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Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness Hardcover – March 25, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465002161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465002160
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,158,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Calls for a conversation about race crop up persistently—as in the wake of the Imus scandal or O.J. Simpson's acquittal. Jackson's (Harlemworld; Real Black) examination of how race remains singular in American consciousness proves a lively opening gambit to a thought-provoking analysis. After a loose historical survey of race matters before the 1960s, when brash and brazen American racism was mainstream, Jackson focuses on the current state of affairs in racial fears and distrust that have gone underground and express themselves as racial paranoia and de cardio racism (what the law can't touch, what won't be easily proved or disproved, what can't be simply criminalized or deemed unconstitutional). Racial paranoia, not just 'a black thing,' owes much to the way mass media confirms or subverts stereotypes; de cardio racism is cloaked, papered over with public niceties and politically correct jargon. Jackson explores particularly fresh areas in his illuminating consideration of The Man Who Cried I Am and 1996, racial paranoia's canonical texts and in his attention to the McCarran Act's effect upon black thinkers. Passionate and committed Jackson is, but his content is balanced. Casually scholarly and often witty, Jackson offers the reader new ways of talking about race's subtler dynamic and new ways of spying racial conflict in the twenty-first century. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

In this era of political correctness, racism has became more subtle and perhaps more subversively dangerous than ever before. So argues Jackson in this thought-provoking, scholarly examination of the ambiguous sense of racial distrust that infects both blacks and whites in contemporary America. Terming the new reality of race in mainstream America racial paranoia, he analyzes the origins, the consequences, and the future implications of a racism that is often difficult to see, touch, and define but nevertheless exists and tempers the ways in which people across racial lines react to one another and interact with each other. Racial paranoia should not be dismissed as extremism; rather, it must be publicly acknowledged, understood, and expressed before it can be combated. Although it might make uncomfortable reading for some, Jackson’s well-reasoned analysis is right on target. --Margaret Flanagan

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sam White on July 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Jackson offers tremendous insight into how race operates in the post-civil rights era. His discussions of Dave Chappelle, de cardio racism, and hip hop are flat-out brilliant. Through these chapters, Jackson shows how race and racism operate has changed and gone "underground" into people's hearts. This change means that racial motivations are no longer clearly stated, causing folks to become "paranoid" in their efforts to find the hidden racial meaning of everyday encounters. He also does an excellent job explaining why racial insults (like Don Imus, Michael Richards, etc.) seem so significant because they appear to reveal the "real thoughts" in a person's heart. It really helps further the conversation about race in contemporary America.

Despite the excellent analysis, the chapters do not flow together and a few of them, like the section on Tijuana Brawley, feel like fluff. I would encourage people to read the book, but you might want to skim some of it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
i became aware of this book while taking a course in Multicultural Counseling. As a licensed psychologist and doctoral candidate I am fascinated by this topic. I wanted to learn more about how people understand and misunderstand each other. This book explains the complex issue of how well meaning people, attempting to make others comfortable by using language that is sensitive and non-offensive have inadvertently created a situation where racism is hidden by language.

At one time, racism was out in the open, and those who were hateful of those who were different used language to express their feelings. Now, using political correctness, they hide their racism. According to Jackson, racism is now expressed in more subtle ways and this has created a sense of paranoia in those who are discriminated against. Simple gestures are subject to misinterpretation as possible racism. Therefore the cries of racism have increased. Paranoia has developed.

This is an interesting read for any person who is interested in the state of human relationships in our society today. i highly recommend it.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Few books offer as concise and cogent a review of the history of the African American in America as does John L. Jackson, Jr.'s RACIAL PARANOIA: THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. The Introduction to this elegantly written book mixes historical references to slavery and the variations of that horrific time in our history with subsequent alterations in the civil rights gains and losses, and leads into discussions of contemporary figures who influence the manner in which racism persists under different guises today. Jackson is both scholarly in his research and presentation while always maintaining a keen sensitivity to the reader's attention by including such well-known public figures as OJ Simpson, David Chappelle, Oprah Winfrey, President Bush, Eddie Murphy and other prominent political and entertainment figures. In that Introduction he outlines his own position by comparing Louis Farrakhan and Kayne West: "Farrakhan and West epitomize 'hard' and 'soft' versions of what I'm calling racial paranoia: distrustful conjecture about purposeful race-based maliciousness and the 'benign neglect' of racial indifference.'' It is this 'progression' from blatant racism to the Politically Correct 'enlightened' racism that makes this book so valuable a read: the mirror is well polished to reflect a bit of each of our faces.

Where Jackson succeeds in maintaining the extended study of the occult physical and cautiously spoken types of racism is his ability to build a solid platform of fact to post his suggestions of persistent behavior. Never lecturing to the reader, Jackson introduces a degree of humor that makes the contemporary trend toward total acceptance of color lines as entertaining as well as pungent.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. M Phillip on February 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would recommend anyone to read any book on race, no matter how good or bad it is. This particular book is an easy read with a ton of reference notes, which I like.However, the prose tends to be a little too superfluous at times, which can get distracting. The topic itself is very under the radar and should be talked about more.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bennett on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Not exactly a light read, but full of good info if you have the stomach for it and like the angle. I think it was a bit one sided, but that may have been the intent. Certainly has some general applicability as to the potential consequences of bias and slight of facts.
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