Harry Stein will be speaking before the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on June 12. Click here for the details.
Less than a month after the inauguration of our post-racial president, Attorney General Eric Holder declared that America was “a nation of cowards” for not having “frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us.” Of course, not only does the left have a vested interest in perpetuating that racial divide, but their idea of a “frank conversation” about race is to simply shout down the right with relentless charges of racism. Hence the title of Harry Stein’s new book, No Matter What… They’ll Call This Book Racist: How Our Fear of Talking Honestly About Race Hurts Us All.
Stein, a contributing editor at City Journal, is the author of novels, memoirs, and distinctively-titled satirical political commentary like his two previous books, How I Accidentally Joined the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: (and Found Inner Peace) and I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican: A Survival Guide for Conservatives Marooned Among the Angry, Smug, and Terminally Self-Righteous.
His latest book is a fresh, honest attempt to provoke the serious thinking about race “that liberal enforcers have heretofore rendered impossible,” and thus to begin looking for solutions. The premise of the book alone is enough to cause progressive heads to explode:
The idea that it is racism that has millions of underclass blacks mired generation after generation in physical and spiritual poverty is not only false, but the greatest impediment to fundamentally altering that dreadful state of affairs… The real problem is a culture of destructive attitudes and behaviors that denies those in its grip the means of escape.
Pointing out that contemporary white racism is too often an excuse, and that black Americans’ own “destructive attitudes and behaviors” might actually bear responsibility for their state of affairs, is precisely the sort of frankness about race that Eric Holder asked for but doesn’t actually want to hear, because it is Holder and his ilk who are the cowards.
Stein acknowledges that breaking through the left’s wall of denial and engaging them in an honest discussion about race is a daunting challenge, because
so deeply embedded among Jews and blacks is the idea that liberals represent the forces of light and conservatives all-consuming darkness that… it has long since taken on the dimension of religious conviction.
For decades the left has shrewdly and successfully nurtured and perpetuated this false conviction in order to maintain political power. The relationship between the black community and the Democratic Party, Stein points out,
has long been reduced to a corrupt bargain, the race baiters posing as champions of social justice receiving legitimacy and consistent infusions of public money in return for assured and overwhelming black electoral majorities.
The left has managed this through the constant push of its racial victimization narrative despite the fact that that narrative is outdated; thus, affirmative action policies are, as civil rights activist Ward Connerly labels them, “yesterday’s solution to yesterday’s problem”:
Perpetually focused on past inequities rather than future possibilities, the victim mindset epitomized by affirmative action not only saps energy and initiative, it justifies the absence of energy and initiative and inevitably leads to inefficiency and corruption.
Stein discusses how “the victim mindset” so prevalent among American blacks only took full hold in the modern era after the key civil rights battles had been won. And yet black students are continually fed “a relentless tale of oppressors and oppressed” until,
in the grip of the victim mindset – despite overwhelmingly being beneficiaries of racial preferences and other programs guaranteeing them special consideration – they regard whatever problems they experience at school as just another manifestation of racism.