Here’s two short reviews on two books that are definitely worth reading:
Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War
Joe Bageant is funny, irreverent and insightful. Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War is a delightful window into the minds of working class white America, a window that more of us need to look through. Bageant shares stories and insights on why rural, working class whites are suspicious of liberals and progressives. People who do community organizing would do well to pick up this book if they are serious about reaching out to people who don’t act like them. Bageant demonstrates that we might have more in common with rural, working class hunters who are trying to feed their families than we do with urban liberals.
Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War, (Three Rivers Press, 2008).
Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male
Talking about racism and White privilege is never an easy thing, particularly in America. We are constantly told that race no longer matters and that the country has moved on from our past. Some might argue that having an African American as president is proof that the country has finally reached the point of being color blind. Anti-racist activist Tim Wise would argue just the opposite.
In his new book Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, Wise challenges readers to think differently than how the media pundits want us to think. In response to the popularity of Obama amongst white liberals, Wise says, “If whites view Obama as having transcended his blackness – and if this is why we like him so much – we are saying, in effect, that the millions of blacks who haven’t transcended theirs will remain a problem.”
Speaking Treason Fluently takes on issues such as white privilege, multiculturalism, white denial, our lack of historical perspective, affirmative action, police brutality, and other current events like the Duke Lacrosse team scandal and films like Crash. The essays is this volume cover a period from 2000 to 2008, with Wise often using questions or comments he encountered while speaking on college campuses or from e-mail correspondence. Wise always backs up his responses with sharp analysis and good data.
For anyone who is serious about wanting to examine their own attitudes about racism or wants to sharpen their analysis of institutional racism, this book offers lots of insight from someone who has not hesitated to dismantle white privilege. Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male is an important tool for anyone who wants to be an advocate for racial justice.
Tim Wise, Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections From an Angry White Male, (Soft Skull Press, 2008).