POS334-L: THE RACE AND ETHNICITY BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION LIST
Harold Cruse, Plural But Equal (William Morrow, 1987)
|"Laura Long" <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Review of Harold Cruse|
|"Lyle, Chester G." <email@example.com>||Re: Review of Harold Cruse (Long)|
|"David G. Lewis" <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Review of PLURAL BUT EQUAL (Lewis)|
|"marilyn hurtado" <email@example.com>||Review: Plural but Equal (hurtado)|
|"Angel B. Johnson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Plural but Equal, Harold Cruse|
|Monica Diaz <email@example.com>||Review of Plural but Equal by Harold Cruse|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Re-send Plural but Equal (Ashworth)|
|"Bina M. Patel" <email@example.com>||PLURAL BUT EQUAL(Patel)|
|Don Martin <firstname.lastname@example.org>||Race Matters/Plural But Equal(Martin)|
|kari didricksen <email@example.com>||Plural but Equal by Harold Cruse by Kari Didricksen|
|Date:||Thu, 3 Mar 1994 15:29:36 -0600|
|From:||"Laura Long" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Subject:||Review of Harold Cruse|
Review of Harold Cruse, Plural But Equal
Reviewed by Laura Long
The debate over how to ensure equality for American blacks is
as old as the black movement itself. In SEPARATE BUT EQUAL, Harold
Cruse traces the battle between two approaches, the civil rights
approach and the economic rights approach, from the Reconstruction,
through the NAACP's adoption of the civil rights strategy, and on
up to today, where, Cruse asserts, civil rights have been achieved
and the focus must be shifted to economic rights.
Cruse sees civil rights activists' push for integration as
largely a failure in that integration has destroyed independent
black institutions and businesses while resulting in integration
only on a secondary, impersonal level. The Brown decision left
black teachers out of work, and while black and white children may
be in the same school, they are not sitting together at lunch. As
Cruse, quite rightly observes, it is impossible to legislate
people's feelings. Derrick Bell has voiced similar
complaints about the inadequacy of legislation although he did not
see the civil rights part of the struggle as over. Cruse is also
wary of overreliance on civil rights because the Constitution is
always open to interpretation. Decisions as contradictory as PLESSY
V. FERGUSON and BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION were based on differing
interpretations of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The civil rights movement did improve the quality of black
citizenship, but the way to achieve full equality is through
achievement of economic justice. Cruse says New Deal and Great
Society programs diverted attention from the need for black
economic self-strengthening, but today, blacks must help each
other. Jesse Jackson's PUSH movement, which tried to get
corporations to invest in black businesses and institutions located
in the neighborhoods where their black employees lived, is a shift
back to the fight foreconomic liberalization. Economic justice
would put blacks on a more level playing field with whites and
might inspire the respect and trust necessary for good interracial
One way to achieve economic justice is through the political
system. Cruse notes that white immigrant groups gained power at
the turn of the century through voting blocs that supported
political machines. Unfortunately, blacks have not had as much
success recently in using their voting bloc for political leverage.
The Democratic Party has refused to address black needs because
white Democratic leaders think the black vote is assured and
because of the growing perception that the black vote has been a
liability for the party. To circumvent these problems, Cruse
proposes the formation of a separate black party which would
provide a better power structure for black political candidates and
would draw together black voters to pursue economic justice.
There are three issues here: civil rights, political
empowerment, and economic justice. Cruse assumes the civil rights
movement focused only on civil rights, but actually the movement
focused on both civil rights and political empowerment. Blacks
have made some gains in the political arena, gains which would not
be greatly enhanced and might even be lost through a black
political party. In our winner take all system, a black party's
candidates would probably only get elected in majority black areas,
which is what is already happening now for blacks in the Democratic
Party. Blacks will still be largely in the Democrats' pocket
because they would not have enough legislators to pass their own
legislation without Democratic help. The black party which Cruse
envisions as a vehicle to obtain economic justice is not likely to
end up on the Republicans' side very often, so the party would not
have the power of being the swing vote as successful small parties
have in other countries. The party could actually hurt poor blacks
because an exodus of black voters might allow the Democratic Party
to move more to the center/right in an attempt to attract white
middle class voters, abandoning the poverty assistance programs it
now advocates. Worse still, a separate black party could turn
Congress into a battleground between blacks and whites. After all,
members of Congress are extremely concerned about reelection.
Republicans and Democrats will be even less likely to offer
benefits or assistance to blacks if those blacks are voting for
candidates from the black party.
All of these problems assume blacks would come together to
support a black party, but even black support is questionable,
especially if, as Cruse asserts, "civil rights justice, for all
intents and purposes of the United States Constitution, has been
won." Blacks could realistically be united in fighting for equal
civil rights in that most every black benefits from ending
discrimination. But blacks are less unified if the goal is
economic reform. For instance, Carol Mosely Braun voted for the
balanced budget amendment. If reform meant more redistributive
federal programs, such a platform would probably not represent the
interests of most wealthier blacks. Surely poor whites and
nonwhites would have more convergent interests when it comes to
establishing economic justice. Cruse himself admits the growth of
the middle class blacks and the widening gap between middle class
blacks and poor blacks. He also spends much of the book berating
middle class blacks for their lack of interest in or activity on
the part of poor blacks. In proposing a black political party,
Cruse is assuming a black unity that he acknowledges does not
Cruse recognizes the diversity of black America and suggests
that no one leader could represent the party, that instead a black
party should be run by a leadership council. But even a council
cannot reconcile wealthy or even middle class and poor interests.
Cruse points out the importance of the class factor when he
describes black Republicanism as a "class phenomenon that reflects
class interests that are much less 'civil' than they are
'economic.'" Can the economic interests of black Republicans be
obtained in conjunction with the interests of the black underclass?
Not likely. So while a new party whose platform centers on
obtaining economic justice might give the underclass more political
leverage, it would make more sense if its constituency fell along
class lines rather than racial lines.
Cruse emphasizes over and over the importance of pluralism in
American society. But pluralism assumes that parties do not matter
in American politics, so why does Cruse insist on a black political
party? Pluralism is based on group overlap and compromise and thus
breaks down when fluid groups harden into separate and distinct
entities like a race based party. Such sustained separateness
causes us to think only of the peculiar interests of our own group,
forgetting our responsibility to society as a whole.
Competition for economic benefits can degenerate into
competing claims of victimization and the downplaying of other
groups' suffering, as when Cruse claims women always had equal
access to education and that white ethnics only had to ask for
poverty programs from the government to get them. While few if any
groups have suffered to the extent that blacks have, that does not
mean that they did not suffer or do not have a right to justice.
Such tunnel vision causes Cruse to be almost resentful that Jews
and women have gained from black civil rights movements. But the
participation of Jews and liberal whites in the civil rights
movement is what pluralism is all about. Cruse should be proud
that black courage helped to free others. An emphasis on
separateness leads our society to become and more fragmented and
less and less considerate of people not like us. And what happens
to people who do not belong in a specific group? Do they just fall
between the cracks?
None of this is to say that the United States should be a
melting pot where all differences are stifled. People should hold
on to and savor their heritage. But cultural pluralism does not
necessitate economic separatism. In working for economic and
social justice, we should be working for everyone who suffers,
reaching across group barriers rather than shoring them up. Cruse
is right that poor blacks must be helped and that blacks need to
help each other, but nonblacks should also be both helped and
helpers. Further, we must remember that individuals cannot be
pigeonholed into one group. A black feminist is as much a woman
as she is black. In Cruse's world of distinctly separate groups,
to which group should she belong? Separatism can be dangerous in
that it labels people, and labels always oversimplify, making it
easier to hate than to cooperate. !
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Date: Fri, 11 Mar 1994 15:18:19 -0600
From: "Lyle, Chester G." <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Review of Harold Cruse (Long)
Laura: I thought your review was well-written as well as
insightful. Here are some of my comments.
>The black party which Cruse
>envisions as a vehicle to obtain economic justice is not likely to
>end up on the Republicans' side very often, so the party would not
>have the power of being the swing vote as successful small parties
>have in other countries. The party could actually hurt poor
>because an exodus of black voters might allow the Democratic Party
>to move more to the center/right in an attempt to attract white
>middle class voters, abandoning the poverty assistance programs it
>now advocates. Worse still, a separate black party could turn
>Congress into a battleground between blacks and whites. After
>members of Congress are extremely concerned about reelection.
>Republicans and Democrats will be even less likely to offer
>benefits or assistance to blacks if those blacks are voting for
>candidates from the black party.
I think that these are excellent points, particularly your contrast
of Cruse's recommended black party with successful small parties in
other countries. A major difference between parties based on
ethnic differences in countries like Belgium or Switzerland and
such a party as Cruse's is that those European parties represent
geographically segregated constituencies. Ethnic parties whose
members would have to disavow their previous loyalties to parties
which are already well-rooted in the system would require nothing
less than a total restructuring of the American political party
>He also spends much of the book berating
>middle class blacks for their lack of interest in or activity on
>the part of poor blacks. In proposing a black political party,
>Cruse is assuming a black unity that he acknowledges does not
> Cruse recognizes the diversity of black America and suggests
>that no one leader could represent the party, that instead a black
>party should be run by a leadership council. But even a council
>cannot reconcile wealthy or even middle class and poor interests.
>Cruse points out the importance of the class factor when he
>describes black Republicanism as a "class phenomenon that reflects
>class interests that are much less 'civil' than they are
>'economic.'" Can the economic interests of black Republicans be
>obtained in conjunction with the interests of the black
My question for Cruse would be: If black America is too diverse to
be represented by a single leader, what would be the point even of
a single party? Political parties must show at least a fair amount
of cohesion to survive, and there is already enough diversity
within the two major parties to provide a political home for just
about anybody who wants to find one. Presumably, a black political
party would be based on the idea of working together to achieve
common goals. But this would be impossible without common goals in
the first place.
>Pluralism is based on group overlap and compromise and thus
>breaks down when fluid groups harden into separate and distinct
>entities like a race based party.
>Further, we must remember that individuals cannot be
>pigeonholed into one group. A black feminist is as much a woman
>as she is black. In Cruse's world of distinctly separate groups,
>to which group should she belong? Separatism can be dangerous in
>that it labels people, and labels always oversimplify, making it
>easier to hate than to cooperate.
Isn't it interesting that so many people rarely stop to think about
the contradiction between these two concepts, and espouse the
virtues of both?
Chet Lyle | <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1803 Hoover Dr. |
Normal, IL 61761 |
(309) 452-0824 |
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Date: Sun, 26 Feb 1995 06:56:38 -0600
From: "David G. Lewis" <email@example.com>
Subject: Review of PLURAL BUT EQUAL (Lewis)
Review of Harold Cruse, PLURAL BUT EQUAL (William Morrow, 1987)
David G. Lewis
Illinois State University
February 24th, 1995
Harold Cruse writes this book from several different perspectives.
Initially he takes the perspective of a black historian. He starts the book
off by discussing the Blair Education Bill which was introduced in 1880.
This bill was the forerunner to the landmark decision case Brown v. Board
of Education, Topeka, Kansas 1954.
Like many other black authors Cruse takes his reader back to the very
beginning of the civil rights movement. He shows the reader that whites
were deceptive and conniving in their dealings with blacks from the very
beginning and that established a pattern in which whites have not departed
from to this day. The Blair bill was proposed to spend large sums of
federal money on public school education. The reason behind this bill
was that too many Southernors, both black and white, were illiterate.
Cruse points out that at the inception of this bill, both blacks and
whites in the North and South, Republicans and Democrats alike thought
he bill would be a good idea. Many blacks were somewhat skeptical
because they realized that this bill would have allowed segregated public
schools. This however was viewed as the lessor of the evils.
This bill was eventually killed in the House of Representatives because
whites feared the repercussions of educating blacks. Cruse clearly points
out that the white elite will sacrifice poor whites by the millions (as in
the education of poor Southern whites) in order to maintain economic
dominance over blacks.
Harold Cruse takes a very different perspective in that he questions
the very success of the so called civil rights movement and the objective
of the movement's leaders. He points out that in 1896 the Supreme Court
of America ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that separate but equal was
constitutional. This ruling stood for fifty-eight years officially,
until the Brown decision of 1954.
I couldn't agree with Cruse more in his questioning of the effectiveness
of the civil rights movement. He looks at the often ignored consequences of
the Brown ruling on the black community. During the aftermath of the Brown
decision, untold numbers of black schoolteachers, principals, and
administrators from the formerly segregated schools were rendered jobless.
What Cruse implies in this section but doesn't come right out and say, is
that blacks should have taken a more militant stance on the issue. There is
nothing civil about your rights when they have been denied for over a
hundred years. Cruse moves that the United States government only conceded
certain issues when it was convenient to do so. The example that he used to
prove his point was the Bakke decision of 1978. The irony of this is that a
male from the majority (whites) used a law that was originally passed to
protect the rights of the minority (blacks) for his own benefit.
Cruse then takes a more radical perspective by stating that Jewish
people had a hidden agenda during the civil rights movement when they helped
blacks. He makes the statement that many modern day black leaders have made
concerning the Jewish communities self serving interest in the black
Blacks should be striving toward economic empowerment according to
Cruse. I agree with that statement 100%. If you look at other minority
groups that have made significant strives in this country, you will see that
these groups based their success on economic empowerment. Cruse uses Jesse
Jackson's PUSH organization as an example of the direction that blacks
should be taking in order to achieve this goal. Jackson got corporate
America to invest in black communities. This in turn helps the community
without giving a handout.
Also Cruse stresses along with economic empowerment blacks need to form
their own political party because neither the Republican party nor the
Democratic party has the best interest of blacks at heart. He takes the
stance that pluralism is alright. Cruse acknowledges what should be very
obvious to Americans. We live in a society separated by race. So why not
make it official? Blacks don't need to be of the school of thought which
says you have to assimilate into the majority. Why not officially recognize
the plurality for what it is? This is the basic theme of the book hence
the title PLURAL BUT EQUAL.
I agree with Cruse that blacks need to strive towards economic
empowerment, however I disagree with the notion that blacks need to form
their own political party. I don't think that blacks would come together to
form one single party, there are too many idealogical, differences to
suggest such a union. This would be as absurd as suggesting that all whites
could or would belong to one political party.
David G. Lewis
Illinois State University
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From: "marilyn hurtado" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Review: Plural but Equal (hurtado)
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 20:55:50 -0600 (CST)
Review of Harold Cruse, Plural But Equal
(William Morrow, 1987)
Reviewed By: Marilyn Hurtado
Illinois State University
February 25, 1995
Civil rights strategies and economic self-empowerment are
the main focus of Harold Cruse's book. Throughout the book he
mentions several black leaders and uses examples to present both
civil rights strategies and economic self!empowerment strategies.
He argues the points of integration versus segregation regarding
busing, public schools, and public institutions. Cruse also goes
on to demonstrate the history cycle of civil rights in addition
to organizations like the NAACP and their goals. Cruse offers a
thorough critique of black leadership civil rights emphasis,
advocating an alternative self!empowerment agenda.!
Civil rights strategies are supported by leaders like
T.Thomas Fortune who founded the National Afro!American League
(1887!1908), whose failure led to the founding of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Martin
Luther King was also an advocate for civil rights and is
mentioned often throughout the book. The 1954 centerpiece of the
NAACP civil rights program was the court case Brown v. Board,
which desegregated public schools in both the North and South.
This in turn led to busing integration. Cruse argues that the
Brown case was specifically aimed at desegregating rather than
bettering networks of social, cultural, economic, and political
The Jewish community and women's organizations supported the
NAACP's civil rights strategy, rather than economic because these
groups already have economic status. Whereas blacks have achieved
civil rights to a degree, and their real needs are to achieve
economic parity. The possibility of a Black/Hispanic political!!!!!coalition
remains unresolved due to the clearly defined goals of
each group. Cruse states, "...the Hispanic minority involves a rather muted
racial factor. A considerable number of Hispanics are properly
classified as whites... Thus, a possible coalition involving
blacks and other minorities only injected into the black!white
civil rights involves a number of unresolved racial and ethnic
contradictions." It seems that Cruse does not want any type of
coalition between minority groups, particularly because of social
(women), economic (Jews), and ethnic (Hispanics) differences. His
position on minority coalition is consistent with his proposal
for self!reliance and economic self-empowerment.
Economic self-empowerment strategies are supported by Marcus
Garvey, Booker T. Washington, Harold Cruse, partially W.E.B.
DuBois, and several others. When Garvey, a West Indian, arrived
in the United States, he first attacked the NAACP on the grounds
of its ideology. Cruse likes Garvey because he advocates self-economic
reliance, although Cruse acknowledges that Garvey
beguiled black people from their money. DuBois was a long term
advocate of civil rights, but split from the NAACP because of the
debate over integration and segregation.
Cruse criticizes civil rights strategies, but seems to
ignore problems that arise with economic self-empowerment
strategies. The first civil rights cycle of 1868!1896 has been
ignored by American black leaders since the 1950s. Cruse argues
that, by doing so, black leaders have kept alive the futile and
idealistic search for racial equality through assimilation and integration.
Cruses' opinion is that if black leaders today
follow the same routine as the leaders in the 1950s did, there
will be repetitive mistakes.
Cruse believes that enlightened blacks should see that
equality through a pluralist, capitalist democracy can emerge
only through racial solidarity and economic self-empowerment.
Plessy v. Ferguson, the separate-but-equal doctrine in 1896 was
never achieved in the real world, in that segregation never
allowed blacks equal dispensation of social, economic, and
Cruse then argues that a black political party or movement
is necessary for economic self-empowerment. Jesse Jackson was
often regarded as inadequate in black leadership at mobilizing an
independent black movement. Cruse's antidote to a racial society
is a black political movement complete with its own party:Cruse
focuses on how the world really works, not on how society should
work. He is detailed in what the black community needs (ie. black
leadership), not idealistic in "getting along"; Economics is the
name of the game.
One very controversial subject that Harold Cruse discusses
is family structure. He states that African American men are
unable to control their wives and families due to their lack of
control or power in society. I find truth to this belief which is
so often attacked and opposed by blacks, whites, and women. I do
not regard Cruse a sexist since he is merely stating a theory
which seems coincidental among the low!income Afro-American
He writes of West Indian families and the discipline (not brutal
punishment) used to obtain control. As unpopular as it may sound,
discipline causes strength which, in effect, causes goals, which
leads to achievement and power. I believe that Americans or any
other society should not chastise another culture because their
family or legal structure (ie. lashing in Singapore). In other
words, if it works for them, let them be. However I do not
believe that Cruse is saying that this is what Afro-American men
need to do, but just simply stating a comparison among blacks in
Cruse proposes an extreme and difficult task for the black
community. It seems farfetched because of the great obstacles to
overcome, but his ideas and goals are detailed and specified. I
know that there are other causes for the failure of black people
to advance further, but Cruse demonstrated that these causes fall
under his main headings. There must be an extreme or outspoken
intellectual in order to illustrate what the black community
needs to do and how to do it right. Cruse's view could work with
mass cooperation and mobilization in both black and white
America, hence with adjustments toward a black independent
Political Science Dept.
Illinois State University
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Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 15:15:02 -0600
From: "Angel B. Johnson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Plural but Equal, Harold Cruse
REVIEW OF: Plural but Equal, Harold Cruse (1987)
>> REVIEWED BY: Angel B. Johnson
>> Illinois State University
>> February 19, 1996
>> Harold Cruse touches upon some very sensitive but real issues to
members of the African-American community in his work, PLURAL BUT EQUAL.
The title itself gives the reader an idea of just how complex some of these
theories are that he presents about Blacks and other minorities in this
"pluralistic" society in which we live. He takes a different approach in
analyzing some of these important issues facing the African-American
community today. In PLURAL BUT EQUAL, he takes a closer look at two of the
most complex and controversial topics facing African-Americans today, civil
rights and economic self empowerment.
>> Civil rights and the movement toward it has been one of the things
that has "harmed" African-Americans the most, according to Cruse. Although
the fight non-economic liberalism was necessary, Cruse believes that it is
time for African-Americans to move forward. He blames a lot of the failure
on different African-American organizations that have achieved equality for
African-Americans in certain aspects but at the same time, they have
undermined many efforts that have been made by African-Americans that might
have made the difference.
>> The N.A.A.C.P. was an example that Cruse sited. Members of the
N.A.A.C.P. had been concerned about the integration of African-Americans
into society since they were first organized. However, they did not have a
clear economic agenda. Cruse believes that this is the reason that their
influence, prestige and legitimacy among African-Americans started to
diminish. He believes feminist and Jewish leaders pushed the N.A.A.C.P. in
the direction of non-economic liberalism. This all comes at a time when
equality was the key word. Equality was definitely the agenda of the
N.A.A.C.P. He believes that the civil rights movement overshadowed
something that should have been considered far more important, economic self
>> Harold Cruse believes that economic development should be the most
important thing on the minds of African-Americans today. He maintains that
the civil rights movement diverted the attention of African-Americans from
this and this is why such a large percentage of African-Americans are
included in what is called the "urban under class". Economic development is
considered by Cruse to be the lifeline of the African-American community.
African-Americans should be investing in businesses in their communities.
By doing this, it would bring jobs and opportunity to the neighborhood. The
profits that would be made could be reinvested back into the neighborhoods
and enable the residents there to have a sense of pride regarding themselves
and where they live. The positives would definitely outweigh the negatives.
Encouraging investment in predominately African-American neighborhoods would
help provide incentives to the residents for them to do something more.
Cruse sited Jesse Jackson and Operation PUSH as excellent examples of this.
The PUSH movement tried to get corporations to invest in the businesses and
various institutions that were trying to get established in the
neighborhoods where a majority of African-Americans lived.
>> With economic self empowerment, Cruse implies that the civil
rights issues will become obsolete. He believes that once African-Americans
have become financially independent that respect and dignity from other
races will probably follow. He believes that African-Americans should not
care at this point because they will be able to provide for themselves
anyway. In this case, Cruse talks extensively about Jews and other
immigrants who have come to this country and have done very well in
establishing businesses for themselves. He seeks to draw a lesson from them
by demonstrating that with hard work and determination that economic
development and success can be accomplished. This issue makes it difficult
to decide which side I would take. You could argue for both sides; however,
the "glass ceiling" in corporate America is very real to ALL minorities. It
is very hard to say that once you are economically secure that people will
treat you differently just because of your financial situation.
>> One of the final issues that Cruse addressed was the possibility
of a third party that would be made up of only African-Americans. Cruse
suggests that a separate party would provide a better power structure for
African-American candidates and would insure representation of
African-Americans in the political arena. But how successful would that be?
Historically, third parties have not done well in this country. It would be
a party that would represent African-American interests only but would it be
successful in representing all African-Americans? I am sure that candidates
representing African-Americans from different socioeconomic classes would
clearly have different ideologies on numerous issues. I do not believe that
African-Americans need a separate political party but I do believe that
equal representation is essential in insuring that all minorities' concerns
are being addressed and dealt with.
>> Harold Cruse outlines some of the challenges that
African-Americans have been dealing with for years. In this book, he
challenges the reader to draw their own conclusion as to what a possible
solution might be. Does non-economic liberalism preclude economic self
empowerment? In some cases, it seems that way. But can it be done any
other way? Would African-Americans be able to advance in this society
without receiving basic rights? Civil rights are fundamental rights that
every human being should be entitled to. I think it is terrible that
specific laws need to be made or legislation should be proposed for
something that should be a given. Not just to African-Americans but people
all over the world. In history classes all over the country, it is taught
that America is the melting pot, the famed "land of opportunity". Well in
this case, the land of opportunity is running out of opportunities.
Americans are too busy running around trying to make up for past mistakes
when they should have never been made in the first place.
Angel B. Johnson
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Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 20:48:50 -0600
From: Monica Diaz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Review of Plural but Equal by Harold Cruse
African-Americans are the largest group of minorities in the United States
and yet they are the worst off economically. Why is that? Harold Cruse
investigates this extensively in this book. He gives a historical analysis,
cites examples and gives what he thinks is the solution to the plight of
African -Americans today. Cruse does this with the following three main
issues : economic self-determination, civil rights (which he refers to as
noneconomic liberalism), and political empowerment.
Throughout the book, Cruse compares African-Americans with several ethnic
groups (i.e. Japanese, West Indies Africans, Chinese) that have been
economically successful in this country; yet, he gives an extensive analysis
comparing African-Americans with the Jews. He seems to believe that
African-Americans should follow the Jews example as far as economic
self-determination. The Jews did not wait to be accepted socially
(associated with civil rights) before they took control of their economic
status. Jews were accepted after they were economically self-empowered. In
other words, Cruse believes that if African-Americans would have been
economically self-empowered, they would not have had to bother with
discrimination and civil rights because they would have been respected as
productive, economically-stable people.
Civil rights is not the answer to the African-American plight. The author
believes that the "civil rights cycle" has come to an end, and it is time to
move on. Civil rights fights discrimination, which Cruse does not think the
problem is anymore. The problem is noneconomic liberalism, a direct result
of the civil rights era. Cruse might say that attempting to improve the
African-Americans' plight with noneconomic liberalism is like putting a band
aid on a stab wound--it is not going to do much for the enormous problem.
With noneconomic liberalism, the solution has been government programs to
assist African-Americans (as well as other minorities) become more
economically stable. They have not done this, rather they have done
nothing but kept minorities dependent on these programs, thus not allowing
for growth in self-determination and self-reliance economically.
What is needed, Cruse states, is for the African-American leadership to
develop an economic program. The NAACP has not done this. Cruse sees the
NAACP as merely maintaining the status quo for the African-American people,
because they are influenced by the White liberals, specifically the feminist
and Jewish leaders. These two groups have pushed the NAACP more in the
direction of noneconomic liberalism which better serves their interests.
Therefore, Cruse is calling for a different kind of leadership. There
agenda should include getting businesses to invest in all African-American
neighborhoods (something similar to Jesse Jackson's PUSH movement). It
should also include African-Americans taking control of their neighborhoods,
both economically and politically.
The leadership that the author advocates is an African-American political
party. He believes that this is the only way to ensure African-American
influence in government and control of their own destiny. The Democratic
party is no longer deserving of the African-American loyalty, because it is
now taken for granted and African-Americans' needs are not being met.
Cruse states that "the ultimate goal of any group politics in a pluralistic
society has to be self-interest, especially if the self-interest is
economic". The author defines the "politics of plurality" as the "politics
of ethnicity". The author does not think that aligning with groups of other
ethnicity or classes would further the African-American cause. He says that
Jesse Jackson attempted this with the "Rainbow Coalition", and Hispanic and
feminist groups did not want to openly associate themselves with the
coalition. His assumption was that obviously these groups have a different
agenda than African-Americans
This proposed political party sounds ideal for African -Americans. Yet,
the author seems to assume that all African-Americans' needs will be met by
one political party regardless of factors like social status and religious
beliefs. Will all African-Americans buy into this? Secondly, if this
political party were to exist, other large minority groups will probably
want a piece of the action also. Then there would have to be an Asian,
Hispanic, feminist, homosexual and countless other minority political
parties that will also want to be represented in government. The author
does not address this; he seems to forget about other minorities in this
political party issue, which is ironic since the book is titled PLURAL BUT
The author seems to resent other minorities. He seems to resent the idea
that groups like women and Jews have profited from the Civil Rights
Movement. Which is hard to understand, because he makes it seem like the
Civil Rights Movement was weak (there was not much to gain form it). If it
was so weak, did the Jews and women (and other minorities for that matter)
gain so much to be resentful of them. The African-Americans were
trailblazers for the rest of the minorities as far as civil rights, the
reason for this is that they are the largest and have been the most
discriminated in this country's history. Most minorities give the
African-Americans their due respect for what they have achieved; therefore,
Cruse should not be resentful of other minorities, rather he should be proud
that people of his race were the forerunners to justice for many.
Harold Cruse overall makes some convincing arguments that can make people
think differently about economic progress for African-Americans.
Although his arguments are good, he will sometimes lose the reader by going
off on a tangent (which at times is a thirty-page tangent). In doing this,
he takes a long time to make a point and can confuse and/or lose the reader
as to what his point really is. If the reader can get past and understand
his points in all the wordiness, it makes for an interesting and innovating
book to read.
Latinos Unidos ,
Monica R. Diaz
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Subject: Re-send Plural but Equal (Ashworth)
Harold Cruse (PLURAL BUT EQUAL), William Morrow and Company, 1987.
Review by Pam Ashworth
Black leadership has failed. After a century-long pursuit of civil rights,
black Americans still suffer from the blindness of their predecessors. This
may not have been the case if previous black leaders had effectively
organized to fight for a program of economic rights for African-Americans.
Instead, the black community today continues to experience chronic
underemployment, poverty, incomplete integration, and a lack of leadership
potential. Professor Harold Cruse examines how this crisis in black
leadership developed in our plural, or group, society.
Since its inception in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) has been stifled due to its flawed ideology and
program. According to Cruse, the chief organizational error of the NAACP
has been its rigorous pursuit of noneconomic liberalism. This approach is
described as the "preeminent article of faith of the whites involved in the
black-white liberal coalition" of the NAACP(p. 75). As a consequence of
this noneconomic liberalism, the association failed to adopt an economic
platform to address "the basic distribution of wealth and power" for black
Americans(p. 75). The lack of an economic program proved to be disastrous
for African-Americans. With the onslaught of the Great Depression and the
subsequent New Deal policies of President Roosevelt, noneconomic liberalism
meant that "the free market of capitalist economic activity [would remain]
free for whites only"(p. 79).
In addition to the lack of an economic program, a purely civil rights
approach emerged in the NAACP as a result of it noneconomic liberalism. The
association heartily believed that greater civil rights for black Americans
would translate into increased economic prosperity. Thus, racial
integration became the prime civil rights strategy. For Cruse, however, the
resulting legal attacks on segregation in primary, secondary, and higher
public education rested on the organizations mistaken "assumption that the
Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal protection in support of equal
citizenship in all spheres- political, economic, and social"(p. 155).
Instead, the Fourteenth Amendments "essential evasions and ambiguities" led
to a 1954 Supreme Court decision that was cheered by the NAACP but in
reality "only hastened the growth of a different form of separate-but-equal
dispensation in social practice"(p. 23).
The landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education urged "the NAACP
leaders to believe that...full racial equality by way of equal protection
was on the near horizon"(p. 156). Cruse, however, views the case
differently. In its immediate aftermath, Brown forced black administrators,
principals, and teachers from formerly segregated schools into unemployment.
Furthermore, the Brown decision undermined local control of public schools.
For instance, desegregation enforcement mechanisms, particularly busing,
effectively ended neighborhood schooling in its pursuit of racial
integration. Today, "racially separate public school districts...have
become the rule rather than the exception"(p. 21). Due to local-level
racial demographics, schoolchildren remain separated by race. According to
Cruse, a preferable alternative to Brown would have been the equalization of
separate school districts "by way of massive appropriations," which was
central to the Blair Education Bill of 1890(p. 20). Such financial
equalization would have negated the social turmoil sparked by the Brown
decision and resulted in true educational opportunity for black Americans.
Following the apparent civil rights gains of the 1960s was "the loudest
public reaction ever heard from the white ethnics in this century"(p. 274).
These vocal minorities of the Seventies included Mexican Americans, Native
Americans, Chicanos, Hispanics, Slavs, Italians, and the Irish who "did not
consider themselves morally responsible for the racist sins against blacks
in the American past"(p. 278). As these groups contested perceived black
advances, they became direct competitors with black Americans for
employment, education, and affirmative action programs. Women also began
"to ride in on the momentum of the black civil rights movement" by making
demands of their own(p. 54). For Cruse, however, these minority group
activities were misplaced, at best. Unlike most young blacks, "white ethnic
youth had the head start of a strong male-controlled, tightly knit family
structure that monitored their passage into adulthood"(p. 283). Thus, any
black threat was wholly imagined. Women, moreover, lacked legitimate civil
grievances, for women did not suffer segregation, violation of their voting
rights, or denied access to quality education. The net effect of white
ethnic and womens complaints was that "the black minority was relegated
closer and closer to last place in the pecking order"(p. 364).
If the 1970s was a period of increased white ethnic politics, it was also
witness to a new emphasis on black politics. Despite the considerable
increase in elected black officials at all levels of government, the
Democratic party proved to be a barrier to their effectiveness. While the
Democratic party was often aligned with black officials, it was also "the
party of the political conservatism of white ethnics"(p. 282). Renewed
interest in a black political party culminated in three political
conventions in 1972, 1974, and 1976. Although "the creation of an
independent black political party became more than obligatory," all attempts
failed largely due to a reluctance among black elected officials to abandon
the Democratic party(p. 343). Lastly, the Congressional Black Caucus,
founded in 1969, was unable to become "an organized national political
spokesmen," for its connections to the Democratic party forced the Caucus
"to limit its role to a purely legislative one"(p. 350).
Crucial to the authors historical analysis is the continuing theme of
ineffective black leadership. For example, the early years of the NAACP saw
its leadership split in a debate between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T.
Washington. Washington stressed "economic development as the first priority
in any program of black social uplift"(p. 89). DuBois, however, adhered to
the philosophy of noneconomic liberalism. While Martin Luther King, Jr. was
undoubtedly the preeminent black leader of the twentieth century, even he
was "no different in his social na´vetÚ regarding integration than were the
NAACP spokesmen"(p. 241). Both King and the NAACP viewed full integration
as the solution to all problems relating to black America. Like King, Jesse
Jackson suffered from the "preacher-as-leader syndrome" and jumped into
presidential politics without an organized political base(p. 271). Finally,
todays growing black middle class- where black political power must
originate- lacks not only a social mission but "the quality of black
leadership capable of harnessing black potential"(p. 391).
For Cruse, a prime ingredient in black leadership failure, particularly
that of King, Jackson, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
(SCLC), has been its affiliation with the "politically narrow-minded,
intellectually...provincial, and economically self-serving" black church(p.
258). While some black churches- and white churches, as well- have had
leaders who "consider leadership for any purpose other than collecting money
a blasphemy against God," the authors criticisms of the black church are
often unfounded. Especially in the South, the black church lent a "moral
authority" to numerous black leaders. It was also the black church, in
conjunction with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, that assisted in the rise of
King. Even Cruse- contradicting himself- was forced to admit that "the
white power structures had little fear that preachers could not be trusted
to exercise the social control of interracial accommodation"(p. 210). Thus,
the most racially polarized areas in the South at least tolerated the black
minister-leader. Perhaps more significant, when the activities of black
church leaders met Southern resistance, they could still often expect a more
receptive audience in the North.
Even less credible is Cruses argument that womens rights is solely a
class issue. A look at the Supreme Courts earliest decisions in response
to the womens movement demonstrates otherwise. In 1971, the High Court
ruled in Reed v. Reed that states could not give arbitrary preference to
males in determining administrators of estates, which was common practice at
the time. Two years later in Frontiero v. Richardson, the Court stated that
the Armed Forces could not require servicewomen only to prove their spouses
financial dependency in order to obtain medical and housing benefits.
Although these and other Court decisions regarding the status of women did
not include the "identical quality of segregation, disfranchisement,
exclusion, and discrimination" faced by black Americans, they did involve
formerly legal acts that relegated 51% of the population to second-class
standing(p. 363). Moreover, many of these Constitutional challenges were
not based on class or economic issues.
Similarly, the authors distaste for reliance on the Fourteenth Amendment
to achieve civil rights advances neglects the important contributions the
Amendment has made to American society. The Supreme Court has used the
fourteenth Amendment to rule unconstitutional laws forbidding interracial
marriage in Loving v. Virginia (1967); racial prejudices in child custody
cases in Palmore v. Sidoti (1984); and prosecutor use of peremptory
challenges on the basis of race in Batson v. Kentucky (1986). In addition
to these civil gains, the 14th Amendment has also brought economic
advancements for African-Americans. For example, Shelley v. Kraemer (1948)
outlawed state enforcement of private restricting contracts that denied
property rights to black Americans. The Fourteenth Amendment has attacked
discrimination based on age, gender, and sexual orientation and has even
required states to grant free public education to minor children of
undocumented aliens in Plyler v. Doe (1982). Although Cruse is perhaps
correct in asserting that this Civil War Amendment was intended solely for
the benefit of newly-freed slaves, he wrongfully dismisses how its evolution
and flexibility has served nearly all Americans.
In the end, Cruse may be too critical in his assessment of black
leadership. A large-scale condemnation of the black middle-class as "an
empty class" does not appear warranted(p. 389). Indeed, todays black
middle-class may have been the select beneficiaries of Civil Rights era
advancement- along with the more numerous whites and women- and has
subsequently forgotten the black underclass as Cruse describes. However,
Cruse would do well to look to the future of black leadership in America.
As increasing numbers of young blacks avail themselves to higher levels of
education, the authors "crisis in black leadership" may become a thing of
the past. Having acquired the skills necessary for effective organization,
they may finally have their "impact on the institutional structures of the
total society"(p. 391).
Illinois State University
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Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 07:31:40 -0500
From: "Bina M. Patel" <email@example.com>
Subject: PLURAL BUT EQUAL(Patel)
Cruse, Harold. PLURAL BUT EQUAL. william Morrow Publishing: New York, 1987.
History has many lessons to teach, and modern society will eventually learn
them. Looking back, we can see what sorts of legislation aided the cause to
eradicate racism, and those that backfired. Further, we can see from this
what can be done now in order to make progress in this area. Society has
somewhat blurred the line between economic and civil independence. Civil
rights have been pushed to such a great extent that the economics of society
has played a tertiary role in the development of an equal society.
Cruse offers the reader a historical analysis of the black movement and
legislation in the US (as well as some side commentary about the roles of
other minorities in the process). Ultimately, he concludes that civil
rights legislation only served the purpose of hindering the equality
movement. In order for racism to be eradicated from society, black must
organize through political units whose main agendas are economic strength
and development. Civil rights, then will necessarily follow.
At the top of the list on "bad" legislation is the Blair Bill. This bill
sought to expand government funding to more parts of the US South. At a
time when funding was very low, and many of those most effected were
minorities(although not all), education funding was vital to the progress of
the black community. This bill was ultimately defeated, and this is cited
as one of the greatest symbols of the many setbacks blacks faced. This sort
of bill would have gotten the uneducated society moving in the right
direction. Education is the key to building a strong society where, once
educated, the economic issue is alleviated, which leads to civil rights.
Cruse also points to problems of organization within the black community.
This is perhaps the most pressed point in the book. The organizations that
blacks created were faulty for many reasons. One, they were not
economically stable. Many sought civil liberties before economic liberty.
In a system where majority rules, and the market dictates what sells and
what does not (a sort of economic Darwinism), and where money talks
(=capitalism), status comes from playing within the system. Unfortunately,
blacks failed to build financially advantageous organizations. Also, those
organizations which did get some credit, and were somewhat stable, ended up
failing in another regard. They did not remain "black". The affidation of
many black organizations with other groups eroded the power of blacks.
(Perhaps because one can never know how the independence/progress really
came about). The compromises made by these groups (NAACP) with others
(Jews, for example) also hindered the movement. Ultimately, though, the
failure was blamed on the focus of these groups. They looked or civil and
social rights, not economic rights. Economics is at the heart of this
issue, as it is strong leverage. Our society is not a civil one, it is an
Blacks, according to Cruse, should have followed the lead of other minority
groups, but should not have wanted integration to such an extent that their
goals were compromised. Eventually, it was the affiliation of the NAACP with
the Jews that caused some problems. Jews were not on the same page as the
NAACP, and the NAACP was organized to promote the Advancement of Colored
People. The Jewish community offered a model, perhaps that the NAACP and
other groups could have followed.
Next, the Cruse book points out many solid points regarding the history of
blacks. He offers a plentitude of case studies, examples, and citations.
Still, another topic that he decides to open a can of worms about is women.
The sexism issue that was emerging at this time took away from the black
issue. It seems as if Cruse is saying that women were not a minority group.
This was an issue of race, not sex.
And this is where contradictions can be seen. Economics to Cruse is the
foundation for society. In cases of oppression, economics play the most
important role in alleviating it. Yet, he claims that blacks needed to
create their own political party. But Cruse works under the assumption that
trying to change this monolithic, slug of a democratic capitalistic society
is effective from the outside in. Rather, I believe history has proven the
opposite. In cases where an outside group threatens the government or
democracy, the threat is ELIMINATED, not integrated. Blacks creating a
separate party in side the two-party (and the ever perseverance third
parties) system will not create the optimal environment for economic growth,
hence equality. Women, by the same logic should create a separate political
party to change the system. For those of you who chuckled at this see the
ludicrous proposal Cruse makes. In the US, separate but equal is not a
theory to test. Those that are marginalized either assimilate or perish. In
the salad bowl, melting pot, stew, or whatever, each part plays off the
other. Having a Black economy, party, separate "country" is not a feasible
means to end discrimination. No man is an island unto himself. The US is
not completely (at all for that matter) self sufficient. This can be
applied to national issues as well. Separating oneself in a majority rules
game does not leave much room for progress. The risks of this sort of
action outweighs the benefits. I agree that economics are the instrumental
role in the establishment of some sort of equality. Separatism is not the
answer. Equality implies equal, shared access to the same goods, services
etc, and without the humiliation and disrespect of the user. In a
separatist movement, I think there would be a backlash. Whites and blacks,
men and women (where do black women and white women fit in when the issue of
male domination comes up??)--the world, the system is not a dichotomy.
Rather, by Cruse's own argument we see that it is an interdependent
continuum. (Economic leads to civil, then social and political rights).
Cruse's book overall lacked precision. The reader gets lost in the shuffle
of citations and examples. He relies heavily (400 pages heavy) on these
examples, and while the are worthwhile, I think they are in excess. It is
difficult for me to see whether he really wants integration, and if yes, how
can one integrate if they are separate (eg.-war does not make peace...). He
covers his tracks-meaning he provided examples of everything that could have
been used against him (Jews, Native Americans...), which creates a strong
argument, but leaves the reader to question what he really wants to tell the
Back to top...
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 08:13:00 -0500
From: Subject: Race Matters/Plural But Equal(Martin)
Harold Cruse, Plural but Equal (William Morrow& Co. 1987)
Cornell West, Race Matters (Vintage Books 1993)
(Compare & Contrast)
Review By: Don Martin
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are at a very critical point in history. The racial climate in
America can move in either of two directions-backwards or forward. Recent
legal proceedings, highly-publicized crimes and affirmative action issues
have come to the forefront. How will we address the issues at-hand? Will
people continue to wear the mask (talk one way in public, while privately
conceeding an entirely different perspective)?
It has been a long time coming, probably since the 60's, when
Americans have engaged in truly open dialogue about race. Without openly
communicating we will continue to foster the us vs. them mentality. By
doing so, we will continue to repeat and re-live our dilemmas, as history
is known to do.
What is the state of contemporary America in relation to race? How
have historical events and figures shaped America's racial climate? Can
America ever be free of racism and color consciousness? These are just a
few of the questions addressed by Cruse and West in their examination of
the role of race in American society.
Cornell West assumes a role much like that of a prophet in analyzing
racial issues in society. West places himself in a very unique position in
that he both praises and criticizes the workings of conservatives, liberals
and those deemed leaders of various movements-while carefully distancing
himself from any particular group. Without simply conveying societal ills,
West gives feasible direction and insight to racial problems, placing the
burden on society as a whole. However, it is important to note and
reiterate the role in which West assumes- placing himself in none of the
groups mentioned throughout the book- giving as close to an impartial
opinion as one could muster in regard to race. By doing so West gives the
reader a sense of legitimacy to many of the notions he reflects.
Harold cruse takes a wholly different perspective. Cruse's work
implicates blacks as victims of past evils and misguided doings. This is
evident by his personal account of historical events and people, ever
present, from cover to cover throughout the book. Cruse looks to history
as a base for problems in which society endures. He examines the
implications of historical policies and actions of leaders that have
molded the current state of affairs.
West takes a very candid look at the role of race. Identifying the
problems which afflict both blacks and whites. He addresses several
subject matters- the emptiness or voids in the black community, pitfalls of
racial reasoning, problems in black leadership, black and Jewish relations
and affirmative action.
West prescribes several schools of thought blacks assume in regard to
the Jewish community. The first is the general conflict of ant-whitism,
placing the Jewish community as complicators to racism. The second is the
expectations blacks place on Jews, because of the anti-Semitism and
atrocities they have faced. Assuming that Jews should be a natural ally due
to shared oppression. The third notion asserted by West, although
indirectly, points to Cruse's ideology in regard to Jews. Specifically
that some black anti-Semitism, in the form of resentment or envy, is the
result of an "underdog who has made it." Cruse seems to fall under the
latter school, evidenced by his assertions that Jews were accepted to
pursue the "American Dream", mostly because of their white skin.
Additionally, Cruse points to the development of Jewish organizations
seeking economic rights versus civil rights, as a major contributor to
their overall success.
There is very little debate concerning the economic problems faced by
Americans-both white and black. In the past urban markets, especially
industrial, closely mirrored the image of America. West points to the
shift of stable industrial jobs from urban areas to cheaper labor markets
and housing policies as key contributors to "chocolate cities and vanilla
suburbs." This coupled with the influx of poor immigrants, has had a
devastating impact on the tax base in American cities. A definite
disparity in the quality and funding of schools has resulted. West
believes a step in the right direction towards assuring access to basic
social goods- housing, food, health care, education, etc.- are all viable
means to a favorable end for all.
While very informative, almost too much, Cruse overwhelms the reader
with long chronicles of his perspective of history. Some of the points he
makes, including a self-help, autonomous approach to black development and
achievement in society, may or may not be feasible answers to contemporary
racial issues. However, disregarding his ideas altogether is more than
West eludes to the idea of engaging many new perspectives and new
leadership to heighten the dialogue in race relations. West undoubtedly
falls under the a liberal perspective but, may be termed better as a
neo-liberal. His insight to racial issues fosters the notion of hope, not
of stagnant despair.
Both authors attempt to analyze and direct racial reasoning, although
from two different perspectives, for a reader who is willing to give
attention what is expressly stated. Neither of the two authors can
persuade the reader entirely one way or the other, as was probably not
intended. By simply bringing issues to the forefront, the authors give the
reader a chance to examine the racial issues. To some this may seem like
being beat over the head with a hammer, because they have grown tired of
the word "race" in American dialogue. Why stop pounding the nail, when the
"project" is far from finished?
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Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 19:37:33 -0700
From: kari didricksen <email@example.com>
Subject: Plural but Equal by Harold Cruse Reviewed by Kari Didricksen
Plural but Equal
by Harold Cruse
reviewed by Kari Didricksen
Has the civil rights fight the way to go for African-Americans? Is it
still the way to go? Have the African-Americans achieved full
integration and acceptance in the mostly white male dominated world?
Today we are faced with these questions and many more like them, but with
no real answers. As we approach the year 2000, how much has changed in
Cruse takes a look at questions like these. He takes a historical
approach to build his case. He uses citations of others ideas and work.
He goes as far back as the founding of the NAACP. He goes through court
cases that have changed the lives of minorities.
Cruse takes an in depth look at two major court cases; Brown v. Board of
Education and Plessy v. Ferguson. These cases to him started the whole
civil rights fight in motion. Brown v. Board of Education is considered
a landmark case, in that it found "separate but equal" unconstitutional.
It set the wheels of the civil rights movement in motion. Plessy v.
Ferguson was the case were "separate but equal" was found to be
constitutionally sound. Cruse if given a choice between the two cases
would have picked Plessy. His reasons for this are that the schools
today are still segregated. He also says that once the black run schools
were desegragated, there was no more need for the teachers and
administrators who had run the schools. This put many black educators
into unemployment, and it has not stopped since. Cruse does not like the
path the NAACP has chosen. Cruse questions the Brown decision. He found
that it only worsened the situation of African-Americans. Teh schools
may be integrated but the quality of education being administered is a
different story. Cruse also talks about the Blair Bill. The Blair Bill
would have administered large amounts of federal money and disperse it to
mostly southern schools to make "separate but equal" truly equal. But,
unfortunately for Cruse the Blair Bill never made it. The Blair Bill
would have directed African-Americans in the right direction, an
education. Cruse stresses that this is a key factor for
African-Americans too face. He blames history for never giving
African-Americans the education needed to build upon.
Cruse stresses that with an education African-Americans could have
achieved economic empowerment. But, insted the proper education was
never recieved, and that lead many to strive for civil liberties. The
NAACP takes the stance for civil liberties. They want to eradicate
racism and promote integration. But, to Cruse full integration can never
be fully reached unless economic empowerment is pushed. He believes that
once economic empowerment is reached then integration into society on all
levels will be achieved. He blames the leaders of the NAACP for this
wrong turn in the road for integration. Cruse argues that the NAACP is
fighting the wrong fight. He also blames the Jewish and women for
helping the NAACP make a wrong turn. He is angry at the fact that white
liberals are behind the wheel of the NAACP. He believes they are setting
the agenda of the organization that was founded to fight against
inequalities for African-Americans. He is almost obssesive about the
Jewish people. He is almost so obssesive that you could consider him
jealous of the great strides that Jewish people have made in america. In
a way though you can see his point. They were immigrants who were
accepted into society (to a point) because the color of their skin. The
Jews were sympathetic to African-mericans because they were persucuted.
The Jewish felt that they had a common bond. The jewish came to America
to flee the persacution of their homeland. Cruse discusses their model
as striving for economic and political empowerment. He praises them for
pursuing this route, for it has gotten them where they are today. They
are integrated into American society both with political and economic
power. But, Cruse is critical of the black-jewish alliance. He sees the
strive for civil rights as a fight for jewish civil rights. He thinks
that the Jewish are using the NAACP to further themselves and to further
African-Americans. The push for civil rights is not in the best interest
for African-Americans though (Cruse believes).
Cruse wants African-Americans to do what the Koreans did. He wants them
to worry about family and economics first, and civil rights last. He
blames many for the plight of some African-Americans like; black leaders,
middle-class African-Americans, Jews, and women. He says that women
moved in on the civil rights movement striving for equality as gender
based only. He belives that it had nothing to do with African-Americans.
All it did was side track the NAACP even more. Cruse says that
African-Americans need to choose to accept racism, because it reinforces
black solidarity but at the same time puts up barriers. Cruse believes
though that these barriers can be overcome.
This book was jammed with unnecessary citation after citation. He beats
almost every idea to death. His points are hard to pick out because of
other text cited. He hides his ideas and never really makes them clear.
A solution to all of this is what was lacking also. His points if not
hidden could have been summed up in half the pages that it took
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