Beacon Press: Living with Racism
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Living with Racism

The Black Middle-Class Experience

Authors: Joe R. Feagin, Melvin P. Sikes

“One step from suicide” was the first response to Joe Feagin and Mel Sikes’ question about how it feels to be middle-class and African-American. Despite the prevalent white view that racism is diminishing, this groundbreaking study exposes the depth and relentlessness of the racism that middle-class Black Americans face every day. From the supermarket to the office, the authors show, African Americans are routinely subjected to subtle humiliations and overt hostility across white America.

Based on the sometimes harrowing testimony of more than 200 Black respondents, Living with Racism shows how discrimination targets middle-class African Americans, impeding their economic and social progress, and wearying their spirit. A man is refused service in a restaurant. A woman is harassed while shopping. A little girl is taunted in a public pool by white children. These are everyday incidents encountered by millions of African Americans. But beyond presenting a litany of abuse, the authors argue that racism is deeply imbedded in American institutions and that the cumulative effect of these episodes is profoundly damaging. They argue that discrimination is experienced by their interviewees not as separate incidents, but as a process demanding their constant vigilance and shaping their personal, professional, and psychological lives.

With powerful insight into the daily workings of discrimination, this important study can help all Americans confront the racism of our institutions and our culture.
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“Feagin and Sikes . . . effectively drive home the point that ‘mere’ slights, racist jokes, common stereotyping—the myriad minor acts of prejudice and discrimination to which blacks are subjected even when separated by days or weeks—can gradually leave a sediment of bitterness and despair in the souls of black folk that makes normal interaction with whites very difficult.”
The Texas Observer

“[Living with Racism] offers ample proof to refute those who contend racism is a thing of the past for African Americans who have made it. I highly recommend this book to Black Americans seeking affirmation, and to every White person who has ever wondered what Blacks are complaining about.”
—Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., Harvard Medical School

“Joe Feagin and Melvin Sikes have rendered a true sense of the texture of Black middle class life. Unlike people crippled by social science disease, they have been able to tell it like it feels.”
—Roger Wilkins, author of Jefferson’s Pillow: The Founding Fathers and the Dilemma of Black Patriotism

“Some optimists may delude themselves into thinking questions of class have all but obliterated questions of race in American society, but Joe Feagin and Mel Sikes show through their exhaustive interviews with upwardly mobile Black Americans, how racism in its more covert forms follows African-Americans up the ladder of success. The resulting portrait reveals parallel realities, one perceived by whites, the other lived every day by Blacks. Feagin and Sikes take us a giant step toward bridging the widening canyon walls of America’s great racial divide.”
—Clarence Page, syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune


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Living with Racism

ISBN: 978-080700925-3
Publication Date: 7/31/1995
Pages: 416
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $30.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.
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