Friday, October 19, 2018

Book Recommendation: White Guilt

Book Recommendation: White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era by Shelby Steele

Steele is what an intellectual ought to be; a deep thinker who does not just parrot pablum spoon fed to him. He is also a fine write with a great command of the language. His accounts of growing up under Jim Crow racism (he was a bat boy for a white team, but couldn’t travel with them as the other stadiums didn’t let “coloreds” in) plus his accounts of being a black radical on campus and working in “anti-poverty” programs in East Saint Louis (where he saw the body of one of his good students outside a convenience store), give his writing on the subject an authority that people living in gated communities will never have. This “must read” book is his answer to the current situation, which he believes (rightly I thing) is devastating for both blacks and whites. He recounts being patronized by a white liberal professor who assumed he didn’t need to state his opinions because she knew them because he was black. Some of the quotes I particularly liked: “One of the delights of Marxian-tinged ideas for the young is the unearned sense of superiority they grant.” “I didn’t know it at the time, but it was my first experience of how group identity can take the place of accomplishment as a source of individual esteem.” “When you give a racial preference to the child of two black professionals with advanced degrees and six-figure incomes—as entree to a university that has not discriminated against blacks in more than 60 years—then you are clearly implying an inherent and irremediable black inferiority.”

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