Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial

Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama This brief book two essays is something I would recommend to any reader who wishes to understand issues of racism in today s world One need only look at the badly spelled signs at Tea Party rallies and Arizona s SB 1070 to know that racism is, unfortunately, alive and well in the USA even as some pundits argue that President Obama s election proved its demise.Tim Wise examines racism an institutionalized matter and bigotry an individualized matter not only from historical attitudes but This brief book two essays is something I would recommend to any reader who wishes to understand issues of racism in today s world One need only look at the badly spelled signs at Tea Party rallies and Arizona s SB 1070 to know that racism is, unfortunately, alive and well in the USA even as some pundits argue that President Obama s election proved its demise.Tim Wise examines racism an institutionalized matter and bigotry an individualized matter not only from historical attitudes but also from the perspective of exceptionalism He has facts and figures to back up his opinions, and addresses what needs to happen in order for our culture to truly get past the idea that skin color is some kind of valuation.In my opinion, this is a must read for everyone I am vehemently anti racist and still found some matters in this book via which my assumptions were challenged Not to be missed Race is, and always has been, an explosive issue in the United States In this timely new book, Tim Wise explores how Barack Obama s emergence as a political force is taking the race debate to new levels According to Wise, for many white people, Obama s rise signifies the end of racism as a pervasive social force they point to Obama not only as a validation of the American ideology that anyone can make it if they work hard, but also as an example of how institutional barriers against people of color have all but vanished But is this true And does a reinforced white belief in color blind meritocracy potentially make it harder to address ongoing institutional racism After all, in housing, employment, the justice system, and education, the evidence is clear white privilege and discrimination against people of color are still operative and actively thwarting opportunities, despite the success of individuals like ObamaIs black success making it harder for whites to see the problem of racism, thereby further straining race relations, or will it challenge anti black stereotypes to such an extent that racism will diminish and race relations improve Will blacks in power continue to be seen as an exception in white eyes Is Obama acceptable because he seems different from most blacks, who are still viewed too often as the dangerous and inferior other From the Civil Rights struggle, to Dr King s dream, to Barack Obama s election, Tim Wise provides us with an extremely important and timely analysis of the increasing complexity of race on the American political and social landscape Between Barack and a Hard Place Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama provides an insightful and much needed lens through which we can begin to navigate this current stage in our ongoing quest for a inclusive definition of who we are as a nation It s definitely a book for these times Danny Glover Tim Wise has looked behind the curtain In Between Barack and a Hard Place he explores the real issues of race in the Obama campaign and incoming presidency, issues that the mainstream media has chosen to ignore His book debunks any notion that the United States has entered a post racial period instead he identifies the problems that emerge in the context of the victory of a black presidential candidate who chose to run an essentially non racial campaign With this book, Wise hits the bull s eye Bill Fletcher Wise outlines how racism and white privilege have morphed to fit the modern social landscape In prose that reads like his lightening rod speeches, he draws from a long list of high profile campaign examples to define what he calls Racism , a insidious form of racism that actually allows for and celebrates the achievements of individual people of color because they re seen as the exceptions, not the rules Jamilah King, Colorlines This book makes an intriguing argument and is packed with insight Wise clearly explains the complexity of institutional racism in contemporary society He continuously reminds the reader that Obama s victory may signal the entrenchment of a complicated, subtle, and insidious form of racism The jury is still out Jeff Torlina, Multicultural ReviewTim Wise is among the most prominent antiracist writers and activists in the US and has appeared on ABC s and MSNBC Live His previous books include Speaking Treason Fluently and White Like Me A fantastic book Published 10 years ago and still so poignant and sad to read considering who our president is now.Great insight into white denial, post Katrina racial inequality, antiracism, and the false narrative of transcending race Highly highly recommend adding this to your TBR I was quite happy when this book popped up on my paperbackswap wish list I started reading it fairly soon after receiving it in the mail, stealing a few minutes here and there to read, often on the walk to work Then, the train trip to Kalamazoo for our fall OMA meeting afforded me the chance to plunge through the rest of the book, fighting back tears in the Kalamazoo train station as I waited for Debbie to pick me up, as I read about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and finished the book.A I was quite happy when this book popped up on my paperbackswap wish list I started reading it fairly soon after receiving it in the mail, stealing a few minutes here and there to read, often on the walk to work Then, the train trip to Kalamazoo for our fall OMA meeting afforded me the chance to plunge through the rest of the book, fighting back tears in the Kalamazoo train station as I waited for Debbie to pick me up, as I read about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and finished the book.As always, I found Tim Wise s writing to be insightful and incredibly informative I had really been yearning for Wise s analysis of the racial issues surrounding Obama s election, and it was wonderful to have Wise not just validate all my uncomfortableness with some of the stupid crap people kept saying by laying those same issues out, but to have him really dig deep into exactly what made them so awful and wrong.At times it felt like I was bookmarking every other page, and many quotes theories and anecdotes made their way into my conversations in the following weeks I could go on and on about why I find the writings of this white anti racism activist refreshing, but instead I filled my reading journal with a list of page references to quotes and arguments that I wanted to be able to refer back to Normally, I just write the entire quotes But with this book There were too many and too long and it would have taken an age Though I do want to record this one quote, which is a lovely statement on the book as a wholeI have come to realize something namely, even with Barack Obama as the forty fourth president of the United States, we will still need a back up plan For Obama cannot be relied upon, anyso than any other president or national leader, to shepherd our nation out of the wilderness of racism and inequality The job is too great, and the single solitary man too small for such an effort Which is to say that if we want the job done right, we re going to have to do it ourselves, all of us I give this book 3 stars it was pretty good Mr Wise sparked several questions and thoughts about Barack Obama s presidential victory compared to the state of race relations in America The author wrote a short book, I was able to read in one sitting I enjoyed both essays contained in its 150 pages The first Barack Obama, white denial and the reality of racism asked the question If we have an elected African American president then can we consider racism and outdated idea Did America move I give this book 3 stars it was pretty good Mr Wise sparked several questions and thoughts about Barack Obama s presidential victory compared to the state of race relations in America The author wrote a short book, I was able to read in one sitting I enjoyed both essays contained in its 150 pages The first Barack Obama, white denial and the reality of racism asked the question If we have an elected African American president then can we consider racism and outdated idea Did America move beyond its racial dividing line Mr Wise suggests that we have eliminated racism only upgraded from racism 1.0 to racism 2.0 The 1.0 version if full of overt racial aggression examples likes of Jim Crow south and segregation come to mind The 2.0 version is passive aggressive racial responses like good ol boy networks that stop promotion ability of minorities and good black versus bad black cognitive division Version 2.0 says that we can have a successful African American because he transcends his race In other words people who observe the president literally see a neutral person thinks along the lines of Cliff Hugstable in the Cosby Show This person does not address or mention racial topics in any way The second essay was The Audacity of Truth A call for white responsibility It was the shorter of two essays asking White America not to dismiss racism as overcome or an excuse used by minorities but, acknowledge this dark part of American history, speak out against it, and recognize any events that appear to resemble a negative racial stereotype Essentially, racism cannot be abolished by one race It is a relationship based solution where both parties have to agree to change and improve Over all I thought the book was informative but did not provide a lot of supporting evidence My perspective was broadened and it reminds me not to pretend that favoritism or racism no longer exists This book succeeded in expanding my social conscience I ve been so frustrated with all the talk about how we re now in a post racial era This little volume puts to words what I ve been feeling about that, and in a much better way than I ever could It packs so much into such a little book, that I can only skim the surface here Wise provides excellent analysis of where we ve been and where we are with regard to racism in the U.S He focuses on a concept of enlightened exceptionalism, in which white people will accept people of color if they ar I ve been so frustrated with all the talk about how we re now in a post racial era This little volume puts to words what I ve been feeling about that, and in a much better way than I ever could It packs so much into such a little book, that I can only skim the surface here Wise provides excellent analysis of where we ve been and where we are with regard to racism in the U.S He focuses on a concept of enlightened exceptionalism, in which white people will accept people of color if they are viewed as exceptional i.e., whites view them as exceptions and they don t make white people feel bad about racism In our supposedly post racial society, people who remind us that racism still exists on a massive scale are seen as party pooping liars my words Wise reminds us that racism hasn t disappeared, it s just becomesophisticated One of my favorite sections Whites must learn to listen to and believe what people of color say about racism, especially in their own lives And not just those persons of color who reassure us of how wonderful our nation is, or who make us feel good, as is the case, apparently, with Obama, but black and brown folks who have no desire to soft pedal the truth for whatever purposes, personal or political Read it The book is about ten years old and thus dated on some matters written in 2009 The book falls out in two chapters, the first on white denial and the second on white responsibility The story Wise tells is disheartening at many levels On the one hand, no one escapes Wise s criticism or condemnation, whether white folks or President Obama No one seems engaged enough, active enough, attempting enough to satisfy Wise s righteous indignation or imperative The alarmism going to all the highest The book is about ten years old and thus dated on some matters written in 2009 The book falls out in two chapters, the first on white denial and the second on white responsibility The story Wise tells is disheartening at many levels On the one hand, no one escapes Wise s criticism or condemnation, whether white folks or President Obama No one seems engaged enough, active enough, attempting enough to satisfy Wise s righteous indignation or imperative The alarmism going to all the highest and most hurtful examples and indices to the point of nearly expounding a white conspiracy theory makes Wise s criteria an impossible standard Even the author s chapter on white responsibility, where he brings out suggestions for remediating the situation is a mixed bag, some useful, others impracticable On the other hand, the author does expose the numerous ways we delude ourselves, and socially economically harm others Overall it was an okay read but there s got to be a better way to explain the circumstances and map out the resolution than by high brow, self righteous remonstrations Fantastic Book It echoed many of things I was thinking and the frustrations I had during the political season I I encourage everyone to read this liberals, conservatives, progressives, traditionalists, white, people of color, etc Tim Wise constructs two concise and forceful arguments pertaining the Call for White Responsibility First, Wise discusses the denial of racism in the current age Second, Wise discusses the need for white Americans to confront, attack and reverse the impact of wh Fantastic Book It echoed many of things I was thinking and the frustrations I had during the political season I I encourage everyone to read this liberals, conservatives, progressives, traditionalists, white, people of color, etc Tim Wise constructs two concise and forceful arguments pertaining the Call for White Responsibility First, Wise discusses the denial of racism in the current age Second, Wise discusses the need for white Americans to confront, attack and reverse the impact of white privilege.This is a great analysis of the 2008 election season and the white supremacy and white denial that played as a central prevailing discourse during this time Even if you are not familiar with Wise s other works, READ THIS If you are a White person, especially READ THIS If you are a person of color, READ THIS This should have been an ongoing discussion throughout the Obama presidency and it is important for everyone to critically engage these issues that impact all of us Wise s book provides a discourse that not only challenges whiteness and racism, its also fosters this dialogue in which we can all place ourselves in to enable change It is nice to actually see white people doing this work.Between Barack and a Hard Place is an accurate, timely, much needed scathing analysis of the current state of racism in the United States As many Americans are being lulled into believing that racism has been eradicated by the election of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.Through use of many contemporary and historical examples, Wise illustrates how the dominant narrative of racial equality being achieved with this election is being crafted and perpetuated, and what it might mean for racism in our society Tim Wise gets it He not only recognizes there arethan one point of view of the United States, but that those points of view create several different realities of life in the United States of America These different realities are parallel universes and all is not well in all of them Barack Obama s election to the highest office in the nation does not signify the end of racism and its associated ills in the United States, but rather may be used by some to postpone facing and slaying the Tim Wise gets it He not only recognizes there arethan one point of view of the United States, but that those points of view create several different realities of life in the United States of America These different realities are parallel universes and all is not well in all of them Barack Obama s election to the highest office in the nation does not signify the end of racism and its associated ills in the United States, but rather may be used by some to postpone facing and slaying the dragons of bias and preference that are still alive and well He addresses the issues covered in the media and as the late radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, he tells the rest of the story He brings to light some of the stories about the hurricane Katrina disaster that no mainstream media dared to touch present day racists shooting at African Americans for fun and he reveals some of their hateful internet postings bragging about their murderous deeds He calls it like it is Another great piece from Tim Wise For anyone who thought we were entering a post racial era with Obama s presidential victory, or celebrated the idea that the man had transcended race, this book is essential reading to explore the troubling thought process behind those inaccurate assertions Systemic racism is not eradicated by the election of one black man to the US presidency it is merely one of many signs of progress that we should celebrate with caution, lest Obama become a yardstick Another great piece from Tim Wise For anyone who thought we were entering a post racial era with Obama s presidential victory, or celebrated the idea that the man had transcended race, this book is essential reading to explore the troubling thought process behind those inaccurate assertions Systemic racism is not eradicated by the election of one black man to the US presidency it is merely one of many signs of progress that we should celebrate with caution, lest Obama become a yardstick by which all people of color come to be judged At 150 pages, this is a quick but important read for all white Americans


About the Author: Tim Wise

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti racist writers and activists in the U.S., and has been called the foremost white anti racist intellectual in the nation, having spoken in 46 states, and on over 300 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, Cal Tech and the Law Schools at Yale, Columbia, Michigan, and Vanderbilt.From 1999 to 2003, Wise served as an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute and in the early 90s was Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism the group credited by many with the political defeat of white nationalist, David Duke His anti racism efforts have been termed revolutionary by NYU professor and award winning author, Robin D.G Kelley, and have also earned praise from such noted race scholars as Michael Eric Dyson, Kimberl Crenshaw, Derrick Bell, Joe Feagin, Lani Guinier, and Richard Delgado.Tim Wise is now the Director of the newly formed Association for White Anti Racist Education AWARE in Nashville, Tennessee He lectures across the country about the need to combat institutional racism, gender bias, and the growing gap between rich and poor in the U.S Wise has been called a leftist extremist by David Duke, deceptively Aryan looking by a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Uncle Tom of the white race, by right wing author, Dinesh D Souza Whatever else can be said about him, his ability to make the right kind of enemies seems unquestioned.Wise is a featured columnist with the ZNet Commentary program a web service that disseminates essays by prominent progressive and radical activists and educators His writings are taught at hundreds of colleges and have appeared in dozens of popular and professional journals Wise serves as the Race and Ethnicity Editor for LIP Magazine, and articles about his work have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.He has contributed to three recent anthologiesWhen Race Becomes Real Black and White Writers Confront Their Personal Histories Chicago Review Press, Jan 2004 Should America Pay HarperAmistad, 2003 , a compilation of essays concerning slavery and its aftermath and The Power of Non Violence Beacon Press, 2002.


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