By Shelby Steele

From the writer of the award-winning bestseller The content material of Our Character comes a brand new essay assortment that tells the untold tale at the back of the polarized racial politics in the US at the present time. In A Dream Deferred Shelby Steele argues moment betrayal of black freedom within the United States--the first one being segregation--emerged from the civil rights period whilst the rustic was once overtaken by way of a strong impulse to redeem itself from racial disgrace. in accordance with Steele,1960s liberalism had as its first and all-consuming target the expiation of the USA guilt instead of the cautious improvement of real equality among the races. This ''culture of preference'' betrayed America's most sensible ideas to be able to provide whites and the USA associations an iconography of racial advantage they can use opposed to the stigma of racial disgrace. In 4 densely argued essays, Steele takes at the normal questions of affirmative motion, multiculturalism, variety, Afro-centrism, team personal tastes, victimization--and what he deems to be the atavistic powers of race, ethnicity, and gender, the unique explanations of oppression. A Dream Deferred is a good, brave examine the puzzling drawback of race and democracy within the United States--and what we would do to unravel it.

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Additional resources for A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America

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And yet this contingency literally defines redemptive liberalism, which is based on the promise that the contingency will now be good where it was once evil, will now uplift blacks where it once held them down. So the “good fight” is to lock blacks into it even if it perpetuates a kind of “reformed” white supremacy, a white domination that is benevolent rather than malevolent. This contingency is the cord that binds blacks and whites symbiotically. And there is near constant trading along its length.

This is the central commitment of democracy, this idea that freedom does not truly exist until it is grounded in the individual, and that freedom and individual agency are virtually synonymous. But post-sixties liberalism is much more concerned with virtue than with freedom because it is driven by the mandate to redeem the nation from its sinful racist history. And in this liberalism the government (and American institutions gener- 44 / SHELBY STEELE ally) is the agent of redemption, an initiator of social virtue, not indirectly by ensuring freedom but directly as an agent that conceives of the good and then executes those conceptions.

This is what I admired in the doctor, his acceptance of this mandate, his understanding that history had given white Americans the responsibility of overcoming racism. What I didn’t admire in him—and A DREAM DEFERRED / 37 post-sixties white liberals generally—was the moral self-preoccupation. This is what made them dangerous to blacks—ready to give them over to an “otherness” in which nothing is expected of them. The liberal may feel that the black conservative doesn’t give him credit for his moral sensibility, but this is not true.

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