The Cost of Privilege takes readers from the creation of the white race over three centuries ago to the present-day myth of a colorblind society; from the intersections of class, gender, and race to the concrete benefits and harsh underside of the privileges white people experience every day; from the victories when people allied across the color line to the failures of some of those alliances to hold; from personal transformations to international struggles.
i have an early proof copy of this, and the subtitle is slightly different: "Overcoming White Supremacy and Racism".
This is a great book. Every white person should be required to read this, but then again, if we lived in a world where that was required then maybe they wouldn't need to read it. ha.
Anyway, I think anyone who wants to learn about the history of racism and "whiteness" and also get ideas for how to advance their own personal and social struggle against white supremacy would benefit from this book. It's clearly written and covers all the bases in a thorough and persuasive manner.
This seems to be a book expressing Freedom Road Socialist Organization's political line on questions relating to race in the United States (though I could be wrong). This book manages to combine history, political analysis, and ideas for action fairly successfully. The politics are fairly orthodox Leninist. Berlet argues in defense of the idea that most people of color in the US are oppressed nations with a right to self-determination. The Cost of Privilege manages to both uphold much of the communist tradition's approach to these questions while incorporating radical feminism and queer liberation toward the end of creating a revolutionary praxis for the 21st century
If you want to really educate yourself about race and white privilege, if you want to commit to dismantling white supremacy and systemic racial injustice, then read this book!! It will provide you with a comprehensive history of the rise of "whiteness" in America, and acquaint you with the histories of the opressed nations who have been resisting for centuries. It's a powerful organizing tool. It should be required reading for every white person.
A lot has happened since this book was written (President Obama, the 99%ers), so in some ways it is horribly out of date. On the other hand, the more things change, the more they stay the same. White privilege hasn't really changed, but there have been some seismic shifts that will hopefully cause the system of privilege to fall in the future. May be even in my lifetime?