The Fictioning Horror Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
  1. $24.50 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$1.95
List price: $14.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Ethnic Studies- General

This title in other editions

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America

by

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America Cover

ISBN13: 9780060974152
ISBN10: 006097415x
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $1.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Chapter One

I'm Black, You're White,
Who's Innocent?

"Race and Power in an Era
of Blame"

It is a warm, windless California evening, and the dying light that covers the redbrick patio is tinted pale orange by the day's smog. Eight of us, not close friends, sit in lawn chairs sipping chardornnay. A black engineer and I (we had never met before) integrate the group. A psychologist is also among us, and her presence encourages a surprising openness. But not until well after the lovely twilight dinner has been served, when the sky has turned to deep black and the drinks have long since changed to scotch, does the subject of race spring awkwardly upon us. Out of nowhere the engineer announces, with a coloring of accusation in his voice, that it bothers him to send his daughter to a school where she is one of only three black children. I didn't realize my ambition to get ahead would pull me into a world where my daughter would lose touch with her blackness," he says.

Over the course of the evening we have talked about money, past and present addictions, child abuse, even politics. Intimacies have been revealed, fears named. But this subject, race, sinks us into one of those shaming silences where eye contact terrorizes. Our host looks for something in the bottom of his glass. Two women stare into the black sky as if to locate the Big Dipper and point it out to us. Finally, the psychologist seems to gather herself for a challenge, but it is too late. "Oh, I'm sure she' be just fine," says our hostess, rising from her chair. When she excuses herself to get the coffee, the psychologist and two sky gazers offer to help.

With four of us now gone, I am surprised to see theengineer still silently holding his ground. There is a willfulness in his eyes, an inner pride. He knows he has said something awkward, but he is determined not to give a damn. His unwavering eyes intimidate even me. At last the host's bead snaps erect. He has an idea. "The hell with coffee," be says. "How about some of the smoothest brandy you've ever tasted?" An idea made exciting by the escape it offers. Gratefully, we follow him back into the house, quickly drink his brandy, and say our good-byes.

An autopsy of this party might read: death induced by an abrupt and lethal injection of the American race issue. An accurate if superficial assessment. Since it has been my fate to live a rather integrated life, I have often witnessed sudden deaths like this. The threat of them, if not the reality, is a part of the texture of integration. In the late 1960s, when I was just out of college, I took a delinquent's delight in playing the engineer's role, and actually developed a small reputation for playing it well. Those were the days of flagellatory white guilt; it was such great fun to pinion some professor or housewife or, best of all, a large group of remorseful whites, with the knowledge of both their racism and their denial of it. The adolescent impulse to sneer at convention, to startle the middie-aged with doubt, could be indulged under the guise of racial indignation. And how could I lose? My victims — earnest liberals for the most part — could no more crawl out from under my accusations than Joseph K. in Kafka's Trial could escape the amorphous charges brought against him. At this odd moment in history the world was aligned to facilitate my immaturity.

About a year of this wasenough: the guilt that follows most cheap thrills caught up to me, and I put myself in check. But the impulse to do it faded more slowly. It was one of those petty talents that is tied to vanity, and when there were ebbs in my self-esteem the impulse to use it would come alive again. In integrated situations I can still feel the faint itch. But then there are many youthful impulses that still itch, and now, just inside the door of midlife, this one is least precious to me.

In the literature classes I teach I often see how the presenceof whites all but seduces some black students into provocation. When we come to a novel by a black writer, say ToniMorrison, the white students can easily discuss the humanmotivations of the black characters. But, inevitably, a blackstudent, as if by reflex, will begin to set in relief the various racial problems that are the background of these characters' lives. This student's tone will carry a reprimand: the class is afraid to confront the reality of racism. Classes cannot be allowed to die like dinner parties, however. My latest strategy is to thank that student for his or her moral vigilance and then appoint the young man or woman as the class's official racism monitor. But even if I get a laugh — I usually do, but sometimes the student is particularly indignant, and it gets uncomfortable — the strategy never quite works. Our racial division is suddenly drawn in neon. Overcaution spreads like spilled paint. And, in fact, the black student who started it all does become a kind of monitor. The very presence of this student imposes a new accountability on the class.

Synopsis:

From one of the most respected intellectuals in the country today, this New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award offers a powerful examination of race in America — reissued to coincide with the publication of Steele's new HarperCollins hardcover, A Dream Deferred, in October 1998.

Synopsis:

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.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

jh, July 21, 2008 (view all comments by jh)
Steele's honesty is greatly relieving and appreciated when we live in a time of fear of discussing the issues he presents so gracefully. He is both insightful and humble.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060974152
Subtitle:
A New Vision of Race In America
Author:
Steele, Shelby
Author:
Steele, Julia
Author:
by Shelby Steele
Author:
Steele
Author:
Steele, Michael
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Location:
New York, NY :
Subject:
General
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
African American Studies
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Race relations
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Afro-Americans -- Social conditions -- 1975-
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
United States Race relations.
Subject:
African Americans - Social conditions - 1975-
Subject:
Non-Classifiable
Subject:
African American Studies-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series Volume:
AWS-TR-74-250
Publication Date:
19980923
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.94x5.40x.49 in. .30 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. Seductive Poison: A Jonestown... Used Trade Paper $9.95
  2. Out of Order: An Incisive and Boldly... Used Trade Paper $2.50
  3. In Gods Country the Patriot Movement Used Trade Paper $12.95
  4. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall...
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  5. Restoration of the Republic: The... New Trade Paper $40.95

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict
History and Social Science » Politics » General

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.95 In Stock
Product details 192 pages Harper Perennial - English 9780060974152 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From one of the most respected intellectuals in the country today, this New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award offers a powerful examination of race in America — reissued to coincide with the publication of Steele's new HarperCollins hardcover, A Dream Deferred, in October 1998.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.