Race Traitor - Noel Ignatiev, John Garvey
This is a collection of articles from a publication in the early 1990s; the editors were radical socialists who were convinced that reform of society was not only impossible but counterproductive, that revolution (inevitably accompanied by violence) was the only solution. The point that they emphasize in this collection is that of racism as an oppressive construction of oppressive society, and the necessity for "white" revolutionaries to refuse whiteness. Some stories of refusing whiteness in everyday life are offered, and it is also postulated that resisting police, law, and government is an act of treason against whiteness. What startled me a little was that the editors take delight in the right-wing militia movement and neo-nazi groups, saying that opposition to the government is a sign of the breakdown of the Capitalist organization. I would be less convinced, myself, that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," but the editors' commitment to violent resistance makes their approval of Falcon Ridge and Waco, etc., somewhat understandable, along with their criticism of a reformist, less radical Left. Nonetheless, I have spent a certain amount of time with socialists and Progressives in the years since these articles were written, and haven't seen much sign that the message to abandon whiteness bore much fruit of the sort the editors wanted. Sure, Progressives often talk about the need to recognize and abandon white privilege (which may be an advance from earlier times, I don't know), but on a practical level, it doesn't seem to add up to much. What's more, the kind of social change that the editors optimistically saw happening around them is more distant than ever, socialism is ever more marginal and irrelevant.

It may seem odd to nonetheless recommend a book when I think a lot of things in it are naive or worse; but this is a very readable book, which I think people of all backgrounds and ideologies might find interesting. Personally, I found the essay "Crossover Dreams" and Paul Garon's response to it particularly intriguing -- made me want to read Garon's books; and John Garvey, in "Family Matters", eloquently states the argument that decisions made "for the sake of your children" can never be separated from matters of racial justice, and questions just how much of a favor you'd be doing your children by perpetuating their privilege.