Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, is now available!
According to The Wall Street Journal, Barack Obama's presidential victory means we "can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country."
According to columnist Richard Cohen, Obama as President signifies that America is a "post-racial" nation, and that "we have overcome" the vestiges of racism and discrimination.
And according to the Atlantic Monthly, Obama's ascent to the White House may well signify, "The End of White America," or at least the extent to which whiteness remains a privileged "norm."
Yet, beneath the proclamations of achieved color-blindness and race-neutral ecumenism, the evidence of racism in employment, education, housing, health care and the justice system remains substantial. And white racial attitudes--not about Obama and those who, like him, "transcend race," but rather about the bulk of black and brown folks in the nation--continue to indicate substantial white racism at the personal level as well.
In Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, author and activist, Tim Wise, explores what Obama's success means, and importantly what it doesn't mean for race and racism in the United States. Contrary to popular perception, Obama's victory says little about racism as a larger institutional phenomenon, and may well make the fight against racism more difficult than ever, by reinforcing longstanding white denial, reinforcing the myth of meritocracy that has long served as a justification for profound racial disparities, and by creating a new and limiting archetype of acceptable blackness, which although met by those like Obama, would erect higher obstacles than ever in the path of non-Obama-like persons of color.
About the book, actor and human rights activist, Danny Glover says that Wise "provides an insightful and much-needed lens through which we can begin to navigate this current stage in our ongoing quest for a more inclusive definition of who we are as a nation. It's definitely a book for these times."
And Bill Fletcher, long time activist and Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com says:
"Tim Wise has looked behind the curtain...His book debunks any notion that the United States has entered a post-racial period...With this book, Wise hits the bull's eye."
As we enter the Obama-era, it will be increasingly important to arm ourselves with the factual information and analysis needed to place the quest for racial justice in the forefront of public consciousness. With the media and the talking heads proclaiming that Obama signifies the virtual fulfillment of Dr. King's dream, piercing the veil of denial and deflection will become more difficult, but also more critical than ever. Between Barack and a Hard Place can help to re-claim the race discourse from those who prefer to paper over the ongoing presence of racism as a potent social force.
Get your copy today from City Lights Books (the publisher), Amazon.com, or your local independent bookstore!