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WHITE MEN ON RACE
By Joe Feagin & Eileen O'Brien
Beacon, 275 pp., $26
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Race in America has always been a black-white affair, with the scrutiny largely on the former. Feagin and O'Brien's book seeksto remedy thisimbalance by placing 100 elite white malesin the interrogation chair, prodding them about life in the "white bubble," their views on affirmative action, and their interactions with people of color (which range from limited to none). One respondent's opinion of African Americans is both chilling and anachronistically grotesque: "Much more crime is committed by them. And anywhere they are, they're criminals. They're criminals here, they're criminals in Africa."


WHITE-WASHING RACE
By Michael K. Brown et al.
University of California 338 pp., $27.50
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This collection of essays takes aim not so much at elite whites as at all social conservatives who deny "the persistence of white privilege." Attacking, among others, Shelby Steele and the Thernstroms, the authors inveigh against color-blind ideology: "The only way to achieve a society in which the color of people's skin really matters less than the content of their character is by forthrightly acknowledging the role that race still plays in American life."

 
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