Getting beyond Race: The Changing American Culture

Getting beyond Race: The Changing American Culture

Getting beyond Race: The Changing American Culture

Getting beyond Race: The Changing American Culture


Drawing on his own experience of having lived with different racial groups, the author writes about those who are trying to reduce the significance of race in society and, through their actions, to create models of behaviour for America's future.


Viewing contemporary problems through a racial prism is likely to impede the creation of a color-blind society. Given the ideological and deeply emotional nature of race, such an approach to issues of common concern is generally counterproductive. Because race is an issue that is so bound up with personal identity, expectations for an open and honest dialogue on racial issues are frequently unrealized. Most Americans tend to perceive discussions of race as intrinsically accusatory and emotional; consequently, effective communication is virtually impossible, and precious opportunities for breaking down racial barriers are squandered. Problems remain unresolved and continue to incite distrust, fear, and interpersonal conflict. Getting Beyond Race maintains that America's success in race relations requires nothing less than the adoption of new ways of thinking about race.

Reframing or changing the way a problem is perceived offers a realistic opportunity to engage in more productive and less confrontational dialogues with the goal of eliminating racial discrimination in American society. Reframing helps to develop new vantage points; it elicits new information, attitudes, and potential solutions. This book posits that reframing problems within the broader context of universal human virtues, and particularly American values, has the potential to further integrate American society. Instead of drawing additional attention to skin color, reframing can help develop a greater awareness of common interests, a common humanity, and a genuine sense of community.

Although race continues to matter, there have been significant improvements in race relations throughout the United States over the past thirty years. An obvious example of this change is the wide public support for Colin Powell's hoped-for presidential candidacy in 1996 (even though he never entered the race) and Powell's standing as a leading contender for the Republican ticket in the year 2000. the central argument of this book is that the emergence of a strong and growing black middle class, the dynamic force of generational change, increasing rates of interracial marriage and transracial adoptions, and profound attitudinal and behavioral changes support the view that America is inexorably moving beyond race.

Blacks and whites have never been closer. They interact daily at all levels of society--from day-care centers to the White House--as individuals and . . .

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