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Most people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. Sociologist Karen E. Fields and historian Barbara J. Fields argue otherwise: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call “racecraft.” And this phenomenon is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed.
That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the authors argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry everyone who cares about democratic institutions.
“A most impressive work, tackling a demanding and important topic–the myth that we now live in a postracial society–in a novel, urgent, and compelling way. The authors dispel this myth by squarely addressing the paradox that racism is scientifically discredited but, like witchcraft before it, retains a social rationale in societies that remain highly unequal and averse to sufficiently critical engagement with their own history and traditions.”–Robin Blackburn, author of The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights
“With examples ranging from the profound to the absurd–including, for instance, an imaginary interview with W E B Dubois and Emile Durkheim, as well as personal porch chats with the authors’ grandmother–the Fields delve into “racecraft’s” profound effect on American political, social and economic life.”–Global Journal
“This is a very thoughtful book, a very urgent book.”–The Academic & The Artist Cloudcast