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Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity (Open Media)by Tim Wise
Synopses & Reviews
Following the civil rights movement, race relations in the United States entered a new era. Legal gains were interpreted by some as ensuring equal treatment for all and that "colorblind" policies and programs would be the best way forward. Since then, many voices have called for an end to affirmative action and other color-conscious policies and programs, and even for a retreat from public discussion of racism itself.
Bolstered by the election of Barack Obama, proponents of colorblindness argue that the obstacles faced by blacks and people of color in the United States can no longer be attributed to racism but instead result from economic forces. Thus, they contend, programs meant to uplift working-class and poor people are the best means for overcoming any racial inequalities that might still persist. In Colorblind, Tim Wise refutes these assertions and advocates that the best way forward is to become more, not less, conscious of race and its impact on equal opportunity.
Focusing on disparities in employment, housing, education and healthcare, Wise argues that racism is indeed still an acute problem in the United States today, and that colorblind policies actually worsen the problem of racial injustice. Colorblind presents a timely and provocative look at contemporary racism and offers fresh ideas on what can be done to achieve true social justice and economic equality.
"In his follow-up to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Wise continues to explore his provocative contention that Obama's commitment to transcending racism has made it 'more difficult than ever to address ongoing racial bias' in America. By refusing to openly confront racism, Wise argues, the President has ceded the ground to conservatives, allowing them to 'manipulate racial angers unmolested and unchecked.' While many progressives are disappointed that Obama has, in their view, capitulated to corporate interests and not forged his own New Deal, Wise makes the opposite charge. He believes that Obama is in fact too eager to follow FDR's lead in subordinating racial issues to the fight against poverty. Obama's endorsement of New Deal measures like social security, FHA home loan programs, and the G.I. Bill downplays the extent to which these programs were and continue to be 'intensely racialized.' Wise also contends that the pervasiveness of racism has a subconscious effect on Americans that can only be altered by forcing the issue into the open." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"With Colorblind, Tim Wise offers a gutsy call to arms. Rather than play nice and reiterate the fiction of black racial transcendence, Wise takes the gloves off: He insists white Americans themselves must be at the forefront of the policy shifts necessary to correct our nation's racial imbalances in crime, health, wealth, education and more. A piercing, passionate and illuminating critique of the post-racial moment." Bakari Kitwana, author of The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture
"Tim Wise’s Colorblind brilliantly challenges the idea that the election of Obama has ushered in a post-racial era. In clear, engaging, and accessible prose, Wise explains that ignoring problems does not make them go away, that race-bound problems require race-conscious remedies. Perhaps most important, Colorblind proposes practical solutions to our problems and promotes new ways of thinking that encourage us to both recognize differences and to transcend them." George Lipsitz, author of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness
"At every turn and every corner, in every crevice and every crack, Tim Wise debunks the mythology of a ‘Color Blind’ society with the vigor of a statistician and the passion befitting one of the preeminent anti-racist theorists working today. You will literally lose your breath trying to keep up with the ways that Wise lays waste to the idea that we've achieved anything close to a 'post-race' society. If you don’t know who Tim Wise is, you will after this book." Mark Anthony Neal, author of New Black Man and Professor of African & African-American Studies at Duke University
"A phenomenal book, a great read, you definitely want to check out." Roland Martin, The Tom Joyner Show & CNN
"I highly, highly, highly recommend it." Tavis Smiley
"I finally finished Tim Wise's Colorblind and found it right-on, straight-ahead piece of work. This guy hits all the targets, it's really quite remarkable . . . That's two of his that I've read [the first being Between Barack] and they are both works of crystal truth . . ." Mumia Abu-Jamal
"America needs not to 'move beyond' race but to adopt innovative public policies that directly address it. Wise gives specific ideas of what those policies might be." World Wide Work
"Wise's powerful and thought-provoking book is aimed at opening the eyes of Americans, by showing them that this country, in 2010, is not a colorblind society." —The Empowerment Initiative Online Newsletter
"Tim Wise dismantles the myth that full equality has been won and the playing field is level with hard facts, citing studies that have shown the persistence of institutional racism and white racial preference in all areas, including employment, education and health care." —Kel Munger, Sacramento News & Review
"The book is consistently interesting and, in many ways, unsettling as it challenges the settled opinions on race matters. . . . In a post-racial society, ‘race-bound problems require race-conscious remedies.’ A preeminent anti-racist, Tim Wise lays out brilliantly his views on a society that is yet to move beyond discrimination to a post-racial liberalism." —Tribune India
“The author of 'White Like Me' returns with the timely and provocative 'Colorblind,' examining the ongoing racial disparities in all aspects of American life in the age of Obama. Wise convincingly argues that by turning a colorblind eye, we not only fail to achieve equality but in fact worsen racial injustice.” —Shelf Unbound
"A new book by Tim Wise,Colorblind: The Rise of Post-racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity, provides an excellent companion piece to Alexander’s “New Jim Crow”. Wise argues that Barack Obama’s appeal to post-racial universalism has been an unmitigated disaster. By refusing to address the tidal wave of racist rhetoric currently engulfing the Republic, Obama has multiplied its power. . . . I urge you to run out and buy a copy of this important book..." —Alan Bean, Friends of Justice
Book News Annotation:
This powerful (and certain to be controversial) book takes aim at the common assertion that the election of Barack Obama led the US into a post-racial age. Instead, Wise asserts, the deployment of "color- blind" policies is not only a bad way to implement a progressive political agenda, but they undermine efforts to deal with race-based social and economic inequality and lend credence to right-wing arguments that these inequalities are due to innate problems in black and brown communities. As a remedy, the author suggests color- conscious policy-making as the best way to promote fairness in US society. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In this powerful follow-up to Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise argues against colorblindness and for a deeper color-consciousness in both public and private practice. We can only begin to move toward authentic social and economic equity through what Wise calls illuminated individualism — acknowledging the diverse identities that have shaped our perceptions, and the role that race continues to play in the maintenance of disparities between whites and people of color in the United States today. This is the first book to discuss the pitfalls of colorblindness in the Obama era.
How "colorblindness" in policy and personal practice perpetuate racial inequity in the United States today.
Wise explores how "colorblindness" in policy and personal practice perpetuate racial inequity in the United States today.
About the Author
Tim Wise is one of the most prominent antiracist essayists, educators and activists in the United States. For twenty years he has challenged racial inequities as a community organizer, public speaker, workshop facilitator and writer. He has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people, contributed essays or chapters to more than twenty books, and has appeared regularly on radio and television as a guest commentator on race issues. He is the author of four previous books: White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son; Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White; Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male, and Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.
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