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BLUFFING ABOUT RACE

2.08.2008


Richard Thompson Ford is a semi-hot law professor at Stanford who recently wrote a book titled "The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse. In it, he says the national dialogue on race needs to change. Really? Because I thought it was going along just fine.

He argues that "when people talk about race relations, they too quickly try to ferret out racism without looking at the larger issues. In doing so, they leave open the possibility that opportunists will unfairly paint someone as a racist to further their political ends, while de-legitimizing some very real problems. 'I decided to write the book out of dismay and frustration with the way questions of racial injustice are typically taken up,' Ford says. 'Right now, we tend to deal with questions of race and race relations in the context of scandal. There's not much conversation about the day-to-day issues with racial tensions and injustices.'"

Zzzzzzzz.
I hope the book gets better. If you read it tell me. I am interested in hearing what you think of his chapter titled "Racism Without Racists." And the facts frequently complicate what appears to be a simple case of racism: The widely circulated nugget about a Hermes store closing when Oprah Winfrey tried to enter is simply not true. The store was closed for the day. But people were quick to draw upon actual occurrences of retail store discrimination in putting it out there that even Oprah is refused service because of her race. The story resonated, even if it wasn't accurate.
Good luck getting picked for Oprah's book club.
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