In this controversial essay collection, award-winning writer Shelby Stelle illuminates the origins of the current conflict in race relations--the increase in anger, mistrust, and even violence between black and whites. With candor and persuasive argument, he shows us how both black and white Americans have become trapped into seeing color before character, and how social policies designed to lessen racial inequities have instead increased them. The Content of Our Character is neither "liberal" nor "conservative," but an honest, courageous look at America's most enduring and wrenching social dilemma.
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From the sight-lines of the university setting, Shelby Steele gives an account of race that is nothing if not controversial. Steele's nine essays derive their messages from personal experience dosed with broader social psychology. The value of this book, which won a 1990 National Book Critics Circle Award, lies in its introspection, rather than its distant calculation. Steele weeds the individual out of the group and argues for personal responsibility. He offers a unique look at the African-American experience and points a questioning finger at the children of affirmative action. The knee-jerk identification he observes "presupposes a deep racist reflex in American life that will forever try to limit black possibility."About 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.
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