Internationally recognized psychologist Paul L. Wachtel sheds new light on the psychological foundations of our nation's racial impasse and applies his pathbreaking "vicious circle" approach to help resolve it. This timely and fascinating analysis shows how the ways we attempt to cope with racial tensions and inequalities often lead to the perpetuation of our difficulties rather than their resolution. Understanding the ironies that characterize contemporary race relations is the first step toward extricating our nation from the vicious circle.
Both controversial and healing, Race in the Mind of America challenges the orthodoxies that shape black and white opinion and liberal and conservative policies while sensitively exploring the way the world looks to both sides and why it looks that way. Wachtel probes the daily experiences of blacks and whites, shedding new light on how individual experiences and larger social, historical and economic forces continually re-create each other. In illustrating how blacks and whites get caught in vicious circles that sustain the very behaviors and attitudes they wish would change, Wachtel also points toward the concrete solutions to our seemingly enduring dilemmas and shows how to move beyond the adversarial rhetoric that divides us.
Paul L. Wachtel is CUNY Distinguished Professor and Acting Director of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York. He is author of several books including The Poverty of Affluence (1983) and Psychoanalysis, Behavior Therapy, and the Relational World (1997). He lives in New York City, where he is also a practicing psychotherapist.
"[A] highly original and refreshingly objective new book on race relations in America..." -- Tikkun
"Certain to prove controversial and thought provoking, this treatise challenges conventions on all sides and provides an intriguing analysis of black/white communications and misunderstandings on both sides." -- The Bookwatch
"Thoughtful and sophisticated reading for anyone with more than a casual interest in race." -- Kirkus Reviews
"...uniquely valuable integration of political and psychological analysis, offering fresh insights on white indifference that cut through the tangles of our national dilemma and point the way with startling honesty and directness to possible solutions. Wachtel provides sharp and subtle critiques of our thinking about the key controversies in race relations over the past decades, like the Moynihan Report and The Bell Curve. Paul Wachtel is one of our most valuable social thinkers." -- Miles Orvell, Professor of English and American Studies, Temple University, author of The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture
"To a contentious, acerbic debate Paul Wachtel brings his signature trademarks--thoughtful, reflective analysis and a hopeful path into the future. This book represents what the President's national conversation on race might have been, had it been serious." -- Stanley Renshon, author of High Hopes
"...Paul Wachtel has written a book on race relations that will require any reader to see the issues in a new light." -- Seymour Sarason, Professor Emeritus, Yale University