Silent Racism: How Well-Meaning White People Perpetuate the Racial Divide

Barbara Trepagnier
Vivid and engaging, Silent Racism persuasively demonstrates that silent racism—racism by people who classify themselves as not racist is instrumental in the production of institutional racism. Trepagnier argues that heightened race awareness is more important in changing racial inequality than judging whether individuals are racist. The collective voices and confessions of non-racist white women heard in this book help reveal that all individuals harbor some racist thoughts and feelings. Trepagnier uses vivid focus group interviews to argue that the oppositional categories of racist/not racist are outdated. The oppositional categories should be replaced in contemporary thought with a continuum model that more accurately portrays today’s racial reality in the United States. A shift to a continuum model can raise the race awareness of well-meaning white people and improve race relations. Offering a fresh approach, Silent Racism is an essential resource for teaching and thinking about racism in the twenty-first century.


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