How Well-meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide
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Vivid and engaging, Silent Racism persuasively demonstrates that silent racism - racism by people who classify themselves as "not racist" - is instrumental in the production of institutional racism. Trepagnier argues that heightened race awareness is more important in changing racial inequality than judging whether individuals are racist. The collective voices and confessions of "non-racist" white women heard in this book help reveal that all individuals harbor some racist thoughts and feelings. Trepagnier uses vivid focus group interviews to argue that the oppositional categories of racist/not racist are outdated. The oppositional categories should be replaced in contemporary thought with a continuum model that more accurately portrays today's racial reality in the United States. A shift to a continuum model can raise the race awareness of well-meaning white people and improve race relations. Offering a fresh approach, Silent Racism is an essential resource for teaching and thinking about racism in the twenty-first century.
“Silent Racism is a groundbreaking text that explores the other side of racism—the well-meaning people who consider themselves ‘non-racist’—and challenges our thinking about how we understand and study racism in the twenty-first century. … This book provides readers with rich empirical data, a strong theoretical foundation, and applied tools for teaching and social change. A significant contribution to race theory, Silent Racism is a text that would benefit the masses—students, teachers, scholars, activists—a must-read for anyone interested in understanding race in today’s society.”
—Jeffrianne Wilder, Gender & Society
“Important [because] it addresses white folks who see themselves as ‘not racist.’…This is a group that has been sorely understudied…Highly significant.”
—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke University
"Barbara Trepagnier’s fine book on institutional racism is an important statement on this timely topic…Trepagnier’s research adds some much-needed scholarly insight to that issue. Her provocative concept of “silent racism” can be nurtured with insights gained from comparative research across gender and social class…Her work is important to symbolic interactionists because she beings with Herbert Blumer’s idea of seeing racism as a social process, but extends it with an honorable commitment to changing race relations through two social mechanisms we hold dear: communication and relationships."
-Joseph A. Kotarba, University of Houston