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Invisible Privilege: A Memoir About Race, Class, and Gender (Feminist Ethics) Paperback – March 2, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0700613625 ISBN-10: 0700613625

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Product Details

  • Series: Feminist Ethics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (March 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700613625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700613625
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,044,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Philosopher Rothenberg became a bogeywoman in the early 1990s PC wars when her textbook, Race, Class and Gender in the United States, was attacked by conservatives. Now, in an episodic memoir, she aims to "reflect in a more personal way on what it means to be a privileged white woman coming to terms with that privilege and acquiring some deeper understanding of the ways in which race, class, and gender difference is constructed." Gender was her first frontier: in addition to growing up in a patriarchal family and enduring sexist taunts during adolescence, she faced discomfiting teachers at the University of Chicago and was sexually assaulted by a member of her dissertation committee. Later, anti-Vietnam War activism and a leftist study group awakened her to a broader critique of America's social structure. In 1980, she began co-teaching classes on racism and sexism at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Despite some academic jargon, Rothenberg writes with refreshing candor: in one vignette, for example, she acknowledges that her family ties gave her the financial wherewithal to buy a home. She argues convincingly that a decision to "teach tolerance" in response to the sometimes hostile relations between college students ignores "the real differences in power and opportunity" that originally caused the divisions. And her criticism of the ways well-intentioned liberals "jealously guard" privilege for their own children is often potent, though her account of racism in New Jersey's educational "tracking" system leaves lingering questions about how and when such liberals should best make their sacrifice. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This book presents one woman's story of her life viewed through the lenses of gender, class, and race. Rothenberg examines the ways, both positive and negative, in which these three factors have shaped her experiences and opportunities. The purpose of this self-examination of privilege is to "uncover the forces that often render it invisible to those who benefit from it most." By turning the microscope on herself, she hopes to explore the unspoken privileges of the white middle class in the United States. Her previous work, the college text Race, Class and Gender in the United States, was one of the first contemporary texts on diversity and met with a firestorm of criticism, especially from the Right, which vilified her for starting the political correctness movement. Although she does shed some interesting light on the ways race, class, and gender influence life in the United States, sometimes the reader is left wondering whether she doesn't go overboard in her analysis. Recommended for academic libraries.
-Roseanne Castellino, Arthur D. Little, Cambridge, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Invisible Privilege" is a multilayered book that I will enjoy reading more than once. It has the liveliness, humor, and candor of a good autobiography. But instead of merely telling one person's story, the author wears the analytical and critical lenses through which she views our society, to look at her own life -- without apology or mea culpa. She gives up the dearly held privilege of many of us "white liberals" to pretend that, in spite of the impact of race, class, and gender on American life, we somehow wriggled through unscathed, perhaps because of our own "natural" goodness. The author provides funny, poignant, eye-opening examples of how no one can rest on the laurels of being a good person with good intentions in this whirlwind society of ours. She is deepening the discussions of discrimination and exclusion, prejudice and hate, as well as of being human, and I look forward to her next book.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very well-done combination of personal recollection and political insights. The questions of gender, race and class are often presented in an off-putting manner that only appeals to the already committed. Because of the genuiness and the clarity of this book, it can serve as an introduction to these areas for those who still have something to learn about them.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mark Van Kampen on September 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In short, this book is a concentrated form of the liberal propaganda that has plagued our country for the better half of a century. But I can see why this concept may be difficult to grasp, especially to those people out there with a guilt complex, kissing the boots of Black passersby because their ancestors MIGHT have owned slaves, once.

White people are demonized. Males are emasculated and belittled. The word "normal" is used, quotations included, as an actual insult. To be an upstanding member of society who happens to be White, male or Christian is, according to Rothenberg, a very real crime, worthy of very real punishment.

In the light of news like the Zimmerman case plastered across TVs all across America for months, and all the innocent dead/maimed White people whose stories are ignored, this book should be treated not only as a piece of blatant propaganda that would make the Führer blush, but as a warning: Americans, if you're "normal," if you're self-respecting and decent in any way, but you just so happen to be male, Christian or especially White, they ARE coming for you. Wake up.
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8 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If you are entirely committed to viewing human destiny almost exclusively in terms of group identity, you will love this book. Rothenberg cheerfully acknowledges that she has no pretentions toward disinterested inquiry in her college courses or in her writing. She procedes from the assumption that racism and sexism are the underlying conditions of life in the United States and sets out to illustrate this. The book is an amusing compendium of the leisure-class totalitarian orientation and quasi-Marxiast group think that has become the status quo in American "higher" education.
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4 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dwayne D. Hudson on December 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with the review before me, this book is purely a Marxist totalitarian charade with extremely one sided analogies.

To Paula Rothenberg; if you hate the U.S.A. and freedom, then leave it for a communist country!
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