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Monday, May 14, 2018

"Between Barack and a Hard Place" by Tim Wise. A Review

Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of ObamaBetween Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama by Tim Wise
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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.



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