Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy

Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy

by Stephen Steinberg
     
 
iling attitudes on race and social justice, arguing that only the massive growth of grassroots protests in the 1960's freedom movement was able to push the country to a meaningful, albeit fleeting, response to racial inequality.

Overview

iling attitudes on race and social justice, arguing that only the massive growth of grassroots protests in the 1960's freedom movement was able to push the country to a meaningful, albeit fleeting, response to racial inequality.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this astringent, accessible study, Queens College sociologist Steinberg (The Ethnic Myth) takes issue with ``the scholarship of backlash''-academic works that oppose remedying racial inequality. Gunnar Myrdal's classic An American Dilemma, the author points out, portrayed racism as a moral problem but did not go so far as to challenge ``major political and economic institutions.'' By the 1960s, the paradigm had shifted, but recommendations in national critiques such as the Kerner Report for achieving racial equality were never implemented. Steinberg takes on both Daniel Patrick Moynihan and sociologist William Julius Wilson for legitimizing the retreat from race-based policies, and even argues that left-winger Cornel West's critique of black ``nihilism'' differs little from conservative views of ghetto culture. The author sees the retreat from affirmative action as ``an unmitigated disaster for African Americans'' and warns that U.S. ``immigration policy amounts to a form of disinvestment in native workers.'' And, he says, history suggests that the current step back from racial justice may be followed by a populist move forward. A trenchant, closely reasoned critique of the nation's failure to confront its continuing legacy of racism. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Compelling. . . . Turning Back is a book that belongs in the hands of any person who believes in civil rights and human justice. We should read it, meditate on it, and reconsider our present conduct in light of its insights. —Texas Observer

"[Steinberg] argues with angry prose and an impressive grasp of the facts about the long list of betrayals of the black people by scholars and activists who proclaim themselves to be the friends of African-Americans. . . . [Turning Back] is strong medicine." —Robert F. Drinan, The Boston Globe

"A very important, rich and thoughtful book." —Adolph Reed, Jr., The Nation

"One of the most important books on race and society to appear in the last decade." —Michael Eric Dyson, author of I May Not Get There with You

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807041109
Publisher:
Beacon
Publication date:
09/30/1995
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.99(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Steinberg teaches in the Department of Urban Studies at Queens College and the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is the author of The Ethnic Myth.

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