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Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal Paperback – May 19, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Rep Sub edition (May 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743238249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743238243
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The author, a political science professor at Queens College in New York City, contends that whites' deep-rooted, pervasive racism against blacks has created "America's version of apartheid." Many white Americans, especially political conservatives, still harbor the prejudice that blacks are genetically inferior, he states. In an important, powerfully argued, dispassionate report that makes liberal use of tables and statistics, Hacker ( The End of the American Era ) documents racist attitudes and practices in the business sector, reveals the low percentage of blacks enrolled in colleges and exposes white racism in politics, employment practices and education and the public's perception of crime and welfare. Turning to blacks' "self-inflicted genocide" through drugs and street violence, he argues that white America shares a large measure of responsibility for this situation because it has fostered a racial chasm--a divide that seems likely to persist unless drastic steps are taken.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hacker, who teaches political science at Queens College, is author of many essays and book reviews on race and class. Here he expounds on the thesis that "America's two principal races"--blacks and whites--are as separate and unequal as ever. Using pointed anecdotes and statistics, Hacker takes the reader through the stigma blacks feel in this country, examining the subtext of everyday acts of bias on the part of whites toward blacks. He then compares sexuality, childbirth and family, income, employment, educational equity and performance, segregated schooling, and crime between the two groups, compellingly arguing that racism does underlie much of the lag that blacks experience in this society. Hacker's research covers history, philosophical writings, and census and other statistics. His discussion of other ethnic groups, however, is less successful (e.g., grouping Asians together in terms of educational performance). Nevertheless, this is necessary reading, recommended for all public and academic libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/91; see also Stud Terkel's Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession , reviewed on p. 115.--Ed.
-Christina Carter, California State Univ. Lib., Fresno
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

That is the core flaw in all of his reasoning and the fatal in his book.
R. Lohaus
Each time, he makes observations about the facts in question but backs up none with any studies hence the references in chapter one were a ruse.
T. Stilwell
Nobody thinks Asians or Arabs are white, but because they're not black, they get more openings and more respect than black people do.
Poniplaizy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
While Hacker uses statistics to illustrate the divide between black and white America, his book is anything but dry. Furthermore, while Hacker is an academic, he avoids the text book type of writing that many academics are known for. Two Nations is interesting, provocative and should be required reading in any class that attempts to address the problems of race in America. Although Hacker's book doesn't provide any solutions, he doesn't proport to. He is truly the foremost writer on race in America. Read Two Nations and find out why.
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44 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Poniplaizy on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
First, I would say that this book is refreshingly dispassionate and un-overheated, both qualities that have been sorely lacking in recent discussions of race. Also, there is plenty of truth in it--some explicitly stated, some not quite so obvious. But truth is a two-edged sword, and Mr. Hacker doesn't come clean about all of it. I think he truly believed he was presenting an objective discussion, and he actually came pretty close, but for a few caveats.

The book does a good job of showing the daily trials black people face, and includes a clever exercise that can jolt you into awareness of just how much you do value your white skin. It also talks straight about how much racism runs deep underground or happens behind the façade of political correctness, and about both sides of the slavery issue. But it runs into trouble in a few ways. First, the author theorizes that other minorities such as Asians and Jews, become "honorary whites" by virtue of their achievements. He thinks the dichotomy is white/nonwhite, but I think it's just the opposite: black/nonblack. Nobody thinks Asians or Arabs are white, but because they're not black, they get more openings and more respect than black people do.

Then there is the statistical data. In every chapter, Hacker gives plenty of it, but then explains or excuses away what the numbers say. And some of his arguments are pretty specious. He says that blacks do less well in school because the oppressive presence of whites makes them feel so hopeless they just give up before they start. Well, that's on a par with my saying that I never did well in math because the fact that there were Asian kids in my class made me feel so insecure I didn't even try.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Carl Skutsch on June 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm amazed at some of my fellow reviewers. Hacker pickes on whites? Sucks up to blacks? Hardly.

I read the book some years ago and was very impressed. Hacker's use of statistics cuts through a lot of the rhetoric that surround the issue of race in America. I don't agree with all his conclusions--on the topic of race, none of us agree on every point--but he makes some very good points. My only complaint, actually, is the analysis is a bit light. I would have liked to see him draw some more conclusions. Still, if you want a statistical overview of race, linked with some good commentary, here's a place to start.

Oh, and I suppose I should mention I'm a white guy. Not a self-hating white guy, just a white guy. And I didn't and don't feel picked on by Hacker's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Overmyer on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book points out, that even in the 21st Century; the separation of black and white, with hostility and un-equality still exists.

The United States is still seen as two separate nations, with the two races living different worlds. The dimensions of race and how it still controls the lives and divisions of our society is still present.

His book has 12 chapters, but I am focusing on chapter 7 which is the "equity in employment, qualifications and quotas". It is unfortunate to say, that this is still a sensitive race-related issue, without a proper balance; even so affirmative action is involved. The statistics which are used in his book are indeed fact. Hacker tried to be fair, however struggled to accomplish this goal of equal employment.

Hacker argues that as recent as the year 2000, areas of employment were still closed to African Americans; he used the census to document the representation, which was only 11.3%. On another note was the income gap among the African American population vs. the white families which earned more. He argues that the African American woman finds jobs easier then her male counterpart, however these jobs are considered "black jobs"; this would include services such as housekeeping.

Affirmative Action brought about some change for the workforce, but mainly for the females, white or black, which left out the African American male. Hacker points out that the possibility of why the African American male struggles with obtaining an average position could be because the white man is threatened by the African American male, or feels uncomfortable in a business that has an abundance of African American males working and therefore only employs a minimal number.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Hacker cogently illustrates race relations and racial attitudes in a way that is very honest and incisive. Although some may feel that he leans a little too far to the left, on the whole he was balanced and fair. Especially insightful was his dissection of white America's deep-rooted feelings on race. Contrary to another posted review, Hacker never claimed that blacks cannot be racist, he simply repeated the assertion of Coleman Young. Rather, he made the point that racism against an overwhelming majority by a _relatively_ powerless minority is ineffectual; it is like the soldier telling the general to go to hell. This was but one of his many salient points.
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