Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America

Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America

Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America

Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America

Synopsis

Face to Face is a bold and compelling analysis of race in America. Waller challenges the myth that life is good for racial minorities by presenting extensive survey and demographic data articulating the continuing, and pronounced, existence of racial disparities.

The author disputes the idea that racism is in decline by contrasting "old-fashioned" racism to socially acceptable forms of everyday "modern" racism. Waller then addresses the notion that America can become a color-blind society by contending that the tendency toward prejudice is inherent in the ways our minds work and respond to each other.

The author concludes with 7 important principles for racial reconciliation that offer hope for racial diversity in our communities, organizations, schools, and families: become a good reconclier and listener; teach yourself to think; know your own heritage and prejudices; open your mind to appreciate racial diversity; engage racial diversity on a personal level; draw on the strength of community; and invest in our future by teaching antiracism to the young.

Face to Face is an unforgettable book that will challenge the way you look at a fundamental issue in American society.

Excerpt

To a microbiologist, skin color is trivial -- a minuscule genetic variation that determines the shade of frosting on the physiological cake. We in the human family share not only a common biological heritage -- cut us and we bleed -- but also common behavioral tendencies. We are the slightly varied leaves of one tree. We sense the world, develop language, and feel hunger through identical mechanisms. Coming from opposite sides of the globe, we know how to read one another's smiles and frowns. Whether we live in the Arctic or in the tropics, we prefer sweet tastes to sour, we divide the color spectrum into similar colors, and we feel drawn to behaviors that produce and protect offspring. As members of one species, we affiliate, conform, reciprocate favors, punish offenses, organize hierarchies of status and grieve a child's death. A visitor from outer space could drop in anywhere and find humans playing sports and games, dancing and feasting, singing and worshiping, laughing and crying, living in families, and forming groups. To be human is to be more alike than different.

But what a difference the frosting makes, as this book convincingly explains. Although racial groupings have little biological reality-- nature does not cluster humans into neat, nonoverlapping categories-- race assuredly has social reality. Much as we organize what is actually a color continuum into what we perceive as distinct colors, so we cannot resist categorizing people into groups, and then associating ourselves with "us," and contrasting ourselves with "them." We label people of widely varying ancestry as "black" or "white," as if such categories were black-and-white.

Is the potency of race in America nevertheless waning? Increasing numbers of us do not fit neatly into established racial or ethnic catego-

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