Intellectuals and Race

Intellectuals and Race

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by Thomas Sowell
     
 

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Intellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense of one that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the American experience in a wholly new light.

The views of individual intellectuals have spanned the spectrum, but the views of intellectuals as a whole

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Overview


Intellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense of one that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the American experience in a wholly new light.

The views of individual intellectuals have spanned the spectrum, but the views of intellectuals as a whole have tended to cluster. Indeed, these views have clustered at one end of the spectrum in the early twentieth century and then clustered at the opposite end of the spectrum in the late twentieth century. Moreover, these radically different views of race in these two eras were held by intellectuals whose views on other issues were very similar in both eras.

Intellectuals and Race is not, however, a book about history, even though it has much historical evidence, as well as demographic, geographic, economic and statistical evidence-- all of it directed toward testing the underlying assumptions about race that have prevailed at times among intellectuals in general, and especially intellectuals at the highest levels. Nor is this simply a theoretical exercise. The impact of intellectuals' ideas and crusades on the larger society, both past and present, is the ultimate concern. These ideas and crusades have ranged widely from racial theories of intelligence to eugenics to "social justice" and multiculturalism.

In addition to in-depth examinations of these and other issues, Intellectuals and Race explores the incentives, the visions and the rationales that drive intellectuals at the highest levels to conclusions that have often turned out to be counterproductive and even disastrous, not only for particular racial or ethnic groups, but for societies as a whole.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Sowell brings an all-too-rare perspective to whatever he writes about — that of a conservative black intellectual, especially valuable for this book’s topic.”

New American
“After reading Dr. Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Intellectuals and Race, one cannot emerge with much respect for the reasoning powers of intellectuals, particularly academics, on matters of race. There’s so much faulty logic and downright dishonesty.”

Mona Charen, Creator’s Syndicate
“I plunged into Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Intellectuals and Race, immediately upon its arrival, but soon realized that I needed to slow down. Many writers express a few ideas with a great cataract of words. Sowell is the opposite. Every sentence contains at least one insight or fascinating statistic — frequently more than one.”

Kirkus Reviews
A conservative professor of economics and public policy argues that conventional attitudes about racism and social injustice are not only wrong, but harmful as well, in an analysis that will spark outrage among the liberal intellectuals that he targets. Sowell (The Housing Boom and Bust, 2009, etc.) understates the case when he writes that he has arrived at "many conclusions very different from those currently prevailing in the media, in politics or in academia." The result of that common liberal consensus, he charges, "has been a steady drumbeat of grievance and victimhood ideologies, from the media, from educational institutions and from other institutions permeated by the vision of the intelligentsia." As a member of the media, an educator, an intellectual and a black man (who often writes about racial issues from a conservative perspective), Sowell relishes his role as provocateur. Of course, the author's version of truth serves an agenda suggesting that the black community might have been better off before initiatives such as civil rights and affirmative action and that blaming society for the inequities suffered by minorities represents "a long tradition of intellectuals who more or less automatically transform differences into inequities and inequities into the evils or shortcomings of society." Even if blacks have less opportunity than whites, achieve less and commit more crime, he writes, these are not the results of oppression, and they can't be resolved by "a lifestyle of dependency." Instead, "those who lag, for whatever reasons, face a daunting task of bringing themselves up to the rest of society in knowledge, skills and experience--and in the attitudes necessary to acquire this knowledge and these skills and experience." In other words, the problem isn't white racism but black attitudes. The benefit of slavery is but one of the firebombs lobbed within a book that more are likely to find infuriating than enlightening.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781482923520
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
05/21/2013
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions. He is the author of Intellectuals and Society, Dismantling America, Economic Facts and Fallacies, and the classic Basic Economics, which has been translated into six languages. Sowell has published in both academic journals and in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country. He lives in Stanford, California.

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