Blaming the Victim

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The classic work that refutes the lies we tell ourselves about race, poverty and the poor.Here 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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“An impassioned, often brilliant expose of middle-class ideology.”—Herbert Gans“An illusion-shatterer of the first order…if you are concerned, you must read this book. It will stop you in your tracks.”—Library Journal

From the Publisher

“An impassioned, often brilliant exposé of middle-class ideology.”–Herbert Gans

About the Author

Dr. William Ryan was a sociologist, writer, researcher, and consultant in the fields of mental health, community planning, and social problems. He published many articles in professional journals and national magazines. Dr. Ryan participated for many years in direct demonstrations, pamphleteering, and political activity on civil rights issues. He was also the editor of Distress in the City: Essays in the Design and Administration of Urban Mental Health Services, published in 1969. His 1971 book Blaming the Victim was a landmark text in the fields of social justice and human services.

The classic work that refutes the lies we tell ourselves about race, poverty and the poor.Here 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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Mass Market Paperback

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