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Blaming the Victim





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About the book:

This book shows exactly how we blame the victims of poverty rather than the real villain of poverty rather than the real villain, the inequality of American society. An impassioned often brilliant expose of middle class ideology. In this wise and plainspoken book, William Ryan analyzes the warped logic that enables many well-meaning middle- class humanitarians to believe that it is the characteristics of the poor themselves that are the fundamental causes of poverty. To sustain this pernicious ideology, Americans- often encouraged by misguided social scientists- have adopted the elaborate network of rationalization, labeled her as "Blaming the Victim." Recognized in 1965 as a major critic of the Moynihan Report, Dr. Ryan now extends his criticism to expose our national habit of framing society's victims by distorting the harsh truths about the causes of their unequal condition. In compassionately exploring the motivation of those who embrace this ideology, Ryan is at the same time candid and unsparing in his dramatic demonstration of sparing in is dramatic demonstration of ways in which our most oppressed citizens are maligned by fashionable modern substitutes for old-fashioned prejudice, substitutes for old fashioned prejudice, masquerading in the form of such new mythologies as cultural deprivation. Poverty and racial injustice can be understood only if we re-examine and reject our most basic assumptions as they are defined by the jargon we've absorbed from the modern-day folklore of poverty. The truble is, according to Dr. Ryan, that Americans tend to prefer what he calls "exceptionalistic" slotuions, rather than insisting on "universalitic" Ones for example, we accept oral surgery for the few rather than demanding fluoridation for All. As a consequence, our social service systems are perpetually inadequate, and the will to repress those who would resist injustice presages even greater violence.

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