Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Let’s begin with a brazen assault on paradise. On June 4, 2010, eighteen-year-old Justin Hudson was the chosen student graduation speaker at Hunter College High School, a prestigious New York City high school for “intellectually gifted” students. He was to deliver a celebratory...

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1. Mutuality: The Thief, the Preacher, and the Late-Night Lawyer

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pp. 15-40

When my youngest was two years old she used to point to any American flag she saw and say, “There’s that Obama thing, Dada.” That alone, I realized, is why some people fear the future. Yes, a president is often seen beside the flag, but for so many children to learn about...

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2. All This I Made Myself: Assuming That Middle-Class Lives Are Self-Sufficient

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pp. 41-61

The story of our assumptions about place begins in the suburbs, not our big cities, as you might think. For many of us, the city is a place to find yourself, to discover your identity like some unsolved mystery, and to prove yourself. But that quest is traditionally for the young. Soon...

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3. Keep Your Distance: Assuming That Middle-Class Status Requires Distance from the Poor

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pp. 62-90

The assumption that maintaining one’s middle-class status requires keeping distance from the poor may be the hardest one to overcome. This was explained to me in calm and thoughtful terms by a stranger with whom I argued as we rode a train from Washington DC to New...

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4. The Promise Half Empty: Assuming That Segregation Is a Thing of the Past

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pp. 91-122

If you took a poll to see which of three subjects Americans would prefer to have a ninety-second discussion about, and the three choices were segregation, slavery, or irritable bowel syndrome, I’m pretty sure irritable bowels would win going away. If the mere mention of slavery...

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5. We Renamed the Problem and It Disappeared: Assuming That Racism No Longer Limits Minority Chances

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pp. 123-148

I live in a very old house, which is a good thing (until something breaks). On the first cold days of October, when you turn on the thermostat, you must wait for the heat to slowly rise up from the basement. It seems to climb from Reconstruction through wood and coal to the...

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6. Islands without Paradise: Assuming That Poverty Results from Weak Values and Poor Decisions

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pp. 149-175

Most Americans have ambivalent feelings about poverty in our country, their views teetering somewhere between the folkloric formative poverty of the past and the gangster-rapping underclass of the present. For policy folks this fulcrum distinguishes deserving from undeserving...

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7. Raceless Wonders: Assuming That Racial Labels No Longer Matter

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pp. 176-200

Mutuality would be easier to embrace if our racial identities did not routinely separate us. The sharing and trust intrinsic to the idea of linked fates and common interests would come more readily if just our humanity mattered. Racelessness, or being undefinable by race, would...

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8. The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America

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pp. 201-226

If the last several chapters explored the imperatives for overcoming our erroneous assumptions about place, class, and race, this chapter attempts to point the way toward beloved communities of opportunity.* Books like this one must take care not to promise too much, because the...

Acknowledgments

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pp. 227-228

Notes

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pp. 229-252

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 253-258

Index

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pp. 259-274

About the Author

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