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Civil Rights: RHETORIC OR REALITY [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Sowell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It is now more than three decades since the historic Supreme Court decision on desegregation, Brown v. Board of Education. Thomas Sowell takes a tough, factual look at what has actually happened over these decades -- as distinguished from the hopes with which they began or the rhetoric with which they continue, Who has gained and who has lost? Which of the assumptions behind the civil rights revolution have stood the test of time and which have proven to be mistaken or even catastrophic to those who were supposed to be helped?

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has been a professor of economics at leading American colleges and universities, and has lectured in Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, and Germany, as well as across the United States.

Product Details

  • File Size: 151 KB
  • Print Length: 170 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0688062695
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000RO9VI6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,539 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
172 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still indispensable April 26, 2001
Although a slim volume, Sowell's Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? is one of the most important books on the subject ever written. One by one, the standard platitudes about discrimination and poverty fall before Sowell's relentless statistical assault. Discrimination causes poverty? How about the Chinese minority in Southeast Asia? Discrimination against the Chinese minority is actually written into the Malaysian constitution. And yet the Chinese minority still dominates the economy. Likewise, Japanese-Americans were discriminated against so badly that 120,000 of them were forcibly relocated during World War II. Yet by 1959 they had equaled whites in income, and by 1969 were earning one third more. Politics is the only way for a minority group to advance? To the contrary: the general pattern in the United States has been for a group to become wealthy first and only then to enter politics (if at all). The Irish, on the other hand, who placed such emphasis on political action, lagged behind other ethnic groups.
The book is absolutely filled with information like this. Moreover, Sowell also discusses the perils of attributing income disparities to "racism" and "discrimination." I had to laugh when I read the critical reviewer below who claimed that Sowell's book was "simplistic." Whatever criticism one might make of it, no one who actually read the book could describe it that way. In fact, I'm a college professor who assigned the book to my students, and their general complaint was actually that it was too complicated! Sowell's whole point is that it is the current "civil rights" establishment that is simplistic-all statistical disparities between groups can have only one cause: discrimination.
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Perspective On A Sensitive Subject August 6, 2000
Thomas Sowell is one of the most articulate and intelligent authors today. His books are well-researched, politically unconventional, and highly persuasive. In this work, Mr. Sowell confronts the "rhetoric" of the civil rights establishment and contrasts it with the "reality" of American society and American law. The liberal establishment, according to Mr. Sowell, made a key blunder in the late 1960s. After the civil rights revolution became public policy, many assumed that there would be "statistical equality" between whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in all categories from family income levels to loan-acceptance rates. Needless to say, this did not happen during the heady days of the civil rights revolution. Even in the year 2000, this equality still has yet to occur. The only explanation, according to activists, is systematic racism. It would be nearly impossible for Americans to believe that - nearly 50 years after the Brown decision - we still live in a systemically racist society. But that is precisely the rhetoric that is force-fed to the American public. Mr. Sowell, on the other hand, states that discrimination does not explain the statistical variance. For example, Asian-Americans outperform Anglo-Americans on virtually everything from SAT scores to PhDs. Surely no one would claim that American society discriminates against whites in favor of Asians. We must take other factors into account if we are to explain this mystery. Family size, age, educational courses chosen, and savings rates are just some of the myriad ways that our races distinguish themselves. When we control these factors, there is absolutely no divergence between the races. Read more ›
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jesse Jackson's nightmare May 11, 2004
Although written 20 years ago, Thomas Sowell's book about the Civil Rights Movement reads like it was penned last month. Unlike many academics that simply take social policy at face value and support any policy that sets out to help, Economist Dr. Sowell measures the success of initiatives against their purported intentions. This is a great formula for honest education, but it doesn't win many friends in academia.
Sowell demonstrates how discrimination alone does not result in poverty. He points out the success of the Chinese minority in many Asian countries where discrimination against the Chinese is written into the constitution. He also points out the many hardships put towards Jews in history and their accumulation of wealth despite the hardships.
He shows some curiosity in how striving for equal opportunity in America eventually became affirmative action. He has the same curiosity about how de-segregation became busing. He then takes a hard look at the special cases of women and blacks.
Since the book was set at the 30th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education and the 20th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sowell examines the conditions of education and economics before and after those important dates. He finds just the kinds of facts that will be detested by the Civil Rights industry.
Dr. Sowell concludes that Civil Rights have become an easy way to gain favor with whatever new initiative someone might design. Now everything is a Civil Right and every new plague known to man is not usually the result of a denial of Civil Rights.
The question no one but Sowell asks is how can we expect an equal outcome in the world when humans all have different experiences and abilities?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality vs Rhetoric - Very Informative
Very informative.
Published 5 days ago by BILL MORAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Read this for a Political Science class. I found it very interesting and would recommend to read if you are interested in the Civil Rights Movement.
Published 5 months ago by Kelly Pelfrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart man. Most objective
Smart man. Most objective.
Published 5 months ago by Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 10 months ago by charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Right on, on Civil Rights
In reviewing this book, I begin first with the last words in the closing chapter of this book, largely because the author Dr. Read more
Published 18 months ago by SLIMJIM
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Analysis
Sowell's analysis of the civil rights movement, its goals and its achievements are on point. Nothing like the catastrophe that we see in the black community today to confirm his... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Michael S.
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK
I have loaned my copy out and it was never returned, I believe that says more about the book then anything else can. Read more
Published on May 11, 2013 by Christian Vaughn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Insight on Civil Rights / Affirmative Action
Very well referenced look at how the civil rights and affirmative action push has backfired. A must read for everyone. Very eye opening, hopefully from both sides of the aisle.
Published on March 28, 2013 by Danny Rouen
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Sowell Writes So Well
This was my second book by Mr. Sowell and I loved both of them. He puts more unknow history into his books that I've learned in any history class.
Published on January 7, 2013 by David J Patton
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Sowell work
This book is typical Sowell work: using reason and evidence to evaluate a topic filled with political rhetoric and emotion. Read more
Published on January 24, 2011 by Mick B
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More About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

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