Book review: Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality, by Alison Marie Behnke

Behnke, Alison Marie. Racial Profiling: Everyday Inequality. Twenty-First Century Books/Lerner,. 2017. $35.99. 160p. ISBN 978-1-5124-0268-1. Ages 12+. P7Q9

One of the biggest problems in the 21st century is the social injustice facing unarmed people of color who are killed because of their ethnicities. Behnke begins with the 2014 killing of Tamir Rice, 12, when a police officer saw him with a toy gun. The in-depth book addresses such topics as inequalities in policing, criminal justice, education, housing, businesses, and economic policies. Other issues in the book are the heightened Islamophobia and other xenophobia in this century that “leaves deep psychological scars among its victims, hinders the social and economic opportunities of people of color, and creates deep mistrust and fear at all levels of society.” Also included are quotes, graphs, charts, an extensive bibliography, and source notes. Historical background covers slavery, Jim Crow laws, KKK, Reconstruction, Japanese internment camps, environmental racism, jailhouse/prison deaths, sentencing, and media coverage.

Verdict: Behnke has thoroughly researched her subject, and the powerful stories make this research personal. Everyone should read this book to more thoroughly understand the problems of white privilege and implicit bias in the United States.

April 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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