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The Race Card: How Bluffing about Bias Makes Race Relations Worse
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The Race Card: How Bluffing about Bias Makes Race Relations Worse

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  98 ratings  ·  31 reviews
What do Katrina victims waiting for federal disaster relief, millionaire rappers buying vintage champagne, Ivy League professors waiting for taxis, and ghetto hustlers trying to find steady work have in common? All have claimed to be victims of racism. These days almost no one openly expresses racist beliefs or defends bigoted motives. So lots of people are victims of bigo ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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Phil
This book is awesome. Whether you're a liberal, independent, or conservative, you will find this intelligent and timely. I'm glad I finished reading this before the Obama/Wright controversy and today's NYC police acquittal--it helped put race relations into perspective and helped me learn not to jump on the race card bandwagon.
Lynne
Oct 01, 2008 Lynne rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Academics with the time and interest
Recommended to Lynne by: I saw it at Borders
I just cannot get myself to read this book - it's too dry and the set up takes too long. This is too bad, because Ford's scholarship on residential segregation, political fragmentation, and race is among the best.

Even without reading the book, I see major cracks in Ford's attempts to get folks to pay more attention to what some call "structural racism," the way that historical discrimination and present-day policies interact to marginalize African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, a
...more
David
Steers clear of either extreme (there is no more racism; racism is pandemic and far too little discussed) and adds some good legal perspective on a few cases (e.g., differentiating unfair treatment from legally defined sex discrimination in a case in which women sleeping with the boss were promoted and others not).

On the whole, though, a tedious book. There's a good 8-page magazine article struggling to get out of this 350-page document. Maybe it's just that I already agree with most of his conc
...more
Dan
The basic argument of the book is that although our society has moved beyond it's racist past, we've failed to develop any new ways of discussing the racial problems we still have. If you've been anywhere near a tv or an internet lately, you'll have seen how right Ford is. I'm not audacious enough to hope, but it's been really interesting watching how Obama's campaign has shown how we still have some, as they say, issues with race in this country. Whenever some public figure brings up an uncomf ...more
Lawrence
Definitely food for thought here about the dangers of trivializing the struggle for civil rights. Oprah getting snubbed by Hermes in Paris isn't - and shouldn't be - a high priority for civil rights activists to address. The book both falls short and overreaches in its analysis, however. Dismissing the importance of looking systematically at the commonalities of discrimination against various groups while focusing only on unique factors isn't consistent with a subtle and full analysis of oppress ...more
Nancy
Sep 03, 2009 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Nancy by: JHU's alum magazine
Without going into too long a book report (ha), I thought this was a book that every American should read. Ford (who happens to be black), really captured, what I (now) feel are the problems of race (black vs. white, to be specific) in the U.S. and included real solutions with how to fix them without being too optimistic or cynical. It changed my options on a few subjects regarding race and it's the fist account of Katrina that I thought was comprehensive and fair to all "sides."

I found Ford's
...more
Kimberly
But the race card is an impediment to dealing with these problems. It distracts attention from larger social injustices. It encourages vindictiveness and provokes defensiveness when open-mindedness and sympathy are needed. It leads to an adversarial, tit-for-tat mindset when a cooperative spirit of dialogue is required.
p 349

outlawing any and all consideration of race in order to stop racism is a bit like outlawing umbrellas because you don't like rain.
p 334

This is not about racism, it’s about d
...more
Kelly
I really wanted to read this book. I attended a talk about it at Foothill College through the Author Series, and that is how I came to know of the book. I found the book very dense, but I found that I finally understood the author's points at the end, so I would say that the conclusion was very well done. It is hard to walk the line between anecdotes that make the book readable and losing the overall message, so I was glad that the conclusion was clear (at least to me). I think that this is a ve ...more
Leigh
If an issue involves a person of color is it racial? Richard Thompson Ford says Not Necessarily. Is discrimination bad? He says Not Always. But tread lightly, because, yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing as Racism. How do we distinguish between the spurious accusation and the real deal, the substantive solution and the naive response? That's what this wonderful and challenging book asks. Ford, an Integrationist at heart, argues that in this Age of Obama, we've made much progress but some ...more
Troy
I read the book, enjoyed it, and appreciated the author's use of anecdote to make his points. THis is probably one of the few "policy" books I've read whose author isn't in love with his own vocabulary.

Solutions-wise, he acknowledges that his answers may be a bit naive and unassuming of human nature, but I admire him for making them. In the face of overwhelming norms and behavior, we hope, someone exerts some common sense and does what is right. It'll take guts, though.
Ernest
"The Race Card" is the fairest, most nuanced, and most sensible description of--and prescription for--current race relations in America. Written by Stanford Law Professor and civil rights expert Richard Thompson Ford (yes, he's black), this book examines recent, often headline-making, claims of racial bias and discrimination from a pragmatic legal perspective not beholden to any rigid ideological posturing.
Elizabeth
Apr 07, 2008 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
As seen in the March 10 2008 issue of the New Yorker.

Racism clearly exists (as evidenced by African-Americans' overwhelming overrepresentation in prisons and in poverty), yet neither I nor anyone else I know wakes up each day thinking, "How can I discriminate against African-Americans today?" I'm interesting in learning the sources of this unintentional racism, and ultimately what we can do about it.
Louise Brock
The author is a law school professor at Stanford. His insights are profound and, in my opinion, absolutely right on! He reviews a host of current events and issues to support his conclusions. Prepare for some high-brow reading (you'll feel like you're back in college), but there is also wit and humor. If you want to talk about it after you read it, call me!
Johnathan
A fairly interesting and thought-provoking book. While I disagree with some of Ford's conclusions, ultimately I found myself swayed by the central premise: that we, as a society, lack a sufficient vocabulary to discuss the complicated manner in which race, racial stereotypes, and racism play out in our modern society.
Corey
I read this book for my Graduate Seminar in Race Relations. This controversial book sparked a lot of lively discussion. While I may not agree with all of Ford's ideas, I have to admit that his book presents and interesting and well supported argument.
Jacquelyn Courtrell-Washington
I am currently half finished with this book. It is shedding light on some questions and concerns I have had regarding racial issues. It is an interesting read requires your brain to go into overdrive at times deciphering the leagalize.
Ruskanen
This book brought up some really interesting points but ultimately I abandoned this book because I had other books to read for book clubs.
Andrew Burden
Required reading as we try to process the wake-up call in Ferguson. Our work toward racial justice is far from over.
Jenn
I thought this was a really interesting examination of race relations in the United States. At times, the legal discussions were a bit lengthy and difficult to wade through, however.
Pilar
Interesting relationship between an unwarranted claim of bias and bad law/precedence being established. Legitimate claims don't seem to fare much better.
Fay
The author does an amazing job of illustrating the complexities of racism from differing points of view. This makes for a difficult but worthwhile read.
Xavier
The book starts off well. But somewhere in the middle, the point has been made yet you feel like the author keeps going for the sake of filling pages.
Tanya
Written by a Standford Law professor, this book looks critically at claims of racism in modern society. Pretty interesting and well-balanced.
Ubalstecha
Excellent book. Asks some hard questions about race in America, citing cases as recent as Barak Obama's election. Very good overview of the subject.
Mushtaq
I didn't agree with much of what Ford wrote, but I found it almost always well thought out and thought fault was very fairly allocated.
Julie
He has a really interesting perspective on race in our country. Very timely and thought provoking.
Kirsti
Thoughtful analysis of how laws and public opinion have changed over time.
Lachelle
Dec 23, 2008 Lachelle marked it as to-read
From The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2008 List.
Maira
thought provoking and very insightful
Robert Christian
Interesting, fun read
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Richard Thompson Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has pub­lished regularly on the topics of civil rights, constitutional law, race rela­tions, and antidiscrimination law. He is a regular contributor to Slate and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of Racial Culture: A C ...more
More about Richard Thompson Ford...
Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality Universal Rights Down to Earth Racial Culture: A Critique The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse The Race Card: How Bluffing about Bias Makes Race Relations Worse

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