Intellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense of one
that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in
racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the
American experience in a wholly new light.
The views of individual intellectuals have spanned the spectrum,
but the views of intellectuals as a whole have tended
to cluster. Indeed, these views have clustered at one end of the
spectrum in the early twentieth century and then clustered at
the opposite end of the spectrum in the late twentieth century.
Moreover, these radically different views of race in these two
eras were held by intellectuals whose views on other issues were
very similar in both eras.
Intellectuals and Race is not, however, a book about history, even
though it has much historical evidence, as well as demographic,
geographic, economic and statistical evidence— all of it directed
toward testing the underlying assumptions about race that have
prevailed at times among intellectuals in general, and especially
intellectuals at the highest levels. Nor is this simply a theoretical
exercise. The impact of intellectuals' ideas and crusades on the
larger society, both past and present, is the ultimate concern.
These ideas and crusades have ranged widely from racial theories
of intelligence to eugenics to "social justice" and multiculturalism.
In addition to in-depth examinations of these and other issues,
Intellectuals and Race explores the incentives, the visions and the
rationales that drive intellectuals at the highest levels to
conclusions that have often turned out to be counterproductive
and even disastrous, not only for particular racial or ethnic
groups, but for societies as a whole.
|Author: Thomas Sowell
Hardcover: 192 pages
List Price: $15.46
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Thomas Sowell, a conservative professor of economics and public policy,
argues that conventional attitudes about racism and social injustice are not
only wrong, but harmful as well, in an analysis that will spark outrage among
the liberal intellectuals that he targets. Sowell (The Housing Boom and Bust,
2009, etc.) understates the case when he writes that he has arrived at "many
conclusions very different from those currently prevailing in the media, in
politics or in academia." The result of that common liberal consensus, he
charges, "has been a steady drumbeat of grievance and victimhood ideologies,
from the media, from educational institutions and from other institutions
permeated by the vision of the intelligentsia." As a member of the media, an
educator, an intellectual and a black man (who often writes about racial issues
from a conservative perspective), Sowell relishes his role as provocateur. Of
course, the author's version of truth serves an agenda suggesting that the black
affirmative action and that blaming society for the inequities suffered by
minorities represents "a long tradition of intellectuals who more or less
automatically transform differences into inequities and inequities into the evils
or shortcomings of society." Even if blacks have less opportunity than whites,
achieve less and commit more crime, he writes, these are not the results of
oppression, and they can't be resolved by "a lifestyle of dependency." Instead,
"those who lag, for whatever reasons, face a daunting task of bringing
themselves up to the rest of society in knowledge, skills and experience-and in
the attitudes necessary to acquire this knowledge and these skills and
experience." In other words, the problem isn't white racism but black attitudes.
The benefit of slavery is but one of the firebombs lobbed within a book that
more are likely to find infuriating than enlightening. *****__Kirkus
"After reading Dr. Thomas Sowell’s latest book, Intellectuals and Race, one
cannot emerge with much respect for the reasoning powers of intellectuals,
particularly academics, on matters of race. There’s so much faulty logic and
downright dishonesty.” *****__New American
Friedman Senior Fellow at the
Hoover Institution, and has taught
Amherst, and other academic
He is the author of Intellectuals and
Society, Dismantling America,
Economic Facts and Fallacies, and the
classic Basic Economics, which has
been translated into six languages.
Sowell has published in both
academic journals and in such popular
media as the Wall Street Journal,
Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and
he writes a syndicated column that
appears in newspapers across the
He lives in Stanford, California.
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About the Author