Black Anxiety, White Guilt, and the Politics of Status Frustration

Black Anxiety, White Guilt, and the Politics of Status Frustration

Black Anxiety, White Guilt, and the Politics of Status Frustration

Black Anxiety, White Guilt, and the Politics of Status Frustration

Excerpt

For some time now, we have been concerned about, and perplexed by, the apparent inability of our society to improve relations between African Americans and the white majority. The optimism that attended passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act seems to have been swamped by waves of ugly accusation and counter-accusation. This book is our attempt to come to grips with the often racially charged events of the past 30 years--the successes as well as the failures. It arises from the conviction that so many of our race relations specialists and intellectuals remain prisoners of outdated theories of race relations. As a nation, we are immured, it seems, in the categories and preconceptions of our past--a time when African Americans were accurately depicted as the victims of white racism. Today, however, the companion images of blacks as victims and whites as oppressors serve to obscure and mislead people rather than reveal and illuminate the difficulties experienced by blacks in their contacts with whites.

We are convinced that much of today's racial conflict is caused less by racism and discrimination than by the myriad frustrations occasioned by the very advances that have produced the emergence of the nation's first substantial black middle class. To us, this constitutes a paradox of progress in which material and economic inclusion sets the stage for the specific encounters with whites that so many blacks label offensive. Surely, feelings of status deprivation and threats to identity play a far more crucial role in our current crisis than is commonly acknowledged. Often frustrated claims . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.