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The Color of Our Future: Race in the 21st Century Paperback – March 7, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688175805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688175801
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,865,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In her penetrating cross-country tour of the United States, gifted media star-on-the-rise and cultural critic Farai Chideya reveals how America's young people are deconstructing the white/black definition of race and constructing a new pluralistic paradigm that encompasses the country's white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and native peoples. Chideya shows us the trials and triumphs of several young adults who dare to brave the new multicultural world, including Earl, a New York City-born, Spanish-speaking, Chinese/Panamanian/African American college sophomore; Nicole, a biracial 15-year-old Californian; Jaime and Bubba, a persecuted interracial couple in the Deep South whose dead daughter was disinterred from an all-white cemetery because of her bloodlines; Beth, a Washington State blueblood and member of a skinhead organization; and B.J., a high school "wigger"--a white person who adopts black hip-hop culture (hence the derivation from the hated N word). Chideya also scrutinizes affirmative action, mixed-race census categories, and bilingual education with wisdom and accuracy beyond her years. "We do not obey the laws of race. We make them," she writes. "Now is the time for us to chose wisely what we will preserve about our racial and cultural history, and what destructive divisions we need to leave behind." --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Noting that the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that nonwhites will be a majority of the American population by the year 2050, ABC News correspondent Chideya set out on a cross-country trip to take a sounding of American attitudes about race and came up with a book that raises many good questions but shies away from challenging answers. She focused on what she calls the "Millennium Generation," 15- to 25-year-old blacks, whites, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, mixed-race persons and others, both native- and foreign-born, because, she writes, "they're more likely to interact with people of other races and backgrounds than other generations." As her respondents air their diverse opinions on affirmative action, voucher programs, immigration, prejudice, jobs, underfunded schools and their dreams and prospects, a valuable composite portrait emerges of America's multiethnic, multiracial future. Chideya, a contributing editor at Time and Vibe, challenged media stereotypes of African-Americans in her first book, Don't Believe the Hype. Here she advocates "color equality" rather than "color blindness" in efforts to transcend cultural stereotypes. Chideya is a good listener, and readers will be entertained and sometimes enlightened by what her subjects say about the role of race and ethnicity at home, at school and on the street. But the book promises more than it delivers. While Chideya sensibly calls for coalition-building among minority groups to strengthen their collective power and develop a political agenda, she stops short of articulating what such an agenda should be. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There are so many books that deal with race these days from a purely clinical perspective. And Chideya certainly does her research. The thesis of her book is that in 50 years--according to the best numbers from the U.S. Census--there will be more non-white Americans than whites. That's going to totally flip the script on race relations.
But where she really shines is bringing out the stories of real people. I was totally brought to tears by the story of LaShunda Prescott, a woman who struggled through U.C. Berkeley while she had to help raise the child of her crack-addicted sister. She also shows a suprising amount of understanding for the economic disenfranchisement of white supremacists, though! (You have to this book to understand her point... how these folks take their beefs with America and instead of blaming big corporations and the government blame black folks and immigrants instead.)
This reporter is courageous. Anybody who can hang with Klansmen and gang bangers in order to get the story is really on point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on June 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's refreshing to see a book like this written by a younger African-American woman, instead of a much-older person far removed from what s/he might be writing about. Ms. Chideya isn't terribly too much older than the young people she interviewed for this book, and coupled with the fact that she's a person of color as well, it must have been doubtless easier for her to have been perceived as "one of them" instead of some stranger who had no clue about their everyday realities. The book's purpose is to stand notions of race on their head, to show, through the eyes of young people, what it's really like to be a member of a certain race, or to be multiracial, and what it's like to live in a community that's very multicultural or self-segregating. It's projected that by the year 2050, white people in America will be a minority, and those of other races (including those of mixed-race heritage) will be in the majority. That scares a lot of people who have lived their entire lives being part of the status quo, confident that their own kind always has been and always will be in the majority. But outside of lily-white insulated communities, the reality is that there's far more interracial mixing and interracial marriages than there ever have been in the past, and this development isn't going to change anytime soon. And as Ms. Chideya points out, the worst racial crisis isn't happening in neighborhoods or cities, but in people's minds. Once people drop the ridiculous notions that America is a "white society" and that race is strictly a black and white issue, they can move forward into the future with open minds and hearts.

Among the topics Ms.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "mbergin@namsinc.org" on July 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really wanted to like this book. Ms. Chideya is very likable and connects to many of the kids in her book. The problem is she dismisses people who don't share her view points out of hand. My biggest problem with her book is that she is adamant that Affirmative Action is the only possible solution to racism, but she fails to provide any proof and dismisses those who think otherwise as racist. With one notes exception she failed to discuss schools in which white students were the minority. (She did discuss the singular white student in an Oakland school, but thats not really multi-racial because one is not a group).
If i could speak with Ms. Chideya, I would suggest that for her next book she studies the relative successes and failures of her multi-ethnic gradutating class and study the benefits of affirmative action on that group. I think that she, and most affirmative action pundits, would be suprised to find out how much more class effects sucess than any factor. I suspect that there will be more commonalities in the demographics of her high-school class than differences because white, black or asian they all come from the same lower-middle class background.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Farai chideya grapples unsuccesfully about racism in her latest book. She claims that racism is not a black and white issue, however throughout the book she repeatedly comes back to sole black and white issues. She has her concepts right- education and experiencing racism can help rid society of this maggot that is racism- however she does not illustrate these theories in the stories she has gathered from traveling cross country. She does not go in enough depth for any of the mini-biographies from the people she interviews to have any impact. She also writes that teenagers are the future of racism, and that it is up to us to determine what role racism will play in the next century, however she does not offer any realistic ideas and suggestions on how to go about educating people. while the concept of this book is a positive one, the resulting take on the book is negative. The color of our future leaves you with an unpleasant aftertaste in your mind, people are better off reading another UN-BIASED book to educate themselves about racism.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The musical "South Pacific" has a line, that while out of context, is good for this book. "Who can explain it, who can tell you why. Fools give you reasons, wise men never try."
While interracial activities are going on the results is anyone's guess. Reading historical documents of the late 19th and early 20th century, Irish,Germans and Italians were not considered part of the majority culture. Now they are.
I expect there will be new realities but considering the higher rate of mixed white-hispanic couples than black-white marriages, etc the result may be different than the author expects.
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The Color of Our Future: Race in the 21st Century
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