cover image Face to Face

Face to Face

James Waller. Basic Books, $29.95 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-306-45865-1

Racial discrimination in the U.S. is still pervasive, if more covert and subtle, and it affects everything from criminal sentencing to obtaining a mortgage, contends Waller, who teaches psychology at Whitworth College in Washington state. His eloquent work, which, unfortunately, reads like a textbook, will serve nevertheless as a powerful tool for confronting racism and stereotyping. Although Waller focuses primarily on black-white interactions, he also includes the experience of Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans, as well as racial tensions between minority groups. Drawing on survey data, polls and other research (e.g., white males hold 95% of senior management positions), he compellingly argues that sharp racial inequalities still exist that affect minorities' educational opportunity, economic status and general quality of life. Waller also reports on the widely publicized cross-country study tours he conducted in 1996 and 1998, in which students immersed themselves in the daily lives of members of racial and ethnic minorities. Arguing pessimistically that the U.S. will never become a color-blind society because of the mind's habit of ""social categorization"" (separating us from them), Waller concludes by outlining seven steps to counteract prejudice, such as face-to-face interaction and teaching children antiracist attitudes. (June)