Black/Brown/White Relations: Race Relations in the 1970s

By Charles V. Willie | Go to book overview

Introduction
Race, Power, and
Social Change

During an era of separatism, estrangement, polarization, and deep social cleavage, the source of knowledge one is willing to trust can be a serious impediment to knowing. With reference to books, we have used all kinds of rationalizations of why one book is better than another in dealing with a particular topic. Seldom do we grapple with the fundamental question: which writer are we willing to trust? This is a real issue in the sociology of knowledge, especially with reference to race relations.

Since the Civil War, America has been struggling with the issue of race relations and supposedly seeking an answer.One reason the answer of racial reconciliation has eluded us is that we have been unwilling to hear and believe any researchers, reporters, or analysts except the ones with whom we identify. What is it like to be black in America? This is a question that has troubled whites for many years. But whites tend to doubt reports on the black experience unless they are prepared by whites.

J. Saunders Redding, a black intellectual, gifted writer, member of the Phi Beta Kappa editorial board of The American Scholar, and a college professor, wrote a most revealing book entitled On Being Negro in America (10). His book never received the attention it deserved.Apparently whites were unwilling to trust a black to truthfully explain his circumstances of life. But Black Like Me was written by John Griffin

-11-

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