The hosts of the Book Club have chosen to go back to meeting on Zoom for the time being.
This month's selection is (Dis)Continuing Racial Inequality: Essays on Race in the U.S. by Anne Larason Schneider PhD
Dr. Schneider will join the Zoom call!
This book first documents the extent of racial disadvantages in the United States and the change in racial disadvantage over the last several decades. These data show that there have been improvements in some indicators of racial equality but many "stalled" in the late 1970s. White attitudes about black people have changed enormously over the years toward more positive ones, but white attitudes supporting government intervention in "seeing to it" that society achieves greater racial equity in terms of education, income, wealth and other quality-of-life indicators are low and have not changed much over time.
The book then examines several theories or explanations of why racial disadvantages continue, including Critical Race Theory, White Fragility, and White Supremacy Culture. None of these explanations is solidly grounded in research and each lacks credibility in terms of its explanations or its proposed solutions. The research on the effectiveness on diversity training is reviewed and shows that most of the diversity training models do not reduce racist attitudes or behaviors and when they do, the effects fade after a few days.
The book concludes with proposed new directions for anti-racist work. Focusing first on individual-level racism, the strategy recommended in the book is to stop using the "shame and blame approaches" and instead draw on a developmental perspective. Effective anti-racist efforts should draw on social psychological research to understand how individual-level racism begins and becomes solidified through cognitive processes ("decision heuristics.") These heuristics are "rules of thumb" that people use, including cognitive errors that block rational thinking and make it difficult for people to change their minds once they embrace negative and stereotypical images based on race. Change can occur, however, by educating people on how they make judgements and decisions and how they can overcome cognitive errors and biases.
Institutional racism needs to be changed through political activism as well as knowledge about how policy and law sometimes work to the disadvantage of racial groups, but also how it can be used to eliminate disadvantage and achieve greater racial justice. Examples of types of political activism that everyone can use are given, along with a "basic primer" on how policies in education, finance, housing, taxation and employment can improve equality, fairness, and social justice.
**If you purchase this book from Amazon through the Amazon Smile program, HSGP will benefit. Click on this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ (https://smile.amazon.com/?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwhsgporg-20)
The Book Club meets on the 4th Saturday of every month.
Henry Geist and Vici Duarte are your hosts.
(Image from Pixabay)
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