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While signs of racial progress are everywhere, the reality is that America is hardly more integrated than it was before the civil rights movement. Beyond the rhetoric of politicians, the media, and the prevalent symbols of integration lies a very different reality: 70 percent of black children attend predominantly black schools; and an Hispanic or Asian American with a third grade education is more likely to live in an integrated neighborhood than is a black with a Ph.D. Fueled by these startling statistics, By the Color of Our Skin argues that integration does not exist now; that it never had a chance to exist in the past; and that it will never exist in the future.Leonard Steinhorn and Barbara Diggs-Brown would themselves like to see integration become a reality but find--through polls, statistics, interviews, and anecdotes--that the illusion of integration is more damaging than useful because it keeps society from having an honest dialogue about the problem of race. By the Color of Our Skin explodes powerful myths and outlines a new vision of race in America.
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Professors Leonard Steinhorn and Barbara Diggs-Brown take an analytical look at American race relations, pointing out the difference between integration mythology and racial reality. While public facilities have been desegregated and black icons like Michael Jordan, Colin Powell, and Oprah Winfrey enjoy unprecedented popularity, there are still racial barriers left for blacks and whites to deal with. The authors examine the seductive imagery of integration, consider why blacks and whites view race differently, and explore the possibilities of translating some integration success stories into the broader fabric of American society. "We have no illusions that racial honesty will ever integrate our families, lives, schools, or communities," the authors write. "But we do hope that a more racially honest America can build bridges and challenge the stereotypes and images that too often guide our decisions and actions." --Eugene Holley Jr.About the Author:
Barbara Diggs-Brown is an associate professor of public communication at the American University School of Communication. She writes and lectures on cultural diversity in the media and has served as a media and press adviser for political campaigns, public officials, and advocacy groups. She lives outside of Washington, D.C.
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