"Steele has given eloquent voice to painful truths that are almost always left unspoken in the nation's circumscribed public discourse on race." —New York Times
From the author of the award-winning bestseller The Content of Our Character and White Guilt comes an 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 American guilt rather than the careful development of true equality between the races.
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.
In these essays, self-described black conservative Steele (The Content of Our Character) denounces what he calls unsuccessful liberal intervention to promote equal opportunity for African Americans. The author, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, argues that blacks have been twice betrayed: first by being oppressed by slavery and segregation, second by government-mandated group preferences that rob blacks of their self-esteem. Such programs he sees as rooted more in white guilt than in a desire to help blacks become more competitive in our society. He points out that blacks relying on their own initiative have managed to excel in music, sports and literature. On the other hand, he sees programs of affirmative action, set-asides, group preferences or welfare payments as the product of white assumptions of black inferiority. Steele's solution to problems such as inner-city joblessness, teenage pregnancy and high crime rates is devotion among blacks to principles of personal accountability, hard work, delayed gratification and other forms of individual effort, though he doesn't spell out how to implement these goals. His analysis tends to be repetitious or based on sweeping generalities without research data; however, he then charges that contradictory evidence is the result of bias among academics. This is a contentious work that is likely to reignite old arguments, but then Steele should be used to that by now. U.K. first serial and translation rights, HarperCollins; dramatic and audio rights, Carol Mann; author tour.
Steele is very illuminating!
In this book as well as "White Guilt",Steele has shown me the
roots of our present culture war to the death in the feelings of shame that many whites had after the civil rights movement in the 60s.Instead of using this time to develop blacks or let them develop themselves,liberal interventionism made itself responsible for blacks by a series of meaningless programs that ended up destroying lower class black families and exploding out of wedlock births as well as black on black crime.
Let's return to basic democratic principles says Steele in a very powerful book.