Read Racial Paranoia: the Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness: the New Reality of Race in America. by John L. Jackson Jr. Online

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The Civil War put an end to slavery, and the civil rights movement put an end to legalized segregation. Crimes motivated by racism are punished with particular severity, and Americans are more sensitive than ever about the words they choose when talking about race. And yet America remains divided along the color line. Acclaimed scholar John L. Jackson, Jr., identifies a neThe Civil War put an end to slavery, and the civil rights movement put an end to legalized segregation. Crimes motivated by racism are punished with particular severity, and Americans are more sensitive than ever about the words they choose when talking about race. And yet America remains divided along the color line. Acclaimed scholar John L. Jackson, Jr., identifies a new paradigm of race relations that has emerged in the wake of the legal victories of the civil rights era: racial paranoia. We live in an age of racial equality punctuated by galling examples of ongoing discrimination-from the federal government's inadequate efforts to protect the predominantly black population of New Orleans to Michael Richards's outrageous outburst. Not surprisingly, African-Americans distrust the rhetoric of political correctness, and see instead the threat of racism lurking below every white surface. Conspiracy theories abound and racial reconciliation seems near to impossible. In Racial Paranoia, Jackson explains how this paranoia is cultivated, transferred, and exaggerated; how it shapes our nation and undermines the goal of racial equality; and what can be done to fight it....

Title : Racial Paranoia: the Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness: the New Reality of Race in America.
Author :
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ISBN : 9780465002160
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Racial Paranoia: the Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness: the New Reality of Race in America. Reviews

  • Brad
    2019-02-23 09:27

    In an accessible yet learned style, Jackson delves into the interpersonal emotional life of race in an attempt to identify the impasse in the glacial progress of race relations in the US. Someone at ColorLines wrote a dismissive review, criticizing Jackson for not writing the book she would like to read about the structural elements of racial discrimination: elements which Jackson takes pains to acknowledge. Despite the clarity achieved through ideological inflexibility, those who focus on institutional racism alone have not provided a satisfactory account of what Fanon long ago identified as racism's covert bunker. I think that every anti-racist needs to grapple with the systematicity and persistence of racial discrimination in all of those situations that are neither conscious, nor mandated, nor unproblematically attributable to media representation. I think that Jackson is on the right track in pointing to political correctness as a mode in which saying the right thing (or more often, not saying the wrong thing, and to be on the safe side, not saying anything) takes the place of doing the right thing. The ColorLines staffer also claims that Jackson equates white racial paranoia to black racial paranoia. Jackson makes no such claim but he does fail to explicitly analyze the asymmetry of black and white subject positions in US society, which lays him open to the criticism. My first critique is not of Jackson's emphasis on the internalized and interpersonal aspects of race but rather his approach. For an anthropologist presenting a study based on ethnographic attention (as Jackson promises in the intro., there is rather little ethnographic data presented relative to Jackson's careful parsing of media representation, the actions of famous people, and the texts and history of hip-hop. A focus on what Jackson calls de cardio or heart racism could benefit from more attention to embodied experience. I would have liked to learn more about the sensations and affective states of this deeply embedded experience of race.My second critique regards framing. Jackson presents black-white racial relations not just as the focus of his book, an entirely reasonable choice, but by presenting the book as being about "race in America," he implies that black-white experience is the paradigm of all other racial formations. While unpacking the nuances of the US racial landscape is not his project, an acknowledgment that racial fault lines split in different ways for different people in different places would have been in order.My third critique is that Jackson, while courageous enough to champion the need for creating ordinary spaces of interracial sociability as a step to overcoming racial paranoia, doesn't provide much analysis of what this would look like and how it might work. Paul Gilroy has written eloquently about emergent interracial solidarities, the everyday multiculture, the political implications of conviviality, and the impact of anti-racist organizing in Britain (Postcolonial Melancholia (2005). Jackson is brilliantly theoretical at other times (see his 2005 article, A Little Black Magic, in South Atlantic Quarterly) and could have injected more of that brilliance into Racial Paranoia. All that said, I'm assigning my students to read Jackson's conclusion, as I think it (with other readings) will help them think through their own racial position in the US today.

  • Tracy
    2019-03-20 11:33

    Parts of this book were really good -- describing how racism goes "underground" when social norms and laws make overt racism less acceptable. However, he doesn't follow through on examining subtle or disguised racism. Instead, he spends much of the book detailing examples of people crying wolf in high publicized cases (Tawana Brawley, for instance). The beginning and conclusion have wonderful gems. Unfortunately, the middle isn't worth it.

  • Judah
    2019-03-19 11:33

    I'm not sure how to rate this book. It's awfully repetitive and filled with long-winded asides that don't contribute productively to the author's argument (reading this gave me severe flashbacks of trying to reach word counts for papers by including tons of unnecessary information.) This would have worked better as a think piece, but he's a professor and he probably has to publish to keep his job so I get it.Still, his argument is pretty fascinating: that the end of de facto segregation and the subsequent rise of political correctness has inadvertently led to an environment in which acts of racism are so covert and hard to pin down that black people are perhaps even more suspicious of whites than before, sometimes to the point of extreme paranoia. I mean, I'm not sure if I completely buy this as an explanation for some of the more bonkers conspiracy theories I've heard in barber shops (like the one that claims that whites are genetically inferior and unconsciously seek to exterminate blacks for their own survival), but I do think he has a point. He doesn't propose any real alternative to political correctness (and I guess I didn't expect him to), but I agree with his conclusion that forging deeper friendships across racial lines will go a long way in reducing both unconscious racial bias as well as racial paranoia. I reckon that's probably a no-brainer though.

  • Herb
    2019-03-12 06:47

    Jackson writes about the ways in which our continued inability to talk about race has created suspicions, rumors, conspiracy theories, and a broad array of the artifacts of mistrust. "Everybody knows that a Black woman will always be hired over a White man.""Everybody knows that crack cocaine was imported to Black neighborhoods by the CIA to continue destabilizing the community.""Everybody knows that Asians have become the 'good minority,' and that their concerns will be heard before the concerns of Blacks and Latinos."In the absence of real dialogue, real sharing of stories and histories and beliefs, we will end up reverting to mythologies like those three above, which harden into "truthiness" and are almost impossible to break. Why does this matter? Over the weekend, I had a chance to hear from a group of students and faculty from Mercer University, who had organized an initiative to help stop sex trafficking that was occurring under the guise of "massage spas." As police and prosecutors became more involved in trying to aid these (mostly) Asian and South American women gain their freedom, the project came under attack from some in Macon's Black community, who saw the attention as evidence that Black concerns were again being delayed or swept aside in favor of the concerns over some other community. If we can't talk intelligently and openly and bravely about race, then we will always see "us and them" and always feel that social good is a zero-sum game at which Group A's progress must necessarily come at the expense of Group B.

  • Jess
    2019-03-20 09:29

    Fantastic analysis of the way racism has "gone underground" in the era of political correctness. As legal and overt forms of racism have been forced out of polite, educated society, Jackson argues, it's been largely internalized in a way that fosters mistrust and paranoia--on both sides of the color lines--rather than honesty and openness. I'm particularly interested in Jackson's argument because I've had a suspicion for some time that this is what is increasingly happening with LGBT politics too. It's a fascinating read, and I'm full of ideas and insights as a result.

  • Jeff Raymond
    2019-03-04 04:33

    A surprisingly competent book on racial dynamics, political correctness, etc. Nothing crazy special, fairly academic, not partisan in any specific direction, but an interesting read in an area I don’t really read much in these days.

  • Julianne
    2019-03-13 10:19

    read my review in the sept/october issue of ColorLines magazineeee

  • Elaine
    2019-03-09 10:39

    Surprising and enlightening.

  • Bob Bixby
    2019-03-13 12:30

    Really helpful insights here. A great chapter on hip hop. Anyone serious about trying to understand the racial tension in this country should include this read.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-23 07:41

    This is a terrific exploration of contemporary racism, what Jackson terms de cardio. It also interrogates the capacity for knowing and who's knowing is valid.

  • Rena
    2019-02-27 09:26

    The book started off with a punch, but I soon lost interest on what I hoped to be a very fascinating topic.

  • Marlana
    2019-03-02 04:43

    It was just awful. Such a good topic simply wasted. So mad.