Blaming the Victim

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Overview

The classic work that refutes the lies we tell ourselves about race, poverty and the poorHere are three myths about poverty in America:– Minority children perform poorly in school because they are “culturally deprived.”– African-Americans are handicapped by a family structure that is typically unstable and matriarchal. – Poor people suffer from bad health because of ignorance and lack of interest in proper health care. Blaming the Victim was the first book to identify these truisms as part of the system of denial...

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Blaming the Victim

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Overview

The classic work that refutes the lies we tell ourselves about race, poverty and the poorHere are three myths about poverty in America:– Minority children perform poorly in school because they are “culturally deprived.”– African-Americans are handicapped by a family structure that is typically unstable and matriarchal. – Poor people suffer from bad health because of ignorance and lack of interest in proper health care. Blaming the Victim was the first book to identify these truisms as part of the system of denial that even the best-intentioned Americans have constructed around the unpalatable realities of race and class. Originally published in 1970, William Ryan's groundbreaking and exhaustively researched work challenges both liberal and conservative assumptions, serving up a devastating critique of the mindset that causes us to blame the poor for their poverty and the powerless for their powerlessness. More than twenty years later, it is even more meaningful for its diagnosis of the psychic underpinnings of racial and social injustice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An impassioned, often brilliant expose of middle-class ideology.”—Herbert Gans“An illusion-shatterer of the first order…if you are concerned, you must read this book. It will stop you in your tracks.”—Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394722269
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1976
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 385,338
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.76 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    An eye openning experience

    Blaming the victim is an amazing realization of the habitual self serving nature of people, especially the middle class. The book makes large generalizations that all lead to the leading point that in order to escape blame for social problems people will, ¿blame the victim.¿ Beginning with a start towards the outlooks of society, Blaming the Victim brings racial and monetary (rich vs. poor) stereotypes onto the playing field. Then it picks away at the many faults and problems within society that the stereotyping has. The biggest problem encountered that is repeated constantly and consistently has been Blaming the Victim. It then follows into the institutions that help support such flagrant maladjustments in social order, the most controversial (in my opinion) being the education system. The book finishes with another overview. I loved it. I thought that this was amazing and completely eye opening. Although written between thirty and forty years ago, the relevance of the topic is unbelievable. There are more problems in society then most people look for, and frankly speaking the biggest one is not looking at the big or whole picture. This was the most common method of being able to ¿Blame the victim.¿ With numerous examples, my favorite being abortion vs. education for illegitimate children, the point was made clear, prevention is what is not happening and focusing in on one target at a time, puts the victim of the crime on the board, not the instigator of the crime. Blaming the Victim is not all bout the faults of society though. It also describes possible starting points. The first and largest is education equality of results, because at this point we know there is no difference between races or wealth when it comes to can you learns a material. Anyone can learn, and saying that a person can¿t because they are poor or of a different race is not legitimate at all, especially now. At this point, targeting individuals for social problems is a way to scapegoat, and that is a big problem. Unfortunately, there are no real solutions set up because there are neither politicians who will accept that something is going wrong, or citizens who are willing to have a politician who will be wrong without making him/her into a scapegoat. In summation, this is amazing and a must read. There has never been written that I have read, a social book that took society is its entirety and flipped it on its head with the biggest problem possibly ever to hit the modern world.

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