Winning the Race by John McWhorter
It is noteworthy that the subject of race, a matter of obvious intrinsic importance, has in recent years been relegated to the margins of American political discourse. This rhetorical neglect may or may not be of the “benign” sort Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed in 1970, but it is hard to deny that the discussion of racial issues has become so bogged down in tired and unpersuasive formulas that the audience for it has largely disappeared. Although the civil-rights establishment continues to issue periodic denunciations of a pervasive white racism that can only be overcome through multifarious government programs, and although a certain number of whites duly murmur agreement, most people have sensibly concluded that this is a form of political theater to which attention need no longer be paid.
John McWhorter, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute and formerly a professor of linguistics at Berkeley, agrees that racial conversation in America has come to a dead end, and that a fundamental rethinking is required if it is to be turned in a useful direction. In his new book, Winning the Race, he directs his appeal to his fellow blacks, who, he thinks, have fallen victim to erroneous propositions and programs encouraged, and often initiated, by disastrously well-intentioned whites. His is not an unfamiliar argument, but he makes it fresh with new evidence and bracing rhetorical urgency.
About the Author
James Nuechterlein, a former professor of American studies and political thought at Valparaiso University, is a senior fellow of the Institute on Religion and Public Life.