Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America [NOOK Book]

Overview

From the author of the award-winning bestseller The Content of Our Character comes a new essay collection that tells the untold story behind the polarized racial politics in America today. In A Dream Deferred Shelby Steele argues that a second betrayal of black freedom in the United States--the first one being segregation--emerged from the civil rights era when the country was overtaken by a powerful impulse to redeem itself from racial shame. According to Steele,1960s liberalism had as its first and ...

See more details below
Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price

Overview

From the author of the award-winning bestseller The Content of Our Character comes a new essay collection that tells the untold story behind the polarized racial politics in America today. In A Dream Deferred Shelby Steele argues that a second betrayal of black freedom in the United States--the first one being segregation--emerged from the civil rights era when the country was overtaken by a powerful impulse to redeem itself from racial shame. According to Steele,1960s liberalism had as its first and all-consuming goal the expiation of America guilt rather than the careful development of true equality between the races. This "culture of preference" betrayed America's best principles in order to give whites and America institutions an iconography of racial virtue they could use against the stigma of racial shame. In four densely argued essays, Steele takes on the familiar questions of affirmative action, multiculturalism, diversity, Afro-centrism, group preferences, victimization--and what he deems to be the atavistic powers of race, ethnicity, and gender, the original causes of oppression. A Dream Deferred is an honest, courageous look at the perplexing dilemma of race and democracy in the United States--and what we might do to resolve it.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Alan Wolfe
The fact is that we still need facts. Their near-total absence from A Dream Deferredguarantees that the book will not produce the serious arguments against affirmative action that conservatives ought to be providing. —The New Republic
Michael Anderson
...Steele's central thesis [is w]hat white people really want is not to reform an unjust society but to restore their own sense of virtue....[Steele writes] 'The United States has to accept its past as proof of its need for principles today.' — The New York Times Book Review
Los Angeles Times
The perfect voice of reason in a sea of hate.
New York Times
Steele has given eloquent voice to painful truths that are almost always left unspoken in the nation's circumscribed public discourse on race.
Chicago Tribune
Steele's skill compares with that of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, or Frederick Douglass.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Sweeping in its formulations. . . . Perceptive. . . . Steele is a clever critic.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In these essays, self-described black conservative Steele (The Content of Our Character) denounces what he calls unsuccessful liberal intervention to promote equal opportunity for African-Americans. The author, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, argues that blacks have been twice betrayed: first by being oppressed by slavery and segregation, second by government-mandated group preferences that rob blacks of their self-esteem. Such programs he sees as rooted more in white guilt than in a desire to help blacks become more competitive in our society. He points out that blacks relying on their own initiative have managed to excel in music, sports and literature. On the other hand, he sees programs of affirmative action, set-asides, group preferences or welfare payments as the product of white assumptions of black inferiority. Steele's solution to problems such as inner-city joblessness, teenage pregnancy and high crime rates is devotion among blacks to principles of personal accountability, hard work, delayed gratification and other forms of individual effort, though he doesn't spell out how to implement these goals. His analysis tends to be repetitious or based on sweeping generalities without research data; however, he then charges that contradictory evidence is the result of bias among academics. This is a contentious work that is likely to reignite old arguments.
Library Journal
Steele (senior fellow, Hoover Institution) has taken on a tough role: that of African American conservative. Here he argues that "white acceptance of affirmative action and the promotion of afrocentric ideology are rooted in a need to expiate the shame felt by a culture that historically mistreated black Americans, rather than an effort to create a society based on racial equality."
Peter Berkowitz
...Steele shows [his] scars....He is older, angrier, and understandably less patient with those who refuse to weigh his care on its merits....[His] position is informed by a complex appreciation of America's tragic racial history....At the core...is a simple thought: race is an inescapable fct, but the demands of human dignity are more urgent. -- Commentary
Jonathan Yardley
A book of considerable importance. -- Washington Post Book World
Los Angeles Times
The perfect voice of reason in a sea of hate.
LA Times Book Review
Sweeping in its formulations. . .Perceptive. . . .Steele is a clever critic.
Kirkus Reviews
A black conservative confidently explains the motivations of white liberals. Steele, author of The Content of Our Character, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, sets the tone for the book by defining a black conservative as one who "dissents from the victimization explanation of black fate when it is offered as a totalism." In other words, he identifies himself in relation to a potentially serious argument after all subtlety is removed and what remains is a rigid orthodoxy to be promoted or attacked. Not surprisingly, Steele attacks, but why expend energy demolishing this straw man unless you are intent on writing a polemic? The answer, of course, is that this is a polemic, and there is no room for subtlety between the covers of this volume. Somehow Steele has convinced himself that criticizing a flawed mainstream position automatically guarantees the truth of his own beliefs. Apparently, this specious logic excuses proceeding in a manner he would not tolerate in his opponents: while criticizing the work of a liberal social scientist because "rough inference and unexamined correlations" replace "rigorous science," Steele offers only inference and anecdote to support his own pronouncements. It also seems to bestow an unusual ability to see into the minds and hearts of those with whom he disagrees and to explain their deepest emotions. As a result, Steele explains that racial politics since the advent of affirmative action have been a function of white guilt and that shame has produced policies that reinforce white dominance and encourage black feelings of inferiority. There is undoubtedly an element oftruth here, but serious discussion of it will be foreclosed by Steele's overreaching claim to have uncovered the sole motivating factor of liberal race policies. A contribution to that genre of political writing that appeals to those seeking arguments to buttress previously held policy preferences without promoting serious thought or improved public policy.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061743498
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 746,998
  • File size: 345 KB

Meet the Author

Shelby Steele is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University, and is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. His many prizes and honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild Award, and the National Humanities Medal.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


I felt a familiar anger rise when the editor asked me over the phone to write about "the loneliness of a black conservative." Unless this was to be one of those serendipitous matchups of writer and subject where the charm is in the incongruence, the request all but stated that I was an obvious choice to map out this new territory of American loneliness. But the anger I felt was immediately diffused by an equally familiar sense of fatalism. There was no point in arguing. To be called a black conservative is, in fact, to be one, or at least to pay the price for being one. Besides, my life has been varied enough that I can now lay reasonable claim to many black identities, black conservative among them. As for loneliness, it is no doubt a risk that trails every effort to define one's beliefs. Most people could empty half of any room simply by saying what they truly believe. If, somehow, you come by the black conservative imprimatur, you will likely empty a lot more than half the room before you say what you believe.

I realized, finally, that I was a black conservative when I found myself standing on stages being shamed in public. I had written a book that said, among many other things, that black American leaders were practicing a politics that drew the group into a victim-focused racial identity that, in turn, stifled black advancement more than racism itself did. For reasons that I will discuss shortly, this was heresy in many quarters. And, as I traveled around from one little Puritan village (read "university") to another, a common scene would unfold.

Whenever my talk was finished, though sometimes before, a virtual militia of angry blackstudents would rush to the microphones and begin to scream. At first I thought of them as Mau Maus, but decided this was unfair to the real Mau Maus, who, though ruthless terrorists, had helped bring independence to Kenya in the 1950s. My confronters were not freedom fighters; they were Carrie Nation-like enforcers, racial bluenoses, who lived in terror of certain words. Repression was their game, not liberation, and they said as much. "You can't say that in front of the white man." "Your words will be used against us." "Why did you write this book?" "You should only print that in a black magazine." Their outrage brought to light an ironic and unnoticed transformation in the nature of black American anger from the sixties to the nineties: a shift in focus from protest to suppression, from blowing the lid off to tightening it down. And, short of terrorism, shame is the best instrument of repression.

Of course most black students did not behave in this way. But the very decency of the majority, black and white, often made the shaming of the minority more effective. So I learned what it was like to stand before a crowd in which a coterie of one's enemies had the license to shame, while a mixture of decorum and fear silenced the decent people who might have come to one's aid. I was as vulnerable to the decency as to the shaming, since together they amounted to shame. And it is never fun to be called "an opportunist," "a house slave," and so on while university presidents sit in the front row and avert their eyes. But this really is the point: The goal of shaming was never to win an argument with me; it was to make a display of shame that would make others afraid for themselves, that would cause eyes to avert. I was more the vehicle than the object, and what I did was almost irrelevant. Shame's victory was in the averted eyes, the cowering of decency.

Today a public "black conservative" will surely meet a stunning amount of animus, demonization, misunderstanding, and flat-out, undifferentiated contempt. And there is a kind of licensing process involved here in which the black leadership --normally protective even of people like Marion Berry and O. J. Simpson -- licenses blacks and whites to have contempt for the black conservative. It is a part of the group's manipulation of shame to let certain of its members languish outside the perimeter of group protection where even politically correct whites (who normally repress criticism of blacks) can show contempt for them.

Not long ago I heard a white female professional at a racially mixed dinner table call Clarence Thomas an incompetent beneficiary of affirmative action -- the same woman whom I had heard on another occasion sneer at the idea that affirmative action stigmatized women and minorities as incompetent. Feminists who happily vote for Bill Clinton are free to loathe Clarence Thomas. In a sense Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Ward Connerly, Stanley Crouch, myself, and many, many others represent a new class of "unprotected" blacks. By my lights there is something a little avant-garde in this. But, as with any avant-garde, the greater freedom is paid for in a greater exposure to contempt and shame.

The Czech writer Milan Kundera -- a man whose experience under the hegemony of the Communist Party taught him much about the shaming power of groups over the individual -- says that shame transforms a person "from a subject to an object," causes them to lose their "status as individuals." And to suffer this fate means that the group -- at least symbolically -- has determined to annihilate you. Of course we have no gulags in black America, but black group authority -- like any group authority -- defines itself as much by who it annihilates as by who it celebrates. Thus it not only defines group, it also defines grouplessness. And here, on this negative terrain, where his or her exclusion sharpens the group identity, the black conservative lingers as a kind of antithesis.

But is this loneliness? I'm not sure.

A Dream Deferred. Copyright © by Shelby Steele. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
The Loneliness of the "Black Conservative" 1
Wrestling with Stigma 115
Liberal Bias and the Zone of Decency 153
The New Sovereignty 167
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2000

    AMERICA'S COLLISION WITH ITS OWN RACIAL SHAME

    Steele's prudent examination of race, politics, and economic relations in contemporary North America is eloquently crafted. His Black conservative is warehoused in a systemic matrix, a confounding paradox which causes white Americans to isolate the Black conservative for his/her not being white, while prompting Black Americans to brand these same conservatives with the 'Uncle Tom' designation in presuming that any African-American who is not 'Radical' in their political agenda is simply an accessory to their own oppression. In other words, a Black conservative is a hyper-conformist, fundamentally butt-backwards for assisting a system defined by its dominance of their own Black society. Steele is irreverently honest, and his integrity punctuates these paragraphs. Educated white America is ashamed of slavery, of Black poverty, of Black pathology, of knowing that their own Faustian immorality procreated these issues for Blacks. Moreover, Steele writes that Blacks use this 'white shame' to elicit pitty and handouts in the form of government programs, race-based preferences in hiring and University acceptance, etc. A high priority, 7 star read for any new Millenium intellectual dedicated to understanding the American in which they live.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)