This book compares contemporary racism in the US and the Netherlands through in-depth interviews with fifty-five black women. As an interdisciplinary analysis of gendered social constructions of racism, it breaks new ground. Essed problematizes and reinterprets many of the meanings and everyday practices that the majority of society has come to take for granted. She addresses crucial but largely neglected dimensions of racism: how it is experienced; how black women recognize its covert manifestations; how they acquire this knowledge; and how they challenge racism in everyday life. To answer these questions, over two thousand experiences of black women are analyzed within a theoretical framework that integrates the disciplines of macro- and micro-sociology, social psychology, discourse analysis, race relations theory and women's studies.
The samples include only black women with higher education. Many of their experiences of racism involve the `elite' among the dominant group. The book seriously challenges both the notion of Dutch tolerance and the idea that US racism is a problem of the past. Understanding Everyday Racism is thus urgent reading.