Melissa's Reviews > Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America

Searching for Whitopia by Rich Benjamin
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's review
Dec 10, 2009

it was ok
Read in March, 2010

I never ended up finishing this one. I think I spent the whole time reading it thinking 'yup, this is just what I was expecting...' To me it felt like he went into rich, white areas 'undercover' and then read racism into every minute detail of what his new 'friends' would say to him.

Ok, that's probably more harsh than I meant it to be. There was one part in particular that I found quite interesting. That is the section where he talked about Carnegie Hill on the upper east side of NY. I thought I would enjoy his segment about St. George, UT but I was disappointed how restrictive he was about who he would associate with and write about there. He stuck to the million dollar recent housing settlements. But what about those long time settlers who made St. George the safe, white place it is today? They are really what drew in the rich folks he was interviewing.

Overall, I just don't like the underhanded premise behind the whole book. Why not just tell everyone he meets that he's planning on writing a book about their area and what makes it so white, etc? Why pretend to be someone looking to buy one of the million dollar homes? Why pretend to make friends with people and then attack them in your book later?

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