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The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy
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The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Like the canaries that alerted miners to a poisonous atmosphere, issues of race point to underlying problems in society that ultimately affect everyone, not just minorities. Addressing these issues is essential. Ignoring racial differences--race blindness--has failed. Focusing on individual achievement has diverted us from tackling pervasive inequalities. Now, in a powerfu ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published April 21st 2003 by Harvard University Press (first published 2002)
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Kristen
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"Racism locates the dominant explanation for the depressed socioeconomic, health, and educational condition of people of color and their over-representation in the criminal justice system in the character of the people themselves, rather than in the structures of power that create the conditions of their lives (292).

This book presents an elegant and effective deconstruction of institutionalized oppression. The invocation of the miner's canary as a metaphor is brilliant. It foregrounds a preoccup
...more
Kylie Rector
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school-books
Great ideas about race and power, but very dense and a bit repetitive.
Laura
Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Tim Wise
Shelves: government, history, law
I liked portions of this book a great deal. Its critique of colorblindness was well done. The good professors suggest that neoconservatives have long been laying the groundwork to reject race as a meaningful category. That effort claims noble roots: the attempt to eliminate the explicit legal apparatus of institutionalized racism. It also embraces what the United States Supreme Court ignored in Plessy: that putting formally neutral laws on the books that themselves stigmatize is racist. Go them. ...more
Polly Callahan
Dec 17, 2019 marked it as to-read
recommended by author of Troublemakers
Lobeck
Jun 24, 2009 rated it liked it
The content deserves four stars, but since reading this book was a little like wading knee-deep through a swamp I have demoted it to three stars.

The information was great, and I like the main idea of using a race-conscious lens through which to analyze and then transform social, political and legal structures and power distribution. The breakdown of the different dimensions of power was great and offers a very useful framework to use when discussing and analyzing power.

The downside: the book's m
...more
Carmen
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is far too complex to summarize in a few sentences. So I'll just suggest people read it! It offers a smart, critical look at the nature of power and the realities of race in the United States, offering radical ideas for transforming our notions of power, race, and the effective exercise of democracy. It also offers an excellent definition of racism that emphasizes its institutional, rather than individual, manifestation(s): "Racism is acquiescence in and accommodation to racialized hie ...more
Charlene Martinez
Feb 22, 2010 is currently reading it
Chapter 4 "Rethinking Conventions of Zero-Sum Power" is what's up! Really talks about insider/outsider dynamics and what happens to those of us on the inside trying hard to effectively make change within the system.
Meg
Nov 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful discussion of structural racism with tangible examples that stick. Not many non-fiction books can be described as a page-turner, but this one is.
Kristina
Apr 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Like a miner's canary, I can feel the poison causing the bird to die with each proceeding chapter.
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