of integration and separation: the reference issues wherein the races navigate as they enterprise out after which withdraw; the biculturalism that many blacks ideal as they circulate backward and forward among the white and black worlds, and the homesickness a few blacks think for the relief of all-black separateness. There are portrayals of interracial households and their multiracial children--expert courses in the course of the clashes created by means of racial mixing in the USA. We see how whites and blacks each one hold the load of our history.

Black-white stereotypes are dissected: the actual our bodies that we see, the psychological traits we think, the ethical personality we characteristic to others and to ourselves, the violence we worry, the facility we search or are loath to relinquish.

The ebook makes transparent that we've got the facility to form our racial landscape--to reconstruct, whether now not completely, the feel of our relations. there's an overview of the complexity confronting blacks and whites alike as they try to acknowledge and outline the racial motivations which may or is probably not found in a inspiration, a observe, a deed. The publication doesn't prescribe, however it files the silences that be triumphant, the listening that doesn't ensue, the conversations that don't ensue. It appears to be like at family among minorities, together with blacks and Jews, and blacks and Koreans. It explores the human dimensions of affirmative motion, the complicated contacts and misunderstandings throughout racial traces between coworkers and associates. it truly is unstinting in its feedback of our society's failure to return to grips with bigotry; however it is usually, fortunately, crowded with black humans and white those that fight of their day-by-day lives to just do that.

A outstanding publication that would stimulate every one people to reexamine and higher comprehend our personal inner most attitudes in regard to race in America.

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Additional resources for A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America

Sample text

And, by the odd mathematics of American racial politics, he might thereby be counted a racist. This, of course, is the white liberal’s crucible—he gets to define America’s racial reform as interventionism, but he lives without even enough moral authority to declare himself racially innocent and have the declaration stand. So when a white liberal and a black conservative meet, there isn’t much business to be done. And the problem is not just in our different mandates. For example, I not only admire the white mandate, but I also admire the white liberal for recognizing it and taking it seriously.

Redemptive liberalism has encouraged in blacks what might be called a psychology of contingency. I encountered an example of this on my own campus a few years back, when I gave a talk on racial matters to a large audience of students and faculty. In the question-and-answer period we fell into a hot, if predictable, debate on affirmative action, and the auditorium filled with tension. At one point a black professor from the Black Studies Department—a woman I had known for years—rose to speak. Anger had stolen her self-possession, her ability to censor herself, and so out of a kind of general alarm she said: “And if black students do well, they’ll end up like the Asians.

From the abolitionists to the suffragettes to the civil rights workers, the struggle of freedomfocused liberalism was not to free oppressed groups so much as to free the individuals within those groups—to prevent society from using the group to oppress the individual. This is the central commitment of democracy, this idea that freedom does not truly exist until it is grounded in the individual, and that freedom and individual agency are virtually synonymous. But post-sixties liberalism is much more concerned with virtue than with freedom because it is driven by the mandate to redeem the nation from its sinful racist history.

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