The Color of Politics: Race and the Mainsprings of American Politics

Michael Goldfield, Author, Michael Goldfield, Preface by New Press $21.95 (404p) ISBN 978-1-56584-325-7
This thorough analysis of the role of race in American political life examines our failure to combat racism from colonial times to the present. Goldfield's (The Decline of Organized Labor) central argument is that at every turning point in U.S. history, race has played a critical role. Failure to deal with the problem, he notes, shows up primarily in the lack of policies to promote racial equality. The author concentrates his criticism on labor organizations, which, he argues, have missed too many opportunities to advance a radical, militant approach to the problems of the poor working class--black and white alike. The strength of his analysis is his meticulous examination of alternative theories before advancing his own. What might have been an academic exercise becomes an involving account of how a social system of racial subordination was perpetuated during eight watershed periods of our history. At present, the author contends, neither major political party is willing to tackle a situation in which politicians appeal to white voters by scapegoating minorities: ""Thus, the present period is one of both instability and flux for the system of racial domination and race relations, with the looming possibility for increasing dominance of racial scapegoating."" (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
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