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Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama Paperback – January, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"Wise, a white anti-racism activist and scholar (and author of White Like Me), pushes plenty of buttons in this methodical breakdown of racism's place in the wake of Barack Obama's victory. In the first of two essays, the author obliterates the canard of the US as a post-racial society; bigotry and insititutionalized discrimination, he contends, have simply morphed into 'Racism 2.0,' in which successful minorities are celebrated 'as having 'transcended' their blackness in some way.' While racial disparities in employment and income, housing, education and other areas persist, Obama has become an amiable sitcom dad like Bill Cosby, putting whites at ease by speaking, looking and acting 'a certain way'not to mention avoiding discussion of race. In his second, more incendiary essay, Wise concludes that whites must take responsibility for racism. What the majority of whites fail to grasp, he says, is that they continue to benefit from a system of 'entrenched privileges' centuries in the making, and that racism remains a serious obstacle for millions of African Americans. There's no sugar coating here for whites, nor are there any news flashes for Americans of color, but Wise bravely enumerates the unpalatable truths of a nation still struggling to understand its legacy of racist oppression."Publishers Weekly
"Wise fully delivers (by merging scholarship with politically engaged criticism in a short and accessibly written manner) this book is forceful, relentless, and convincing."Journal of Higher Education
"From income and jobs, housing, education, criminal justice, and healthcare, Wise masterfully demonstrates the continuing disparities between black and white America. He notes the absence of these issues in the Obama-Biden campaign or the attempt to read structural inequalities through a race-free lens called CLASS. At every step, Wise absolves the Obama campaign of responsibility for their less than candid approach to racial issues, saying that campaign strategists confronted the reality of white racism by side-stepping the issue Wise's book provides welcome relief to the obnoxious self-congratulation that followed Obama's election to the presidency."Jillian McLaughlin, Kosmopolitan
"The punning title of his book, 'Between Barack and a Hard Place,' belies the sobering material within. Wise paints a stark picture of racial inequality in the United States today Wise's short book reads like an old-school polemic: Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' for the 21st century A post-racial United States is an imagined country."Adam Bradley, The Washington Post
"Tim Wise, a long-time anti-racist activist, has just finished a very timely book that warns against becoming comfortable with racism while we are distracted by Obama's election. Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama continues the excellent work around the issue of [w]hite [p]rivilege that Wise has pounded home in his books, articles, and public talks across the country."Jeff Smith, Media Mouse
Top Customer Reviews
Quoting sources like academic studies and Department of Justice reports, Wise shows that racism is still a serious problem in this society. Black and brown people are 25 percent of the drug users in this country but make up 90 percent of those in prison for drug possession. White people are 70 percent of the drug users yet are only ten percent of the persons in prison for such a crime. A 2001 report from the Department of Justice found that black women were 9 times more likely than white women to be stopped at airports and searched for contraband but white women were 2 times more likely than black women to actually have drugs on them. More blacks than whites are pulled over by police on suspicion of having contraband but white people are actually more likely to have contraband in these incidents.Read more ›
Tim Wise constructs two pithy arguments pertaining the "Call for White Responsibility". First, Wise discusses the denial of racism in the current age. Second, Wise discusses the need for white Americans to confront, attack and reverse the impact of white privilege.
People of all races must be wary of the concept of "transcending Blackness". This is the tendency to accept a select segment of the Black population because the defy the current stigmatism of negative stereotypes. Wise examines this phenomenon in detail.
Second, people of all races must admit that the vast majority of white Americans currently living are not to blame for current systems of racism which are in place. However, Wise is calling for Caucasians to acknowledge any benefits that they may receive from the inherited system and work towards truly equalizing the American experience through the abolition of racism.
If I could suggest that every American read a selection of Tim Wise before they attend an American University, I would. Perhaps the world would be a different place.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great speaker and great writer. I'd like to read what he is writing now about the state of our nation.Published 5 days ago by Brie S
Wise has masterfully penned the underline racial tone of modern racism. This is a must read for those who dare to build a beloved community.Published 18 months ago by Darrio
a book everyone human being should read. written by a caucasian guy who knows the ways of life of how people are treated differently by the color of their skin. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Angela
It would be all too easy to dismiss this book as the ranting of a white guilt liberal who causes conservatives to think that liberalism is a mental disorder and toss it in the... Read morePublished on April 14, 2014 by Dave Murray
Every person in this country and abroad should read this book. Tim Wise is brilliant writer and an invaluable asset to the human race. Thank you Tim. I love everything you write.Published on March 12, 2014 by sherese hinkle
This book introduces so much about our nation's history out side of the Subject of race that I never knew before.Published on February 20, 2014 by Ryan Smoot