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Book Review of Crossings: A White Man's Journey into Black America

Crossings: A White Man's Journey into Black America
TheLankyYankee avatar reviewed on + 81 more book reviews

An interesting study of race in America, by a white journalist who interviews a cross section of blacks.

"A white man married to a black woman, spurred by a racist joke to feel "fear and anguish" for children, Washington Post Magazine writer Harrington decided to "go out and travel America's parallel black world" to explore the nation's racial conundrums. As he traverses the North, South and West, Harrington deftly paints vivid, brief scenes: a black businessman visits prison inmates, a worker in a road crew lights up at meeting Jesse Jackson, students at a small college in southern Illinois discuss interracial dating. He meets "hard cop" Charleston police chief Reuben Greenberg, filmmaker Spike Lee and novelist James Alan McPherson, who says, "I'm not a great man, but I'm not just a race person." Reflecting on his own relationships with blacks, Harrington revisits relatives and former college classmates. While the insight "racism still rages, but it is for too many blacks also an excuse" hardly merits its presentation as a revelation, Harrington rightly observes that America's racial conflicts also involve culture and class. "Blacks and whites in America are the same and different," he concludes, and his thoughtful mosaic should encourage fresh dialogue."

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