on Orders of $25 or more*
|Get your books quickly and easily... and pay nothing for shipping. Just order $25 or more and standard shipping is on us (excludes Marketplace and Rental offerings).|
|$3.99 flat rate|
|UPS 2nd Day Air*||$11.99 flat rate|
|UPS Next Day Air*||$19.98 flat rate|
* Not available for PO boxes and APO/FPO
** Saturday delivery is only available in certain areas. UPS standard rates apply.
*** Separate shipping rates apply for bulk orders
In a book destined to become a classic, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom present important new information about the positive changes that have been achieved and the measurable improvement in the lives of the majority of African-Americans. Supporting their conclusions with statistics on education, earnings, and housing, they argue that the perception of serious racial divisions in this country is outdated -- and dangerous.Edition/Copyright: 97
Preface to the Paperback Edition
Much has happened since this book went to press in early 1997. Perhaps most important, President Clinton launched an ''initiative'' designed to ''promote a national dialogue on controversial issues surrounding race,'' appointing the distinguished historian John Hope Franklin as head of an advisory board.
The appointment of Dr. Franklin put the issue of racial change -- the central question in our book -- squarely on the table. ''Every time people take a breath,'' Franklin has said, ''it's in terms of color.'' As he described it, the brutal murder of a black man in Jasper, Texas, in June 1998 was ''not all that much of an aberration. We have at least several incidents like that every year.''
This is a view very different from our own. From the response of citizens in Jasper and across the country, it was clear that this sort of incident now evokes horror among blacks and whites alike.
Implicitly or explicitly the question of change runs through every debate on race. John Hope Franklin is not alone, of course, in his pessimism. In July 1998, Bill Cosby's wife, Camille, writing on the murder of their son, described racism as ''omnipresent and eternalized in America's institutions, media and myriad entities.'' It's certainly easy to get discouraged, and Camille Cosby had special reason for bitterness. But such misguided despair, we believe, threatens further progress. If racism is truly ubiquitous and permanent, then racial equality a hopeless project -- an unattainable ideal. Gloom becomes a dangerous, self-fulfilling prophecy.
In fact, both deep pessimism and complacent optimism seem to us unwarranted. America in Black and White has generated considerable controversy. Unfortunately much of that controversy results from a misrepresentation of what we say. For instance, New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis accused us of believing that ''America's race problem has been substantially solved.''
That is not what we believe, nor is it what we said. America remains a very color-conscious society, and true racial equality is a dream. There has been much progress, and there is still much to do. For instance, in 1964 only one in five white Americans had any black neighbors; today the figure is three out of five, a national average that includes whites living in states like Utah and Vermont where black residents are rare. And yet of course one needs only to walk the streets of, say, southeast Washington, D.C., to know that racial isolation is not a thing of the past.
In part, despair is the product of misguided expectations. We are passionate advocates of integration, and yet it's unrealistic to expect that African Americans will one day be uniformly distributed across the residential landscape, such that they are 12 percent of every census tract. No other strongly defined group is so scattered. In the Boston area, Jews are concentrated in Brookline, Armenians in Watertown, Portuguese in Fall River, Cambodians in Lowell, Hispanics in Lawrence, and so forth. Again, this is not to say racial hostility plays an insignificant part in where blacks live; but one needs always to ask where we've been, how far we've come, and where we're likely headed.
James Q. Wilson has described America in Black and White as a work that supports, with facts, what most people really believe -- namely, there is both good news and bad. The good news, though, has been greeted with a measure of outrage that perhaps we should have expected. ''Virtually the entire civil rights leadership,'' Washington Post columnist William Raspberry has noted, ''has been hellbent on proving that both the passing of the era of oppression and the dawning of a new era are myths....It has become a virtual heresy in black America to acknowledge progress....When Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom write...that the black condition, white attitudes and race relations have all improved dramatically, it is taken as an assault on black America.''
It's tempting to believe that the hostile misreading to which Raspberry refers once again demonstrates how difficult it is to talk about race. But on this score, too, we are optimists. In the last year we have found ourselves in the thick of debate in a period of heartening political and ideological ferment. Today our voice is no longer that of outsiders. Indeed, last December, President Clinton invited one of us to participate in a ''town meeting'' on race in Akron, Ohio, and three weeks later both of us met with him and the vice president in the Oval Office. To an unprecedented degree much of the discourse on race-related matters now exhibits the more significant diversity of competing ideas.
Thus, former New York congressman Floyd Flake, a man with impeccable civil rights credentials, has become an impassioned advocate for school vouchers that would allow inner-city parents to make educational choices traditionally reserved for the economically better off. In response to a June 1998 newspaper article that minimized black educational progress, William H. Gray III, president of the United Negro College Fund, accused the reporter of paying ''more attention to the vestiges of a past era of oppression than...to a dawning of a new era of hope, opportunity and measurable progress.'' The editorial page of the Boston Globe is a bulwark of traditional liberalism, and yet on 31 July 1998 it praised a speech by Justice Clarence Thomas as displaying ''not only the courage to confront his detractors but also a lucidity that is all too rare in the nation's political discourse.'' ''We may not agree with the road Thomas has taken,'' the editorial explained, but ''we support his fight to take a different view, and we share his faith 'that whites and blacks can live together and be blended into a common nationality.'''
The winds of intellectual and political freedom are blowing. And yet ugly divisiveness remains the norm when it comes to one question: that of racial preferences. Why this should be so is a topic for another day, but even on this deeply polarizing issue, there is, we believe, the potential for common ground.
''Where race is concerned, it is time for facts to win out over rhetoric,'' Alan Wolfe argued in his review of our book in The New Republic. And indeed, the tendency to wade in a swamp of feelings is a central problem in discussions of race. We would like to see Americans get beyond race, and beyond emoting about race. If we can agree on the facts, we can work together to solve the problems. The point applies to the issue of preferences: move the debate from feelings to facts, and perhaps we can break the emotionally laden intellectual stalemate.
It is, for instance, an undeniable fact that the dropout rate of preferentially admitted students at highly selective schools has been very high. And indeed, in an April 1998 Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, we calculated that the number of University of California black and Hispanic students who would actually complete a four-year degree was likely to go up with the end of preferential admissions. In the short run fewer will attend Berkeley; more will go to Riverside. But a larger number will graduate, which has important implications for long-run earnings. A hard look at data, in other words, conveys some good news to those who worry that the end of preferences will be devastating for non-Asian minority students.
The dropout data make another important point: the real issue (as Hugh Price of the National Urban League often says) is not admissions to institutions of higher learning, but black education in the elementary and secondary school years. Close the racial gap in academic achievement (a gap we discuss at length in Chapter 13), and the entire issue of preferences disappears. If we look together at the facts, surely many of us can agree: K-through-12 education must become the civil rights cause.
Closing that gap will take deliberate and well-conceived educational policy. But the most divisive issue of all -- that of preferences -- may melt away even without the all-out effort that our youngsters deserve. Cynthia Tucker, an African-American editorial writer for the Atlanta Constitution, has a Mexican-American brother-in-law; ''Blaxican'' is how she described her soon-to-be-born niece in July 1998. This past year, in the University of California system, more than one in seven students accepted for admission refused to check the racial classification box on their applications.
Half of all Asians are now marrying non-Asians; by the third generation half of all Hispanics are also marrying outside the ethnic group. The black intermarriage rate is slowly but steadily rising. The categories ''Hispanic,'' ''Asian,'' and ''white'' (always questionable) are fast becoming a positive anachronism, and even ''black'' is a label that is fraying at the edges. Cynthia Tucker's family is not an anomaly.
Is America moving beyond race? Billy Martin became a chief legal strategist for Monica Lewinsky in the days before she testified before the grand jury. ''I was brought into a major case and delivered the kind of services that were needed, and no one mentioned that I was an African-American,'' said Mr. Martin, who added that race was never an issue. And of course one of the men closest to the president himself has been Vernon Jordan, whose race is also simply irrelevant. But more important, ordinary Americans -- black and white -- are working together, dining together, living next door, forming interracial friendships, and dating members of the other race. Nearly nine out of ten black teenagers now say racism is either ''a small problem'' or ''not a problem at all'' in their daily lives.
Racial progress is a train that left the station fifty years ago and has been chugging along ever since, this book argues. Moreover, there is no going back. But if doom is a self-fulfilling prophecy, so is hope. The ongoing struggle for racial equality requires faith in ourselves. Martin Luther King and the entire civil rights movement understood our capacity for fundamental moral change, and built a movement upon that conviction. In writing this book we hoped to encourage our readers to recapture their faith in America. And we like to think that, in this important respect, we have had a bit of success.
Copyright © 1997 by Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom
Get Free Shipping on orders over $25 (not including Rental and Marketplace). Order arrives in 5-10 business days.
Need it faster?
We offer fast, flat-rate expedited shipping options.
|Sell it back by:|
|Guaranteed cash back:|
|Cost of this book|
after cash back:
Take advantage of Guaranteed Cash Back. Send your book to us in good condition before the end of the buyback period, we'll send YOU a check, and you'll pay less for your textbooks!
When you're done with this book, sell it back to Textbooks.com. In addition to the best possible buyback price, you'll get an extra 10% cash back just for being a customer.
We buy good-condition used textbooks year 'round, 24/7. No matter where you bought it, Textbooks.com will buy your textbooks for the most cash.
Being online is not required for reading an eTextbook after successfully downloading it. You must only be connected to the Internet duringthe download process.
What is the Marketplace?
It's another way for you to get the right price on the books you need. We approved every Marketplace vendor to sell their books on Textbooks.com, so you know they're all reliable.
What are Marketplace shipping options?
Marketplace items do not qualify for free shipping. When ordering from the Marketplace, please specify whether you want the seller to send your book Standard ($3.99/item) or Express ($6.99/item). To get free shipping over $25, just order directly from Textbooks.com instead of through the Marketplace.
FREE UPS 2nd Day Air TermsRental and Marketplace items are excluded. Offer is valid from 1/21/2013 12:00PM to 1/23/2013 11:59AM CST. Your order must be placed by 12 Noon CST to be processed on the same day. Minimum order value is $100.00 excluding Rental and Marketplace items. To redeem this offer, select "FREE UPS 2ND DAY AIR" at checkout. Offer not is not valid on previous orders.