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Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America Hardcover – December 29, 2005
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Pre-order today
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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 Ford
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The only warning is to be prepared to reach for your Webster's Dictionary. There are plenty of big words--but you can expect that from a linguist professor and an academic.
I appreciate McWhorter's book -- I think all the story details help, as they show him to be very reasonable -- he's not denying the existence of racism or injustices. Rather he is pointing to a serious problem with exaggeration. In particular, his pointing to the black community's latching on to the "meme" of "therapeutic alienation" is very useful, as well as common sensical. It's something that many insightful people have understood all along has been happening. It's easy to see that righteous indignation gives people a sense of purpose, a way to project all their own personal issues outward and blame someone else for them, as well as to justify bad behavior, even criminal behavior. All in all this is very convenient -- but ultimately dishonest.
The fact that McWhorter's book would not be one that a white person could write at this time, is part of the reason why white people who are simply out there living their lives, and finding themselve accused of a litany of wrongs as they do so, actually have significant moral authority at the present, if they can rally it, and if they can get out from under the disgusting and intolerant affront that for white people to freely speak their mind is a racist act. Those who tell the truth in a landscape of lies and exaggeration, who refuse to tolerate the dishonest fictions that are being told about racism in the nation...and who in fact are being kept silent and quite often not permitted to speak...those are the ones whose speech is at present most needed.
We have heard from black America about the problems in black America, and issues of race in America. The group we have not heard from are white Americans ....we have not heard white Americans speaking honestly about race. And I don't mean just those cherry picked white Americans who have been deemed suitably indoctrinated by Al Sharpton and the Racism Machine. I mean plain ordinary white Americans who have seen what is going on around them and who have a response to the massive BS, but every time they try to speak someone puts duct tape on their mouth. Off with the duct tape and out with the truth, please.