Synopses & Reviews
Renowned social justice advocate john a. powell persuasively argues that we have not achieved a post-racial society and that there is much work to do to redeem the American promise of inclusive democracy. Culled from a decade of writing about social justice and spirituality, these meditations on race, identity, and social policy provide an outline for laying claim to our shared humanity and a way toward healing ourselves and securing our future. Racing to Justice challenges us to replace attitudes and institutions that promote and perpetuate social suffering with those that foster relationships and a way of being that transcends disconnection and separation.
"Few scholars today explore racial (in)justice with as much depth and clarity, and with such fresh insight, as john powell. In these enlightening essays, powell challenges those of us who consider ourselves relatively evolved on issues of race and social justice to think far more critically about the basic assumptions and paradigms that frame our perspectives, animate our scholarship, and drive our advocacy. The central question he poses--"Can we stop focusing simply on transactional moves that we see as winnable and start working for the transformation of institutions that perpetuate suffering?"--is, perhaps, the most important and pressing question for racial justice advocates today." --Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
"A book that will provoke readers to rethink prevailing notions of race, racial identity, and racism... [and] what prevailing law does and does not consider in tackling persistent forms of racial inequality." --Rachel D. Godsil, Seton Hall University School of Law Indiana University Press
"Infused by moral urgency, intellectual precision, sweeping command of history and of critical race theory, and an unequalled ability to situate race in concrete places, these linked essays take us into the mind of one of our greatest legal and social thinkers. They navigate tensions between law and justice with consummate skill and great passion." --David Roediger, coauthor of The Production of Difference Indiana University Press
"powell sets forth a powerful argument that... until we expand our sense of self, we will be unable to create the racially egalitarian and democratic society to which many progressives aspire.... A brilliantly original and provocative challenge to the current social order." --Michael Omi, co-author of Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s
"Juxtaposing race, spirituality, self, and social justice, john powell reveals the poverty in contemporary policy debates and crafts a road map for building true democratic community. Read this book and tell a friend." --Stephanie M. Wildman, Center for Social Justice and Public Service, Santa Clara University School of Law
"john a. powell is among the most original and important thinkers writing about politics, race and social change in America. He is a genuine genius whose work has been indispensable to thousands of activists and scholars. Finally, his critical work is gathered together in one place. If we succeed in changing in America--and we must do so--it will be in no small part because we have engaged deeply with the ideas, analysis and heart in this book. Racing to Justice is essential reading for everyone implicated by race in America--and that means everyone." --Deepak Bhargava, Center for Community Change Indiana University Press
About the Author
john a. powell is Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley, where he holds the Robert D. Haas Chancellor's Chair in Equity and Inclusion. He is author (with Gavin Kearney and Vina Kay) of In Pursuit of a Dream Deferred, and (with Laughlin McDonald) of The Rights of Racial Minorities: The Basic ACLU Guide to Racial Minority Rights.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Moving Beyond the Isolated Self
I. Race and Racialization
1. Post-Racialism or Targeted Universalism?
2. The Colorblind Multiracial Dilemma: Racial Categories Reconsidered
3. The Racing of American Society: Race Functioning as a Verb Before Signifying as a Noun
II. White Privilege
4. Whites Will Be Whites: The Failure to Interrogate Racial Privilege
5. White Innocence and the Courts: Jurisprudential Devices that Obscure Privilege
III. The Racialized Self
6. Dreaming of a Self Beyond Whiteness and Isolation
7. The Multiple Self: Implications for Law and Social Justice
8. Lessons from Suffering: How Social Justice Informs Spirituality