Race in the Mind of America
Breaking the Vicious Circle Between Blacks and Whites
By (author) Paul L. Wachtel
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Race in the Mind of America by Paul L. Wachtel
Book DescriptionInternationally recognized psychologist Paul L. Wachtel sheds new light on the psychological foundations of our nation's racial impasse and applies his pathbreaking "vicious circle" approach to help resolve it. This timely and fascinating analysis shows how the ways we attempt to cope with racial tensions and inequalities often lead to the perpetuation of our difficulties rather than their resolution. Understanding the ironies that characterize contemporary race relations is the first step toward extricating our nation from the vicious circle. Both controversial and healing, Race in the Mind of America challenges the orthodoxies that shape black and white opinion and liberal and conservative policies while sensitively exploring the way the world looks to both sides and why it looks that way. Wachtel probes the daily experiences of blacks and whites, shedding new light on how individual experiences and larger social, historical and economic forces continually re-create each other. In illustrating how blacks and whites get caught in vicious circles that sustain the very behaviors and attitudes they wish would change, Wachtel also points toward the concrete solutions to our seemingly enduring dilemmas and shows how to move beyond the adversarial rhetoric that divides us.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780415920001
(229mm x 152mm x 28mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 4-Mar-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Paul L. Wachtel
Inside the Session, Hardback (March 2011)View all books by Paul L. Wachtel
Presents full transcripts of three entire sessions, enabling readers to see not just what went right, but where the therapist may have missed a crucial detail or may have intervened at the wrong moment. It provides a rare opportunity to "look over the shoulder - and into the mind" of a renowned psychotherapist at work.
US Kirkus Review » Some remedies for a racial stalemate. Wachtel, a practicing psychotherapist and director of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York (The Poverty of Affluence: A Psychological Portrait of the American Way of Life, 1983, etc.), posits that blacks and whites have labored mightily for years over their racial differences - but instead of arriving at solutions, they've merely reached a stalemate. In that sense, he argues, the two are like a dog in hot pursuit of its own tail, spinning endlessly and getting nowhere fast. Wachtel doesn't put it quite that way, of course, but does suggest that there's a good deal wrong with the very language used by blacks and whites, not to mention their apparently shortsighted view of history. Does calling someone "racist," for example, have the same impact as it once did? Wachtel thinks not. Moreover, what many blacks view as racist behavior in whites may in fact be indifference, a worse disease in Wachtel's estimation. Along the way, the author takes an occasional jab at fellow social scientists. But in the ease of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein (authors of The Bell Curve), it's several swipes: He notes that time was when groups now riding at the top of their curve - Jews and Asians - once skulked at the bottom. Their IQ test scores changed, he notes, with a bettering of their social status. Wachtel claims that "racism" is too loaded a term and that "affirmative action" generates more heat than light. Perhaps the former term ought to be used in more clear-cut cases and the latter retired in word, if not in deed. Regardless, his recommendations are sure to anger those on either side of the racial equation. Thoughtful and sophisticated reading for anyone with more than a casual interest in race. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Paul L. Wachtel
Paul L. Wachtel is CUNY Distinguished Professor and Acting Director of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York. He is author of several books including The Poverty of Affluence (1983) and Psychoanalysis, Behavior Therapy, and the Relational World (1997). He lives in New York City, where he is also a practicing psychotherapist.
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