Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama


Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
City Lights Publishers - City Lights Publishe
Publish Date
4.9 X 0.6 X 6.8 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Wise was the 2008 Oliver L. Brown Distinguished Visiting Scholar for Diversity Issues at Washburn University. Wise tours constantly and delivers dozens of lectures each year. He is regularly sought for interviews and has been on 20/20, Paula Zahn, NOW with Bill Moyers, MSNBC, and Donahue. His previous books include Between Barack and a Hard Place and White Like Me.


"Wise, a white anti-racism activist and scholar (and author of White Like Me), pushes plenty of buttons in this methodical breakdown of racism's place in the wake of Barack Obama's victory. In the first of two essays, the author obliterates the canard of the US as a post-racial society; bigotry and insititutionalized discrimination, he contends, have simply morphed into 'Racism 2.0, ' in which successful minorities are celebrated 'as having 'transcended' their blackness in some way.' While racial disparities in employment and income, housing, education and other areas persist, Obama has become an amiable sitcom dad like Bill Cosby, putting whites at ease by speaking, looking and acting 'a certain way'--not to mention avoiding discussion of race. In his second, more incendiary essay, Wise concludes that whites must take responsibility for racism. What the majority of whites fail to grasp, he says, is that they continue to benefit from a system of 'entrenched privileges' centuries in the making, and that racism remains a serious obstacle for millions of African Americans. There's no sugar coating here for whites, nor are there any news flashes for Americans of color, but Wise bravely enumerates the unpalatable truths of a nation still struggling to understand its legacy of racist oppression."--Publishers Weekly

"Wise fully delivers (by merging scholarship with politically engaged criticism in a short and accessibly written manner) ... this book is forceful, relentless, and convincing."--Journal of Higher Education

"From income and jobs, housing, education, criminal justice, and healthcare, Wise masterfully demonstrates the continuing disparities between black and white America. He notes the absence of these issues in the Obama-Biden campaign or the attempt to read structural inequalities through a race-free lens called CLASS. At every step, Wise absolves the Obama campaign of responsibility for their less than candid approach to racial issues, saying that campaign strategists confronted the reality of white racism by side-stepping the issue ... Wise's book provides welcome relief to the obnoxious self-congratulation that followed Obama's election to the presidency."--Jillian McLaughlin, Kosmopolitan

"The punning title of his book, 'Between Barack and a Hard Place, ' belies the sobering material within. Wise paints a stark picture of racial inequality in the United States today ... Wise's short book reads like an old-school polemic: Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' for the 21st century ... A post-racial United States is an imagined country."--Adam Bradley, The Washington Post

"Tim Wise, a long-time anti-racist activist, has just finished a very timely book that warns against becoming comfortable with racism while we are distracted by Obama's election. Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama continues the excellent work around the issue of [w]hite [p]rivilege that Wise has pounded home in his books, articles, and public talks across the country."--Jeff Smith, Media Mouse