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Off White: Readings on Power, Privilege, and Resistance [Hardcover]

Michelle Fine , Lois Weis , Linda Powell Pruitt , April Burns
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 26, 2004 0415949645 978-0415949644 2
With a fascinating new introduction on the proliferation and development of the field of whiteness studies and updated essays throughout, this much-anticipated second ddition continues to redefine our understanding of race and society. Also inlcludes three maps.

Editorial Reviews


In a crowded field of books interrogating the concept of whiteness, Off White clearly and deftly distinguishes itself from the pack. This superb collection emphasizes the materiality of white privilege and the ways whiteness is represented, expressed, and embedded in various social sites and institutions. We peer into the 'souls of white folks,' and consider the emergent politics and practices that can trouble, subvert, and challenge white racial privilege.
–Michael Omi, University of California, Berkeley

Off White is a highly valuable contribution to the debate on the connections between 'race' and power. The breadth of the theories and methodologies represented, not to mention the numerous insights provided by the authors, many of whom are committed to anti-racist pedagogies, makes Off White an intellectually stimulating and personally challenging book.
Reviews of the First Edition
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

About the Author

Michelle Fine is Distinguished Professor of Social and Personality Psychology at the City University of New York, Graduate Center.
Lois Weis is Professor of Sociology of Education at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
Linda Powell Pruitt is a Senior Fellow at the Research Center for Leadership in Action, Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University.
April Burns is a doctoral student in Social and Personality Psychology at the City University of New York, Graduate Center.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (July 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415949645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415949644
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,334,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic resource February 15, 2013
By J. Mora
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Contains the classic essays on white privilege that explain how the system repeats itself and the invisible nature of whiteness that makes it hard for individual people in the privileged category to see it, much less resist it.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How you respond depends on your baggage... March 30, 2009
The purpose of the book is to offer readings about how people of color have tried to reclaim their own power, how they have not been the dominant or privileged people in American culture, and ways of resisting oppression. The purpose is not to pat the dominate race--whites--and say, "don't worry about it." I am always amused by white readers who are offended by a lack of even-handedness in books about race. When I read the other reviews, a great deal of anger is obvious, but I don't see particular references to untruths or inaccuracies. That is what I meant by my header "how you respond depends on your baggage"; the other responses reflect the anger of the reviewers more than the value of the content of the book.
I read Off White after reading B.D.Tatum's book, Why Do All of the Black Kids Sit Together in the Cafeteria? because Tatum cited some of the articles in this book as references. (I did not purchase or read either book because a class required it, but because I chose to; perhaps being required to purchase and read the book contributed to the tone of the other responses.) What I found in Off White is that, yes, some of the essays do a far amount of blaming, but not all, and even those that do are not wrong in what they say. How could they be? The writers are sharing what they have seen, learned, and experienced. While the writers may sometimes fail to examine other potential factors for the situations of people of color and virtually all negatives are blamed on racism, who says they have to be even-handed? I think the other reviewers failed to understand what the purpose of the book was supposed to be.
I liked this book because it offered a lot of different perspectives--perspectives I, as a white woman, cannot know but which I would like to understand better.
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4 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I had to read this book for a class on racial problems in education. I expected something, I don't know...maybe an even handed approach to race problems in what passes for our education system. Instead I got the stereotypical black versus white story with this book as chief evidence. No other minorities were touched on as they did not have 'enough racial idenity yet to realise the depths of their oppression'.

Among other major ideas in the book;

The evilness of being colorblind in dealing with students; how white teachers fail their minority students by treating them the same instead of recognizing they are different

Private schools exist because of white racists fleeing the government school systems.

All problems in our education system stem from racism and lack of funding in government schools, especially those with a majority of minority students.

Hispanics and Asians as they become more racially aware will support affirmative action more and more instead of the current apathy they have towards the "good" accomplished by this program.

Affirmative action benefits everyone including white males.

On the other hand, the book did bring to light some honestly nasty things going on in the name of supposed equality (schools against interracial dating and lining students up by color for "appropriate" classes. It aslo brought up the increasingly bad effects of the Kennedy sponsored "No Child Left Behind" Law and how schools were quietly dropping out kids who were borderline or failing rather than working with them (and harming the school's academic scores)

Overall, unless you are stuck on the black versus white issue rather than how individuals work in the system or HAVE to read it, stay away. Listening to holier than thou types lecture on America's failings in race gets old.
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2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wasted paper/Wasted Reading June 21, 2008
Unless you are purchasing this book for a class, save your money. This is a lopsided and illogical book blaming the White man for all the world's ills. One author attempts to argue that the NCLB act is the reason so many Blacks and Hispanics drop out of school. This book sets back race relations into the 1950s at least. Scholarly support is scant at best. Another article author cites her own research five times as if she were an authority. Anecdotal "evidence" is rampant throughout the book. Did you know that because one high school principal was charged with racial harrassment all White principals throughout the nation are racists? If any sort of peer review was conducted on the book, I wonder which Disney character did it. However, the various authors do raise some valid points in society and education. You will not find any suggestions to "fix" things as sociologists so often fail to do after they raise an issue.
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