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October 20 , 2009

Blaming the Victim


The classic work that refutes the lies we tell ourselves about race, poverty and the poorHere are three myths about poverty in America:– Minority children perform poorly in school because they are “culturally deprived.”– African-Americans are handicapped by a family structure that is typically unstable and matriarchal. – Poor people suffer from bad health because of ignorance and lack of interest in proper health care. Blaming the Victim was the first book to identify these truisms as part of the system of denial that even the best-intentioned Americans have constructed around the unpalatable realities of race and class. Originally published in 1970, William Ryan's groundbreaking and exhaustively researched work challenges both liberal and conservative assumptions, serving up a devastating critique of the mindset that causes us to blame the poor for their poverty and the powerless for their powerlessness. More than twenty years later, it is even more meaningful for its diagnosis of the psychic underpinnings of racial and social injustice.
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