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Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race Paperback – July 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1442203082 ISBN-10: 1442203080
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Editorial Reviews

Review

With remarkable clarity, Halley, Eshleman and Vijaya have made the often invisible workings of culture both visible and comprehensible. Focusing on one of the most knotty of problems-entrenched assumptions about racial difference and inequality-this important book will offer students the opportunity to see the familiar in unfamiliar ways, and to challenge the mental baggage that so many carry inside their heads and hearts. The book's goal is to lay the groundwork for a better historical understanding of ideas that too often remain unexamined. (Stuart Ewen, Hunter College, CUNY)

Seeing White engagingly makes whiteness into a problem―one needing to be investigated in all its human and inhuman dimensions. The great interdisciplinary reach of the authors opens up, for students and all of us, the changing ways in which race has been made over a long history and how it is remade and contested today. (David Roediger, University of Illinois; author of How Race Survived U.S. History)

This book is a rare gem. There are lots of books on race, and some on privilege, but none brings it all together in one place in such an illuminating and thoughtful way. None so ably connects psychology, identity politics, economics and policy to explain the origins of race and how it is socially modified over time. The content was both enlightening and challenging, and the examples and stories used in this book will help students really understand the complicated issues of how race affects all of our lives. (Nyla R. Branscombe, University of Kansas)

The authors have developed a lengthy and persuasive argument—based on science, scholarship, and a constant investigation of values—about race, racism, and the role genuinely goodhearted people can contribute to the problems of race in America. This book will challenge students, and it is guaranteed to stimulate discussion and debate. (Chris Crandall, University of Kansas)

Introducing students to the concept of racial privilege is fundamental to teaching about racism, yet hard to do. Seeing White is a great resource for those who undertake this important work, providing an excellent primer for classroom discussion. (Beverly Daniel Tatum, president, Spelman College; author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?)

Now when some would describe our times as post-race, Seeing White offers its readers an opportunity to rethink race and power from an interdisciplinary perspective drawing on sociology, economics and psychology. The great accomplishment of the book is its appeal to readers to reflect on their own view of race as well as their relationship to the privilege of whiteness. Seeing White is a must read for all of us. (Patricia Ticineto Clough, The Graduate Center, CUNY)

This interdisciplinary textbook challenges students to see race as everyone's issue. Drawing on sociology, psychology, and economics, Seeing White introduces students to the concepts of white privilege and social power. Compelling concrete examples illustrate key theoretical perspectives, including cultural materialism, critical race theory, and the social construction of race. Each chapter includes discussion questions to help students evaluate institutions and policies that perpetuate or counter forces of privilege and discrimination.

About the Author

Jean Halley is associate professor of sociology at Wagner College.

Amy Eshleman is associate professor of psychology at Wagner College.

Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya is associate professor of economics at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442203080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442203082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stosphia on January 4, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely invaluable for anyone who has white privilege (as I do), especially now, when racism is once again being brought to the fore of our culture's attention. The book simply presents facts without shaming or guilt, which can be hard to do when discussing something as pervasive and destructive as the social construct, and seeks to inform.

If you're like me, sometimes it can feel like being white is something to be ashamed of, since much of racism has been constructed and implemented by white people of eastern European descent. But living in shame is no way to live, no matter the color of your skin. Read this book and learn how to use your white privilege for the better, or how to tackle the social construct of race.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Herbert L Calhoun on April 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a society racked and obsessed with race, but pretending not to be so, this book is the perfect antidote.

Its unique aspect, what sets it apart from other books on race, is that it constitutes a skillfully composed and gradually introduced set of very revealing didactic exercises all designed to expose the obvious: that race in the U.S. is, and always has been, a white not a black problem. However, if a pair of award-winning white female authors was to announce this fact straight up, their credibility (as anti-racist ideologues) would be challenged and most likely their intended audience, race-sensitive white people, would immediately be lost.

So, wisely and with great skill and professorial deftness, these two award-winning social scientists, writers, and Wagner College professors, did the heroically non-obvious. They insinuated their main thesis into the text through a carefully selected, graduated and wide-ranging set of exercises embedded in the history of race as it evolved in the West, a thesis designed to reveal the obvious: that whiteness is the unseen canvas upon which all ideas of race are written; and that moreover, the very hidden aspect of the canvas' existence is itself purposeful -- since the ones who are most blind to its existence also just happen to be those who benefit most from the canvas not being seen.

Whiteness as they tell us is this magical canvas of "now you see it," now you don't?" Painted on it is all of Western history from the Feudal 15th Century onwards, all of the notions and meanings of the socially invented but "psychologically heavily freighted" concept of race, and all of the assumptions dealing with race as we currently understand it. This unseen canvas gives new meaning to the over- and misused phrase "a color-blind society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By anne R. Dalton on October 10, 2014
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I highly recommend this . It carefully and with extensive research deconstructs the whole.architecture of race as a biological construct and with it the complex.architecture of white privilege.
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By Avid reader on April 12, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very well written, informative and honest look at how Caucasians and those individuals perceived to be a part of the white "race" live with privilege that many of them take for granted and feel entitled to. If you want a great analysis of race and privilege in the United States, I highly recommend this book! It is not written in an attempt to make Caucasians feel "white guilt", but, in an attempt for an honest analysis of life in the United States.
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