File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 413

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 14:55:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: M-I: *A Country of Strangers*

Just a brief note: I have no wish to become the list's bibliophile, but I
would like to recommend David K Shiplar's new book on American black/white
relations.  Not only is it a useful antidote to the Thernstroms' dreadful
*America in Black & White* (financed in large part by the Olin Foundation
and the Manhattan Institute and published in August by Knopf), but it is a
good read in itself.  

Shiplar's polling methods are much to be preferred to Steve Thernstrom's.
He doesn't merely ask people in Rockaway if they'd be willing to send their
children to school with blacks, and then ballyhoo the predictable result.
Shiplar instead asks: would you send your kids to a school that was a)10%
black b) 30% black c) 50% black and notes the increasing negativity among
whites of all classes in relation to the increase in proposed black
population.  Nor does he prattle on about "seeing the person, not the race",
as the Thernstroms do in the concluding chapter of their tome.  To Shiplar,
that bit of poppycock is obvious: "You're black, black is negative,
therefore I am going to disinvest you of your negativity by ignoring your
color, by 'seeing only the individual'."   

Shiplar also contains good, if disheveled sections on race politics (both
Dems and Republicans) and the vagaries of affirmative action.

Louis Godena

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