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December 01 , 2009

Pardon My Prejudice: America's Excuse for Bigotry


On February 18, 2009, US Attorney General Eric Holder threw down a new gauntlet in the arena of racial relations in our country: “…One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul. Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.
It is an issue we have never been at ease with, and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us…”
Now a book answers Mr. Holder’s challenge: “Pardon My Prejudice, America’s Excuse for Bigotry,” by David Goldenberg. Everyone can identify with that awkward feeling of discomfort just as someone blurts out a stupid racial or ethnic remark. What do you say? Should you confront this person? Why was it said at all? Is this a random act, or does it reflect a greater threat of violence? “Pardon My Prejudice, America’s Excuse for Bigotry,” is a candid book about this relevant issue.
At least 50,000 hate crimes are reported in the US every year. The majority of these crimes are committed by everyday folks, not those affiliated with the 900-plus extremist organizations. Hate crimes against gays and lesbians have increased over 300% in the past decade. Statistics show that homosexuals are violently attacked more than any other minority—6 times more than Jews or Hispanics, and twice as much as African Americans. Prejudice, racism and bigotry are alive and well in America.
“Pardon My Prejudice, America’s Excuse for Bigotry,” educates the reader by analyzing the ways that we learn prejudice, perpetuate it, and rationalize it. The object is not to judge or blame, but to discover how our learned behaviors are reflected in our society, in our lifestyles, and in our children.
Goldenberg’s anecdotes and observations make this sensitive subject matter approachable. The stories about Europe and Dachau are emotionally compelling.
Goldenberg’s personal encounters with neighborhood bigots are honest and ironically funny. This book looks at those who hate Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Gays and most recently, Muslims. It challenges the religious right and shows how the media exploits minorities and Middle Easterners.
Thought provoking, informative, and entertaining, “Pardon My Prejudice” captures our current mindset and attitudes. No matter what point of view they have, readers will see themselves in a new light.

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