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"The Race Card": Ford Deplores The Blame Game

Publication Date: 
February 07, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
Reyhan Harmanci

Professor Richard Thompson Ford's book, The Race Card, was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle:

According to Stanford law Professor Richard Thompson Ford of San Francisco, the national dialogue on race needs to change. In his recently published book "The Race Card," he argues that when people talk about race relations, they too quickly try to ferret out racism without looking at the larger issues. In doing so, they leave open the possibility that opportunists will unfairly paint someone as a racist to further their political ends, while de-legitimizing some very real problems.

"I decided to write the book out of dismay and frustration with the way questions of racial injustice are typically taken up," Ford says. "Right now, we tend to deal with questions of race and race relations in the context of scandal. There's not much conversation about the day-to-day issues with racial tensions and injustices."


Ford says the adversarial stance between races would be eased if we didn't rush to labels. "We have to get rid of some of the defensiveness," he says. "The fact that I'm bringing up a racial injustice doesn't mean we have to find a racist. Maybe if we treat it more like we treat environmental pollution - it's a crisis that we are all part of, but doesn't require us to issue moral condemnations in quite the same way."

Richard Thompson Ford reads from his book at 7 tonight. Free. Cody's Books, 1730 Fourth St., Berkeley. (510) 559-9500.