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For the past two decades, an academic cottage industry has developed to analyze--and some would say overemphasize--the social and educational problems of African Americans. Such writers as Dinesh D'Souza, Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, and Ken Hamblin have all contributed in this area; now add to that list John McWhorter, a Berkeley linguistics professor and the author of Word on the Street, an examination of Ebonics and Black English. The basic idea he presents in this occasionally insightful if flawed book is that African Americans are not advancing socially as a result of victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism.
According to the author, victimology "has become a keystone of cultural blackness to treat victimhood not as a problem to be solved but as an identity to be nurtured," while "separatism encourages black Americans to conceive of black people as an unofficial sovereign entity, within which the rules other Americans are expected to follow are suspended out of a belief that our victimhood renders us morally exempt from them." Anti-intellectualism is a belief that "school is a 'white' endeavor." McWhorter suggests that only blacks embrace such opinions, placing most of the blame on them while underemphasizing the institutional racism that facilitates such views. Needless to say, McWhorter has no love for the likes of Al Sharpton, Hazel Carby, June Jordan, or Patricia Williams and their ilk. His chapter on Ebonics, his specialty, is the most nuanced, though certainly not the final word on the matter. And though some readers will be turned off by his use of tired anti-affirmative-action, right-wing clichés, anyone interested in the education of African Americans in the post civil rights era will find Losing the Race a worthy read. --Eugene Holley Jr. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Are African-Americans using past racial injustices as an excuse for not working to take advantage of contemporary opportunities? McWhorter, a linguistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks he has the answers to this question and othersAand he points the finger directly at the black community. Starting with the premise that white racism is no longer the threat it once was, McWhorter singles out "the cult of victimology" and the glorification of white racism as a major cause for several social crises afflicting African-Americans. Offering little that has not been said previously by conservatives like Pat Buchanan and Shelby Steele, McWhorter uses a cookie-cutter approach to explain away recent race pressure points such as the arson directed against black churches, the high proportion of black inmates in America's prisons, the practice of racial profiling and police brutality. In each case, he finds fault with the African-American community's interpretation of these situations, accusing African-Americans of hypersensitivity to racial bias and a reluctance to relinquish the past. Victimology, as well as separatism, in his words, "gives failure, lack of effort and criminality a tacit stamp of approval." Most disturbing, his suggestion that a cultural trait drives the low scholastic performance of black youth borders on the views of those who consider heredity the cause of blacks' poor performance on standardized tests. Like many of the new black conservatives, McWhorter spends much time going after liberal columnists and social critics, attacking both their intent and message. Even his closing segmentA"How Can We Save the African-American Race?"Asounds more like a well-worn campaign speech than a call to initiate a dialogue on race in the African-American community and the nation. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Scapegoating (from the verb "to scapegoat") is the practice of singling out any party for negative treatment or blame. Read morePublished 1 month ago by purchase
McWhorter's book Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue is one of my favorite books on language. I was looking for other books on linguistics by him when I came across this one and took a... Read morePublished 3 months ago by David H. Eisenberg
Powerful insights. Very intelligent analysis. Mr. McWhorter is a courageous observer of the problems of post-1968 American culture.Published 4 months ago by Amazon addict
This is a well-written and well thought out treatise. I haven't finished reading the book as yet, but enjoying the journey.Published 11 months ago by scottsdale zinner
This is a great book whether you are black or white. There's something for everyone and it raises the race relations of the entire country. McWhorter says what we all need to hear.Published 19 months ago by Golfnut
I have not finished the book but I think for this day and age it's probably an informative read about the current state of black america.Published 21 months ago by Robin M Thomas