Dismantling Racism: One Relationship at a Time inspires and challenges readers to think critically about racism and its impact on themselves and others in complex and nuanced ways. With a commitment to an inverted approach to racism, Tina M. Harris’ trickle-down theory illustrates the interconnection between racist ideologies and interracial relationships. The example of interracial romantic relationships as an illustration of how societal attitudes dictate interracial relationships shows how trickle-down theory brings to the surface a person’s and society’s true attitudes about race. The theory further demonstrates how all of our interpersonal connections are a testament of racial socialization processes and how we manage our interracial interactions and relationships.
Celebrating the power of interracial communication to dismantle forms of systemic oppression, the book provides essential vocabulary for both societal misconceptions and transformative practices of interpersonal conversation. The book culminates in the racial intentionality roadmap (RaIR), a self-reflexive guide to immediately and repeatedly identifying ways to help eradicate racism in all the spaces we occupy. Ultimately, Dismantling Racism challenges readers to develop authentic, organic interracial relationships that translate into changes in systems that perpetuate racial division.
Tina M. Harris is the inaugural Douglas Manship-Dori I. Maynard Endowed Chair of Race, Media, and Cultural Literacy in the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. This is the first endowment of its kind in the U. S. Her primary research interest is interracial communication, with foci on critical communication pedagogy, race and identity, diversity and media representations, racial social justice, mentoring, and racial reconciliation. She is a 2022 National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar and is regularly invited to contribute original research to books, top-tier journals, handbooks, and encyclopedias in communication and other disciplines. Harris is a very active senior scholar with many accolades and awards for her longstanding history of making valuable contributions to the discipline.
Within the U.S., we persist in a sociopolitical climate where the truth about race seems too hard to hear, where the unwritten rules of interracial relationships presuppose tension before there is any. That is why Harris’ book is timely and important. She brilliantly captures the crux of our racial dilemma in ways that are accessible and practical. Kudos to Harris for her audacity, inspiration, and tireless efforts to speak truth to power.
Through poignant, elegant writing, Tina M. Harris leads us on a clear path to dismantling racism in our intimate, interpersonal relationships. History and theory are the stepping stones before Harris sets us up to “walk the talk.” She details expert guidance on improving racial understanding by way of powerful communicative interventions. Communication is change; change is activism. Tina M. Harris skillfully teaches us both.
In Dismantling Racism, Tina Harris presents an exploration of race and racism based on her lifetime of work and research. Moving beyond simplistic linear views, Harris centers the field of communication, clarifies and defines key vocabulary, and relevant theory, and gives practical guidance to keep dialogue and engagement on track. She examines family, friendship, marriage, and workplace contexts, summoning us all to be global citizens in the truest sense of the word. Important work, indeed.
Harris makes a compelling argument about the importance of families, friendships, romantic relationships, and the workplace as sites for difficult conversations about race and racism. This book is remarkable for the way it skillfully integrates literature on intergroup contact with historical and critical analyses of how interracial relationships in the United States have been stigmatized; critiques colorblind approaches; analyzes structural and interpersonal barriers to interracial relationships; and encourages readers to reflect on their own personal and professional relationships including the ways in which developing and strengthening interracial relationships can help address larger racial social justice efforts. Dismantling Racism will be a valuable resource for scholars and students alike.
Dismantling Racism, One Relationship at a Time heralds an overdue, much-needed, and watershed moment in relationship studies. The interdisciplinary fields that come together to study relationships are recognizing the need to center race both in research and theorizing, and Dr. Harris's cogent, sharp, comprehensive, and poetic book will no doubt advance that conversation in myriad ways. This is a must-have for any serious relationship researcher's bookshelf.
This is such a remarkable book. Not only do readers feel as though Tina Harris is conversing with them, but they cannot help to engage deeply in reflexivity about themselves, their relationships, and our world. Harris’ commitment to racial justice shines through every page. Her hope and vision of equality through relational communication is inspiring and feasible.