From Publishers Weekly
In this sequel to his 2000 bestseller, Losing the Race
, McWhorter exhorts blacks to leave their "anti-whitey theatrics" behind and acknowledge the new racial realities of America. What began as civil rights activism in the late 1960s, he argues, has devolved into empty gestures that leave blacks "defined by defiance" and unwilling to face their problems with innovative responses. The flight of industrial jobs and middle-class blacks from the inner city and the spread of drugs should all have been dealt with head-on, he writes, but instead a debilitating rejectionist attitude took hold. McWhorter vigorously claims that, while blacks weren't well off before the '60s, black Indianapolis in 1915 wasn't "New Jack Indy," and blacks managed to get by without welfare. Yet welfare ended urban blacks' self-reliance and "taught poor blacks to extend the new oppositional mood from hairstyles and rhetoric into a lifestyle separated from mainstream American culture." Blacks grew to think of studying hard as "acting white," and a destructive sense of "therapeutic alienation" that ignores personal responsibility permeated black society, from school and hip-hop culture to leadership and politics. Accessible, if at times long-winded and repetitive, McWhorter's provocative, tough-love message is both grounded in history and forward-looking. (Jan.)
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McWhorter, author of Losing the Race
(2000), returns to expand on the theme that the problem with black America is black centered. He attributes the current crisis in black America to that point in the mid- to late-1960s when the countercultural forces opposed to the war merged with a black-as-perpetual-victim perspective, creating a sense of entitlement that has undermined notions of personal responsibility. To make his point, McWhorter strikes at progressive critiques about the causes of the black underclass, from Douglas S. Massey's American Apartheid
and its focus on hypersegregation to Wilson Julius Wilson's Truly Disadvantaged
and its emphasis on job loss and withdrawal of the middle class from the inner city. McWhorter dismisses these claims as insignificant, if not outright false. The theme--the Left is wrong and the Rright is right--is his direction, if not objective. Although readers with strong opinions on the subject may not be moved by McWhorter's work, his arguments are worthy reading for more open minds on the Left, Right, and in between. Vernon FordCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved