White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness: Maurice Berger: xecykisypife.tk: Books
Maurice Berger grew up hypersensitized to race in the charged environment of New York City in the sixties. Berger himself was one of the few white kids in his Lower East Side housing project. Berger's unusual experience--and his determination to examine the subject of race for its multiple and intricate meanings--makes White Lies a fresh and startling book. Berger has become a passionate observer of race matters, searching out the subtle and not-so-subtle manifestations of racial meaning in everyday life. In White Lies , he encourages us to reckon with our own complex and often troubling opinions about race.
The result is an uncommonly honest and affecting look at race in America today--free of cant, surprisingly entertaining, unsettled and unsettling. The Saul Marshall Thrillers Boxset.
White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness
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There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. The book has a lot of short stories about experiences that deal with race relations. It has a lot, like too many, like you may need to read about 50 pages and then begin you're paper on it.
Very interesting stories, I recommend buying it for you social issues classes. Race and the Myths of Whiteness" several times. In fact, I am half way through it again.
With each passage I can see myself walking with Berger when he was a child, a sibling, a friend, student and teacher. I found myself recognizing the impact of the power of language upon him from page to page. Much of what Berger was subjected to is not new.
He is not alone in his experience of prejudice, in the assumptions from others of his inadequacy in the face of his poverty nor the exalted injections of his worth as a white person when integration was taking root in his community. There are obstacles to overcome where racism is concerned.
No doubt about it. Self-deception weighs heavily upon each us where racism is concerned as every word, every nuance, every glance a child all children , any student all students absorb becomes a part of their struggle with everyday life for all of their life. What is new, painfully new We are the adult a child is watching, the teacher a student learns from, the parent our child relies upon. The problem of racism in our life is our problem.
Since leaving college, I must admit that I have let my readings on race relations go by the way side since leaving college. Back then I was steeped in thick sourcebooks and studies on racism and the African-American experience in America. The reason that prodded me to pick up this book is that it was written by a New York Jew of "mixed" Ashkenazi and Sephardi decent and I as a Black Jew was interested in what he had to say.
Besides, it's size marked it as "light reading". Berger's book is a goldmine of thought provoking explorations in modern American racism.
White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness
It works strongly in his advantage that he is not some idealogical academic who holds copious amounts of "textbook knowledge" of African-American culture and just regurgitates it in some anecdotal way that is more patronizing than helpful. He also does not seem to hold delusions that he himself did not take advantage of thoughts of White superiority; although he has had his share of run-ins on the basis that he was a Jew - he does not lay claim that his exposure to anti-Semitism makes him any less culpable of flexing the muscles of racist thinking when the situation has suited him.
I was pleasantly surprised that White people were not presented as the "evil ones" with rhetoric against the entire race as present in many works written by the "Black Power" type. What is examined is the plague that governs the thought of most American White people; a thought process that can be easily changed if these people were brave enough to confront it.
I'm guessing since I'm not White that it may take non-Black readers who have nominal, firsthand experiences with racism, re-reading this book a few times to totally "get it". To "get" that to make personified assumptions on a person on the basis of their skin color is as logical as making personified assumption on a person on the basis of their eye color.
Just for the record, even though I am an ethnic and religious minority, I do not go around with a chip on my shoulder - lamenting about the "oppression" dealt my way by WASPs. Oppression can be dealt by anyone at anytime in any manner. But it's about time that the general populace know that just because we no longer have separate drinking fountains for Whites and Blacks, that does not mean racism is gone and vanished.
Very little has been done as far as confronting the root of American racism; which is the value system of American Whites the majority. This book falls in the "has been done" category. However it can only be effective if read and internalized - if not applied.
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Whenever whites write about race they run the risk of falling into any one of a number of traps: Berger's book is unique, in my experience, in not only avoiding these pitfalls but going to great pains to make the reader aware of them. It is said that fish can have no concept of water since that is their only environment. In the same way, most whites are unaware of the weight of racial prejudice that is felt by all minorities, because they are immersed in the dominant culture, while those on the outside are painfully aware that they are outside.
Berger writes from a unique perspective; that of an intelligent and perceptive man reared in public housing in New York, whose mother was a racist and whose father was a supporter of the civil rights movement. He was not only aware of race as an issue early in his life, but was torn between his parent's opposing views while simultaneously trying to apply those contradictions to the people he knew outside the home - largely minorities.
The issue seems to have obsessed him, but ultimately in a positive way. This book, part biography, part essay, part reportage, cannot be easily described. It is fragmented and impressionistic, but its focus is clear - to make the reader and it seems to assume a white reader really aware of all the unspoken lies that support the privalege of white power in America. It is hard to know whether he succeeds or not. This reader already sympathized with much that he had to say and was impressed with the way he managed to make subtle points clear.
Would a real white supremacist be won over? That is doubtful, even if they read the book with an open mind. But they are not the intended audience. Rather, Berger is addressing those whites who like to believe they are not - in any way - racist. Until this group recognizes the subtle ways in which they cling to a privaledged position and the impact this has on minorities, there will be no improvement in race relations.
I enjoyed reading this book very much.