Acting White

The Curious History of a Racial Slur

Ron Christie

Thomas Dunne Books

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In the tradition of Randall Kennedy’s Nigger and Shelby Steele’s The Content of Our Character, Acting White demonstrates how the charge that any African-American who is successful, well mannered, or well educated is “acting white,” is a slur that continues to haunt blacks. Ron Christie traces the complex history of the phrase, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the tensions between Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X to Bill Cosby’s controversial NAACP speech in 2004. The author also writes candidly of being challenged by black students for his “acting white,” and also of being labeled a race traitor in Congress by daring to be Republican. This lucid chronicle reveals how this prevalent put-down sets back much of the hard-earned progress for all blacks in American society. Deftly argued and determinedly controversial, this book is certain to spur thoughtful discussion for years to come.

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1
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
The Genesis of Acting White
March 1862—the White House, Washington, D.C. With the nation consumed by civil war, the sixteenth president of the United States broke away from his duties as commander in chief one day that spring to receive a visitor to the White House. According to a variety of accounts, when President Abraham Lincoln received Harriet Beecher Stowe that day, he is said to have exclaimed to the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin: “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!”1
Whether or not Stowe’s

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About the Author

Ron Christie

RON CHRISTIE, a veteran senior advisor of both the White House and Congress and formerly a special assistant to President George W. Bush, is a noted political and legal analyst. He is a professor of political science and strategy at George Washington University and Haverford College and the author of Black in the White House.

Ron Christie

Ron Christie

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Available Formats and Book Details

Acting White
The Curious History of a Racial Slur
Ron Christie

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2010
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780312599461
ISBN10: 0312599463
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$25.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429948098
ISBN10: 1429948094
304 pages
$7.99
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Thomas Dunne Books

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