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Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-First Century Challenge to White America

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More than 15 years have passed since Joe Barndt wrote his influential and widely acclaimed Dismantling Racism (1991, Augsburg Books). He has now written a replacement volume - powerful, personal, and practical - that reframes the whole issue for the new context of the twenty-first century. With great clarity Barndt traces the history of racism, especially in white America, More than 15 years have passed since Joe Barndt wrote his influential and widely acclaimed Dismantling Racism (1991, Augsburg Books). He has now written a replacement volume - powerful, personal, and practical - that reframes the whole issue for the new context of the twenty-first century. With great clarity Barndt traces the history of racism, especially in white America, revealing its various personal, institutional, and cultural forms. Without demonizing anyone or any race, he offers specific, positive ways in which people in all walks, including churches, can work to bring racism to an end. He includes the newest data on continuing conditions of People of Color, including their progress relative to the minimal standards of equality in housing, income and wealth, education, and health. He discusses current dimensions of race as they appear in controversies over 9/11, New Orleans, and undocumented workers. Includes analytical charts, definitions, bibliography, and exercises for readers.


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More than 15 years have passed since Joe Barndt wrote his influential and widely acclaimed Dismantling Racism (1991, Augsburg Books). He has now written a replacement volume - powerful, personal, and practical - that reframes the whole issue for the new context of the twenty-first century. With great clarity Barndt traces the history of racism, especially in white America, More than 15 years have passed since Joe Barndt wrote his influential and widely acclaimed Dismantling Racism (1991, Augsburg Books). He has now written a replacement volume - powerful, personal, and practical - that reframes the whole issue for the new context of the twenty-first century. With great clarity Barndt traces the history of racism, especially in white America, revealing its various personal, institutional, and cultural forms. Without demonizing anyone or any race, he offers specific, positive ways in which people in all walks, including churches, can work to bring racism to an end. He includes the newest data on continuing conditions of People of Color, including their progress relative to the minimal standards of equality in housing, income and wealth, education, and health. He discusses current dimensions of race as they appear in controversies over 9/11, New Orleans, and undocumented workers. Includes analytical charts, definitions, bibliography, and exercises for readers.

30 review for Understanding and Dismantling Racism: The Twenty-First Century Challenge to White America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    The author is my great-uncle so I'm admittedly biased, but I still think he writes well. Good book written by a good dude.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    One of the shortest, but hardest to get through, books I've ever read. If you read this and aren't changed by the end, you're either perfect or beyond saving.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Anne Kieran

    On the one hand, this is a wonderful and important book, and really useful both in my personal work and in some professional work I am currently engaged in. On the other hand, it is a slog (even if you're already familiar and comfortable with concepts of white privilege and institutionalized racism). I think part of the issue is that the writing is more utilitarian than sparkling, but that would be fine. The thing that really becomes challenging as you go on is that he gives almost concrete exam On the one hand, this is a wonderful and important book, and really useful both in my personal work and in some professional work I am currently engaged in. On the other hand, it is a slog (even if you're already familiar and comfortable with concepts of white privilege and institutionalized racism). I think part of the issue is that the writing is more utilitarian than sparkling, but that would be fine. The thing that really becomes challenging as you go on is that he gives almost concrete examples of concepts. This is fine when they are things you already know but when he starts talking about transformative processes for antiracism initiatives that he and his group train on, it's really harder to imagine without examples. He is deliberate in this - "There are no generic models for an antiracist institution. And each institution's antiracist structures must reflect the specific purpose, language, and values o that particular institution." - but I know for me I found this challenging once he was addressing stages beyond which my institutions still have not traveled.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    This book was a painful read for me. (White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Male). Worth every tear.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

    This reads like a dissertation or text book. The essence: DISMANTLING RACISM Racism is perpetuated by our institutions and culture, which were constructed to produce white power and privilege. Transformation of these systems is what is necessary to dismantle racism. This is different from transactional change that makes modifications to the system, but leaves the overall goals and outcomes in place. Dismantling racism means building something new- new structures of power and justice. Building comm This reads like a dissertation or text book. The essence: DISMANTLING RACISM Racism is perpetuated by our institutions and culture, which were constructed to produce white power and privilege. Transformation of these systems is what is necessary to dismantle racism. This is different from transactional change that makes modifications to the system, but leaves the overall goals and outcomes in place. Dismantling racism means building something new- new structures of power and justice. Building communities of anti-racist resistance and dismantling institutional racism are the steps the author puts forward as the way forward. An antiracist community of resistance can form in a range of settings- in a school, church, business, neighborhood, city, social service agency, governmental agency, etc for mutual support, with a goal of growing into the identity of antiracist and becoming a group that then takes action together. Antiracist communities of resistance are multiracial and multicultural. Building these support groups has been practiced for centuries by people of color, but will likely be new for white people. Crossroads Ministry and People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond are two organizations that have established hundreds of these communities throughout the U.S.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Good information but reads like a dissertation. Would benefit from more stories!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joe Sanford

    Life-changing for a white male whose heart is broken by systemic racism. In the quest for change the question always arises, “So what do we do?” This book gives us a wonderful beginning to a life of answering that question. I finally have direction on where I can begin the work of participating with the dismantling of racism in my work, community, nation, and world.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Larissa

    Had very good frameworks that distinguished between institutionalized racism and personal racism, something I've struggled to explain well in the past. This wasn't the most well written book and lots of it was repetitive without many examples, but overall it significantly enhanced and changed my viewpoint on racism in America today.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This book is a hard pill to swallow but it is life changing. It is hard to accept some of the author's ideas but it is an eye opening way to look at racism and how it is manifested in today's society.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rocky

    This book is written by a reverend and he does write about things in an interesting way (good vs evil) but if you can get through his writing style he actually presents a one of the best frameworks for confronting institutional racism. The author came to our reading group and lives in watsonville.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I became interested in antiracism last year and I was wanting a book that would help me sort out some of my thoughts. This book was exactly what I needed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I learned a lot and was challenged to think deeply about the challenges we continue to face as people striving for equal opportunity across races in the US.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hey Sailor!

    Peter as Jami, "I agree with all the things you are saying, but if this is going to be the white guilt hour I'm out of here."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Gietzen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Rivers

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ben Garren

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina Taylor

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Miller

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mae Moua

  22. 5 out of 5

    James Puglisi

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ani

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kat

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Langemo

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam Young

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kbuxton

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Port

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara

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