Controversial and strikingly original, Race Experts looks at how we capsized racial progress in the quest for self-esteem. Now available in paperback, it uncovers the hidden trajectory and terms of our thinking about race relations since the 1960s. Since segregation's dismantling, intense anxiety has surrounded interracial encounters, and a movement has arisen to engineer social relations through the specification of elaborate codes of conduct. Diversity Training in business, multicultural education in schools, and cross-cultural psychotherapy have created a world of prescriptions. Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn carefully examines the teachings of these self-appointed "experts" and offers a bold and searching analysis of the origins of their ideas in the human potential movement and the radical milieu of the 1960s.
Casting race primarily as an issue of etiquette or therapy, rather than of justice or equality, has had dire consequences for American life, diverting attention from the deeper problems of poverty, violence, and continued inequality and discrimination. In this sobering analysis, Race Experts illuminates how far away we are from the issues that deserve our attention.
Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is the author of Black Neighbors (winner of the Berkshire Prize), professor of history at Syracuse University, and a frequent contributor to The New Republic. She lives in Syracuse, New York with her husband, Ray, and two daughters, Isabel and Honoré.