Synopses & Reviews
For many years Orlando Patterson has been a major contributor to the public discussion of race in America. In this eagerly anticipated new volume, the author of the National Book Awardwinner Freedom in the Making of Western Culture presents a comprehensive exploration of contemporary interethnic relations.Americans are in the midst of a rejuvenated conversation about race. How we talk about raceor fail tois one of the central themes of this book, which is certain to spark lively debate among intellectuals and policy advocates.Unflinching in his analysis, Patterson chides professional race advocates, the mainstream media, and his fellow academics for homogenizing the 33 million Americans of African ancestry into a single group beset by crises and intractable dilemmas. His willingness to challenge the received wisdom of conservatives, liberals, and genetic determinists alike affords us the opportunity to critically examine our own preconceived notions and prejudices.An experienced policy advisor, Patterson brings to the national discussion a lifetime of study of slavery, freedom, and ethnic inequality worldwide. His practical recommendations emphasize solutions to problems too often described as unsolvable. For the one-fourth of the Afro-American population at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder, his suggestions include housing vouchers, limiting the influx of low-skilled immigrants, and instituting a highly original policy to reduce teenage childbearing. He remains firmly committed to school desegregation, supports intermarriage as a means of promoting full integration, and takes American religious leaders to task for the ”scandal of segregation” within their churches. Responding to widespread antagonism toward affirmative action, Patterson advocates retaining it for another fifteen years, eventually replacing it with a class-based policy.Standing as a challenge to those who insist on dwelling on the failures of race relations, The Ordeal of Integration admonishes Americans to stop exaggerating the intractability of persistent ethnic problems and start focusing on what works.
In this provocative new book, sociologist Orlando Patterson takes on the intractable dilemma of race in late 20th-century America. Using current demographic research, Patterson exposes common misperceptions about the lives and experiences of black and white Americans, misperceptions that are hampering the success of integration.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 205-224) and index.
About the Author
Orlando Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.