"Fine and Turner present a wonderful exploration into what our seemingly mundane rumor-sharing means for race in our society. Filled with examples that we all can recognize, and superbly written and argued, Whispers on the Color Line will be a classic in the study of race and culture."Mary Pattillo-McCoy, author of Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class
"Fine and Turner have written a disturbing, yet important book. Taking racially tinged (or drenched, as the case may be) rumors as an unobtrusive measure of the state of black-white relations in the U.S., the authors document the yawning social-cultural chasm in the nation. Contradicting the tepid national narrative that celebrates the "before" and "after" racial transformation achieved by the civil rights struggle, Whispers on the Color Line reminds us that the "peculiar dilemma" Gunnar Myrdal wrote about fifty-seven years ago is still very much with us. Until the "whispers" grow into a far more open and honest dialogue, nothing will change."Doug McAdam, author of Freedom Summer
"Whispers on the Color Line is a logical and necessary extension of the authors' earlier books (Fine's Manufacturing Tales and Turner's I Heard It Through the Grapevine), which work in tandem to explore racial issues through everyday narratives. The authors themselves represent an American cultural dialectic."Janet Langlois, author of Belle Gunness, The Lady Bluebeard
"Whispers on the Color Line is insightful and thought-provoking, powerfully underscoring the social significance of hearsay, rumors, and legends in everyday life. This rich and poignant narrative reveals and educatesan important contribution to social science understanding and to the ongoing discourse about race matters in this country."Elijah Anderson, author of Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the
"This book speaks loudly to our most troubling contemporary problem: interactions among the "races" that are carried out in secret. The development of media such as the
Internet (with its various aspects, from personal email to screeds sent out through listserves) has helped us recognize that rumors have gone publicand that we need to become involved in managing this process."Roger Abrahams, author of Singing the Master: The Emergence of African-American Culture in the Plantation South
Urban legends are a large part of today's society. Nearly everyone has heard the myths about why Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name or who owns Snapple or the woman who was saved from attack by a gas station attendant. But how do urban legends affect how different races see each other, and how do these legends change according to which ethnic group is being targeted? In this fascinating book, Fine (African American studies, Univ. of California, Davis; I Heard It Through the Grapevine: Rumor in African American Culture) and Turner (sociology, Northwestern Univ.; Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work) explore not only the basis of many of these urban legends but also how they shape opinions. They discuss different kinds of rumors and how these rumors are shared within the community. They also discuss how to cope with rumors and to stop them in their tracks. With a fairly extensive notes section, this is an important and useful book that should find a home in every library. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.