From Publishers Weekly
Calling white racism "the most consequential [problem] for the nation's future," two University of Florida sociologists offer several recent case studies: cross burnings in Dubuque, Iowa; discrimination against black patrons at the Denny's restaurant chain; the readiness of the Boston police and the media to believe Charles Stuart when he accused a black man of committing the murder he himself committed-a case consistently mentioned in discussions Sue Smith, who said a black man kidnapped her two children before she confessed to killing them. Much of this has already been picked over by the media but the authors suggest that these events could have turned out differently save for certain individual and societal perceptions and reactions. For example, the authors uncover knee-jerk reactions in media treatment of 1988 presidential campaign scarecrow Willie Horton and rapper Sister Souljah. The book's opening description of the Los Angeles riots as an "urban rebellion" telegraphs a strong PC bias, in which the authors avoid nuanced discussion of race (try Stephen Carter or Cornel West), dismiss white (not to mention black) fears of black crime and offer such dubious proposals as reparations for slavery and a new constitutional convention that would entrench identity politics. Still, the authors are correct to say that blacks have more contact with whites than vice versa, and that whites must develop cross-racial empathy; those who have "some personal experience with exploitation, discrimination, or oppression" are, they say, more likely to empathize.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Feagin and Vera's well-intentioned book presents seven case studies of American racism perpetrated by middle-class whites against blacks (who, for Feagin and Vera, belong to no class). The cases are those of cross burnings in Dubuque, Iowa, that protested a proposal to attract black families to the preponderantly white city; ill will among undergraduates at a college (Olivet) founded by abolitionists; discrimination in family restaurant chains (Shoney's, Denny's, IHOP); whites (skinheads) who murder blacks or frame them for murder; Rodney King and the LAPD; Willie Horton and George Bush; and Sister Souljah and Bill Clinton. The concise recaps of these newsy racial incidents may become godsends to students with term papers to write but don't make up for the book's great weakness--deploring racism's cost in dollars but nowhere even estimating it. The volume's final contribution to understanding American racism could be glossed, unimpressively but not completely unfairly, "Few white Americans realize that racism was not ended by the Civil War. Even fewer realize something even more disturbing: racism is wrong." Roland Wulbert
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.