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American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2020
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Description
A sweeping examination of how American racism has broken the country's social compact, eroded America's common goods, and damaged the lives of every American—and a heartfelt look at how these deep wounds might begin to heal.Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is losing ground across nearly every indicator of social health. Its race problem, argues Eduardo Porter, is largely to blame.In American Poison, the New York Times veteran shows how racial animus has stunted the development of nearly every institution crucial for a healthy society, including organized labor, public education, and the social safety net. The consequences are profound and are only growing graver with time. Leading us through history and across America, from FDR's New Deal through Bill Clinton's welfare reform to Donald Trump's retrograde and divisive policies, Porter pieces together how racial hostility has blocked American social cohesion at every turn, producing a nation that fails not only its black and brown citizens but white Americans as well. American Poison is at once a broad, rigorous argument, and a profound cri de coeur. Even as it illuminates our most tenacious national pathology, it points the way toward hope, illuminating the ways in which, as the nation becomes increasingly diverse, it may well be possible to construct a new understanding of racial identity—and a more cohesive society on top of it.
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Street Date:
03/17/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781524731588
ASIN:
B07TD1DMFG
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APA Citation (style guide)

Eduardo Porter. (2020). American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Eduardo Porter. 2020. American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Eduardo Porter, American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Eduardo Porter. American Poison: How Racial Hostility Destroyed Our Promise. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2020. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
May 13, 2020 12:55:17
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: EDUARDO PORTER was born in Phoenix and grew up in the United States, Mexico, and Belgium. He is an economics reporter for The New York Times, where he was a member of the editorial board from 2007 to 2012 and the Economic Scene columnist from 2012 to 2018. He began his career in journalism as a financial reporter for Notimex, a Mexican news agency, in Mexico City. He was a correspondent in Tokyo and London, and in 1996 moved to São Paulo, Brazil, as editor of América Economía, a business magazine. In 2000, he went to work at The Wall Street Journal in Los Angeles to cover the growing Hispanic population. He is the author of The Price of Everything (2011), an exploration of the cost-benefit analyses that underpin human behaviors and institutions. He lives in Brooklyn.
      • name: Eduardo Porter
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Vintage
publishDate
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isOwnedByCollections
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title
American Poison
fullDescription
A sweeping examination of how American racism has broken the country's social compact, eroded America's common goods, and damaged the lives of every American—and a heartfelt look at how these deep wounds might begin to heal.
Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is losing ground across nearly every indicator of social health. Its race problem, argues Eduardo Porter, is largely to blame.
In American Poison, the New York Times veteran shows how racial animus has stunted the development of nearly every institution crucial for a healthy society, including organized labor, public education, and the social safety net. The consequences are profound and are only growing graver with time. Leading us through history and across America, from FDR's New Deal through Bill Clinton's welfare reform to Donald Trump's retrograde and divisive policies, Porter pieces together how racial hostility has blocked American social cohesion at every turn, producing a nation that fails not only its black and brown citizens but white Americans as well.
American Poison is at once a broad, rigorous argument, and a profound cri de coeur. Even as it illuminates our most tenacious national pathology, it points the way toward hope, illuminating the ways in which, as the nation becomes increasingly diverse, it may well be possible to construct a new understanding of racial identity—and a more cohesive society on top of it.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        December 2, 2019
        New York Times journalist Porter (The Price of Everything) delivers an anguished and incisive treatise on how racism has contributed to 21st-century America’s economic and social decline. According to Porter, white working class voters have undermined their own opportunities for advancement by allowing the social safety net to erode under the false belief that minorities abuse it. He traces the problem to early 20th-century labor disputes, Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, and Ronald Reagan’s deployment of the “welfare queen” trope. Porter describes American communities that have been ravaged by unemployment, poverty, and lack of healthcare, yet elect representatives who attach work requirements to Medicaid and blame immigrants for job losses that were caused by automation. He points out that anti-immigration policies could leave Social Security underfunded just as baby boomers retire en masse, and without enough workers to handle such a large increase in the elderly population. Unless American society is able to heal racial divides and create “social trust,” working-class people of all races will continue to suffer, according to Porter. His pessimism (“I can’t imagine much boundary-breaking solidarity emerging from this America”) gives the book a bleak and mournful tone, and he doesn’t offer many concrete solutions. Nevertheless, his cogent presentation succeeds in making the problem of racial animus relevant to all Americans. Progressive readers will concur with this bracing sociological study. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (Mar.)Correction: An earlier version of this review listed an incorrect subtitle.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 15, 2019
        An argument that racism as practiced by whites in the United States doesn't just hurt people of color. Born in Phoenix to a white American father and a darker-skinned Mexican mother, New York Times economics reporter Porter (The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do, 2011) writes from his personal experience as a perceived nonwhite and his professional perspective as a skilled journalist who has worked in Mexico City, Tokyo, London, São Paulo, and Los Angeles. The author clearly delineates a wide variety of conundrums that face American citizens, exacerbating divisions and hurting everyone. These include poorly funded public schools, many of them segregated by race and ethnicity; massive prison populations with no meaningful rehabilitation services for the inmates; untrammeled gun ownership leading to a form of violence unmatched anywhere else in the world; the criminalization of drugs without adequate recognition that addiction is often a curable disease rather than a reason to lock someone up; and housing discrimination, which leads to massive income inequality as well as other persistent societal ills. The author capably pulls the strands together to demonstrate one of the narrative's most important ideas: how the U.S. lacks a true safety net, not just for people of color, but also for lower-income whites. Some of Porter's examples fall outside conventional narratives about racism. For example, when labor unions exclude people of color as members in order to protect well-paid white laborers, worker solidarity becomes fractured, social unrest increases, and everybody loses as the funds for adequate health care drain community resources. When assistance to truly needy people of color is denied with the rationale of "welfare abuse," low-income whites are left to drift as well. And as the author makes clear, none of this is new. "Trump's election may have exposed America's ethnic divisions to the unforgiving glare of the klieg lights," he writes, but these problems "have been lying in America's underbrush for a long time." In a final chapter about the future, Porter finds little reason for optimism about reduced racism. Another solid addition to the necessarily growing literature on one of America's most intractable issues.

        COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2020

        America's social contract is shattered, and there's likely no putting the pieces back together, according to this fierce, incisive analysis of why we are a deeply divided nation. New York Times journalist Porter (The Price of Everything) describes over a century of mounting resistance to government, and to the safety net it offers, on the part of working-class white citizens (whose own livelihoods would be greatly improved by a stronger welfare system), because of ingrained fear of the other and demographic change. Porter considers racial animus to be the primary driving force of our social dysfunction; the root cause of the polarization that has made bipartisanship and civil discourse all but impossible. Porter brings his own experience as a longtime observer of American economy and society to this sobering study, showing how fear and resentment have been driving forces in politics. In glimmers of hope, he notes that younger generations are accustomed to diversity, and that integrated neighborhoods and schools have proven beneficial to all. But, he notes, many young adults hold similar views as their elders, and several schools have re-segregated. VERDICT Bleak, but perhaps inspirational, this challenging critique is recommended for policymakers and readers concerned about civic engagement.--Janet Ingraham Dwyer, State Lib. of Ohio, Columbus

        Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2020
        Economics journalist Porter packs an enormous amount of information into this powerful treatise on how America's enduring race problem is inhibiting the nation's social health. Rather than harp on the known history of racism's origins (which is available in many other titles), Porter looks hard at the twentieth century, especially the post-civil rights era, to consider how all the things done to eradicate, or even mitigate, racism have been woefully insufficient. With a scintillating rhythm and pointed language, the author exposes all the ways in which racism has infected everything from unions to welfare to education and immigration policy. With whipsaw precision, he lays down historical evidence, academic studies, and political decisions to support his thesis, taking readers through a kaleidoscope of modern history which points to one irrefutable truth: racism is holding America back. The potency of Porter's argument is bolstered by his impressive source list and straightforward prose. American Poison is a work for our times from a writer who has found his subject.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
A sweeping examination of how American racism has broken the country's social compact, eroded America's common goods, and damaged the lives of every American—and a heartfelt look at how these deep wounds might begin to heal.
Compared to other industrialized nations, the United States is losing ground across nearly every indicator of social health. Its race problem, argues Eduardo Porter, is largely to blame.
In American Poison, the New York Times veteran shows how racial animus has stunted the development of nearly every institution crucial for a healthy society, including organized labor, public education, and the social safety net. The consequences are profound and are only growing graver with time. Leading us through history and across America, from FDR's New Deal through Bill Clinton's welfare reform to Donald Trump's retrograde and divisive policies, Porter pieces together how racial hostility has blocked American social cohesion at every...
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