A sweeping, bold, controversial book that challenges the last taboo--the notion that racism is the main obstacle facing black Americans today. D'Souza argues that racism is a distinctively Western phenomenon with a specific cultural origin, a history, and --it may perhaps be said--an end. His scrupulous and balanced inquiry makes for a most intriguing book.
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A comprehensive inquiry into the history, nature and meaning of racism. There is little agreement about what racism is, where it comes from and whether it can ever be eliminated. This book explore these questions while raising some controversial issues of its own.Review:
"Virtually all contemporary liberal assumptions about the origin of racism, its historical significance, its contemporary effects, and what to do about it are wrong," announces Dinesh D'Souza in another characteristically thought-provoking and controversial book. His scrupulously researched study of the history, nature, and effects of racism will certainly ruffle many feathers--particularly those of cultural relativists and liberal "antiracists" whose opinions he aims to discredit. But thinkers of all political persuasions would benefit from reading this self-described conservative's eloquently presented views as he "excavates beyond the usual digging sites" to present a unique and troubling vision of the "neurotic obsession" with race that continues to divide American society.
Much of what D'Souza says flies in the face of liberal doctrine. He maintains that there are cultural differences that account for distinct levels of achievement among races, and that racism cannot be blamed for "black failure." He argues that racism is not a universal phenomenon but a relatively recent Western intellectual concept, and because we can trace racism's beginning we can likewise bring about its demise. He deals blow after blow to longstanding "myths" about race, criticizing the "civil rights industry," rejecting "misguided" solutions such as multiculturalism and proportional representation as "fighting discrimination by practicing it," and even calls for a repeal of the near-sacred Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This is not an easy book to read, but it is an important one. Even if more than a few disagree with D'Souza's assumptions and arguments, all should welcome his well-considered, insightful treatment of this immensely difficult topic. --Uma Kukathas
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