“Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?”:

Jennifer Hochschild

in The Fractious Nation?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780520220430
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936911 | DOI:
“Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?”:

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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This chapter demonstrates that no matter how much they differ, ordinary whites and blacks overlap in many respects suggesting rich areas of convergence in areas no less than separatism and separation. It opines that Edmund Wilson's question of “Who Cares Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?—asked in a famous 1945 New Yorker essay, referring to Agatha Christie's Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?,finding such mystery novels “a waste of time”—might well be applied to arguments over the causes of racial animosity in America that have raged during the past few decades. It explains that asking who's to blame for racial hierarchy and division is not entirely a waste of time but it risks raising conflict without leading to illumination or productive results. It notes that the evidence on the causes of racial discord is as conflicting as it is voluminous, and the contenders hold equally passionate convictions about the causes of America's racial mess.

Keywords: whites and blacks; convergence; separatism and separation; Edmund Wilson's question; racial animosity; America

Chapter.  6396 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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