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Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America Hardcover – May 6, 2014

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Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America + The Failures Of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A sensible proposal backed by hard data.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Cashin sketches the legal and political history of affirmative action, and attends to both resentful whites (Obama’s 'election seems to have exacerbated the perception gap about racial inequality') and advantaged blacks ('Economic elites of all colors enjoy built-in advantages in the withering competition for spaces at choice schools').” —Publishers Weekly

“More than 30 years later, a former Supreme Court clerk to Justice Marshall, Georgetown University Law Professor Sheryll Cashin, makes a powerful case that it’s time to rethink her former boss’s support for racial preferences. The place to begin, she argues in her brilliant new book, is an affirmative action that responds directly to the failure of the Brown decision to desegregate schools. . . . Skillfully blending her personal story as an upper-middle-class black professional with a wide range of research on what constitute the biggest barriers to success today, Cashin provides a compelling blueprint for a new, much stronger, form of affirmative action based on actual disadvantage. . . .But overall, Cashin’s agenda provides a huge step forward from those liberals who would hold on to Justice Marshall’s plan for a century of racial preferences. While seemingly progressive, such policies in practice are deeply conservative, she correctly contends.” —New Republic

“Place, Not Race is a courageous and deeply insightful contribution to our racial justice discourse, offering a perspective that is both desperately needed and long overdue.”
—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

“A thought-provoking look at affirmative action in America. Whether you agree or disagree with her ideas, it is an important debate for our country to have, and Place, Not Race is a critical contribution to that debate.”
—Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

“Professor Sheryl Cashin has written a bold, bracing book that will generate useful controversy over competing strategies for overcoming social inequalities in America. Deeply knowledgeable about her volatile subject, she illuminates it with keen insight and vivid writing that is attractively accessible. Even those who disagree with Cashin will likely derive much value from reading her.”
—Randall Kennedy, author of For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law and Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word
 
“As America becomes more diverse, it paradoxically finds itself increasingly stratified on the basis of place rather than race. Sheryll Cashin’s refreshing call for a new multiracial politics of inclusion is a timely and greatly needed addition to the civil rights debate, one that deserves strong support among Americans of all origins.”
—Douglas S. Massey, author of American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass

“If you think everything possible about affirmative action has already been said, think again. Sheryll Cashin has given us a breakthrough book. America is segregated by a devastating mixture of economics and race. Why not build a policy that benefits children—of all races—who live on the wrong side of the tracks? Provocative and illuminating, Place, Not Race presents a brave new argument for bettering affirmative action in the 21st century.”
—Peter B. Edelman, author of So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America  

About the Author

Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown University, is the author of The Agitator’s Daughter and The Failures of Integration. Cashin has published widely in academic journals and print media and is a frequent commentator on law and race relations, having appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC News, and numerous other outlets. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, where her parents were political activists, Cashin was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and served in the Clinton White House as an advisor on urban and economic policy. She lives with her husband and two sons in Washington, DC.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; 1st Edition, 1st Printing edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807086142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807086148
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #494,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown University, is the author of The Agitator's Daughter and The Failures of Integration. Cashin has published widely in academic journals and print media and is a frequent commentator on law and race relations, having appeared on NPR, CNN, ABC News, and numerous other outlets. Born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, where her parents were political activists, Cashin was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and served in the Clinton White House as an advisor on urban and economic policy. She lives with her husband and two sons in Washington, DC.

Photo credit Adam Auel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By George M. Wade on May 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I went to high school with the author so I am a little biased since I admire her. Even so, I want to say that I found the book thoughtful and thought provoking. Her argument is strong because she uses reason, experience, and data. You feel like a real person is talking to you. I particularly enjoyed the references to our beloved and sadly nearly defunct S R Butler High, a symptom of some of the problems she outlines. She and I differ in our view of the role of government but that does not detract from the nature of this problem she so passionately describes. I cannot relate to her experiences of racial injustice because I have not had them but I can relate to her concern for her children because I too have children. This is where her book is helpful if you read it with an open mind. I see this work as a wake up call. A mind is still a terrible thing to waste. Thanks to Sheryl we have a starting point to resolving this problem.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
American race relations rests at a crossroads. While white Americans believe we've expunged our Jim Crow legacy, African Americans still recognize opportunities lost to wildly unequal resource allocation. At the heart of this disjunction lies Affirmative Action, Lyndon Johnson's attempt to proactively redress historical injustice. In today's putatively post-racial society, with an African American President, do such programs still serve, or hinder, their targeted clients?

Georgetown law professor Sheryll Cashin manages to straddle both sides of this important debate. Dispassionately scrutinizing the numbers, clearly black Americans bear multi-generational disadvantages that they cannot simply muscle through. Cashin's analysis resembles a much briefer synopsis of Ian Haney López. But race-based scrutiny overlooks that poor whites face categorically different circumstances than the rich; Cashin writes, "Working-class whites are rarely disaggregated in these debates."

Cashin sees the linking factor not as race, but poverty. As an educator herself, Cashin focuses on access to postsecondary schooling, which has distinct economic implications. Poor people, even what Cashin calls "low-income strivers," have systemic barriers to education access (her lengthy demonstration defies abridgement). Lack of educational access has consequences which unspool throughout a citizen's life. Therefore, Cashin says, poverty trumps race as a situation needing redress.

I'll buy that. But Cashin's solution is to focus efforts on geographically localized poverty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin VINE VOICE on June 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a book you will read if you are interested in education, equality, or both. Not a book you will necessarily agree with, but a necessary step towards resolving (is that even possible?) the debate. "Race-based affirmative action had been declining as a factor in university admissions even before the recent spate of related cases arrived at the Supreme Court. Since Ward Connerly kick-started a state-by-state political mobilization against affirmative action in the mid-1990s, the percentage of public four-year colleges that consider racial or ethnic status in admissions has fallen from 60 to 35%. Only 45% of private colleges still explicitly consider race, with elite schools more likely to do so, although they too have retreated. Cashin argues that affirmative action as currently practiced does little to help disadvantaged people. 60 yers since the historic decision, we're undoubtedly far from meeting the promise of Brown v. Board of Ed, but Cashin offers a new framework for true inclusion for the millions of children who live separate and unequal lives. Setting aside race in use of place in diversity programming, she writes, will better amend the structural disadvantages endured by many children of color, while enhancing the possibility that we might one day move past the racial resentment that affirmative action engenders." Truly controversial in its argumentation, this is a book that educator policy makers, educators, and the general public should read to inform and continue the debate in education and equality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Super Cool Amazon Reviewer Bro VINE VOICE on August 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Place, Not Race buries the lede. I mean that as a compliment. Although Cashin articulates a strategy to eliminate race as a factor in admissions while helping the disadvantaged by focusing more on factors like exposure to extreme poverty, high school graduation rates, and the like--factors that I saw questions on when I applied to law school in the California university system--this is really a story about how to achieve justice for all while minimizing racial resentments.

It is also a deeply personal book by a woman who has benefited from affirmative action, but who also came from a legacy of high achieving and politically active ancestors--a great grandfather a lawyer in Jim Crow South who was defiant of racial segregation, grandmother a school principal, father and uncle valedictorians of high school, and father graduated first in his class and ran against George Wallace for Governor of Alabama! (I wanted to learn more about these folks and was a little disappointed that there was not more detail about them. I subsequently learned that Cashin wrote a previous book that explores her family history. The Agitator's Daughter: A Memoir of Four Generations of One Extraordinary African-American Family Based on the snippets in Place, Not Race, I look forward to reading it.)

Cashin is deeply conscious of her place and role as an affluent black woman in a society where that is still a rarity. She is admirably transparent about the angst of school choice for her sons.
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