Culture of Intolerance: Chauvinism, Class, and Racism in the United States

Overview

This timely book challenges the notion that any one group of people is "naturally" inferior to any other. Anthropologist Mark Cohen argues that "races" do not exist, that few biological traits actually correlate with the color of one's skin, and that definitions of intelligence, IQ tests, and hiring practices contain many more cultural biases than we recognize.
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Overview

This timely book challenges the notion that any one group of people is "naturally" inferior to any other. Anthropologist Mark Cohen argues that "races" do not exist, that few biological traits actually correlate with the color of one's skin, and that definitions of intelligence, IQ tests, and hiring practices contain many more cultural biases than we recognize.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In addressing questions of how we confuse cultural difference with biological inferiority, anthropologist Cohen attacks the sacred cows of American conservatism, including strict constitutional constructionism, "canons" of literary discourse, and IQ testing. "We often cannot imagine that other people might prefer their ways to ours or derive satisfaction from things that appear to us to be `quaint' and `primitive,' " Cohen (State Univ. of New York, Plattsburgh) writes, regarding his theory that we fabricate racial hierarchies to support our cultural narrowmindedness. As an anthropologist, Cohen is accustomed to imagining just such preferences, his role being to study, without judging, other cultures. In his consequent support of multiculturalism, Cohen argues that "the much more difficult but potentially far more rewarding challenge is to comprehend the real depth and subtlety of differences and to permit others to be different yet still coexist." In the area of IQ testing, without presenting new research but capably marshalling existing studies, Cohen rebuts the idea that class stratifications along racial lines are a result of differences in intelligence and dismisses even the idea that intelligence is a finite quantity that can be measured with tests that are demonstrably biased. Cohen is able to make a very convincing case for affirmative action by showing how so-called corporate welfare and the inherent benefits of being a white male in American society are themselves a form of affirmative action. Readers will find this book a strong response to such ideologues as Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, and Allan Bloom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300080667
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,104,159
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 The Real American Tragedy 1
Ch. 2 The Innocent Scapegoat: Human Biological Variation and "Race" 11
Ch. 3 Understanding the Rules People Live By: Cultural Systems and Cultural Variation 60
Ch. 4 The Real Meaning of Cultural Relativism 111
Ch. 5 Some Assumptions of American Culture and the Problems They Generate 134
Ch. 6 Justifying Inequality: Cultural Assumptions About Intelligence and Competence 204
Ch. 7 Affirmative Action and Curriculum Inclusion 252
Ch. 8 Transforming the Culture of Intolerance 293
Suggested Reading 313
Index 317
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  • Posted April 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An amazing anthropological study of American culture and society.

    This book is a must read for anyone looking to gain a more objective and enlightened view of the deep divisions and derision's within American society and culture. Cohen delves deeply into the most controversial and deep rooted issues affecting cultures and races differing from the "norm" of white Euro-American's. The books builds its argument around the findings of another book, "The Bell Curve" and uses the ethnocentric views presented in the book to exemplify the narrow-mindedness and cultural "blinders" possessed by Americans. Other areas of exploration include a comparative inquiry into the true success of American culture when compared to various other cultures around the world. The book also takes issue with the economic inequalities in American and how they have created a feeling of social hegemony and the belief that those with power possess certain biological or intellectually traits superior to any other humans. An enthralling must read that will profoundly affect an persons view of American culture.

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