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Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America Paperback – July 31, 2001
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About the Author
John McWhorter, associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of The Word on the Street. He lives in Oakland, California.
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In the whole, I thought his argument quite powerful in itself. Unfortunately, it becomes powerless when placed against those who wish to find racism as the cause for everything and engage in identity politics, as they control most of the media and academia. Being called a racist has such a devastating effect on people's careers, that most people just get out of the way. It would have been easy for him to take that approach. Nevertheless, he doesn't just blame blacks for their problems. In fact, he puts the blame for how this mindset arose squarely on racism and hardly denies that it still exists either, just that it no longer exists in the same way and to the same degree. Nor does he shy away from looking at himself clearly (see the section on affirmative action).
I saw him speaking on a panel recently concerning the recent policing issues. He asked to be the last one to speak because he felt he was better responding to others. This opened him up to a little gentle criticism from others on the panel, but, I was impressed by his request, because he doesn't just go with the flow, but in a very quiet way, is very much his own person. When it was his turn, he began speaking in the same clear and organized fashion with which he writes. Unfortunately, C-Span, on which I was watching him, suddenly cut away to cover President Obama on the same topic. I was disappointed as I feel the president is part of the problem, engaging in identity politics and providing cover for the attitude of victimization covered so well in McWhorter's book. That's my comment, not McWhorter's.
Highly recommend the book. In fact, I wish everyone would read it, no matter what hue their skin is.
As a high school graduate of the late '60's, I would say that the caliber of blacks that I encountered at that time (and called FRIEND as well) seems so far removed from those I see today, and this book explains why in an erudite, yet readable manner for anyone with that *spark of knowledge seeking* that appears to be sorely missing with too many people today of all races.
MY friends in the 60's were people I was proud to be around, and we ALL strove for the same asperations in school, and that was not merely to "get by and get out". As a white person, I often came under fire from my OWN people for befriending people of color, and since it was merely name-calling, I dismissed it as a form of "selective stupidity" from my own race.
With that said, after finishing John's book, I can truthfully say that this is a tome whose time to be written has come.
I've never subscribed to the "guilt-trip" falsely laid upon me by those black "leaders" of today, but rather embraced the teaching of Dr. King, and it was so refreshing to see that the 3 cults mentioned in this book bear me out as to why society is quagmired in the current state of affairs.
My wife is a high school teacher, and she relates things to me that are explained in this book, and I would recommend it to ANY teacher of ANY color in ANY school, so they might be better able to cope with the reasons the educational system IS the way it is, and how we may enact changes for all to succeed my merit and a passion for learning.
And since I used to live in Philadelphia myself, John and I have much common ground with which to derive anecdotes about life and times there. I can relate because I have SEEN it.
Suffice it to say that this is a MUST READ for the masses. I would be remiss if I did not state that this is not a book about beating anyone down, but rather a primer on how to effect change, elevating those to take their rightfully deserved place in our society. It CAN be done, and must...for the sake of ALL people.
Kudos To John McWhorter for saying what needs to BE said and "Doing the (really) RIGHT Thing"!
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Intro- The title of this book is intriguing.Read more