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Authentically Black [Paperback]

John McWhorter
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 15, 2004
The critically acclaimed book from the bestselling author of Losing the Race and The Power of Babel

John McWhorter is one of the most original and provocative thinkers on the issue of race in America today. In Authentically Black McWhorter argues that although African-Americans stress hard work and initiative in private, they have assumed the mantle of victimhood in the eyes of the public and have thereby created a distorted meaning of what it is to be "authentically black." McWhorter takes on this mentality and its debilitating implications—in topics ranging from rap music to the reparations movement, to the portrayal of African-Americans on television to racial profiling— injecting new ideas and a fresh approach into the nationwide debate on race. Authentically Black is a powerful and important book that will inform and influence the opinions of Americans across all racial and political spectra.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

McWhorter, a linguistics professor, ventures again into his sideline as a black public intellectual as he did in his earlier work, Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America (2000), this time examining the direction--or misdirection--of black leadership in America. His working assumption is that black leaders--wedded to the political left, the Democratic Party, and affirmative action--are out of step with the times. He argues that the civil rights era is dead, and appropriately so. The new battleground against racism requires individual rather than collective action. McWhorter criticizes the icons and issues of black leadership from Randall Robinson on reparations, to Jesse Jackson's shakedown of lucrative deals for his friends, to Al Sharpton for perpetuating notions of victimhood. McWhorter's criticism of this old vanguard of the civil rights movement is formulaic in the mode of the Republican right wing. However, his real contribution to the debate regarding new directions for racial progressiveness is his emphasis on the positives of black endurance and progress. Despite its partisan slant, this is a worthy book. Vernon Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Bill O’Reilly with a Ph.D." -- Black Issues Book Review

"McWhorter writes elegantly and covers plenty of turf . . . which ranges from rap music to reparations . . . [An] important book." -- The Wall Street Journal

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