In 1955 the murderers of Emmett Till, a black Mississippi youth, were acquitted of their crime, undoubtedly because they were white. Forty years later, O. J. Simpson, whom many thought would be charged with murder by virtue of the DNA evidence against him, went free after his attorney portrayed him as a victim of racism. Clearly, a sea change had taken place in American culture, but how had it happened? In this important new work, distinguished race relations scholar Shelby Steele argues that the age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt -- and neither has been good for African Americans. As the civil rights victories of the 1960s dealt a blow to racial discrimination, American institutions started acknowledging their injustices, and white Americans -- who held the power in those institutions -- began to lose their moral authority. Since then, our governments and universities, eager to reclaim legitimacy and avoid charges of racism, have made a show of taking responsibility for the problems of black Americans. In doing so, Steele asserts, they have only further exploited blacks, viewing them always as victims, never as equals. This phenomenon, which he calls white guilt, is a way for whites to keep up appearances, to feel righteous, and to acquire an easy moral authority -- all without addressing the real underlying problems of African Americans. Steele argues that calls for diversity and programs of affirmative action serve only to stigmatize minorities, portraying them not as capable individuals but as people defined by their membership in a group for which exceptions must be made. Through his articulate analysis and engrossing recollections of the last half-century of American race relations, Steele calls for a new culture of personal responsibility, a commitment to principles that can fill the moral void created by white guilt. White leaders must stop using minorities as a means to establish their moral authority -- and black leaders must stop indulging them. As White Guilt eloquently concludes, the alternative is a dangerous ethical relativism that extends beyond race relations into all parts of American life.
Presents a study of the past half-century of American race relations, calling for a new culture of personal responsibility, a commitment to moral principles, and the elimination of white guilt and moral relativism.
In 1955 the killers of Emmett Till, a black Mississippi youth, were acquitted because they were white. Forty years later, despite the strong DNA evidence against him, accused murderer O. J. Simpson went free after his attorney portrayed him as a victim of racism. The age of white supremacy has given way to an age of white guilt—and neither has been good for African Americans. Through articulate analysis and engrossing recollections, acclaimed race relations scholar Shelby Steele sounds a powerful call for a new culture of personal responsibility.
From the author of the award-winning bestseller The Content of Our Character comes a new essay collection that tells the untold story behind the polarized racial politics in America today. In A Dream Deferred Shelby Steele argues that a second betrayal of black freedom in the United States--the first one being segregation--emerged from the civil rights era when the country was overtaken by a powerful impulse to redeem itself from racial shame. According to Steele,1960s liberalism had as its first and all-consuming goal the expiation of America guilt rather than the careful development of true equality between the races. This "culture of preference" betrayed America's best principles in order to give whites and America institutions an iconography of racial virtue they could use against the stigma of racial shame. In four densely argued essays, Steele takes on the familiar questions of affirmative action, multiculturalism, diversity, Afro-centrism, group preferences, victimization--and what he deems to be the atavistic powers of race, ethnicity, and gender, the original causes of oppression. A Dream Deferred is an honest, courageous look at the perplexing dilemma of race and democracy in the United States--and what we might do to resolve it.
Author: Shelby Steele
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2007-12-04
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
In Shelby Steele's beautifully wrought and thoughtprovoking new book, A Bound Man, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Content of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking quest for the highest office in the land is fast becoming a galvanizing occasion beyond mere presidential politics, one that is forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality usually are the focus of such dialogues, but Obama's bid for so high an office pushes the conversation to a more abstract level where race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial history -- a kind of morality play between (and within) the races in which innocence is power and guilt is impotence. Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Challengers do the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies like affirmative action and diversity. Steele maintains that Senator Obama is too constrained by these elaborate politics to find his own true political voice. Obama has the temperament, intelligence, and background -- an interracial family, a sterling education -- to guide America beyond the exhausted racial politics that now prevail. And yet he is a Promethean figure, a bound man. Says Steele, Americans are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we are afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we think about racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel. Obama emerges as a kind of Everyman in whom we can see our own struggle to accept and honor what we honestly feel about race. In A Bound Man, Steele makes clear the precise constellation of forces that bind Senator Obama, and proposes a way for him to break these bonds and find his own voice.The courage to trust in one's own careful judgment is the new racial progress, the "way out" from the forces that now bind us all.
The greatest barrier to racial equality today is not overt racism, Shelby Steele argues in [Title TK], but white liberals. Under the guise of benevolence, liberals today maintain their position of power over blacks by continuing to cast them as victims in need of saving. This ideology underlies liberal social policies from affirmative action to welfare, which actually exacerbate racial inequality rather than mitigating it. Drawing on empirical data as well as his own personal experience, Steele demonstrates that these policies have not only failed, but have made it impossible to address the problems that plague the modern black community, and have ensured that black Americans will never be truly equal to their white countrymen, in their own minds or in practice. Forthright and persuasive, [Title TK] offers an unflinching look at the failures of liberalism and a compelling case that a return to conservative principles is the only way forward for African Americans—and for the nation.
Author: John McWhorter
Release Date: 2005-12-29
Genre: Social Science
In his first major book on the state of black America since the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race, John McWhorter argues that a renewed commitment to achievement and integration is the only cure for the crisis in the African-American community. Winning the Race examines the roots of the serious problems facing black Americans today—poverty, drugs, and high incarceration rates—and contends that none of the commonly accepted reasons can explain the decline of black communities since the end of segregation in the 1960s. Instead, McWhorter posits that a sense of victimhood and alienation that came to the fore during the civil rights era has persisted to the present day in black culture, even though most blacks today have never experienced the racism of the segregation era. McWhorter traces the effects of this disempowering conception of black identity, from the validation of living permanently on welfare to gansta rap’s glorification of irresponsibility and violence as a means of “protest.” He discusses particularly specious claims of racism, attacks the destructive posturing of black leaders and the “hip-hop academics,” and laments that a successful black person must be faced with charges of “acting white.” While acknowledging that racism still exists in America today, McWhorter argues that both blacks and whites must move past blaming racism for every challenge blacks face, and outlines the steps necessary for improving the future of black America.
Author: Jason L. Riley
Publisher: Encounter Books
Release Date: 2016-01-05
Genre: Political Science
Why is it that so many efforts by liberals to lift the black underclass not only fail, but often harm the intended beneficiaries? In Please Stop Helping Us, Jason L. Riley examines how well-intentioned welfare programs are in fact holding black Americans back. Minimum-wage laws may lift earnings for people who are already employed, but they price a disproportionate number of blacks out of the labor force. Affirmative action in higher education is intended to address past discrimination, but the result is fewer black college graduates than would otherwise exist. And so it goes with everything from soft-on-crime laws, which make black neighborhoods more dangerous, to policies that limit school choice out of a mistaken belief that charter schools and voucher programs harm the traditional public schools that most low-income students attend. In theory these efforts are intended to help the poor—and poor minorities in particular. In practice they become massive barriers to moving forward. Please Stop Helping Us lays bare these counterproductive results. People of goodwill want to see more black socioeconomic advancement, but in too many instances the current methods and approaches aren’t working. Acknowledging this is an important first step.
Author: Don C. Talayesva
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2013-10-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
First published in 1942, "Sun Chief" is the autobiography of Hopi Chief Don C. Talayesva and offers a unique insider view on Hopi society. In a new Foreword, Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert situates the book within contemporary Hopi studies, exploring how scholars have used the book since its publication more than seventy years ago.
In this controversial essay collection, award-winning writer Shelby Stelle illuminates the origins of the current conflict in race relations--the increase in anger, mistrust, and even violence between black and whites. With candor and persuasive argument, he shows us how both black and white Americans have become trapped into seeing color before character, and how social policies designed to lessen racial inequities have instead increased them. The Content of Our Character is neither "liberal" nor "conservative," but an honest, courageous look at America's most enduring and wrenching social dilemma.
Author: Jason D. Hill
Publisher: Lexington Books
Release Date: 2009-10-28
Beyond Blood Identities uncovers the social psychology of those who hold strong blood identities. In this highly original work, Jason D. Hill argues that strong racial, ethnic and national identities, which he refers to as 'tribal identities,' function according to a separatist logic that does irreparable damage to our moral lives. Drawing on scholarship in philosophy, sociology, and cultural anthropology, Hill contends that strong tribalism is a form of pathology. Beyond Blood Identities shows how a particular understanding of culture could lead to a new theoretical approach to enriched human living. Hill develops a new version of cosmopolitanism that he calls post-human cosmopolitanism to solve a number of challenges in contemporary society. From the problem of defining culture, the failure of multiculturalism, the question of who owns native culture, the identification of Jews as post-human people and the problem of their status as 'chosen people' in a modern world, the author applies a cosmopolitan analysis to some of the major problems in our global and interdependent world. He posits a world in which community has been dispensed with and replaced by its successor term sociality_the broad unmarked space in which creative social intercourse takes place. Hill applies a new cosmopolitanism to ideate a new post-humanity for the twenty-first century.
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer) #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER | NAACP IMAGE AWARD WINNER | PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST | NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • O: The Oprah Magazine • The Washington Post • People • Entertainment Weekly • Vogue • Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • New York • Newsday • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward. Praise for Between the World and Me “Powerful . . . a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “Eloquent . . . in the tradition of James Baldwin with echoes of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man . . . an autobiography of the black body in America.”—The Boston Globe “Brilliant . . . [Coates] is firing on all cylinders.”—The Washington Post “Urgent, lyrical, and devastating . . . a new classic of our time.”—Vogue “A crucial book during this moment of generational awakening.”—The New Yorker “Titanic and timely . . . essential reading.”—Entertainment Weekly
Author: Victor Davis Hanson
Publisher: Encounter Books
Release Date: 2016-04-19
Victor Davis Hanson locates the cause of our immigration quagmire in the opportunistic coalition that stymies immigration reform and, even worse, stifles any honest discussion of the present crisis. Conservative corporations, contractors and agribusiness demand cheap wage labor from Mexico, whatever the social consequences. Meanwhile, “progressive” academics, journalists, government bureaucrats and La Raza advocates see illegal aliens as a vast new political constituency for those peddling the notion that victimhood, not citizenship, is the key to advancement. The troubles Hanson identifies may have reached critical mass in California, but they also affect Americans who inhabit “Mexizona,” “Mexichusetts” and other states of becoming. Hanson follows the fortunes of Hispanic friends he has known all his life—how they have succeeded in America and how they regard the immigration quandary. But if Mexifornia is an emotionally generous look at the ambition and vigor of people who have made California strong, it is also an indictment of the policies that got California into its present mess. In the end, Hanson is hopeful that our traditions of assimilation, integration and intermarriage may yet remedy a predicament that the politicians and ideologues have allowed to get out of hand.