What's The Matter With White People? A Conversation with Joan Walsh

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 8:30am - 10:00am

Demos invites you to a fascinating discussion with Joan Walsh, author, editor-at-large for Salon.com and MSNBC political analyst and Heather McGhee, Demos Vice President of Policy and Outreach. What’s the Matter With White People: Why We Long for a Golden Age That Never Was (Wiley, 2012), Walsh’s provocatively titled book which looks at decades of cultural and political history, has ignited conversation on our ever-more-diverse electorate and our current political climate. Walsh argues that America’s fundamental divide is not about party or ideology, but about two competing narratives for why everything has fallen apart since the 1970s. Right-wing culture warriors blamed the decline on the moral shortcomings of “other” Americans — black people, feminists, gays, immigrants, union members — in order to court a fearful white working- and middle-class base with ever more bitter “us vs. them” politics. Liberals tried, but mostly failed, to make the case that we’re all in this together.

Without realizing that the early 20th century’s government programs helped build the middle class in the first place, too many Americans today think they got to where they are without any help. They see government assistance being offered to “minorities” as a handout they were never given. What’s The Matter With White People? traces this disturbing dynamic as it has played out over the last forty years, dividing the country, poisoning its politics and jeopardizing its future. Join us to learn about the great divide of our time and to hear how we can work toward an America that ensures that we all have equal opportunities, no matter the color of one’s skin.

Walsh will be introduced by Rich Benjamin, Senior Fellow and Author, Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America

Copies of the book will be available for sale at a discounted price. Light refreshments will be served, and the author will be available to sign copies.

About The Author

Joan Walsh is editor-at-large for Salon.com and an MSNBC political analyst. She has appeared on many national shows including “Real Time with Bill Maher” and “Now” on PBS. Before joining Salon, she worked as a consultant on education and poverty issue for community groups and foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation. She’s written for publications ranging from Vogue to The Nation, and for newspapers including theWashington PostLos Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle.