Cover image for White men on race : power, privilege, and the shaping of cultural consciousness
White men on race : power, privilege, and the shaping of cultural consciousness
Feagin, Joe R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Beacon Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
275 pages ; 24 cm
"Race" in America -- The white bubble: learning about whiteness and the racial others -- Perspectives on whiteness -- Perspectives on African Americans and other Americans of color -- Issues of interracial dating and marriage -- Situations of possible discrimination: action and inaction -- Views on public policy: affirmative action and "reverse discrimination" -- The multiracial future.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.A1 F39 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E184.A1 F39 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



White Men on Race is an explosive account of the real racial attitudes of America's white male elites. Based on the revealing and provocative testimony of approximately one hundred powerful, upper-income white men, White Men on Race shows how white men see racial "others, " how they see white America, how they view racial conflicts, and what they expect for the future of the country. Covering a range of topics, from how they first encountered black Americans to views on black families, interracial dating, affirmative action, immigration, crime, and intervening in discriminatory situations, these hundred white men enlighten us on the racial perspectives of the country's white male elites as we enter the twenty-first century.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Here's an intriguing idea: a book that views contemporary racism through the eyes of elite white men. Racism in the U.S., the authors argue, is a far more subtle phenomenon than it used to be, but it exists nonetheless--and it still excludes minorities from opportunities afforded white males. Based on hundreds of interviews with those elite white men--business managers, corporate execs, and the like--the book covers a wide range of subjects, from the respondent's first encounter with an African American to interracial dating, affirmative action, and (of course) crime. The authors use the interviews to demonstrate that even someone who believes he is completely free of prejudice may still use language and express ideas that clearly indicate a different way of thinking about members of minority groups. This is not a balanced, multisided look at racism; the authors are presenting a thesis--one that is sure to grab plenty of attention--not trying to cover every point of view. Still, they make their case powerfully and persuasively. --David Pitt Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The new field of "whiteness studies"-the exploration of how whites construct their racial identities and their relations with minorities-gets an eye-opening addition with this survey of upper-class white men. Sociologists Feagin and O'Brien interviewed 100 of the movers and shakers in business, academia, government and other professions-opinion makers for the white community-on their personal attitudes toward and interactions with blacks and other minorities and recorded their opinions on topics including affirmative action and interracial marriage. Their research indicates that while overt expressions of racism are rare (although not entirely absent) a pattern of subtle bias and stereotyping has emerged, part of what the authors term a "collective white consciousness." These prominent white men tend to ascribe the social disadvantages of blacks to family breakdowns and cultural pathology, not discrimination and they oppose or have reservations about affirmative action (although they often support mild variants under other names). Members of the white male elite underestimate the effects of segregation and discrimination against blacks, overestimate the harm done to whites by "reverse discrimination," and still feel uneasy at the prospect of their daughters bringing black men home for dinner. The authors ascribe many of these sentiments to distorted media images and to the "white bubble" of segregated suburbs, white-dominated workplaces and social settings, where whites seldom interact with minorities on an equal footing or gain any understanding of their lives. Moreover, there is also a "group ideology" at work, particularly when interviewees interpret a hypothetical vignette about a white salesclerk ignoring black customers as a story about black criminality instead of a story about white discrimination. Full of sharp and nuanced insights, this book offers a revealing glimpse into the heart of whiteness. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Sociologists Feagin (Univ. of Florida) and O'Brien (SUNY Brockport) provide a fascinating, complex, and brutally honest look at how a segment of society has the ability to affect, both positively and negatively, policy and treatment of people involving race. Specifically examined are the views of influential white men from the upper- and upper-middle classes, all of whom have varying degrees of power at local, state, and national levels. The authors relay views on the impact of whiteness, interracial dating and marriage, "othering," and discrimination. Particularly outstanding is the chapter on affirmative action. While this book is, by far, one of the best this reviewer has read, two points should be examined. First, more attention could be paid to intersections of race--for example, with gender and sexual orientation--and how these impact the group of white men being examined. Second, a comparative study of white women in similar positions would be interesting to see if the responses mirror those of the white men. This book is highly recommended and should be widely read. Compares favorably to Race Matters, by Cornel West (1993), and The Truly Disadvantaged, by William Julius Wilson (CH, Apr'88). ^BSumming Up: Essential. All libraries. K. M. Jamieson Ashland University