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How Race Is Lived in America: Pulling Together, Pulling Apart Paperback – May 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; 1st edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805070842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805070842
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Assembly of God Tabernacle in Decatur, Georgia, has succeeded at doing what most institutions in America have failed at--achieving full integration. White parishioners who thought of blacks in the worst terms in the past have now decided that all believers--black and white--are going to the same heaven, so they might as well get used to it here on earth. After a black man hugs an elderly white woman, he says, "Man, 30 or 40 years ago I would have been hung for just touching this lady." While there is genuine affection between many of the parishioners, all the complex feelings and questions that plague the races at the turn of the century are being reckoned with here. Is integration a blessing or a sellout, blacks wonder. Is it ever acceptable--or even helpful--to make race the issue, or must a preacher and his congregation always feign colorblindness? What are the burdens of blending in, and are they worth it? And will this last, or is the church just like so many neighborhoods--enjoying a fleeting moment of integration on the way to becoming predominantly black? These are just some of the touchy issues explored in this remarkable and eye-opening book.

Originally published as a series in The New York Times, the 15 stories are the outcome of a yearlong examination by a team of reporters who managed to overcome the taboo of discussing private attitudes toward race and uncover the daily experience of race relations in schools, friendships, sports, popular culture, worship, and the workplace. The result is a wide range of intimate portraits, from bringing up slavery in the Old South, to drug cops reacting silently to the Amadou Diallo verdict, to the making of the HBO special The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood.

Race clearly remains a source of misunderstanding and alienation, but there are also heartening signs of reaching out, reconciliation, and even unity. This book is an important leap into an area most fear to tread, yet also yearn to change. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In his introduction to this expansive book on the complexity of contemporary race relations, Joseph Lelyveld, executive editor of the New York Times, notes that he urged his correspondents to "go deep" beyond the headlines with their research and "hang in there." His staff produced 15 stellar stories that dig down to the gnarled crux of our racial dilemma in this turbulent post-O.J. era, presenting a startling array of voices and situations. In the powerful opening story, "Shared Prayers, Mixed Blessings," Kevin Sack chronicles the power of faith as a unifying force in a formerly segregated, now multi-racial church near Atlanta. Another poignant account, "Best of Friends, Worlds Apart," follows the immigration and acculturation of two youths from Cuba, where race is a lower-case issue, who find that their experiences in Miami are so different (one is dark-skinned and one is light) that it drives a wedge into their longtime friendship. Janny Scott's "Who Gets to Tell a Black Story?" explores the need for self-determination and the opportunity to define one's cultural image, as a reporter details countless obstacles faced by an African-American TV director and his writers in bringing a controversial series on drug abuse in a Baltimore neighborhood to the small screen. The unorthodox efforts of a young white writer and activist, Billy (Upski) Wimsatt, to open a dialogue between white and black youth gives new meaning to the term "wigger" (a white who wants to be black) in N.R. Kleinfeld's well-turned story, "Guarding the Borders of the Hip-Hop Nation." While the so-called "unmediated conversations about race" at the end cover familiar ground, several revelations crop up in the raw interviews with the black, white and Hispanic subjects for the pieces that are reprinted at the end of the book. Overall, this high-minded, superbly written collection unflinchingly probes America's racial struggles, posing as many solutions as it does questions, shining much-needed light on one of the nation's toughest challenges.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mireya Navarro was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has worked as a journalist in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and covered stories in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and Cuba. She's been a writer for the New York Times for most of her career and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 as part of the team that produced "How Race is Lived in America," a series that was later issued as a book. She's currently a Metropolitan News writer for the New York Times covering housing and issues of income inequality in New York. She's the author of STEPDOG, coming in 2015 from G.P. Putnam's Sons." She describes STEPDOG as "a love story, sort of."
"Eddie, my husband's dog, behaved like a jealous mistress when we met. He kept at it -- through the courtship, after the wedding, right now. There are worse dogs than Eddie -- dogs that eat shoes or bite people. Eddie just tried to ruin my marriage. I had to show him who was top dog."
Mia, as Ms. Navarro is known among friends and colleagues, also wrote "Green Wedding," a hardcover guide to eco-friendly weddings published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. It includes advice from environmental experts and interviews with couples who share their experiences in planning a green celebration. And it features photography that shows how gorgeous and stylish a green wedding can be. For more information about "Green Wedding," please visit www.MireyaNavarro.com.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this for class the past semester and thought that while there are some really incredible circumstances discussed,(White quarterback, growing up multi-racial, and minority public servants) that some people were noticeably left out. Native Americans received a further blow of marginalization. (they were mentioned once as something of a prop) Also, the diversity among Black and Asian communities was very much ignored. I must say that it's obvious who the writers/editors are marketing towards in their readership, because many of the arguments continue some monolithic dialogues that haven't changed in 20+ years. Going into a work like this will take some serious analysis on the part of the reader to notice what I'm talking about, as it is written with an almost indistinguishable slant. The work has great potential for use as a teaching tool, but focus should remain on analysis rather than taking work verbatim.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on April 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Editors & writers for The New York Times asked one central question: "What are race relations like today?" These are the raw stories & candid observations they found just below the surface of this country's private & public discourse on race relations.
That said hold onto you seat for a bumpy read about a subject that upsets most of us & still fills us with dread & hope.
There are 15 articles written by 15 very different reporters - each focusing on an aspect of race relations that speaks particularly to them. I cannot separate them here for you - suffice to write that each article will put you through your complacency paces, set your nerves ajangling & raise a host of old ghosts most of us wish would lay low.
How are race relations lived today? Very, very carefully & rather schizophrenically for the most part & for other parts? Pure, teeth-grinding swallowings of crow food, blundering inconsiderations - hell, they treat their dogs better! & hope - what a faint & fragile zephyr is hope!
While we may no longer have to storm into Cicero to demand equal rights to live in equally pleasant homes - we sure are determined to judge each other for the way we talk, about what we talk, the way we walk & to where we walk, even the way we say hello - the color of our skin may be the least of it!
In the end both photographers & reporters speak their piece about their piece & make peace with the process - their stories are as vital as the previous ones & just as telling as they tell about their own prejudices, foregone assumptions & epiphanies.
Read more ›
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrea L. Howard on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
this is an insightful collection of articles for anyone wishing to gain a well-rounded and modern perspective on race issues in america. if anyone thinks the race issue is dead and buried, s/he needs to read this book! i was so impressed that i am using this in my race and ethnicity in america class at the university i am going to be teaching at next fall as a discussion starter.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harmonious on February 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had the opportunity to read some of the testimonials and accounts that appear in this book when they were first published as a series in the New York Times. When I read the book, I had the chance to enjoy a few narratives that I had missed. This book makes a great effort to put into focus the dynamic of race relations in America. All the stories are touching and beautifully written. The reader is not led into any specific conclusion; once you read all the stories you will have a better picture and will be able to judge where you stand pertaining race relations. I identified myself with more than one of the subjects of these stories. Congratulations to the New York Times for this momentous documentary that surely will make history. No matter which race you identify yourself with, there is something for you in this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Wolinsky on October 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this before it was published as a book, when it was a series of articles in the New York Times. The most gripping story was the one about the two friends from Cuba, and how they drifted apart in racially polarized Miami. It was such a sad story, because it touches on the human side of racism. These men were best friends in Cuba, and they left Cuba for the same reason. But in Miami, they were pulled apart by the color of their skin. The White Cuban moved right into Miami's prominent Cuban-American community, but the other, dark-skinned, became part of the Black community. He found that his fellow Cubans didn't look at him as one of their own. In Havana, he couldn't get a Cuban steak because there was no meat. But in Miami's "Little Havana" he couldn't get a Cuban steak because he wasn't welcome in Cuban restaurants!

Institutionalized racism may indeed be over in the USA, but social racism is still there. Most of the articles in this book are about racist feelings, not policies. "Who Gets to Tell a Black Story" shows how there's still cultural bias in the media, and "Which Man's Army" is about an Army platoon that is polarized by race. Some stories can be funny, like the Old Southern Belle who turns over her property, complete with slave cabbins (yes, still stading) to the Parks Dept, even dressing in period clothing as a tour guide.

I won't give this bok fours stars, because I think there's more it could cover. There was a page about Native American issues, and a paragraph about White teens who date Asian-Americans. But that was about all they got.
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