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Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor,…

Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing…

by Tim Wise

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Despite having rather sternly told myself I was not allowed to check out any books because I already had too many checked out at home, I saw this one in the new non-fiction section and could not resist. Reading it swayed me more to Bernie than any articles actually about the candidates did. The system of inequality is just too unjust for tinkering to fix. It needs a sledgehammer.

Reading this book was highly emotional for me. In many sections, especially early on in the book, the ideas Wise was selling I was already convinced of, but the details and examples were so maddening that I had to skim over them to avoid flying into a rage. At the same time, there were so many stories, studies, argument that we so strongly worded that I had to quote them on goodreads, on Facebook, read them to my family. One section in particular pushed me over the edge, and I had to put the book down so that I could go buy my own personal copy that I could mark up and underline for future debates, so that I could safely return my library copy.

If yu want to learn about systematic inequality, read this book. If you want to know how our (white) racism has damned us, causing us to shred our own safety nets just to erode the (rather more wobbly) nets for people of color, read this book NOW. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0872866939, Paperback)

Tim Wise is one of the great public moralists in America today. In his bracing new book, Under the Affluence, he brilliantly engages the roots and ramifications of radical inequality in our nation, carefully detailing the heartless war against the poor and the swooning addiction to the rich that exposes the moral sickness at the heart of our culture. Wise's stirring analysis of our predicament is more than a disinterested social scientific treatise; this book is a valiant call to arms against the vicious practices that undermine the best of the American ideals we claim to cherish. Under the Affluence is vintage Tim Wise: smart, sophisticated, conscientious, and righteously indignant at the betrayal of millions of citizens upon whose backs the American Dream rests. This searing testimony for the most vulnerable in our nation is also a courageous cry for justice that we must all heed.—Michael Eric Dyson, author of The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

Tim Wise is one of America's most prolific public intellectuals. His critically acclaimed books, high-profile media interviews, and year-round speaking schedule have established him as a leading voice for racial equity. In Under the Affluence, Wise builds on his fierce critique of racial privilege to discuss a related issue: class disparity and a culture of cruelty that demonizes those in need.

As Wise demonstrates, there was a time when the hardship of fellow Americans stirred feelings of sympathy, civic responsibility, and direct support for policies meant to alleviate poverty. But today, mainstream discourse increasingly blames low-income folks for their own situation, and the notion of an intractable "culture of poverty" has pushed our country in an especially ugly direction. Wise shows how the wealthy elite have commandeered discussions about class, moving the nation toward scorn and disengagement from the marginalized.

With clarity and precision, Wise not only documents growing contempt for the nation's have-nots, but also explores the underlying forces that perpetuate it. In doing so, he demonstrates how classism, racism, and sexism are inextricably linked, and how popular culture contributes to a deepening indifference to those who are struggling. Finally, Wise shows that far from a culture of poverty, it is the culture of affluence and power that deserves the blame for America's simmering economic and social crises.

"Tim Wise has produced an eloquent, meticulously researched book that could make economic inequality a central issue in the 2016 presidential election. The book I can best compare it to is Michael Harrington's The Other America which helped inspire 'The War On Poverty.' Written in passionate prose, invoking honored American traditions, it has the power to change minds and melt hearts. I look forward to sharing it with my students, and with anyone else concerned with justice and equity"—Mark Naison, Professor of African American Studies and History, Fordham University and author of White Boy: A Memoir and Badass Teachers Unite!

"America 'under the affluence' is a cruel and heartless place. By word and by deed, we turn against the poor and feast on a diet of resentment and myths. If anyone can unpack the racist and patriarchal lies that undergird our current culture of cruelty, Tim Wise can. In clear, simple language, product of a lifetime of research, he describes how we got here and how we might build a more compassionate place. We need his voice."—Laura Flanders, host of GritTV with Laura Flanders

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 24 Aug 2015 06:39:59 -0400)

"In this provocative critique of class and power in America, renowned anti-racist Tim Wise expands his well-developed analysis of privilege rooted in whiteness to include social domination wielded by the wealthy few. Tracing how sympathy for the underlcass, abundant during the Depression, has been erased, Wise counters the contemporary portrayal of the poor as riff-raff and the rich as celebrities"--… (more)

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