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The Color of the Race Problem Is White

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois suggested that the question white people so often want to ask black people is, How does it feel to be a problem? This program turns the tables and recognizes some simple facts: Race problems have their roots in a system of white supremacy. White people invented white supremacy. Therefore, the color of the race problem is white. White people are the problem. White people have to ask ourselves: How does it feel to be a problem?

Following the ideas in his book The Heart of Whiteness, Jensen argues that — even decades after the significant achievements of the civil-rights movement and with an African-American president — it is still appropriate to describe the United States as a white-supremacist society, in terms of how we think and how we live. Through an analysis of contemporary racial ideology, Jensen presents a framework for critiquing the naturalizing of power and privilege in other arenas of our lives (gender, class, nationality, and ecology). How have we come to accept so easily systems of domination and subordination? How did we become resigned to hierarchy? How can we challenge the unjust and unsustainable nature of the systems in which we live?

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