Trouble with Friendship: Why Americans Cant Think Straight about Race

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Trouble with Friendship: Why Americans Cant Think Straight about Race
In this provocative, insightful, and sure to be controversial work, eminent social critic Benjamin DeMott shows how black and white neoconservatism, the rise of the black middle class, and the imagery and rhetoric of racial amity promulgated by contemporary media are coalescing into a whole new orthodoxy - one that obscures continuing racial inequity and threatens to halt the further progress of African Americans. DeMott examines a stunning range of cultural evidence - from Clinton oratory to popular cinema and television, to scapegoated welfare mothers, to some of today's most respected thinkers - to lay bear the thrust and assumptions of this new friendship orthodoxy, which maintains that racial problems can be solved simply by blacks and whites working together, one on one, to reconcile differences. DeMott argues that such an appealing perspective is dangerous because it is so blatantly ahistorical, because it turns a blind eye to entrenched poverty, because it ignores the racism still alive in the land, and because of its real consequences. It distorts the public debate and absolves the body politic from the hard work that the civil rights movement began and that remains unfinished.
Publication Date: 
March 1, 1998