"For many people, the election of Barack Obama seems to signify the end of racism as a pervasive social force in the United States: they point to Obama as a validation of the American ideology that anyone can make it if they work hard, and an example of how barriers against people of color have all but vanished. But is this true? After all, in housing, employment, the justice system and education, the evidence is clear: white privilege and discrimination against people of color are still operative and actively thwarting opportunities, despite the success of individuals like Obama.""Is black success making it harder for whites to see the problem of racism, thereby further straining race relations, or will it challenge stereotypes to such an extent that racism will diminish? Will blacks in power continue to be seen as an "exception"? Is Obama "acceptable" because he seems "different than most blacks," who are still viewed too often as the dangerous and inferior "others"? In this provocative new book, Tim Wise explores how the election of Barack Obama is taking the race debates to new levels."--BOOK JACKET.
It's slightly academic in tone, but very readable and the cold hard facts that fill the pages are stunning. Definitely worth a read.
This was a good read, and quick and easy. I leave you with one quote to ponder:
"Confrontin racism is white folks' responsibility because even though we, in the present, are not to blame for the system we have inherited, the fact is, we have inherited it nonetheless, and continue to benefit, consciously or not, from the entrenched privileges that are the legacy of that system."
As always, I found Tim Wise's writing to be insightful and incredibly informative. I had really been yearning for Wise's analysis of the racial issues surrounding Obama's election, and it was wonderful to have Wise not just validate all my uncomfortableness with some of the stupid crap people kept saying by laying those same issues out, but to have him really dig deep into exactly what made them so awful and wrong.
At times it felt like I was bookmarking every other page, and many quotes theories and anecdotes made their way into my conversations in the following weeks. I could go on and on about why I find the writings of this white anti-racism activist refreshing, but instead I filled my reading journal with a list of page references to quotes and arguments that I wanted to be able to refer back to. Normally, I just write the entire quotes. But with this book? There were too many and too long and it would have taken an age. Though I do want to record this one quote, which is a lovely statement on the book as a whole:... I have come to realize something: namely, even with Barack Obama as the forty-fourth president of the United States, we will still need a back-up plan. For Obama cannot be relied upon, any more so than any other president or national leader, to shepherd our nation out of the wilderness of racism and inequality. The job is too great, and the single solitary man too small for such an effort. Which is to say that if we want the job done right, we're going to have to do it ourselves, all of us.