Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly about Racism in America

(Author) (Foreword by)

Product Details

$19.95  $18.35
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
5.9 X 0.7 X 8.5 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

George Yancy is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. He is the author, editor and co-editor of over 18 books. He is known for his influential essays and interviews in the New York Times' philosophy column, The Stone. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia.


"George Yancy's courageous appeal to White America "to confront the problem of whiteness; to cultivate a critical awareness of the specter of whiteness and white privilege that each one of you inherits" elicited a remarkable range of responses, some hideous beyond words, some welcoming what he rightly called a "gift." This eloquent meditation on the events and their meaning calls on us, with piercing honesty, to think hard, and work hard, to excise the malignancy of white supremacy from our culture and our lives."--Noam Chomsky
"Backlash is a decisive intervention on a hugely important topic by a very courageous thinker. Highly recommended."--Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, The New School for Social Research
"Although fighting racism is one of the beliefs of our liberal society, not only astute social critics but also thousands of "ordinary" people clearly experience the falsity of the predominant liberal dogmas. Yancy conclusively demonstrates how we should move far beyond the liberal attacks on alt-right neocons towards asking the key question: to what degree the conservative backlash was made possible by the silences and compromises of the liberal perspective itself. No politically correct language policy can effectively disturb actual relations of domination and power. For this fact alone, Backlash deserves to become a classic."--Slavoj Zizek
"Through his wisdom, his research, and his lived experience, George Yancy has provided us with a thought-provoking example of the impact of racism in America: personally and impersonally, individually and collectively. Yancy deconstructs racism in a powerful way, and deepens our understanding by sharing his personal experience. All Americans can learn from reading this text. White Americans, and for that matter members of any dominant group, should especially treat this book as a special gift."--Howard J. Ross, founder and chief learning officer of Cook Ross Inc., a diversity consulting company, and author of Everyday Bias and Reinventing Diversity
"Direct and honest, Yancy's delineations of white violence, white indifference, and white naรฏvetรฉ are both thoughtful and discomforting."--Publishers Weekly
Searing, honest, and Unflagging in its pursuit of understanding.--Foreword Reviews
For all readers with the courage and care to act for racial and social justice.--Library Journal
This is a timely account of how raising the issue of racism to a white public can bring out the worst of humanity: hate. . . . It is not an easy book to read, no matter what your cultural and racial heritage, because it is unutterably sad that we need such a book in 2018. But we do require such an analysis of racism, and its concomitant ally whiteness. It is ubiquitous and rather insidious in all forms of social life, from the White House to the trailer park. Yancy gives heartfelt, yet courageous, insight into how the vitriol from whites stirred his humanity to be proactive, and seek further ways to reach the unreachable.--CHOICE
Rather than just acknowledging modern-day American racism, Yancy implores white readers to face the truth of their own bigotry, the privilege of their whiteness, and the ways that this whiteness inherently dehumanizes and endangers black people. . . . Yancy asks white readers to fundamentally question their sense of self, to accept the ugliness of the whiteness inherent in them. This is a monumental, incredibly difficult intellectual task. . . . Backlash is an honest, smart, and thoughtful book. . .--Los Angeles Review of Books
"One of Backlash's greatest attributes is that it reads as the work of a philosopher operating at the intersection of higher education and public intellectualism. . . . Backlash documents what happened when Yancy wrote honestly about white racism in America; more than that, it reclaims the discursive ground away from racist reactionaries and provides a way of moving the conversation forward."--The Black Scholar
In his new book, philosopher George Yancy uncovers just how unprepared even well-meaning whites are for a courageous conversation about race.--The Guardian
I experienced Yancy as a man of passion, perception, and integrity. . . he is a truthโ€teller and, ultimately, a formidable ally.--Friends Journal
[Backlash] urges White readers to suspend their belief in a postracial America and to resist disassociating themselves from a social system that violently suppresses Black Americans.Yancy's gift should be taken with the caveat that those who wish to accept it must also accept responsibility for educating themselves beyond this book on what it means to own such a gift, rather than have Yancy provide readers with all the answers to their questions about (i.e., the owner's manual). [Backlash] urges readers to understand that interrogating one's own racism is an ongoing, disquieting, and necessary process and not an occasion for self-congratulation.--Communication Booknotes Quarterly