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243 of 258 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racism old and new., May 12, 2006
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This review is from: White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (Hardcover)
This book attracted my interest because I've experienced first hand some of the "white guilt" motivated attempts to fix racial inequality.

I attended a middle school during the 1970's right at the start of forced bussing to acheive racial desegregation. Some brilliant social engineers thought that if they bussed black children many miles from home whether they wanted to be bussed or not, dumped them at schools in white neighborhoods, and then eliminated grades and went lax on discipline, then that would solve some problem of inequality between black and white students.

Well, what it accomplished for me was a shock when I arrived at high-school and discovered that not only were letter grades the norm (I hadn't seen them for three years) but they accumulated into this dreadful number called a "GPA" which had a profound impact on this concept known as your "future"! In other words, baby sitting was over and now I actually had to work or face the consequences!

But enough about me. I enjoyed this book and gave my rating for the following reasons:

1. It's short and to the point. The author tells us what we need to know and skillfully encapsulates pivotal events that occured during a short period of time and which lead us into the reality we face today. I love books like that.

2. The author establishes his credibility by weaving a narrative of his life with the development of his thesis. This isn't a book that was written by a person who just read a lot of books in order to write a book.

3. Accessable writing style. It's like the author is sitting across the table having coffee with you and telling you a story. Shelby Steele comes across as a man of unusual wisdom. It would be great to see him in person some day.

4. This book tells a truth that is in line with my personal life experience. Racism has never gone away. Somewhere back in the 1960's it morphed from one form to another. From "old school" racism that consisted of segregating blacks and making them responsible for themselves while denying them access to jobs, loans, etc. to "white guilt" motivated racism which consists of rigging outcomes to be equal by lowering standards for blacks. This is all just fine with guilty white liberals as long as they can claim moral authority in return for providing the equal result for the blacks they've lowered standards for.

Anyway, this is a short and well written book that'll perhaps make you think of things in a way you never have before. Five stars!
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Location: Kirkland, WA USA

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