Transcending Racial Barriers: Toward a Mutual Obligations Approach

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Overview

Despite recent progress against racial inequalities, American society continues to produce attitudes and outcomes that reinforce the racial divide. In Transcending Racial Barriers, Michael Emerson and George Yancey offer a fresh perspective on how to combat racial division. They document the historical move from white supremacy to institutional racism, then look at modern efforts to overcome the racialized nature of our society. The authors argue that both conservative and progressive approaches have failed, as they continually fall victim to forces of ethnocentrism and group interest. They then explore group interest and possible ways to account for the perspectives of both majority and minority group members. They look to multiracial congregations, multiracial families, the military, and sports teams-all situations in which group interests have been overcome before. In each context they find the development of a core set of values that binds together different racial groups, along with the flexibility to express racially-based cultural uniqueness that does not conflict with this critical core.

Transcending Racial Barriers offers what is at once a balanced approach towards dealing with racial alienation and a bold step forward in the debate about the steps necessary to overcome present-day racism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Transcending Racial Barriers is a gem. In the book, Emerson and Yancey advance a 'mutual obligations approach' as the philosophy and praxis needed to help Americans get over their racial nightmare. They pull no punches and ask all the tough questions on racial matters, and they do so from all sides of the racial aisles. Accordingly, this book should stimulate both friendly dialogue as well as intense debate."—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor of Sociology, Duke University, and author of Racism without Racists

"We need scholars publishing books that demand to be debated, discussed, and digested collectively. Transcending Racial Barriers is one of these books. The originality here is the authors' willingness to rephrase, repackage, and restate in clear and critical ways the dominant modes of thinking about race and racism. This book has the potential to reset the ways that interracial discussions about racial phenomena can take place."—David L. Brunsma, Professor of Sociology and Black Studies, University of Missouri

"There is much to appreciate in yet another fine work by Emerson and Yancey. They do an admirable job of capturing the arguments of the competing voices in a concise and empathetic manner...this is a highly commendable book. Given the broadly relevant topic, high readability, and good quality of work buttressed by a solid bibliography, the book is widely usable for college students to scholars interested in racial reconciliation."—Missiology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199742684
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/21/2010
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael O. Emerson is Allyn R. & Gladys M. Cline Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life at Rice University. He is the co-author of ten books, including Divided by Faith, United By Faith and Passing the Plate.

George Yancey is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas, and the author of such books as Interracial Families, Interracial Contact and Social Change, Who is White?, and United by Faith.

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Table of Contents

Part One: Where We Are
1. Introduction
2. How Did We Get Here?
3. Dealing with Racism—Moving Beyond the Past
4. Dealing with Racism-Looking for Justice
5. Why We Have Failed
Part Two: A Path Forward
6. Listening to Each Other
7. Dealing with Group Interest
8. The Critical Core
9. Cultural Uniqueness
10. Racial Solutions for A New Society

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