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Reflections Of An Affirmative Action Baby Paperback – August 24, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0465068692 ISBN-10: 0465068693 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Reprint edition (August 24, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465068693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465068692
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,393,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yale law professor Carter's provocative critique of affirmative action has stirred much debate and discussion.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The latest book to look at the issues facing African Americans from a point of view different from mainstream civil rights organizations, it begins with Yale law professor Carter discussing the positive and negative effects of affirmative action on his life. He then expands his study to include other topics such as the increase of racial incidents in America, dealing with political correctness and the conflicts between the mainstream liberal black community and the increasingly vocal so-called black conservatives. Like Shelby Steele's The Content of Our Character ( LJ 8/90), Carter's book is well written; unlike Steele, Carter provides lots of detailed documentation to support his ideas. A book that will find lots of readers and stir debate. For all libraries. (Index not seen.)-- Danna C. Bell-Russel, Mary mount Univ. Libs., Arlington, Va.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is not the book that many will expect it to be. If the reader is looking for a book taking a position for or against affirmative action, she will be dissapointed here. In fact, half of the book actually is absent talk of affirmative action at all. What Carter does do in "Reflections.." is relay to us his experiences, thoughts and feelings on the matter in the style of an internal socratic dialogue.
Stephen Carter is just the man to do it. He has written many books on the many aspects of law and, as he conveys in this cultural memoir, has aquired views notoriously hard to pin down (how many 'liberals' do YOU know who wrote books suggesting that church/state seperation has been taken too far?!) Accordingly, he can admits both being helped by affirmative action and being psychologically hurt by some of it's misguided effects. His willingness to think and write about these quandaries, so often neglected by other thinkers, makes this a fascinating read. No dogmatic diatribes or easy answers, just discussion that is passionate yet objective.
While affirmative action dominates the first half of the book, it is used as a springboard to the second half, which discusses a deeper problem- that of a noticeable distrust in Black America of dissenting political voices. Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas and the like are quick to be called 'white' or 'inauthentic' if they voice opinions contrary to mainstream black thought. Whether or not you agree with Carter's observation, his discussion here is lively, thoughtful and always respectful of all angles.
So, to close, the reason for the subtracted star is the fact that this book might disappoint two expectations readers may have for it- First, there are no conclusions reached here.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By hermione31 on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was actually assigned to read a chapter of this book for one of my classes and wound up purchasing the entire thing because I found it so utterly compelling. What makes this a refreshing departure from other books on affirmative action is how Carter manages to personalize his message while at the same time not coming off as an ideologue. His arguments are too well-reasoned, too thought-provoking, for anyone to dismiss his work out of hand.
His theory of affirmative action walks the line between anecdotal evidence and policy analysis, but his exposition is so graceful that these competing methods don't create contradiction. Carter manages to write both a poignant account of his own experience with affirmative action as well as a critical analysis of the motivation behind affirmative action and it's failed execution in the U.S.
Carter's book has once again proven that affirmative action is something intelligent people can disagree about, for respectively rational and well-meaning reasons. I am no closer to knowing the "right" answer to such a muddled issue, but the fact that Carter is thinking and writing about it enrichens the debate immeasurably.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 5, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must confess from the outet that likely I am not part of a recognized minority, unless one considers a short, German belonging to a small, conservataive Christian church such.
Carter is a provocative writer and thinker. Having read other works of his on culture and religion and law, this is yet another which shows us this talented man's ability to present a lucid, well thought out opinion.
Many points put forth in this work caused me to seriously ponder my views, and my culture's. My sensisitivity has been heightened, my horizons have been stretched and broadened. Admittedly so, I have not had enough exposure to all the voices Carter provides besides his own. This is of tremendous value to me.
Still horrifying and repugnant to me personally to know the reality of racism and all of its trump cards that both sides play. Carter seeks to expose them all for what they're worth. The solidarity and love he has for his heritage shines forth, as well the balance and passionate opinions he expresses for resolve in the future.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Bygdevoll on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I picked up this one in a second-hand bookstore in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. What an odd place for such a book, and what a treat it was for me!!
I have many friends from the US, and I have over the years heard they mentioning of "AA-programs". Some of my friends are positive to the AA-programs while others are against them. I must confess that I have absolutely no first-hand experience on this topic at all. I have the "preferred" skin-color, and also I'm living in Norway - which is one of the more advanced countries when it comes to equal opportunities - equal pay etc. Therefore, in the past, I had little to contribute with when the topic was discussed. And lack of knowledge was probably my strongest motive for reading "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby".
One would think that a serious topic as Affirmative Action really is, would make a dry and rather verbose book. But Dr. Carter has an easy writing style, combined with his personal anecdotes - "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby" was an entertaining read! I greatly enjoyed the book from page one. It was too good to put down, so I finished it in a few long sittings.
After reading this book, I have a better understanding on how the different AA-program works. And I must admit that I side with the ones of my friends whom are against such programs. This, simply because I truly believe that "color-blind is best". Treat everyone as individuals, and stop the stereotyping, and the building up under the belief that minorities cannot compete in a level playing field. For example, when American universities admit Blacks, Hispanics or others with lower exam scores than the rest, it is a waste of resources.
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