A Country of Strangers

By David K. Shipler

Yeah, it was quite the random day at the library. Filly was wandering among the shelves and this was at eye level and so I grabbed it. I like black people, I like white people, I like America… I’m gonna give it a whirl.

UPDATE April 27, 2008
This book went back to the library. I read the intro, I read the chapter on marriage, I read my due date. There just wasn’t time. And it wasn’t making me think about things. Either race relations have changed in the past 10 years or I am perfectly enlightened. Maybe it’s a generational thing or maybe I’m unable to see the world through the eyes of another group and lack the required empathy. It just seemed sort of obvious. Books do get dated, just like hemlines and recipes.

I think, perhaps, that the world has been flooded with content. I’ve read a lot of things since 1997 and people have written even more. Race relations are a huge topic that has been tackled by hundreds of people in multiple media. The book just wasn’t that enlightening. I probably would have liked it a lot ten years ago. It’s quite possible I didn’t read the salient chapter, but even the introduction was giving off a “duh” vibe.

I can’t quite shake the feeling that I am overlooking some important, valuable lesson or blocking my mind against being opened, but the book skipped past my brain and left no impression. I don’t think the topic of race relations is taboo anymore. Lots of the unspoken issues between whites and blacks in America are being spoken about now. Ten years is a really long time.

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