Reviews for Racial paranoia : the unintended consequences of political correctness : the new reality of race in America

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In this era of political correctness, racism has became more subtle and perhaps more subversively dangerous than ever before. So argues Jackson in this thought-provoking, scholarly examination of the ambiguous sense of racial distrust that infects both blacks and whites in contemporary America. Terming the new reality of race in mainstream America racial paranoia, he analyzes the origins, the consequences, and the future implications of a racism that is often difficult to see, touch, and define but nevertheless exists and tempers the ways in which people across racial lines react to one another and interact with each other. Racial paranoia should not be dismissed as extremism; rather, it must be publicly acknowledged, understood, and expressed before it can be combated. Although it might make uncomfortable reading for some, Jackson's well-reasoned analysis is right on target.--Flanagan, Margaret Copyright 2008 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
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Calls for a conversation about race crop up persistently-as in the wake of the Imus scandal or O.J. Simpson's acquittal. Jackson's (Harlemworld; Real Black) examination of how race remains singular in American consciousness proves a lively opening gambit to a thought-provoking analysis. After a loose historical survey of race matters before the 1960s, when "brash and brazen American racism" was mainstream, Jackson focuses on the current state of affairs in racial fears and distrust that have gone underground and express themselves as racial paranoia and "de cardio" racism ("what the law can't touch, what won't be easily proved or disproved, what can't be simply criminalized or deemed unconstitutional"). Racial paranoia, not "just `a black thing,' " owes much to the way mass media confirms or subverts stereotypes; de cardio racism is cloaked, "papered over with public niceties and politically correct jargon." Jackson explores particularly fresh areas in his illuminating consideration of The Man Who Cried I Am and 1996, racial paranoia's canonical texts and in his attention to the McCarran Act's effect upon black thinkers. Passionate and committed Jackson is, but his content is balanced. Casually scholarly and often witty, Jackson offers the reader "new ways of talking about race's subtler dynamic and new ways of spying racial conflict in the twenty-first century." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Forty years after the heydey of the Civil Rights movement, blacks find themselves in a quandary, unable to deduce who is racist. So asserts Jackson (Communications and Anthropology/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity, 2005, etc.) in a rambling, repetitive text burdened by academic jargon. With lynching (almost) a historical memory and public use of the word "nigger" taboo, racial prejudice is now exhibited in more subtle ways that have given rise to a debilitating paranoia among blacks, he argues. Jackson cites as evidence media reports, publications by other academics and Internet chatter. In a wildly disjointed discussion, he revisits the saga of Dave Chappelle, who in 2005 famously walked away from a purported $50 million contract for his hit television show on Comedy Central. Jackson notes that Chappelle was driven to take a hiatus from his career after a white staffer laughed at a sketch he performed in blackface. The comic could not discern whether the staffer was laughing with or at him—a common conundrum for blacks at a time when political correctness reigns. The author also probes a 2006 conflict involving former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was detained by a white Capitol Hill cop after bypassing a metal detector at her office. Successful blacks like McKinney, who alleged she was a victim of racial profiling, routinely evoke suspicion in halls of power, writes Jackson. He suggests that whites can help blacks conquer racial paranoia—he uses the phrase ten times on a single page—by making friends across racial lines, buying homes in diverse neighborhoods and avoiding predominately white day-care centers. Readers are likely to be stunned by Jackson's revelation that some blacks feel they receive less cream cheese on their bagels than whites. A professor's lecture notes run amok. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Choice
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

In this provocative and insightful book, Jackson (communications/anthropology, Univ. of Pennsylvania) explores complexities of contemporary racism. In his view, de jure and de facto racism have been replaced by "de cardio" (of the heart) racism, which is harder to see and provokes "racial paranoia" (suspicions of hidden racial hostility) among African Americans. De cardio racism is concealed, covert, and harder to prove. Jackson covers broad territory, from incidents around Dave Chappelle to conspiracy theories circulating in numerous black communities. While he shows significant familiarity with social science research, his argument would be strengthened by more attention to research (some cited in his notes) that contradicts his thesis that white-imposed racism has changed dramatically and completely from the recent past. Social science data reveal that whites' racial hostility and discrimination today have great continuity with that racist past, not a major rupture (e.g., Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists, CH, Jan'04, 41-3121; Leslie Houts Picca and Joe Feagin, Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage, 2007). No bibliography. Substantial notes and index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and undergraduate libraries. J. R. Feagin Texas A&M University

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