Reaching Beyond Race

Paul M. Sniderman, Author, Edward G. Carmines, With
Paul M. Sniderman, Author, Edward G. Carmines, With Harvard University Press $24 (208p) ISBN 978-0-674-14578-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Paperback - 191 pages - 978-0-674-14579-5
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In this narrowly focused study of racial attitudes, the authors assert that, while significant opposition to affirmative action is more common on the political right, it is more powerful on the political left. Opposition on the left is based not on prejudice but principle, which the authors dub ""the American Creed,"" or a commitment to liberty, equality and fair play. Liberals are less likely to voice opposition, while conservatives feel free to express disapproval of any government-sponsored social programs. Sniderman and Carmines, professors of political science at, respectively, Stanford and Indiana University, base their conclusions on their interpretations of National Election Study surveys from 1986 to 1994, General Social Surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago from 1972 to 1996 and the UC- Berkeley Race and Politics study of 1991. They claim that the popularly perceived gap between white and black support of affirmative action is nowhere near as great as currently believed. Affirmative action policies could gain support from a coalition of white and black Americans, they declare, if our political leaders can reach ""beyond race"" and implement social programs under the banner of the moral principles to which all Americans are already committed. Ultimately, this book's limited scope, dubious assertions and simplistic solution offer little of substance to the current debate over affirmative action. (Sept.)
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