Portraits of White Racism By David T. Wellman

Challenging the notion that racism consists simply of prejudice in the minds of individuals, this book argues instead that racism is a set of culturally acceptable beliefs that defend the advantages whites have obtained in American society. The book is based on five chapters of interviews. The second edition is updated with a new preface, introduction, and epilogue that take into account both the recent sociological theorizing about racism and new research by Wellman. Portraits of White Racism


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Reading in 2013 a book first published in 1977 is not entirely fair on the theory part - I think we have moved on a bit in our understanding of racism and whiteness since then. However the direct reporting of probing interviews with a cross section of white Americans remains moving and challenging to me as a white South African.

In many ways all his interviews fall into a category we might now call modern racism in that the interviewees don't express much direct hatred and disdain for black people, yet somehow manage to put most of the blame and all the need for change onto black people. A warning to me in my anti-racist racism! David T. Wellman The book shows me the research I want to do! David T. Wellman