Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Excellent book about white privilege & racism

Robert Jensen has just published a book that is well worth reading. Here is a short description with info at the end:

An honest look at U.S. racism, and the liberal platitudes that attempt to conceal it.

In "The Souls of Black Folk", W.E.B. DuBois wrote that the real question whites wanted to ask him, but were afraid to, was: "How does it feel to be a problem?" In "The Heart of Whiteness", Robert Jensen writes that it is time for white America to self-consciously reverse the direction of that question at the heart of color. It's time for white people to fully acknowledge that in the racial arena, they are the problem.

While some whites would like to think that we have reached "the end of racism" in the U.S., and others would like to celebrate diversity but remain oblivious to the political, economic, and social consequences of a nation founded on a system of white supremacy, Jensen proposes a different approach. He sets his sights not only on the racism that can't be hidden, but also on the liberal platitudes that sometimes conceal the depths of that racism in American "polite society."

This book offers an honest and rigorous exploration of what Jensen refers to as the depraved nature of whiteness in the United States. Mixing personal experience with data and theory, Jensen faces down the difficult realities of race, racism, and white privilege. He argues that any system that denies non-white people their full humanity also keeps white people from fully accessing their own.

This book is both a cautionary tale for those white people who believe that they have transcended racism, and also an expression of the hope for genuine transcendence.

"Very few white writers have been able to point out the pathological nature of white privilege and supremacy with the eloquence of Robert Jensen. "In The Heart of Whiteness", Jensen demonstrates not only immense wisdom on the issue of race, but does so in the kind of direct and accessible fashion that separates him from virtually any other academic scholar, or journalist, writing on these subjects today.

"With radical honesty, hard facts, and an abundance of insight and compassion, Robert Jensen lays out strategies for recognizing and dismantling white privilege and helping others to do the same. This text is more than just important; it's useful. Jensen demonstrates again that he is a leading voice in the American quest for justice." -Adam Mansbach, author of Angry Black White Boy, or The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay

The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege
by Robert Jensen
Available September 2005, City Lights Books
ISBN 0-87286-449-9
Paperback, 124 pp