Race Relations in America: Examining the Facts

ABC-CLIO (Contemporary Debates). May 2021. 284p. ISBN 9781440874000. $65. REF
In this extremely well-crafted addition to ABC-CLIO’s “Contemporary Debates” series, Khanna and Matsumoto (both sociology, Univ. of Vermont) expertly tackle some of the thorniest topics in current American race relations. They answer 34 questions across seven chapters on the definitions and realities of race, systematic racism, power and privilege, crime and criminal justice, social policies, immigration, and the future of race relations in the United States. Their aim, which is superbly outlined in the preface, is to persuade readers to examine race in the context of historical circumstances and contemporary research rather than through their inherent biases and limited personal experiences. The format is simple: Each chapter contains a brief general introduction; a series of questions with one- to two-page answers that use quantifiable, evidence-based data; a detailed explanation of the facts behind the answers; and a list of resources for further reading. Khanna and Matsumoto discuss white privilege, show that Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be killed by the police, and dispel the misconception that immigrants take jobs away from U.S.-born workers. The volume concludes with a thought-provoking piece asking if the election of Barack Obama marked the beginning of a new “post-racial” United States. In their responses, the authors plainly argue that American society is marked by systemic racism that is far from resolved.
VERDICT A balanced and thorough look at the United States’ most important contemporary race issues, with timely content and excellent supporting documentation.
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