WMM Racial Justice Book Discussion
Reading Deep Denial by David Billings
We are opening our minds to White Privilege and exploring options for Racial Justice by reading Deep Denial by David Billings, our second book in our Racial Justice book discussion series. Discussions of Deep Denial will be added to our calendar.
Deep Denial, part popular history and part personal memoir, documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called white. Author David Billings focuses primarily on the deeply embedded notion of white supremacy, and tells us why, despite the Civil Rights Movement and an African-American president, we remain, in the words of the author, a nation hard-wired by race.
A master storyteller, Billings starts each chapter with a disarming and intimate vignette from his personal life, beginning with his white, working-class boyhood in Mississippi and Arkansas. He then situates these telling moments in a broader historical context that will be new and disturbing to many readers.
Part I covers the origins and evolution of white supremacy from 17th century Virginia through World War II. Part II focuses on the Civil Rights Movement, how it emerged in the post-WWII era, and why it subsequently devolved from a vibrant community-led, issue-based movement into the bureaucratic, government-sponsored, needs-based, nonprofit industry of today. An epilogue discusses strategies for dismantling white supremacy and undoing racism in America.