The Truth in Black and White, my tenth title, presents my experiences living as the lone white man in government subsidized housing with 139 African American men and women in a rundown urban neighbourhood. I have always felt that integration is as much a white responsibility as a black one. When I moved here three years ago, I had in mind a Studs Terkel oral history about the lives of Black women. To get started, I asked my new neighbours what their lives have been like. As I recorded their case histories and testimonials and spoke with white friends and colleagues, I realized how little most Americans know about the true history of racism, slavery, and civil rights. In my completed manuscript, the experiences and comments of my Afro-American friends and neighbours accent and support my true, adumbrated history. Near the book’s end, my black friends and I recommend practical cures for the deadly disease of racism – conditional cash transfers for the poor, conditional tuition-free college education for qualified minority students, and national truth and reconciliation conferences.
After visiting this country in 1832, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote, “America will be great as long as it is good. When America ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.” When the Constitutional Convention of 1789 was adjourned, a woman is reported to have inquired of Benjamin Franklin as he came out of the hall, “Sir, what kind of government did you give us?” He replied, “A republic, Ma’am … for as long as you can keep it.” I believe you agree that we can keep it if we stop denying the truth and choose instead to find and expose it. I see this book’s search for truth as a means to that end. My friend and neighbour, Mr Fox, put it this way: “It’s about time that white folks hear what a fellow white man has to say about his own real-life experience about racism and race relations. This is what you folks need to know to help America finally live up to its promises and slogans.”
“Academically Important Book”
I heartily recommend this read to all who care about learning more about the origins of racism as well as to those who are serious about instituting change in their personal lives to deal more effectively with this critical issue prospectively. The author obviously possess superior mental ability. He cuts through complex issues, conducts his research and writes with insight and passion. He possesses a practical understanding regarding human interaction as he is not solely a firsthand observer of racial issues but also a true participant. In short, John Anderson is obviously a bright, conceptual writer who thinks of issues in terms of their historical and practical/contemporary implication….not simply in the light of his personal experience. In my opinion, this broader perspective enriches his writing which makes this particular work well worth the reader’s time and attention.