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Eric Deggans On Race: 'Is It Possible That You're Not Sensitive Enough?'

Eric Deggans wears a lot of hats: Tampa Bay Times media critic. NPR contributor. One of Ebony magazine's Power 150 -- a list of the country's most influential black Americans.

In his new book, Deggans embraces a title given to him by Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly: race-baiter. Deggans recently chatted with WUSF about the book, Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation.

On Trayvon Martin: "I think this is a perfect example of how race is at the center of a story that has many, many different implications. It became this international sensation because of it."

On Casey Anthony: "The reason the case got so much attention, some people say, is because it was an extreme example of what we call Endangered White Woman Syndrome, where the travails and the dangers of white women who are caught up in either disappearances or murders are covered more extensively than when those same things happen to males or when those same things happen to people of color."

On the peanut-throwing incident at last year's Republican National Convention in Tampa: "Frankly, to me, if the RNC was serious about rooting out racism, they would've found out who those people were and been open about it."

On being too sensitive: "One of the problems that you face when you try to talk about race is people present it as, you're a black person. You're influenced by your blackness. But white people are not influenced by their culture. They're the fair arbiters of generic life. And so if you ask me am I too sensitive? I would say to someone who asked me that question, is it possible that you're not sensitive enough?"

On hope for the future: "There has to be hope there that we can talk across race, because otherwise why even bother pointing all this stuff out?"

On Jan. 26, Deggans will give a talk and sign copies of Race-Baiter at the St. Petersburg Main Library. Details are at splibraries.org. For more on Race-Baiter, including a calendar of speaking engagements, check out EricDeggans.com.

"I host a food podcast" is a great icebreaker at parties.
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