John Nelson's Reviews > Race: How Blacks and Whites Think and Feel About the American Obsession

Race by Studs Terkel
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As with all oral histories, the speakers in this book are chosen because they state - or sometimes just serve as examples of - the author's own opinions. What emerges is a tapestry of whites who both acknowledge the imperfections of the past and are trying to move the country forward, but have some legitimate concerns the direction society is going, and blacks who are both deeply aggrieved and sometimes profoundly racist. Working class whites often are portrayed (unfairly I think) in an especially unflattering light. What is missing is middle America - good-hearted people of whatever hue who realize that skin color is one of a person's least important characteristics and believe government, the news media, and educational institutions should reflect that in what they do and say.

The author, Studs Terkel, formed his world view in the 1930s, and his opinions appear to have stopped evolving no later than the 1950s. He was a dinosaur by the time this book was published in 1992, and his views are even more dated today. However, his book does provide insight into the mid-twentieth century liberal/leftist mindset, and is useful as a history of that sort of person.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 21, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 28, 2019 – Shelved

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