"I've studied whiteness the way I would a foreign language," declares Conley at the outset of his affecting, challenging memoir, laced with the retrospective wisdom of the sociologist (at New York University) he has become. As the child of bohemian, white parents, he grew up in an otherwise black and Hispanic housing project on New York's Lower East Side. At elementary school in the 1970s, he found himself placed in the "Chinese class," after his stint in the black classAwhere he was the only student not to receive corporal punishmentAleft him uncomfortable. Despite the family's lack of funds, they had cultural capital in the form of social connections, and were able to transfer young Dalton to a better school, where he began to feel some snobbery toward kids in his own neighborhood. Yet the friend who accepted Dalton most was a black youth from the neighborhood, Jerome, who was tragically disabled in a random act of violence that helped spur Conley's parents to leave the Lower East Side for subsidized housing for artists. Part of the memoir concerns the universality of povertyAbut a thoughtful examination of the privileges of race and class also emerges. Despite the book's title, the author cites only one major episode in which he was threatened and called "honky." Conley acknowledges that he doesn't know how to account for such successes as gaining admission into the selective Bronx High School of Science: race? parental protectiveness? his own aspirations? It is "the privilege of the middle and upper classes," he observes, to construct narratives of their own success "rather than having the media and society do it for us." (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Conley, a sociology professor, brings to his analysis of race a unique experience in the social and racial maze of New York City. Conley grew up in a Manhattan housing project that was predominantly black and Hispanic. Yet his minority white status offered a perspective and insight into the analysis of American race and class conflict. Conley found himself placed with Asian students on a higher academic track in elementary school, later migrated downtown to the Village with rich white students in junior high school, and was finally placed in one of the more selective public high schools. Throughout his personal journey, he learns that class and race are interwoven in a complex social fabric making it somewhat difficult to determine which is the dominant factor. While Conley appears to maintain close personal friendships with minorities, his whiteness still provides him with opportunities not available to his black and Hispanic neighbors. Conley's perspective on his youth is likely reconstructive and colored by preferences. Yet his book offers a clarity and simplicity that is insightful and raises concerns of a more universal significance. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A+: Fast delivery. I would order from them again. The book was just as described - and a great read for class!Published 7 days ago by LikeReading
I understand why some reviewers are frustrated. Conley IS self-indulgent and paints an extremely one-sided picture of the neighborhood outside his window. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Margo
it shows the level of respect some one can get all their lives when they fall into a discriminating social classPublished 7 months ago by gabriel
He is worth reading (but I haven't read Honky yet; just ordered it.) When Conrad says, "It is "the privilege of the middle and upper classes to construct narratives of their own... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Saundra Jean Raynor
Living in the North Shore, racial prejudice and segregation does not come up often. In a community that is mostly white and upper-middle class it is unusual to see the effects of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by rebecca carlins