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White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism 4th Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1429233446
ISBN-10: 1429233443
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Worth Publishers; 4th edition (February 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1429233443
  • ISBN-13: 978-1429233446
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Picture a soldier.

Picture a doctor.

Picture a taxpaying American.

Were any of these images black people? Probably not...even if you are black yourself. In our society the presumption is that people are white unless they are specifically raced otherwise. This presumption of whiteness as "the norm" and everyone else as "the other" - and the immense societal costs of this presumption - is at the heart of this collection, explored in 16 accessible readings designed to allow educators at different levels to initiate conversations about whiteness and white privilege in courses in many disciplines. It's divided into four sections, each with discussion questions:

The Power of Invisibility exposes the hidden power of whiteness, and the advantages it provides to whites as a group without them ever having realize, much less acknowledge, that such advantages exist.

The Power of the Past traces how and why the definition of "whiteness" has evolved and changed over the years. For example, there was a time when the Irish, Jews and Eastern Europeans (among others) were not considered white. "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness" demonstrates that long after slavery ended, public policy (even that supposedly designed to help minorities, like Urban Renewal) has systematically and adversely effected African Americans' ability to amass net worth, enhancing the rewards of past discrimination. Meanwhile, when white people start to feel disadvantaged or inconvenienced, they blame "affirmative action.
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Format: Paperback
In White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Race, Rothenberg has compiled and reduced some very important and complex discussions on whiteness from a variety of social contexts. In White Privilege, whiteness is traced from it's multiple origins and entry points giving a basic understanding on how whiteness developed as a social construct, what whiteness has meant to numerous people, how various Others have become white, and how whiteness is navigated and construed by people of color.
It should be noted that this is a primer - an entry-level text on whiteness. This book is highly recommended for those seeking a deeper understanding of what whiteness is, what it means, and to some degree what it costs. It's a valuable starting point with numerous references and further readings for those who seek a deeper, richer, understanding of whiteness.
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Format: Paperback
This book is highly readable and the analysis is very good. The only reason people would be reacting so negatively is if they have an investment in perpetuating racism. If you do not, then you will appreciate this book and its contribution to helping us understand the dynamics of privilege and how we can unconsciously fuel racism. The first step to changing something is understanding it. Nothing is helped by sticking your head in the sand and denying a problem exists. I encourage everyone who cares about ending the racist (and sexist and classist) power structure in our society to read this book.
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I'm finding it difficult to write just a good or a bad review on Paula Rothenberg’s White Privilege. The reason being- there are only so many ways to say that the concept of “white privilege” exists and that white people are benefiting from it.

In short, this book is made up of a collection of essays Rothenberg saw as well-suited to approach the notion of white privilege. It is divided up into four parts, each with its own theme. Part one, titled “Whiteness: The Power of Invisibility”, discusses how many white people aren’t aware of the privilege they have, but also don’t want to come to terms with it. The book essentially works as a funnel, first explaining the matters of “whiteness” and “white privilege”, and then delving further into the power behind such privilege, and how to combat it (addressed in part four- “Whiteness: The Power of Resistance”).

After reading the few chapters that made up Part one, I found myself in a strange position; I was interested in the material, yet I was falling asleep while reading it. Was I tired? No, I was fine 10 minutes ago. Am I bored? Possibly. I quickly discovered that it was because I felt I was reading the same material over and over again. Thirty pages in and I already knew what the rest of the book would entail; more essays about how “whiteness” has been glorified throughout history and as a result, those who identify as “white” have been benefiting greatly in society. Though I agreed with much of the text in the essays I was presented with, I couldn’t help but feel bored; I knew I could walk away from the book and not feel like I was missing out on anything.
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This book helped open my mind to white privilege and racism from a systemic and structural view point that I had not thought of before. I really enjoyed the essays and the readings helped me think of things in a different frame of mind than before.
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