Racism in Contemporary America

Racism in Contemporary America

Racism in Contemporary America

Racism in Contemporary America


Racism in Contemporary America is the largest and most up-to-date bibliography available on current research on the topic. It has been compiled by award-winning researcher Meyer Weinberg, who has spent many years writing and researching contemporary and historical aspects of racism. Almost 15,000 entries to books, articles, dissertations, and other materials are organized under 87 subject-headings. In addition, there are author and ethnic-racial indexes.


The present volume is the third in a series of book-length bibliographies of racism. Its predecessors were Racism in the United States (1990) and World Racism and Related Inhumanities (1992). All have been published by Greenwood Press. Together, they contain over 36,650 entries. None of the volumes was produced with the aid of a foundation or other granting agency. To my knowledge there is no foundation or agency in the United States which promotes the scholarly study of racism by helping create research bibliographies. Few if any universities in the country undertake research into the subject except in a minor and unsystematic way.

Racism in Contemporary America provides to readers and researchers a comprehensive array of books, dissertations, legislative hearings, monographs, journal articles, investigative accounts, and other materials bearing on racism. The contents are grouped under 87 subject-headings and are thoroughly indexed. Empirical studies and commentaries make up a principal part of the contents. Definitional and theoretical aspects are also covered, with a broad range of viewpoints represented. This is not, however, a debate handbook. The compiler's basic interest is to end racism, not merely study it.

Racism has entered every major institution of American society, and marked virtually every era of American history. A bibliography of the subject must reflect these facts. Historical studies are noted throughout the volume under many subject-headings in addition to "History." Wherever possible, historical actors' articles or books are cited as in the case of Frederick Douglass writing on the vagaries of citizenship in the United States. Many works by W.E.B. Du Bois are listed.

There is very little evidence in the literature of the subject that racism is disappearing in the United States. Autobiographies and biographies of Americans of many ethnicities demonstrate the across- the-board nature of racist discrimination. Even in the stories of socially successful persons, discrimination has left many tracks. The same is true of the entries under "Localities." Whatever conclusions one might arrive at in general, the literature of localities indicates clearly that racial discrimination endures. This can be seen also in the section on "Black Towns."

The subject index illustrates another important aspect of racism in America: entries by ethnic and racial group permit us to compare and contrast the experience of racism for each group. At the heart of racism lies a refusal to acknowledge the equal human worth of distinctive groups of people in customary spheres of social life. That failure is especially injurious when backed by governmental force or private economic power, or both. Many entries in this volume document this fact. A Chicana leader put it this way: "Texas is our Mississippi." Sharing a common oppression does not, of course, obliterate the characteristics of time and place that distinguish the groups. Nor are all deprivations equal in intensity and consequence.

A common misunderstanding of racism is to equate it with racial prejudice exercised by some individuals against other individuals and actuated by sentiments of hate. Racism, however, is far more than the sum of individual hates or dislikes. It may, in fact, have little or nothing to do with such sentiments. Racism is an ideology . . .

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