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The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality


reviewed by Jeff Sapp

coverTitle: The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality
Author(s): Walter Benn Michaels
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks (Henry Holt and Company, Inc.), New York
ISBN: 0805083316 , Pages: 256, Year: 2007
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There is something about Walter Benn Michaels’ The Trouble With Diversity: How We Learned To Love Identity And Ignore Inequality that reads and feels right when you begin the short introduction. Michaels believes that Americans love to talk about race and identity because they don’t like to talk [about], or even acknowledge, class. To distract themselves, Americans celebrate cultural diversity rather than address the difficult issues surrounding economic inequity. I like the short introduction. It’s the rest of the book that is problematic. Michaels attempts to deconstruct current race theories that declare race as a social construct. He believes that we misunderstand race by making it synonymous with culture or identity. Culture doesn’t work because it relies on race. And what is identity? It is simply “acting” a certain way, for instance “acting black” or “acting white.” No, Michaels is sure that race is biological. Michaels is perplexed by why the United... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, 2007, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14555, Date Accessed: 11/28/2014 1:01:19 PM



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