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1 Burnside American Studies- Culture Wars

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This title in other editions

The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality

by

The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A brilliant assault on our obsession with every difference except the one that really mattersthe difference between rich and poor
 
If theres one thing Americans agree on, its the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebodys History Month. But in this provocative new book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of “difference” masks our neglect of Americas vast and growing economic divide. Affirmative action in schools has not made them more open, its just guaranteed that the rich kids come in the appropriate colors. Diversity training in the workplace has not raised anybodys salary (except maybe the diversity trainers) but it has guaranteed that when your job is outsourced, your culture will be treated with respect.

With lacerating prose and exhilarating wit, Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion to diversity, from companies apologizing for slavery, to a college president explaining why there arent more women math professors, to the codes of conduct in the new “humane corporations.” Looking at the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and the lawsuits we bring, Michaels shows that diversity has become everyones sacred cow precisely because it offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. The Trouble with Diversity urges us to start thinking about real justice, about equality instead of diversity. Attacking both the right and the left, it will be the most controversial political book of the year.

Walter Benn Michaels is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Widely noted as one of the founders (with Stephen Greenblatt) of the New Historicism, he is the author of Our America and The Shape of the Signifier and has contributed to The New York Times Magazine and The Boston Globe. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
If there is one thing Americans agree on, it is the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody's History Month. But in this provocative new book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of "difference" masks our neglect of America's vast and growing economic divide. Affirmative action in schools has not made them more open, it's just guaranteed that the rich kids come in the appropriate colors. Diversity training in the workplace has not raised anybody's salary (except maybe the diversity trainers') but it has guaranteed that when your job is outsourced, your culture will be treated with respect.

Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion to diversity, from companies apologizing for slavery, to a college president explaining why there are not more women math professors, to the codes of conduct in the new "humane corporations." Looking at the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and the lawsuits we bring, Michaels shows that diversity has become everyone's sacred cow precisely because it offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. The Trouble with Diversity urges us to start thinking about real justice, about equality instead of diversity.

"[A] daring new book . . . Michaels convincingly argues that the emphasis on diversity in modern American life often obscures dangerous economic inequalities. . . . [H]is conclusions are valuable, crucial and impossible to disagree with."David Treuer, The Washington Post Book World
"[A] daring new book . . . Michaels convincingly argues that the emphasis on diversity in modern American life often obscures dangerous economic inequalities. . . . [H]is conclusions are valuable, crucial and impossible to disagree with."David Treuer, The Washington Post Book World
 
"Michaels is on to something here. He is at his best when he is running his chain saw through other people's cant. He mostly sticks to this strength. His method is to insist that we be as principled as principle demands . . . [A] captivating read and a necessary provocation . . . Michaels confronts us with an essential challenge."Wesley Yang, Los Angeles Times
 
"As seen in Katrina's aftermath, raising the it's-not-race-it's-class specter in contemporary America elicits some pretty complex concerns. Yet with wit, incisive argumentation and a good deal of humor, Michaels, one of the founders of the New Historicist school of criticism, rises to the challenge, increasing the intelligence level of the discussion with one of the best (and, surely, most provocative) nonfiction books of the year."Austin Considine, San Francisco Chronicle
 
"[Michaels] describes in eloquent detail how the liberal pursuit of social and economic equality was sidetracked by the pursuit of 'diversity.'"Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune
 
"Mr. Michaels' position as an English professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago carries significant advantages for this book. He is situated within academia, the realm where diversity has been consciously sought for the longest time and where most of the diversity talk is talked . . . Short [and] snappy . . . The book's principal value is as a wake-up call to address those larger intractable problems. It's difficult to dispute Mr. Michaels' conclusion that today's America 'would much rather celebrate cultural diversity than seek to establish economic equality.'"National Catholic Reporter
 
"[E]legant and literary . . . Michaels's book is directed squarely at American society; his engaging stories and telling statistics are all drawn from south-of-the-border. Yet Canadians resist his admonitions and analyses at their peril. As a nation committed to diversity, we must confront the awkward fact that, as we preach and occasionally revel in the virtues of diversity, our society has been getting more economically unequal. Measured by both wealth and income, the gap between the haves and the have-nots is increasing over the past decade. The fact that the chattering classes seem to pretend otherwise is a sad indictment of political integrity . . . [H]is call to refocus attention on economic equality is sound and compelling . . . a potent and disturbing critique . . . His taunt that 'celebrating diversity is now our way of accepting inequality' is a less a cold shower (and we need that to wash off the spilt blood) and more like being thrown into freezing waters with no life-belt; it is invigorating as well as threatening and refreshing as well as disorienting. All self-respecting liberals should endure Michaels' harsh therapy; it is a telling tonic for all manner of liberal righteousness. Our native smugness and complacency demand nothing less."Allan C. Hutchinson, distinguished Research Professor, Osgoode Hall School of Law, in The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Review:

"Cultural diversity, we are told, is good for us. It represents the true contours of the country and experiencing it — through text, cuisine and cultural activities — is seen as a good thing. But Walter Benn Michaels is not buying it. In his daring new book, 'The Trouble With Diversity,' he argues that cultural diversity obscures the more radical problem of economic inequality. Diversity, and its... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

"A withering examination of how the celebration of cultural and ethnic difference obscures our yawning economic divide . . .   This is a refreshing, angry, and important book." --The Atlantic Monthly
 
Acclaimed as "eloquent" (Chicago Tribune), "cogent" (The New Yorker), and "impossible to disagree with" (The Washington Post); excoriated as a "wildly implausible" product of "the 'shock and awe' school of political argument" (Slate), The Trouble with Diversity argues that our enthusiastic celebration of "difference" masks our neglect of the difference that really matters--the one between rich and poor. A magnificent skewer of pieties, Walter Benn Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion--from affirmative action, to the worship of multiculturalism, to the obsession with heritage and identity--demonstrating that diversity offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. In a daring break with both the left and the right, he calls for less attention to the illusory distinction of culture and more attention to the real discrepancies of class and wealth.

Synopsis:

A brilliant assault on our obsession with every difference except the one that really matters--the difference between rich and poor
 
If there's one thing Americans agree on, it's the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody's History Month. But in this provocative new book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of "difference" masks our neglect of America's vast and growing economic divide. Affirmative action in schools has not made them more open, it's just guaranteed that the rich kids come in the appropriate colors. Diversity training in the workplace has not raised anybody's salary (except maybe the diversity trainers') but it has guaranteed that when your job is outsourced, your culture will be treated with respect.

With lacerating prose and exhilarating wit, Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion to diversity, from companies apologizing for slavery, to a college president explaining why there aren't more women math professors, to the codes of conduct in the new "humane corporations." Looking at the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and the lawsuits we bring, Michaels shows that diversity has become everyone's sacred cow precisely because it offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. The Trouble with Diversity urges us to start thinking about real justice, about equality instead of diversity. Attacking both the right and the left, it will be the most controversial political book of the year.

About the Author

Walter Benn Michaels is a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Widely noted as one of the founders (with Stephen Greenblatt) of the New Historicism, he is the author of Our America and The Shape of the Signifier and has contributed to the New York Times Magazine and the Boston Globe. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805078411
Subtitle:
How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality
Author:
Michaels, Walter Benn
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Discrimination & Racism
Subject:
Social classes
Subject:
Multiculturalism
Subject:
Equality
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - General
Subject:
SOC050000
Subject:
Equality -- United States.
Subject:
Group identity -- United States.
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Discrimination
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
Discrimination & Race Relations
Subject:
Political Economy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20070724
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » Culture Wars
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Culture
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality Used Hardcover
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$9.38 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Metropolitan Books - English 9780805078411 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"A withering examination of how the celebration of cultural and ethnic difference obscures our yawning economic divide . . .   This is a refreshing, angry, and important book." --The Atlantic Monthly
 
Acclaimed as "eloquent" (Chicago Tribune), "cogent" (The New Yorker), and "impossible to disagree with" (The Washington Post); excoriated as a "wildly implausible" product of "the 'shock and awe' school of political argument" (Slate), The Trouble with Diversity argues that our enthusiastic celebration of "difference" masks our neglect of the difference that really matters--the one between rich and poor. A magnificent skewer of pieties, Walter Benn Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion--from affirmative action, to the worship of multiculturalism, to the obsession with heritage and identity--demonstrating that diversity offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. In a daring break with both the left and the right, he calls for less attention to the illusory distinction of culture and more attention to the real discrepancies of class and wealth.
"Synopsis" by ,
A brilliant assault on our obsession with every difference except the one that really matters--the difference between rich and poor
 
If there's one thing Americans agree on, it's the value of diversity. Our corporations vie for slots in the Diversity Top 50, our universities brag about minority recruiting, and every month is Somebody's History Month. But in this provocative new book, Walter Benn Michaels argues that our enthusiastic celebration of "difference" masks our neglect of America's vast and growing economic divide. Affirmative action in schools has not made them more open, it's just guaranteed that the rich kids come in the appropriate colors. Diversity training in the workplace has not raised anybody's salary (except maybe the diversity trainers') but it has guaranteed that when your job is outsourced, your culture will be treated with respect.

With lacerating prose and exhilarating wit, Michaels takes on the many manifestations of our devotion to diversity, from companies apologizing for slavery, to a college president explaining why there aren't more women math professors, to the codes of conduct in the new "humane corporations." Looking at the books we read, the TV shows we watch, and the lawsuits we bring, Michaels shows that diversity has become everyone's sacred cow precisely because it offers a false vision of social justice, one that conveniently costs us nothing. The Trouble with Diversity urges us to start thinking about real justice, about equality instead of diversity. Attacking both the right and the left, it will be the most controversial political book of the year.

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