Race in the Mind of America: Breaking the Vicious Circle Between Blacks and Whites

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Routledge, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 329 pages
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Internationally recognized psychologist Paul L. Wachtel sheds new light on the psychological foundations of our nation's racial impasse and applies his pathbreaking "vicious circle" approach to help resolve it. This timely and fascinating analysis shows how the ways we attempt to cope with racial tensions and inequalities often lead to the perpetuation of our difficulties rather than their resolution. Understanding the ironies that characterize contemporary race relations is the first step toward extricating our nation from the vicious circle.

Both controversial and healing, Race in the Mind of America challenges the orthodoxies that shape black and white opinion and liberal and conservative policies while sensitively exploring the way the world looks to both sides and why it looks that way. Wachtel probes the daily experiences of blacks and whites, shedding new light on how individual experiences and larger social, historical and economic forces continually re-create each other. In illustrating how blacks and whites get caught in vicious circles that sustain the very behaviors and attitudes they wish would change, Wachtel also points toward the concrete solutions to our seemingly enduring dilemmas and shows how to move beyond the adversarial rhetoric that divides us.

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About the author (1999)

Paul L. Wachtel is CUNY Distinguished Professor and Acting Director of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York. He is author of several books including The Poverty of Affluence (1983) and Psychoanalysis, Behavior Therapy, and the Relational World (1997). He lives in New York City, where he is also a practicing psychotherapist.

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