Living With Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience
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Living With Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience [Hardcover]

Joe R. Feagin , Melvin P. Sikes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pervasive white racism--often subtle and covert, at times blatant--is a daily reality for African Americans, according to the 209 middle-class blacks interviewed for this important and disturbing report. The respondents tell of discrimination on the job in salary, evaluations and promotions; prejudice against black renters and homebuyers by white landlords, real estate agents, homeowners and neighbors; the channeling of black students into vocational "tracks"; physical assaults and institutionalized racism on college campuses; and daily hostility blacks face in restaurants, stores and other public places. Feagin, a white sociologist at the University of Florida, and Sikes, a black psychologist who conducts anti-racism workshops, call for much more multiculturalism in U.S. schooling, aggressive enforcement of affirmative action and initiatives by white leaders to eradicate widespread racial prejudice and stereotyping by the white majority.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

E. Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie is now almost three generations old. It is time for as definitive a study about the black middle class today. Feagin, a white sociologist, and Sikes, a black psychologist, present the culture of the class through open-ended interviews with 209 of its members. The interviews are presented in topical chapters on racial discrimination in public places, in educational organizations, in the marketplace (i.e., that which employees face), in entrepreneurship (that which businesspersons face), and in seeking a good home and neighborhood. The book closes with a "wherefrom-whitherto" look into the future. As a whole, the book is thematically organized to refute the contention of such prominent black intellectuals as Thomas Sowell and William Julius Wilson, as well as whites ones such as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that the black middle class has escaped racism. Feagin and Sikes for the most part accept the evidence of macrosociological mobility: the black middle class is much wealthier, more prestigious, and more educated than it was, and it is growing rapidly. But the racist insults of everyday life continue unabated. Roland Wulbert

From Kirkus Reviews

A challenging, if not always thorough, reminder that middle- class blacks face accumulated experiences of racism too often ignored by the majority culture and scholars of race relations. Complementing and overlapping Ellis Cose's The Rage of a Privileged Class (not reviewed), this book offers a broader sample and more theoretical grounding but less of a narrative voice. The authors announce at the outset their disagreement with less liberal commentators ranging from Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Stephen Carter for emphasizing the so-called black underclass over the widespread experience of racism. Feagin (Sociology/Univ. of Florida) and Sikes, a consultant and antiracism workshop leader, have compiled the results of interviews with 209 middle-class African-Americans. The litany is disturbing. Interviewees tell of being refused service or treated with suspicion in restaurants and other public places. Their children are ``tracked'' into vocational subjects and are more likely to be suspended for subjective offenses like disobedience. In the workplace, as one interviewee explains, ``blacks in the company had jobs, and whites had careers.'' The authors discuss discrimination against black business owners and home buyers and reveal survival strategies ranging from institutional confrontation to humor. They conclude that Americans must do more to confront the reality of white racism and support better education about racism for children black and white. But their assessment, for example, of racism on campus is hardly complete, blaming white students and campus culture without sufficiently analyzing the issues of self-segregation and Afrocentrism. Nor do they fully address the effects, both good and bad, of the recent trend toward corporate ``diversity training.'' A worthwhile entry into current discussions of race relations, though it requires a dollop of skepticism. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


'Feagin and Sikes . . . effectively drive home the point that 'mere' slights, racist jokes, common stereotyping-the myriad minor acts of prejudice and discrimination to which blacks are subjected even when separated by days or weeks-can gradually leave a sediment of bitterness and despair in the souls of black folk that makes normal interaction with whites very difficult.'--The Texas Observer --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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