POS334-L: THE RACE AND ETHNICITY BOOK REVIEW DISCUSSION LIST

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Andrew Hacker TWO NATIONS--BLACK AND WHITE, SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL (Ballantine, 1992)

From Subject
"David G. Lewis" <dglewis@ilstu.edu Review of Andrew Hacker, TWO NATIONS (Ballantine, 1992)
"nicole besse" <nlbesse@ilstu.edu Review: TWO NATIONS(Besse)
"David G. Lewis" <dglewis@ilstu.edu RE:Response to Nicole Besse book review on TWO NATIONS(lewis)
"charles w. gossett" <cgossett@gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu RE: D. Lewis' commentary on Nicole Besse's review of TWO NATIONS
"nicole besse" <nlbesse@ilstu.edu RE:Response to Nicole Besse book review on TWO NATIONS
"petrita salazar" <plsalaz@ilstu.edu REVIEW OF TWO NATIONS (ANDREW HACKER) P.SALAZAR
DENNIS SAYERS <SAYERS@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU REVIEW: Hacker's "Two Nations" by Rebecca Marshall, NYU
"ashaki daneen baker" <adbaker@ilstu.edu Review of TWO NATIONS Hacker (Baker)
Heather sauber Review of Hacker: Two Nations (Sauber)
Monica Diaz <mrdiaz@ilstu.edu Review: Hacker, TWO NATIONS (Diaz)
Justin Michael Almli <jmalmli@ILSTU.EDU Review of: Two Nations; Hacker, Andrew
"John C. Japuntich" <jcjapun@ILSTU.EDU Review:, Hacker,(Japuntich)
Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU Re: Hacker
"Mack H. Jones" <mjones@cau.edu Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply
Scott Syoen <smsyoen@ILSTU.EDU The best record on slavery?
Dan Tompkins <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
Ryan Snyder <rwsnyde@ILSTU.EDU U.S. morals
Louis Charles Raymond II <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply
Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply
"Daniel p. Tompkins" <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
Scott Syoen <smsyoen@ILSTU.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
Brent Simmons - Thomas Cooley Law School <simmonbr@COOLEY.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
RThampi <RThampi@AOL.COM Re: The best record on slavery?
Louis Charles Raymond <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
Dan Tompkins <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU Re: The best record on slavery?
"Mack H. Jones" <mhjon@mindspring.com Re: The best record on slavery?
Paul G Beeman <pgbeema@ILSTU.EDU Re: Best record of Slavery
Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU Re: Review of: Two Nations; Hacker, Andrew
CRFTHOMPSWL@CRF.CUIS.EDU The complexities of slavery.
"Samuel J. Perryman" <sper@LOC.GOV Re: Hacker
Louis Charles Raymond <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 1995 23:13:37 -0500 
From: "David G. Lewis" <dglewis@ilstu.edu 
Subject: Review of Andrew Hacker, TWO NATIONS (Ballantine, 1992) 

Reviewed By: David G. Lewis Illinois State University April 25, 1995

The question of responsibility is the underlying premise behind the argument of race in America. Andrew Hacker tackles this controversial and often elusive issue in his book Two Nations:Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal. Noone will argue that racism in America is as old as the country itself. It was racism that almost totally annihilated the original inhabitants of this land, the American Indians. It was racism that lead Europeans to bring Africans from Africa to the New World for the slave trade at the rate of 100,000 per year for 200 years. It was that same racism that amounted to some 20 million human beings being displaced between America and the West Indies. It is that same racism that makes America, Two Nations, one Black, one White separate, Hostile, and undeniably unequal.

Andrew Hacker makes no excuse for the present condition of racial animosity in this country today. In fact he sets the tone for the entire book in the preface. The very first paragraph sets the tone for the entire book. He states that every one of us could write a book about race based on our autobiographical experiences. This statement in and within itself is not so profound. However by the third paragraph of the preface we begin to see hoe this issue of race has consumed Americans since day one. Hacker explains in the third paragraph that the subtitle, "Separate, Hostile, Unequal," has several sources, however he uses it as a reflection of the conclusion presented by the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in 1968: "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white, separate and unequal." Yet these two nations, these two separate societies, have existed from the beginning. Hacker quotes Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59), a French political writer and statesman (his work on the U.S. political system became a classic), as having noted this hostility a century and a half ago when he said "The most formidable of all ills that threaten the future of the union arises from the presence of a black population upon its territory."

I commend Andrew Hacker for taking the painstakingly obvious stance that I have heard muttered a million times in my own neighborhood, "things for black folks ain't changed much." I could conclude my summation of Andrew Hacker's book with that latter quote, however I will attempt to write an objective review of the entire book (as if to say that one can write about this topic and remain objective!).

The basic premise of racism is the belief in or advocacy of the superiority of a given group, people, or nation, usually one's own, on the basis of racial differences having no scientific validity. This is the belief that Hacker states is at the very core of White Americans. He states that the "Africa" in African-American is in total contrast with the very essence of the European structure of technology and science, of administrative systems based on linear modes of reasoning.

How often have we heard conservative White Americans make the statement "My grandfather or father came here from the old country (usually referring to some European country) and worked hard and saved every possible penny and pulled himself up by the bootstraps and made something of/for himself. He didn't need any government assistance or hand- out, he did it the old fashion way, hard work." These statements when made are usually in reference to the African- American minority group. The implication being that African-Americans have not made it due to some innate fault of their own. These statements reek of racist rhetoric because the obvious implications are that citizens of African origin are somehow inferior to citizens of European origins.

Andrew Hacker cleverly and courageously exposes the ugly truth about White Americans that only a member of that so-called privileged class could do. In many of his assertions he backs them up with unimpeachable facts. Case in point. Hacker takes a look at the living arrangements between the races. He states that hardly any whites will live in a neighborhood or community where half the residents are black. So directly or indirectly, White Americans have the power to decide the racial composition of communities and neighborhoods. He goes on to point out that White Americans have become very skillful at using less blatant methods to prevent residential integration from passing what he calls a certain "tipping" point. The sad truth to this is that Whites won't even allow the Black proportion in a neighborhood to reflect the proportion of Blacks in the country. Hacker states that once the number of Blacks in a neighborhood begin to reach proportions of somewhere between 10 and 20 percent Whites begin what we all know as urban flight!

Hacker touches on several issues in his twelve chapter book. While I will not address each and every chapter I will take a look at some of the more interesting points. In chapter nine of his book he looks at segregated schooling. He makes an interesting point that illustrates the hypocrisy of many white students. For many black undergraduates who attend major universities, until relatively recently knew they would find few classmates of their own race. Most spent a lonely four years, whether in the classroom or residence halls. However White students are quick to berate Black students for sticking closely together, especially at campus dining tables or for forming their own organizations. The hypocrisy here is that these same White students ignore the fact that they themselves invariably sit at "white tables," and select their friends on the basis of shared temperaments or interests. Another fact ignored by White students is that many college campuses are located in communities that tend to be virtually all white. Black students who seek to do a little shopping in these communities find themselves objects of wary attention. On one hand Whites don't particularly want to be bothered by Blacks, however become concerned when Blacks get together without them.

Overall this book made me angry, it didn't teach me anything that I didn't already know. However it did teach me that the plight of the Black community isn't acknowledged unless addressed by a White person. The claims that Hacker makes in this book are nothing new however it appears that it was not given legitimacy until he wrote this book in 1992. I will say that he points out the hypocrisy of White America with a fervor that is not often seen. David G. Lewis Illinois State University dglewis@ilstu.edu Back to top...


Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 21:33:42 -0500 
From: "nicole besse" <nlbesse@ilstu.edu 
Subject: Review: TWO NATIONS(Besse) 

  TWO NATIONS--BLACK AND WHITE, SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL Andrew Hacker (Ballantine, 1992)

Reviewed by: Nicole Besse Illinois State University April 22, 1995

The phrases, "Land of the free..." "Liberty and justice for all..." and "All men are created equal..." are recognizable and historic phrases known to all Americans, but are they really an honest description of the United States of America? In his book TWO NATIONS, Andrew Hacker argues that for white Americans in the U.S. the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Declaration of Independence ring true, but if you are black, those words say nothing of what really goes on in America. Hacker's book TWO NATIONS uses statistical evidence mostly from the U.S. Census Bureau to prove that the U.S. is a nation of inequality, hostility and separatism. Hacker names his book using Benjamin Disraeli's remarks on the rich and poor of Victorian England, but applies them to the "two major races in America today"(vii). The quote he uses in the preface of TWO NATIONS from Disraeli sums his entire book,

"Two nations, between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each others habit's, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets."

In ways that Bell could not convince me with his make-believe chronicles, Hacker was able to with hard facts and statistics. His book opened my eyes to the real dimensions of race and how it controls lives, builds walls and divides American society. Hacker analyzes race in almost every aspect of life, from education to crime and from family life to politics. Hacker shows race as it really is; a set of categories devised by those in power for means of discrimination, domination and humiliation. In addition to many other topics, Hacker discusses the racial income gap and how being black means having less economic opportunities. Hacker argues that race seems to play a role in how people fare financially. He uses statistics to show that the overall earnings of blacks tend to be lower than that of whites, even in cases where blacks and whites have the same level of education. Income ratios would not improve even if black families had the same number of single parents and married couples that white households do. Hacker states, "...emulating the white family structure would only close about half of the income gap"(95). Hacker argues further that poverty for blacks is seen as a natural outgrowth of their culture, but for whites as atypical and inadvertent. Hacker goes on to talk about the preoccupation of society with "black crime," but the tendency of society to forget "white crime." Once again Hacker analyzes the double-standard that applies to blacks and whites in American society. He does not discount the fact that blacks are responsible for a large ratio of violent crimes, but says the problem is societal not racial. Society ignores "white crimes," such as embezzling, because violent crimes such as murder, rape and robbery which are predominantly "black crimes are more dangerous. This is in fact true, but embezzlement is a serious crime that is not being given the attention it needs. A harm is done to society regardless if it was a black who committed the crime or a white, regardless of whether money was stolen or a store was robbed, why separate crime by race? Hacker ends his book with a chapter on politics in which he illustrates that blacks have relatively little political power with which to change things. Blacks he argues, are not easily organized because they are "preoccupied with personal problems"(200). Also, blacks have a limited effect on political leaders because most lawmakers have few if any black residents in their constituencies. Hacker continues by saying that the political climate has changed since 1975; that attitudes of white voters willing to support measures aimed at helping blacks have changed. "At the most visible level, growing numbers of white people are expressing misgivings over how black people are conducting themselves. Along with complaining about welfare dependency and violent crime, more and more whites have come out against preferential programs, and increasingly condemn blacks for casting their race as victims who have no control over their condition"(201). Whatever the case, a huge wall exists in our society and it only exists because of race. Racial divisions are tearing America apart and unless something is done to remedy the hostility between blacks and whites things can only get worse. "Is it right to impose on members of an entire race a lesser start in life, and then to expect from them a degree of resolution that has never been demanded from your own life?"(219)  

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Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 09:48:44 -0500 
From: "David G. Lewis" <dglewis@ilstu.edu (by way of gmklass@ilstu.edu (Gary Klass)) 
Subject: RE:Response to Nicole Besse book review on TWO NATIONS(lewis) 

Upon reading Ms. Besse's book review on Andrew Hacker's book TWO NATIONS, it made me wonder how much truth there is in the amount of denial that Hacker claims there is in White America. Ms. Besse states that Derrick Bell's book AND WE ARE NOT SAVED, did not convince her about racism in America, however Hacker's book did! In my book review of the of Hacker's book I made a statement toward the end addressing the very point that Ms. Besse just brought to light:

" Overall this book made me angry, it didn't teach me anything that I didn't already know. However it did teach me that the plight of the Black community isn't acknowledged unless addressed by a White person. The claims that Hacker makes in this book are nothing new however it appears that it was not given legitimacy until he wrote this book in 1992. I will say that he points out the hypocrisy of White America with a fervor that is not often seen."

After reading Ms. Besse's review I couldn't help but ask myself, is it really true that White people in America will not really pay any attention to the plight of Black America unless someone they trust or respect (notably another White person) brings it their attention?

Before someone accuses me of being too sensitive or too quick to label everything as racist. I took the time to reread Ms. Besse's book review on Derrick Bell to try to compare what he said in his book to what Hacker said in his book. I wanted to see what was so unbelieveable about Bell.

Without writing a mini-review of Besse's review on Bell, I noticed where Ms. Besse made the statement that she had problems reading Bell when he started blaming White people for every bad thing that has ever happened to the black race. Having read both books I'd like to say that Bell didn't blame Whites for EVERY thing, although he did say that Whites were responsible for a great deal of the problems that Blacks face today. The funny thing is that Hacker makes the very same claims that Bell does.In fact Hacker goes a step further and blames Whites for all the ills begotten Blacks! So my question is why wasn't Bell given as much credence as acker? Is there any truth that unless its spoken by Whites then it ain't right?

I get a little tired of looking at things in Black and White, however both these authors would agree with me in that, America sees everything in Black and White! David G. Lewis Illinois State University dglewis@ilstu.edu David G. Lewis Illinois State University dglewis@ilstu.edu     Back to top...


Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 10:01:13 EST 
From: "charles w. gossett" <cgossett@gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu 
Subject: RE: D. Lewis' commentary on Nicole Besse's review of TWO NATIONS 

David Lewis' commentary on Nicole Besse's reviews of Bell and Hacker brings to mind the observation I once heard in the context of an African speaking to a colonial official in East Africa, "I cannot hear what you are saying because who you are is thundering in my ear." Given that we live in a world where social positions and meanings have been historically developed and continue to exist, it is not surprising that some people are more likely to "trust" or "believe" one type of information source rather than another. As Lewis points out, there are many people, of all races, who only seem to believe something that I believe is true when they hear it from a white, male, heterosexual, Christian voice. It is as if being of color, female, gay or lesbian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindi or any other religion distorts one's view of the world as it really is. In fact, what the perspectives of those differences provides in terms of knowledge of the world is just as valid as the perspectives based on whiteness, maleness, straightness, and Christianity. These characteristics give one a "special interest" just as much as any other characteristics. The fact that different people can be brought to agreement by different speakers and sources of information is not something to be mourned, but something to be appreciated and acted upon. Use this knowledge wisely to bring about greater understanding.

The electronic information network provides an opportunity to speak to one another with minimal amounts of information that has traditionally "thundered in our ears." Let's find ways to move ourselves forward through its use.

Charles W. Gossett Georgia Southern University Charles W. Gossett Political Science Department Georgia Southern University Landrum Box 8101 Statesboro, GA 30460

cgossett@gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu Phone (912) 681-5765 Fax (912) 681-5348 Back to top...


Date: Wed, 3 May 1995 18:24:48 -0500 
From: "nicole besse" <nlbesse@ilstu.edu 
Subject: RE:Response to Nicole Besse book review on TWO NATIONS 

I hate to shoot you down Mr. Lewis, but I had no idea that Andrew Hacker was white until the very moment that I read your response to my review. It really bothers me that you are so quick to assume that the reason I liked Hacker's book more than Bell's is because Bell is black and I am white. The reason that Hacker's book said more to me than Bell's was due to fact v. fiction not black v. white. While Bell could only sight MAKE-BELIEVE chronicles, Hacker had hard facts and statistics to back up his argument. I guess I'm the type of person who likes to have some hard data before I'll believe anything--if that is what you call racist then I think you need to rethink your definition.

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Date: Thu, 4 May 1995 14:46:17 -0500 
From: "petrita salazar" <plsalaz@ilstu.edu 
Subject: REVIEW OF TWO NATIONS (ANDREW HACKER) P.SALAZAR 

TWO NATIONS BLACK AND WHITE SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL

ANDREW HACKER, 1992 BALLANTINE BOOKS Reviewed by Petrita Salazar Illinois State University May4, 1995  

Blacks and whites live in different worlds, and the gap between their interests, experiences, likes and dislikes is growing and seems to be permanent - and as Andrew Hacker puts it in the title of his book: TWO NATIONS: Black and White, Separate, Hostile and Unequal. Hacker makes a strong case for the power of the racial division encompassing our entire nation.

Hacker seems to tackle almost every sensitive race-related issue with a proper balance. He discusses everything from affirmative action to the problems of equal education. He also takes boring statistics, and turns them into easy-to-understand facts. He tries to be fair on all issues that are presented, but doesn't completely accomplish his goal. Even though most of his arguments are adequate and precise, he seems to be "off the mark" in a few areas. He has a tendency to portray all other races and ethnic groups (besides the black and white race) as mere spectators with virtually no importance in the racial conflict. He pays no attention to the roles that Latinos, Mexicans, Asians, and other minority groups play in the racial divide. Granted, the gap may be larger between blacks and whites, but Hacker protrays Hispanics and Asians as "honorary whites". His portrayal of blacks and whites as "two separate nations" with a separation so pervasive and penetrating that as a social and human division, it surpasses all others is misleading and too simple. There is no indication tht Hacker considers class differences as being important, let alone other minority groups.

Hacker also tends to forget that other minorities have suffered discrimination as well. Although his claim that Hispanic and Asian discrimination might not be as severe as black discrimination may very well be true, their suffering should not be dismissed as easily as Hacker does so. He asserts tht terms like "kike" and "spic" and "chink" do not have the same emotional impact to tear at one's insides as the term "nigger". But, how could he possibly know this to be true? For instance, he could not know what it feels to be called a "wetback" which implies that you are a Mexican who illegally entered the United States b crossing the Rio Grande. The truth may be that you entered the country legally, but may have known some who attempted to enter the country the illegal way, who were never heard from again. In such an instance, the term "wetback" might just bring up such painful memories that it could possibly tear at one's insides like nothing els possibly could. The point is this: Hacker's portrayal of Asians, Mexicans and Latinos as mere buffer groups or insignificant bystanders seems to be forgetting the history of racism against all of these groups, as well as other minorities. One should not dismiss these other groups as unimportant so easily.

The biggest problem with this book comes in an early chapter titled "being black in America". Hacker attempts to put himself inside the experiences of the the "every day" black person. He suggests tht most blacks view artists such as Jessye Norman, Toni Morrison, and Bill Cosby, as artists who tailor their talents to both black and white audiences, but mostly white. He claims that blacks feel that these artists have given up, or at least downplayed their blackness for white people. In other words, by bcoming famous, a black person has to give up their "blackness". By these standards, no black person should strive for success in the entertainment feild because it would only mean giving up who they really are, which simply put; is not true. A black entertainer can be successful without giving up their heritage and sense of blackness.

Hacker also suggest that most blacks support double standards that they condemn whites for supporting. For instance, Hacker claims that most blacks: 1) Find it acceptable to preserve black colleges, yet object if schools designate themselves as "white". 2) Find it acceptable for blacks to support a candidate just because he is a member of their race, yet when whites choose a white candidate over a black candidate, the only explanation for it is racism.

Not all blacks live by these double standards. Hacker completely over- simplifies the diversity of African American life and thought. Simply put: How can Hacker know what the average black man is thinking on every issue he presents? And who is the average black man anyway? Hacker does not explain who he is talking about. He comes across as giving the impression that the average black man is a member of the underclass, thus promoting the idea that most African Americans think from an underclass, undereducated, pessimistic point of view. Hacker goes on to try to portray the white response to the racial divide. He discusses the white point of view from a liberal stance and a from a conservative stance. He couldn't have portrayed the contemporary, conservataive attitude in Congress today. For instance, he claims: 1) Most white conservative disclaim responsibility for issues and tensions associated with race 2) Black Americans are the ones who should change their attitudes and conduct. 3) Black people have been given plenty of opportunity, so they have no one to blame but themselves. 4) Special assistance erodes the character of those benefiting from public assistance, making life too easy. (Please!!!!) 5) Spend an enormous amount of time attacking policies intended to aid blacks. The only thing he forgot to mention is how white conservatives endorse policies that tend to take away from our nation's children, by claiming that these programs are not working. On the other hand, Hacker also somewhat bashes the typical liberal. He dismisses their concern for racial justice as merely guilt-driven. It is hard to believe that the average liberal man or woman only acts kind to the entire black race out of guilt. Hacker also claims "white liberals want to be liked by black people, as if having their goodwill as a seal of approval....Liberals hope that blacks will acknowledge tht some whites are not the enemy, but rather want to be counted as friends and allies. For blacks to grant this, if only bestowing a smile, serves to certify one's moral stature" (p55). It is as if Hacker feels that white or black liberals do things for blacks for the sole purpose of "searching for approval from them. If they want so much approval, then why is there such a division between white and black.

This is not to say that the book is not interesting, nor is it to say that Hacker is wrong on all points. The book contains many interesting insights. Hacker discusses a number of issues in employment, education, and crime. He takes a tough stance on the issues he presents. Hacker makes one realize that black crime cannot be totally blamed on the black race alone. The white race has contributed to the problem as well. But I'm not really sure at this point that it really matters who is to blame, and as Hacker puts it "What matters is that so many black youths have taken to carrying guns and firing them at one another, making homicide the most frequent cause of death among young men of their race" (p218). The question that is pervasive, is why are so many young men engaging in what amonts to a self-inflicted gonocide? They have become so widespread, that they must be seen as expressing a despair that suffices much of their race. No other American race has wounded itself fo fatally. In allocating responsibility, Hacker claims the answer should be clear. "It is white America that has made being black so disconsolate. They impose a stigma on every black child at birth". But what "white america" needs to do is realize their wrongdoings, and change their attitude.

In the end, Hacker claims that racial chasm continues to exist, and there are few signs that the coming century will see it closed. He asks the question: "Is it right to impose on members of an entire race a lesser start in life, and then to expect from them a degree of resolution that has never been demanded from your own race?" And the answer should clearly be "NO". --

Petrita Salazar plsalaz

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Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 21:29:26 -0500 
From: DENNIS SAYERS <SAYERS@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU 
Subject: REVIEW: Hacker's "Two Nations" by Rebecca Marshall, NYU 

============================================================ Andrew Hacker, TWO NATIONS: BLACK AND WHITE, SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL. (Ballatine Books, 1995).

Reviewed by: Rebecca Marshall New York University 4/20/95

============================================================ "Race has become a national staple for private conversation and public controversy. So it becomes necessary to ask what in recent decades has brought the issue and reality of race to the center of the stage." (pg.4)

Andrew Hacker presents a stark and unwavering image of American Society today. Although the title would suggest the focus is only Black and White Americans, he continuously adds information about other groups of peoples. The most profound image in this book, for me, was the concept of defining Black and White. What ancestral background classifies a person as white or black? Hacker hypothesizes that "second and subsequent generations of Hispanics and Asians are merging into the "white" category, partly through intermarriage and also by personal achievement and adaptation. " (pg. 19) In contrast he states: "... children who are born of white and black parents almost invariably think of themselves as black." (pg. 13)

Why this difference in our children's attitude about themselves? What kind of societal pressures are both groups of children receiving to encourage these self images? Unfortunately Hacker does not provide statistical documentation as to how the children of Hispanics and Asians are viewed by others. I would be curious to see how a white man from rural New England would view a child of Asian descent. I am inclined to think that even though they may be considered "more white" than a child of black and white parents, he would still not be considered "white" by that New Englander's standards. So while the child of Asian and European parents may have more access to education, financial rewards and the spoils of American life than the black child, he is still limited in his access compared to a "purely white" child.

While as an American people, we espouse a society based upon achievement rather than ascription, it is hard to believe this is the case when Hacker delineates the huge difference in income, education and employment. Hacker is very thorough in his description of income of blacks vs. whites. Black men receive a smaller paycheck compared to a white man with the same educational background. While black women earn closer to what white women earn, this is deceiving when you consider that women in general are so grossly underpaid compared with men of the same educational level.

Hacker brings up an interesting point related to employment and the desire to work. Somehow the American people have accepted the idea that there are certain groups of Americans who don't wish to work. However, Hacker points out that many jobs are taken by immigrants who "acquiesce to wages and working conditions that black and white Americans are unwilling to accept." (pg. 110) This point is easily illustrated: go to any Deli or Coffee Shop in New York City. Chances are either the person stocking the shelves, the delivery guy, the cashier, the cook is an illegal alien working long hours, in unhealthy conditions for next to nothing. Why is it white Americans tell Black Americans that there are plenty of jobs out there, when "What black Americans want is no more and no less than what white Americans want: a fair chance for steady employment at decent pay. ... To be black in America is to know that you remain last in line for so basic a requisite as the means of supporting yourself and yo ur family." ( p. 110)

Again, as Americans support the idea of achievement, we look to the educational system to help provide the stratification for our society. Some Universities have lowered standards for certain groups and raised them for others. This has begun a huge outcry from many groups denouncing Affirmative Action. Whether or not variable qualifications for persons based on race, ethnicity, and disability will eventually help or hinder those students, in unknown at this time. But when we consider the admissions policy, we must also look at what are considered the qualifications for admissions. Maybe as Hacker suggests, "... there is a close association between economic status and SAT scores, and this accounts for much of the variation among ethnic groups. " (pg. 149)

What kinds of experience has a child had when he or she applies for college? How does the elementary and high school prepare a child for college admission and / or the work world? While Hacker outlines that many more black children are classified as Special Education he does not provide statistics relating to the leadership at the schools. Is a white Educational Evaluator really equipped to access a black child for placement in a special education program? Is it possible to educate a white teacher about different cultural aspects of this world so that he is really prepared to teach a black child? " .. they may perform best with teachers of their own race." (p. 177)

It seems with fewer and fewer black college students pursuing the field of teaching, the chances for improvement by black teachers, principals and superintendents are limited. We desperately need role models for all of our children. It is not enough just to bus children around from school to school so that the playground appears to be an image of multicultural harmony. We must look deep into the problems surrounding success of our children. While Hacker provides many examples of problems, inequities, there seems to be a chance for improvement.

It is imperative that we begin an open and honest dialogue regarding the issues surrounding race in our society. It is not enough to lament and acknowledge it. We all must begin to work towards a solution. Hacker concludes with: "So the question for white Americans is essentially moral: is it right to impose on members of an entire race a lesser start in life and then to expect from them a degree of resolution that has never been demanded from your race?" (pg. 220) I wonder though, if white Americans are going to continue this type of thought pattern, what is the next step for black Americans? Albeit difficult and close to impossible, somehow, black Americans must take the control for their own destiny. Just as women demanded the right to vote, just as thousands of disabled Americans fought for the passage Americans with Disabilities Act, black Americans must continue to recognize and illuminate the inequities and fight for improvement and equality.

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Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 13:31:19 -0600 (CST) 
From: "ashaki daneen baker" <adbaker@ilstu.edu 
Subject: Review of TWO NATIONS Hacker (Baker) 

Review of: Andrew Hacker TWO NATIONS (Ballantine Books 1992) BY Ashaki Baker Illinois State University May 12, 1995 Hacker gives a riveting and thought provocating analysis in his book TWO NATIONS: BLACK AND WHITE, SEPARATE, HOSTILE, UNEQUAL. He provides an interesting twist to the controversial debate about the role and existence of racism and inequality in America. Hacker explains the feelings of alienation and discrimination of Blacks with the following parable:

You will be visited tonight by an official you have never met. He begins by telling you that he is extremely embarrassed. The organization he represents has made a mistake, something that hardly ever happens. According to their records, he goes on, you were to have been born BLACK: to another set of parents, far from where you were raised. However, the rules being what they are, this error must be rectified, and as soon as possible. So at midnight tonight, you will become black. And this will mean not simply a darker skin, but the bodily and facial features associated with African ancestry. However inside you will be the person you always were. Your knowledge and ideas will remain intact. But outwardly you will not be recognizable to anyone you now know. Your visitor emphasizes that being born to the wrong parents was no way your fault. Consequently, his organization is prepared to offer you some reasonable recompense. Would you, he asks, care to name a sum of money you might consider appropriate? He adds that his group is by no means poor. It can be quite generous when the circumstances warrant, as they seem to in your case. He finishes by saying that their records show you are scheduled to live another fifty years-as a black man or woman in America. How much financial recompense would you request? p 32

This parable Hacker points out was put to so white students most felt that it would not be out of place to ask for $50 million, or 1 million for each coming black year. This response shows the value some white place on their skin. Unfortunately, for those would like to be a different race or have a different hair color or parentage can not benefit or be compensate for an accident of birth. The irony of the whole situation is that these are probably the same people who are against Affirmative Action and other forms of compensation. Racism is just as prevalent to today as before the civil war, the only difference is it is more disguised. Racism is not as blatant as in the sixties but it has not been completely eradicated. Sad, thing is that it will be a long time before children can do as Martin Luther King Dream in his I HAVE A DREAM speech.

Hacker book does not place blame like other authors. Hacker provides an accurate description of what it feeling like being Black in America. He discuss everything from school segregation to the structure of the Black family. Although Hacker provides an accurate description of being Black in America. His writing style can lend the reader to believe that they can do nothing to change their situation. The can be demonstrated in the following exert from his book:

You may by a combination of brains and luck and perseverance, make it into the middle class. And like all middle class Americans you will want to enjoy the comforts and pleasures that come with that status. One downside is that you will find many white people asking why you have supposedly left behind. There is even the suggestion that, by moving to a safer or more spacious area you have callously deserted your own people. p 44

The tone of the book while informative and correct show how the attitudes of society place unless emphasis for some on climbing the social ladder.

Hacker also talks about how black Americans are aware of the discrimination and equality they will face at every level. The problem is not how they deal with this knowledge but how to make society as a whole aware of these inequalities. Hacker discusses how Black must relay these feels to their children. How do we make our children understand that:

..this world is wrong. But, because that world is there, they will have to struggle to survive with scales, weighted against them. They will have to work harder and do better, yet the result may be less recognition and reward. We all know life can be unfair. For black people, this knowledge is not an academic theory but a fact of daily life. p 34

Finally Hacker book serves it purpose which can be assumed is to inform the reader of the existence of racism. Hacker does not provide solutions to the many problem he addresses in his book. He does however predict the future of racism. Given our past history that is not such a hard thing to do. Common sense would lend and reasonable and racially sensitive person to know that racism is far from ending. It is important to remember that racism is hard to combat because contrary to the word expressed in the Declaration of Independence that not everyone is considered equal. The Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all MEN are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. p 24

America even though on paper was founded on the ideas of individuality, and equality in practice this is not so. The declaration of independence is not the only document that has not guaranteed the equality of ALL AMERICANS regardless of their RACE, COLOR, OR CREED. The constitution also regarded women and Black Americans as second class citizen. Blacks were by the constitution regarded as three-fifths of a person, this was consequently only for representation and taxes purposes. The saddest thing is GOD only know when the words of our forefathers will actually be true. ! Back to top...


Date: Mon, 29 Apr 1996 16:14:15 -0500 
From: "Heather M. Sauber" <hmsaube@acadcmp.cmp.ilstu.edu 
Subject: Review of Hacker: Two Nations (Sauber) 

Subject: Review of Hacker: Two Nations (Sauber)

Review of: Two Nations By Andrew Hacker Heather M. Sauber Illinois State University April 22, 1996

Hacker begins his book by commenting on how the importation of slaves has changed American Society forever. 131 years ago, slaves were freed, but African-Americans are still treated as aliens in their own land, they have to endure a segregation that is ongoing and not disappearing any time soon. Hacker believes that America can only be seen as two separate nations, that of blacks and whites.

Hacker argues that the contemporaries of the field often refer to black people were willing to see themselves as subordinates. Race to Hacker is a conjured word, that preoccupies the minds of American Citizens and cannot be willed away. He states that there is no consensus of race, because a race cannot encompass all Americans. At one time or another, we all belong to many subsets of different races at the same time. The Anglo-American models of race are still those that remain in our vocabulary today.

Hacker also believes that it is too early to proclaim ourselves as "multicultural". He states that it is more accurate to say that American society will still have one dominant culture, and the subordinate culture will be more accepted, not assimilated.

For over a century, whites in every part of this country, are believing that there are no racial problems in their region. Most white Americans want to believe that blacks and whites coexist amiably, separate, but not hostile. This is a matter of choice not a matter of racism. Black Americans spend more of their lives away from white people because they eel more comfortable that way, and more importantly, it has been informally imposed on black society since their emancipation from slavery. Hacker wants white Americans to imagine what it is like to wake up every morning and have a stereotype, and a whole set of false values placed on you simply because of the way you look.

Whites will constantly believe that American society has almost reached parity, in part they believe this because of some program implementations such as Affirmative Action. It is sometimes better to be black. According to Hacker, in white America, being black is your entire identity, you have no other personality or character traits. Hacker also sees that it is increasingly hard to explain to children that even though there is an "American Dream", you will have a hard time trying to achieve it, even if you achieve it at all. They will never be treated as equal Americans, and never truly be accepted as a fully functioning member of society. It is hard to tell children that this is no fault of their own.

Housing is a problem that is frequently discussed when you talk about the separation of races in American society. There have been laws passed such as the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits anyone from refusing to rent or sell property because of race. But as in the rest of American Society what you say and what you do are always two different things. Hacker states that most Americans what it that way. Hacker dubs this phenomena "residential apartheid". Even though Americans will believe that they would like equal numbers of "mixed" neighborhoods, this degree has virtually no chance for success. The whites who do say that they want equality in housing, it is because they just want one or two black families to live in the area, and above all they must achieve the same standards as most other White Americans in the neighborhood. White exodus often begins before the black population reaches 10 percent in any given area. The presence of "too many" black families in an area are associated with high crime rates, residential deterioration, and lower educational standards.

Then Hacker states what it is like to be a member of the white society in regards to racial problems. Hacker describes whites as either of two groups, liberal or conservative. Most conservative Americans believe that there are no issues or tensions between the two races. Black mericans need to change their conduct and attitudes, after all for at least more than one generation, they have been given more opportunities. No one is to blame but themselves for their problems. The standards that hard work and dedication to get you far is a measurement of one's own efforts, those measurements should apply to everyone. There are some examples of black conservatives such as Clarence Thomas and Shelby Steele. These men are often cited when the argument that blacks have played the victim too long has been presented.

Liberals on the other hand, profess fellowship, and brethren attitudes towards racism. Liberals also have this idealistic attitude that the tenet of white dominance is coming to an end. White liberals are always quick to say that the guilt rests with all of society, because as a collective whole, they are the ones that have imposed limitations on white society. White liberals want to be liked by black America. They go out of their way to remain friendly and frequently allude to the fact that they have black neighbors an friends.

Hacker places all of the measures taken by both liberals and liberal governments is because of guilt. White Americans do not want to admit that blacks have been injured because of the color of their skin. Hacker also alludes to the fact that guilt is correlated to fear. White America has placed the word "nigger" and gave it a charged meaning because it is something inside of "us" that we do not want to confront. James Balswin stated that, "white people need the nigger because it is the nigger within themselves that they cannot tolerate" (61).

Hacker goes on to talk about black leaders, and other white answers to the problems of racism. Blacks as well as whites went on the campaign to register black voters in the 1960s. Even though this is a basic right, evidenced by the 15th amendment, blacks were still denied access to voting places. There were black murders and terrorist attacks during the era of Civil Rights. Throughout the tragedies there seemed to be "something stoic even saintly about the demeanor of Southern blacks" (63). One man seemed to encompass all the traits of the Southern black of the era, this was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hacker also touches on the black family life. Even though statistics are showing that the rate of unwed black mothers is on the rise, and the nuclear family has fallen by the wayside, the majority of family values and lifestyles have stayed entact. Black teenage motherhood is not the only problem. There are a growing number of white teenage mothers, and even more children born out of wedlock for young white professional women. American society on the whole is to blame for single parent households not just black Americans.

Hacker also raises the question of gaps within employment and income. Income has been correlated to education levels. So, black men are encouraged to stay in school, and when applicable receive college degrees. But the truth is blacks earn an average of $798 for each $1000 of white earnings (96). The majority of black people find their employment in the public sector. Most often, blacks work for government departments. Private Sector jobs are harder to find because "black Americans do not have a 'culture' that encourages entrepreneurship" (108).

Black women have always found it easier to ghet jobs in the private sector, albeit they are considered "black jobs". Those jobs include those in service, such as housekeeping in hotels and whit middle and upper class homes. Even though the bulk of the black workforce is women, they are delegated to perform such menial jobs. Evidence has shown that black women have gained more than black men in the workforce.

Another topic that Hacker pays close attention to is education. Even though he agrees that SAT scores are based solely on how much as student has prepared themselves and not one how much they really know, black students still score the lowest of any ethnic group including new immigrants. Hacker believes that this is true because of segregated schooling. Black children are often concentrated in segregated sections of cities, so in themselves the schools are divided between black and white lines. States and communities are more willing to pay attention to schools that are in suburban areas and not to the deficiencies of inner city schools. According to Senator Paul Simon of Illinois, in a speech given to the faculty and students of Illinois State University, Illinois students are found in predominantly uni-racial schools. In Chicago alone, 69% of blacks and 63% of whites attend schools that are 90-100% uni-racial. After these high school type settings, more black students choose to attend historically black universities.

Black students stick with these institutions because they feel more comfortable there. Hacker believes that many blacks choose to attend segregated colleges because it lifts the burden of white consciences. Many whites feel uneasy with the presence of blacks in the university setting and white people will not complain if blacks go on their own. One scholar that Hacker quotes even says that black students fare better when the curriculum is designed for them.

White teachers do not understand that there is definitely a black English that has its own cultural meaning. Such scholars as Roger Wilkins agrees with this premise. On the other hand, in a speech given to Howard University by entertainer Bill Cosby on April 9, 1996, black culture has nothing to do with English. If one has to use language as a cultural premise, than one will use it as a "crutch".

Race plays an important role in crime as well. There is a difference in our society between black crime and white crime. Black crime is often associated with violent crimes such as murder, robbery, assault, and rape. Even though blacks comprise only a small part of the entire population (12%), they represent a 61.2% of all robbery arrests (182). Hacker believes that some crimes such as rape is a political act. Rape is intended to demoralize the dominant race. Eldridge Cleaver believes it exposes the "inability to protect its own women from the worst kind of depredation" (186). Sentiments in this country persist that show black men who rape or rob white women are more harmful than white criminals who prey on their own race.

Politics in this country are also an important factor. Increasingly, the Republican Party has become a "white" party, while the Democratic Party has become "black". Hacker also believes that black candidates are less likely to be elected from single rather than multi-member districts. Hacker believes that in at-large elections whites are not willing to give their votes to black candidates.

Hacker ends Two Nations by talking about Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville knew as early as 1830 that there were strained relations between the races, and it would not end for quite sometime. Racism is something that has been in this country since its inception. Moreover, the United States believes that it is a more socially advanced than any other country on the globe. The U.S. has always prided itself on equal treatment and the ease in which people can move up the social ladder. In this country this is not necessarily the case especially if you are an African-American.

Hacker leaves the book with the question of responsibility. It is white America that has made being a member of black society so difficult. Hacker believes that blacks have every right to retribution because of the centuries that they served in bondage and subjugation. White America must ask itself "Is it right to impose on members of an entire race a lesser start in life, and then expect from them a degree of resolution that has never been demanded from your own race?" (219).

There were many things in this book that I agreed and disagreed with. First of all, Hacker states that if you are a black woman you may find yourself spending the majority of your life without a man (45). I do not believe this to be exactly true. In today's society, women of ALL races and cultural backgrounds are finding themselves marrying later in life or staying single. This is a choice made by all levels of society, it is not just delegated to black women.

Another idea that I disagree with is that rape is a political act. For some reasons, I can believe that this is true, but more importantly rape is an act of violence and should be treated as such. Whether it be politically motivated or not, rapes committed by either black or white ales that victimizes black or white females is a hideous crime. I also do not agree with Hacker's assumption that minorities fare better in single member district elections. A study conducted by Darcy, Welch and Clark shows that minorities (women, blacks, hispanics etc.) are better suited for multi member disrticts because they can exercise a sort of "Affirmative Action" to balance the ticket (Darcy, et al 946).

I do agree with Hacker's perceptions about Affirmative Action. Whites do fear it because they believe that it is enabling black America to be weak and subservient to the dictates of the society. Though there are many black conservatives that would agree with this notion, Affirmative Action may be one of the few programs designed to actually help black Americans.

Black Author Ralph Ellison once stated, "that to whites you are an invisible man". The white society as always, needs to make some changes so that blacks can be seen as equals, counterparts, and in some instances superior to white people. These changes may not be coming for a long time coming, but they may be coming soon.  

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Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 14:37:45 -0500 
From: Monica Diaz <mrdiaz@ilstu.edu 
Subject: Review: Hacker, TWO NATIONS (Diaz) 

 Review of: TWO NATIONS Reviewed by: Monica R. Diaz Illinois State University April 24, 1996  

Separate, hostile, unequal..that is how Andrew Hacker depicts the relations between blacks and whites in the United States. There seems to be two separate nations in one country, with one struggling to survive and/or succeed, and the other fighting to maintain their superior status. This has been going on now for nearly a century and a half (since the abolition of slavery). Blacks are still treated as less than a citizen in the country they were born in. They are still discriminated against and segregated. Therefore, the author sees racism alive and well in the United States.

The book is separated into three parts. The first part breaks down how race is designated and racism (in general) in America. Part two describes the disparities between whites and blacks. Part three cites statistical sources and references and gives supplementary tables .

Hacker starts out by describing races and different ethnicities. He points out that although some people are not of European origin, they can be more acceptable to whites. For example, Asians, Hispanics and people from the Middle East can fit into white America by proving themselves (through obtaining an education, and in family and work values). However, the same cannot be said of African-Americans. They are not readily accepted even when they have "proven themselves".

For instance, they can not live in big numbers in a nice middle-class, white neighborhood. For when blacks become more than ten percent in a neighborhood, whites start to move out. And no new white families move there; therefore, the neighborhood becomes all black. Most Whites will say they want to live in an integrated neighborhood; however, their definition of an integrated neighborhood differs from that of African-Americans. African-Americans define it as an equal number of black and white families living in the same neighborhood ( this fits the true definition of integration). Whites, on the other hand, define it as one (maybe two) black families in an otherwise all white neighborhood. So much for truly integrated neighborhoods.

The integrated issue was raised in what has to be considered the most important chapter of the book "Being Black in America". In this chapter, the author goes into detail of what an African-American goes through and has to deal with simply because of the color of his/her skin. Hacker does an excellent of describing how black people feel they are looked at and treated by white America. He seems to really want to stress to white people that they should try to see things from a black perspective. He wants whites to try to imagine what it is like to have a stigma attached to you because of the color of your skin. He talks about issues that range from housing, to police, to their family structure, to blatant discrimination (from job-hiring to shopping in a store) , to having to explain and defend themselves (and sometimes all blacks in general) intellectually to white people.

This latter issue was very interesting. White people, at times, will question a black person in conversation about how "blacks think of an issue or a political figure (eg. Louis Farrakhan)". As if ONE individual can speak for a whole race. In addition, those same white individuals want the black person to assure them that Farrakhan does not speak for them. They also want blacks to discuss "black problems" publicly, as if they want them to admit that their people are a lower-class people with no morals or values. Whether this is what these white people really believe or what they want to believe to appease their guilt is questionable. In either case it is despicable.

Another despicable issue that was raised in this chapter, as well as the following chapter entitled "White Responses", was the use of the word "nigger". It is still the most humiliating and hurtful word that is used against African-Americans. When used by a white individual, it cannot be excused as just a word. It cuts deep into the very being of an African-American individual. The author states that whites devised the word and gave it such a charged meaning (as if they really needed to further degrade the individuals they had enslaved). In addition, the use of the word seems to justify to some white people today the persistence of discrimination and segregation. One author, James Baldwin, sees that the word serves another purpose: White people "need the nigger" to hate, "because it is the 'nigger' within themselves that they cannot tolerate".

Hacker breaks down the "White Responses" into two groups, conservatives and liberals. Conservatives are seen as being less sympathetic to the African-American plight. They do not feel one bit guilty for the problems that African-Americans face in this country. They see the problems as being theirs (African-Americans'), and that they should own up to them and do something about them. They believe that if African-Americans would just change their values and work hard they can pull themselves up. Therefore, they do not think that they should be getting anymore government assistance through programs.

Liberals, on the other hand, tend to be more sympathetic to problems that plague African-Americans. They believe that government action can improve some of the serious social problems. They tend to want to help African-Americans wherever social professionals see it is most needed. The explanation given for liberals' behavior was summed up in one word--guilt. The guilt may not stem from something they perceive that they have personally done to cause black problems, but rather for what American society has done.

The author seems to be sarcastic in a few instances regarding liberals' guilt. It seems as if he thinks that this guilt can be a bit irrational. Some of these liberals seem to enjoy feeling guilty. These people will seek the approval of blacks, so as to convince themselves (and hopefully others as well) that they are helping in race relations. They will also vote for a black candidate simply because he/she is black. This seems to also make them feel better. It can be said that they are trying just a little too hard to be accepted by blacks.

But then, Hacker goes on to say that even some liberals (usually, but not always, the older ones who have seen programs implemented over a generation ago) seem to have given up on the idea that blacks are saveable. They believe that they have been let down and betrayed by blacks, because they have not taken advantage of the opportunities that they have opened up for them. That is why more of them have turned their political efforts towards environmental issues and animals' rights; for, as Hacker put it, "these are beneficiaries that never grumble or turn resentful and ungrateful".

Hacker then discusses African-American families. Statistics show that almost sixty-four percent of African-American children are born to single mothers, compared to about fifteen percent born to white, single mothers. Although whites' out of wedlock births are considerably lower than that of blacks. both ( as well as other racial and ethnic groups) are on an upward (numerically) trend. It seems to be a national epidemic.

In addition, divorced black women are less likely to remarry than are divorced white women. The reason given is that there are more available white men than black men. This is even more so the older they are, because more black men die at a young age mostly as a result of homicide, and a great percentage of them are incarcerated.

However, although many black families are matriarchal, it is not the matter of concern where family values are concerned. The majority of these families have morals and values just as any two-parent household does. As sociology Professor Andrew Cherlin states, what is a matter of concern "is not the lack of a male presence, but the lack of a male income". this puts a strain on the one parent, and most of the time leads to living under the poverty level. They will usually end up on the AFDC rolls; and when they don't, they will usually wind up with lower-paying jobs where they find it hard to make ends meet.

The racial income gap in this country is apparent in statistics. White families earn more than black families. At first, one might say that it is because there are more white families with two incomes. That would be the easy answer. Yet, further research shows that white males and females earn more than their black counterparts; and this is comparing statistics at all comparable educational and economical levels. However, black women earn more comparably to that of white women than do black men when compared to whites. At the highest level of education (5+ years of college) black women earn $973 per $1,000 that white women earn. While black males only make $771 per $1,000 for white males. Therefore, although further education earns blacks more income, "there is little evidence that spending more years in school will improve their positions in relation to whites". And this does not even take into consideration the disparity between gender earnings. When serious thought is put into this matter, one might argue that the disparity between white males' and black females' incomes should be more comparable since more black females have the same familial roles as that of white males.

There is also a disparity in terms of representation of blacks in employment. Whites still hold the majority of the well-paying jobs. And when affirmative action is taken into consideration, more females (white and black) will get the job over a black male. The author reasons that it is probably because women are not seen as threatening to have at the office or work site. Another reason that many companies do not want to hire too many blacks is because white clients/customers do not feel comfortable in a business that has a lot of blacks working there. Therefore, many businesses see that it is to their economic interest to have only a few blacks on staff. So, blacks seem to have a better chance in the public sector where diversity is more a goal. In addition, Hacker stresses the fact that despite the affirmative action controversy, "fewer blacks now have steady jobs of any kind and their unemployment rates have been growing progressively worse relative to those recorded for whites".

Affirmative action is not only controversial in employment, it almost seems more so on college campuses. According to statistical evidence, blacks do worse on college entrance exams than any other racial or ethnic group. Therefore, some argue, there is a need for affirmative action in order for black students to have a equal opportunity at higher education. Some prestigious universities (e.g. Berkeley) have even lowered their standards for black students. The controversy gets heated when whites and (mostly) Asians have met the required standards set, and they are not admitted because the universities have to admit more blacks to meet their diversity goals. These students would contend that they are the ones that met the required standards (high school ranking and the standardized test scores); therefore, they should be accepted, not the black students.

Yet, many argue (as does Hacker) that standardized tests "reveals that racial bias remains latent not only in the multiple-choice method, but in the broader expectations set by the modern world" that most black students do not have access to. The argument is that many of these black students did not get a comparable education to whites (and Asians, for that matter), so they did not have an equal chance from the start. Is that their fault? Should they continue to have to pay for their unfair disadvantage?

Hacker devotes a great deal of the book to education (three chapters). In addition to university affirmative action and black enrollment, he discusses voluntary and imposed segregation. Many black students choose to further their education endeavors at all-black colleges. The reason being that they feel more accepted, and actually have a higher success rate at these colleges. Many white people seem to balk at these all-black colleges, because if it were in the reverse blacks would cry discrimination. Yet, many of these colleges were started back when blacks were not accepted into all white colleges. And they continue to be all black, because as in most situations, whites do not want to be in any place that is predominantly black. Most Blacks, on the other hand, are used to having to deal with being in predominantly white settings. In addition, some of these colleges have been started, because some blacks have not felt comfortable in a predominantly white college. Therefore, it can be seen that all-black colleges serve a very different purpose than any all-white colleges would.

Besides, segregation is not a choice for blacks at the elementary and secondary levels. This is merely a system controlled by whites. They simply move when they are living amongst too many blacks. Hence, there are predominantly black or white schools for children. Whites, however, do not seem to balk at that . They, obviously, want it that way.

Next, Hacker turns his attention to crime and the role that race plays in it. Statistics show that a disproportionate percentage of crimes are committed by blacks. At this point, the reader can ask, "Do we really need to see statistics on this matter? Doesn't the media do a fine job of reporting this?" In other words, tell us something we don't know. The author does note that it seems that white people are more terrified by black crime than are blacks. It should be the reverse, since statistics show that there is more black-on-black crimes than black-on-white. Blacks may not be as terrified, because for a lot of them, it happens daily in their neighborhoods. And police don't really seem to care, so blacks have to learn to cope with this. Most of these crimes, of course, occur in inner-cities and poor neighborhoods. Until inner-city problems (police included) and poverty are dealt with, it can only get worse.

Hacker ends with "A Politics Based on Race". He states that anymore the Republican party seems to be identifying itself more as a white political party. That is not to say that there are no black Republicans, because there are obviously some. However, the vast majority of blacks are loyal Democrats.

The author gives several instances of how blacks and whites vote for a candidate based on their race. Blacks do, at times, cross over to vote for a black Republican simply because he is black. However, this happens less often than most would assume. For the most part, blacks remain loyal to the Democratic party, even when the candidate is white. This is not the same for white voters. They are more likely to cross over from their proclaimed party when their party's candidate is white. This has been proven statistically. Most whites do not want a black to represent them. When they do vote for a black candidate, the person is usually conservative and definitely not pro-black. A pro-black candidate scares them; because, as the author puts it they (pro-black candidates) might do to them what whites have done to blacks throughout history.

Throughout the book, Hacker does not give any solutions to problems between the two races. He simply analyzes the conditions that keep blacks and whites separate and unequal. In the preface, he forewarns the reader of this. He also warns that the book would not end on a positive note. It was not his intent to "solve problems", and he should not be criticized for this.

The author is a realist. He discusses the racial conditions of this country realistically. In addition, he is careful not to generalize . For example, when discussing single parent black families, he is careful to note that it should not be assumed that he is referring to all black families. He was merely pointing out a trend. Besides, he notes that blacks have different family make-ups just as other families of other races and ethnic backgrounds do.

The author's style of writing is excellent. The writing is well-organized and interesting to read. His use of sarcasm and wit will, at times, have the reader chuckling. He also keeps the reader on his/her toes be correlating issues from different chapters. Hacker makes excellent use of statistics and tables to illustrate to the reader what is being discussed.

This book should be read by anyone remotely interested in the relations between the blacks and whites (from slavery through the present). It will give a better understanding (to those with an open mind, of course) of the racial conditions in this country. Hacker gives the reader a great to think about regarding America's two nations--blacks and whites.  

Latinos Unidos ,

Monica R. Diaz

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Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 15:11:26 -0600 
From: Justin Michael Almli <jmalmli@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Review of: Two Nations; Hacker, Andrew 

Justin Michael Almli jmalmli@rs6000.ilstu.edu Review of: Two Nations; Hacker, Andrew "Two nations, between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets." This quote was borrowed from Benjamin Desraeli to create the meaning behind the title of the book

"All men are created equal." Well not in the United States of America. Andrew Hacker the author of Two Nations brings out some appalling statistics and evidence to conclude that "White America" is committing cultural murder against the African-American race. Mr. Hacker’s base of knowledge comes from a variety of statistics. These include fertility rates, crime rates, education levels, and a few others that he tries to correlate into one big summary. Hacker makes a claim that since there is such an emphasis on getting ahead in today’s society that we do not care much about those people who have fallen behind. . That thought sets the tone for the entire book. Depending on how much a person wants to place in statistics, will play an important role if Hacker is to have credit to his analysis.

Some of hackers strongest statistics come from his chapter of parents and children. His analysis of these statistics come from solid evidence and provide some sound answers to a piece of the problem within the black community. In my opinion this is the easiest chapter for hacker to analyze and correlate to the problems of today, with out any strong bias. Hacker states a huge problem with black families is that there are hardly any. According to his statistics sixty six percent of all black babies are born outside of wedlock. This creates an enormous social problem. Hacker puts the blame for this statistic on being black. He goes on to state that there is an extra burden placed on black marriages due to racial strain. This could very well be the case, but what happened to love and hope. Everyone has a choice. Everyone. I will be the first to admit that racism does occur everyday in this country. Poverty, the projects, drugs, gangs, racism etc.. are killing today’s black culture. The only way to change this is through their children. Get them the education they need. So that they can have a voice. It has not even been fifty years since the civil rights act. It will take time for the black community to pull ahead, but they must make the choice.

Hacker made a comment that said, "White America has made being black so disconsolate an estate." That very comment is part of the problem with today’s racial tensions. I’m white, as if you couldn’t tell, but that phrase makes me feel as if I am with the KKK. It could of been rephrased to say, "Some White people have made being black so disconsolate and estate." Those statements in themselves have "Separate" written all in between their lines. Comments like those do nothing but categorize everyone, and then pushes us apart. Hackers also makes a comment saying that their is a stigma imposed on every black child at birth. That I do agree with. A huge drawback of being white is hearing all the garbage jokes and labels that some of my white counterparts like to indulge in. The whole problem makes me sick, because racism begets racism. So as the white people are dissing the black people, the black people are dissing the white people. Oh my god! We do have something in common. White People. Black People. We are both people. Plain ordinary people. Anyway, since I am white I do know that stigmas do exist on the color black. Again Hacker offers no solution to these problems. But maybe the solution is so obvious he just left it out. Ignorance has one weakness. EDUCATION. Maybe as time passes education will finally get the upper hand on ignorance. I hope. Another one of Hackers few but bold statements as to where he stands is that, "White America asks an extra perserverance and patience of its black citizens that they themselves have not had to persevere. I agree with that statement hands down. Oppression is a hard thing to survive. I do not think there is a moment in our history where white people have been oppressed, killed, pillaged, beat, raped etc.. for any period of time. We pretty much destroyed every Indian of North America, We raped the continent of Africa like some dirty whore. I could go on through out history. Do I feel guilty? No. Ashamed of what a lot of uneducated people did, very much so. Hacker raises a good point when he makes that comment. But that phrase White America has to go. This is my America just as much as it is Jesse Jacksons, or Luthor Vandross etc.. I figure you get my point. Hacker also makes a closing comment saying that " White America starts the black race at a disadvantage." I do not see how this is possible. If you are born into poverty you are born at a disadvantage. If you are born with a learning disorder then yes you are born at a disadvantage. This is why education is so important. That is going to be the only thing that beats the ghettos of America. People have to choose to get an education before they can raise up. These views are by means no easy solution to an impossible problem, but it is a start. Education puts people at least in the same league. It is a step in the right direction. If people choose to get an education than there are programs to protect people and help people raise themselves up. The black race has been at a disadvantage since some white people started boating them from Africa.

Hackers book relies heavily on statistical intolerance. He make s few suggestions about the facts, except that those are the facts. He blames a lot of racial problems on white America. He alienates no white person, because since we are white we have special advantages and privileges. As opposed to black people. His statistics are irrefutable and appalling this happens to be the good part of the book. He tries to correlate the statistics together but does it in a jumbled manner. And when he is not jumbling he is blaming the problems of today’s black society solely on White America..

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Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 14:16:27 -0600 
From: "John C. Japuntich" <jcjapun@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Review:, Hacker,(Japuntich) 

Andrew Hacker , Two Nations (Ballantine Books, 1994) Reviewed by: John C. Japuntich 2-9-98

Racism! Slavery! Discrimination! Since the time of colonialism the white race has discriminated against the black race. For example look at the word "nigger". According to James Baldwin,... "'nigger' represents components of the human condition that may be found in ALL peoples and races. Whatever it is that whites feel that 'nigger' signifies about blacks- lust and laziness, stupidity or squalor- in fact exists within themselves. Baldwin’s message is that ANY person of any race can be a 'nigger'. The capacity is there, waiting to be released." This passage in James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time is an example of racism that whites have bestowed on blacks for hundreds of years. This passage is harsh in context, but it shows just how cruel white people were to make up such a demeaning, cruel word. This passage is also used by Andrew Hacker in Two Nations. This passage symbolizes racism that has divided the United States of America into two separate, hostile, and unequal societies and nations. This idea of two nations is Hacker’s underlying message. He argues that racism since the period of colonialism has divided the white and black races. He also argues, and gives good numerical data to support the fact that there is still two nations today in the United States of America.

Racism has had a long storied journey. White people Hacker argues, view the "Africa" in African American as inferior. This a theme that Hacker calls on repeatedly, and I think is his most important theme in his work. Africa for most of it’s history has been turmoil. Even today, Africa is the "least developed and most sorrow ridden of continents." Africa has a shared meaning with malnutrition, debilitating diseases, and bloodshed. Africa also contrasts with much of the "white" European structure of technology and science. So even today blacks are still associated with Africa. Blacks continue to be seen as an inferior species not suited for equality and not meriting a chance to show their worth.

Racism rests largely on ignorance. Hacker argues that white people haven’t made a substantial effort to get to know blacks and their culture better. If we get to know people in general better of all races and ethnicity, we will discover that they are quite different from what we have been led to think they are. For example, not many white people have even stepped inside the home of a black family before. They might be surprised to see that their furniture, food, appliances, and television shows are similar to that of the white race.

Why does racism not effect Asians, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders as hard as African- Americans then? Hacker argues this is because the white population views these races as having some white in them. They are viewed as helping out the United States with skills that are learned in their local colleges. This is particularly true with Asians. Asians are viewed as working harder in school, taking harder majors, and going to school longer thus allowing them to slide into the middle class on arrival to the United States because of the belief that they are " Western" educated.

Racism, Hacker argues, really began to rise to national prominence in the mid- 1960’s. The race riots came about in Detroit, Newark, and Watts. These riots were marked by burning, and looting in black neighborhoods. After these riots which were captured on T.V at this time happened, race relations never returned to their former plane. Whites ceased to identify black protests, and they saw a rebellious race intent on imposing its presence on the rest of society. By the 1970’s, a rise in crime by blacks had white Americans feeling misused and betrayed. " Worsening relations between the races were seen as largely due to the behavior of blacks, who had abused the invitations to equal citizenship white America had been tendering. It is this setting that creates the context of racism." I agree that it is the mistrust that causes racism but I do not believe that racism escalated in the mid 1960’s. Racism has been in America since the time that Africans were torn from their homeland, put on ships, and made slaves. How can Hacker argue that "race relations never returned to their former plane." What former plane? Racism in the mid-1960’s was better than in the 1950’s when blacks couldn’t even drink out of the same water fountain as whites. In the 1960’s, segregation was outlawed, blacks could vote, and blacks were finally getting recognized in the U.S. society. I do not believe there was a former plane ever.

Hacker puts in context the reality of racism in the setting of neighborhoods, crime, employment, education, and politics. First Hacker argues that white America is broken down into liberals and conservatives. He argues that everyone is one of the two. Conservatives do not feel responsible for the hardships blacks have endured. Conservatives believe that blacks have been given their opportunities in society and have failed on exercising those options. I would like to know what opportunities have those been? Hacker really does not discuss those opportunities. Conservatives go on to believe that the success they have is from their own hard work and sweat. Any preferential treatment programs strikes nerves with conservatives. Affirmative action is reverse discrimination which does not allow the fully qualified people to enter their respected field even though they are qualified. Liberals on the other hand feel some guilt for the hardships that blacks have endured. They have a greater willingness to pay for programs aimed at resolving social and racial ills. They believe in sharing with the less fortunate. Liberals believe that their privileged status has contributed to keeping blacks in a degraded state. What category would I fit into considering I feel guilty of the hardships blacks have and are going through today. But I do not believe in affirmative action. I do not think that everyone fits as just a liberal and conservative.

A surprising statistic that Hacker throws out is the study that shows if a neighborhood is more that 8% black, whites begin to leave resulting in a black neighborhood over time. Why is this? Well again it is that theme of "African" American and the preconceived idea that black people are associated with high incidence of crime, residential deterioration, and lower educational attainment. White parents also worry about black children in the neighborhood. The black children will change the white kids language, music, and demeanor argues Hacker. White people get these preconceived ideas through the media, and relations with others. White people see "Boyz in the Hood", or "Menace to Society" and automatically assume that all blacks are like the ones depicted in the films. There are very few positive features in Hollywood or in the news that show the positive sides of blacks. That’s right, that wouldn’t be "sexy" news or movies. People forget that whites are the same way. Just watch "Donnie Brasco", or the "Godfather" trilogy to see just how whites can be too.

Incomes for whites and blacks are substantially different. White males earn more than black males on the average as does white females over black females. At the highest level of education black women earn $973 per $1,000 of what white women earn. That is not bad. But the ratio between white and black males is much worse. Black males earn $771 per $1,000 of white males earn. " There is little evidence that spending more years in school will improve their positions in relation to whites." So why do black women fare better than black men? Hacker argues it is because black males have a tougher time rising through the ranks in their respected fields.

Whites still have the majority of well paying jobs also. And more females will get the job over a black male. Why? Hacker argues that females viewed as less "threatening" than black males. Remember, blacks, especially males are viewed as incompetent, crime thugs from ‘Africa". Another reason that blacks do not get company jobs is because companies do not want to hire too many blacks because white clients/customers do not feel comfortable in a business that has lots of blacks working there. Thus, Companies find it more convenient to hire just a few blacks in their company. Blacks have found to have more success to work in public sector jobs or with non-profit organizations where affirmative action and other racial programs are used frequently.

Education is another topic of discussion that he uses to show the differences between whites and blacks. Testing to get into college is bias argues Hacker. Many black students that take the ACT or SAT are at a disadvantage because they have not had the opportunity to go to good schools and receive the proper schooling to do well on the standardized tests. Are these tests bias? I think so. Students that do not have the same opportunities black, white, Asian, Hispanic etc. should have some kind exemption test they may take to test the knowledge they have been taught up to that time. Is it their fault they did not have the opportunities?

Only 10% of the student body on average in college is black. Blacks, Hacker argues feel uncomfortable in these situations which results in them going to all black schools. These all black schools make blacks feel more comfortable and accepted. Can you blame them? Many of the black students in college are athletes playing sports. An NCAA study showed that 75% of black division I athletes failed to graduate. This is because they are not prepared for college, because of practice time, and road trips. White’s do not mind though at these all black colleges. It reduces pressure for affirmative action and makes blacks and whites happier in general. Just think about it. Would you if you were white want to go to an all black school? Would you feel uncomfortable? Well that is how blacks feel.

Blacks do commit the majority of violent crimes. That being murder and robbery. This terrifies the white population. White people are terrified of black crime. There is more black on black crime than black on white crime. But black on white crime is viewed more harshly. " The feeling persists that a black man who rapes or robs a white person has inflicted more harm than black or white criminals who prey on victims of their own race. It is as if an assault by a black is an act of desecration that threatens the entire white race." Whites do commit the majority of white collar crime. Though white collar crime is seen as less threatening.

Finally Hacker argues that politics is two separate societies also. The Republican Party which is conservative relates well with the white mid to upper classes. The Democratic party relates with blacks and poorer people. Blacks thus stay loyal to the Democratic Party, even if the candidate is white. White voters will sway though if the candidate is black a majority of the times. White votes are afraid to have a black in power because of the actions that black might take against the white population.

Overall, Hacker’s book is a success. It gives irrefutable evidence to back up just how far apart the white and black races really are. The evidence is numerical taken from professional national studies. He explains the differences in a easy to read format being careful not to generalize any one race. It is a fresh piece that shows how far we have come, but how far we as a society still must go to end these two nations and bring them to one nation.

Hacker does not offer any possible solutions in his work though. His work reads more like a textbook, not offering too many new insights to the race war. Much of what I read I already new through school, the media, and others. His statistics are too tedious at times and the book at times becomes boring to the reader.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to further their knowledge on the state of the races in today’s society. When reading the book, always have an open mind because the evidence is not theory but fact, and scary.

BY: JOHN C. JAPUNTICH Back to top...


Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 20:52:17 -0500 
From: Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: Hacker 

Dr. Thompson:

I am a student in the class from which the review came from. Unfortunetlely, until people can stop generalizing, the race situation will never get any better. Its unfortunate that your family was unable to look past one's color of skin. I do disagree with the suggestion that slavery is all whites mans cross to bear. America has the best record in the world, in regards to slavery. Britian introduced America to slavery before we were ever a nation. America made slavery illegal and fought a bloody civil war over the abolishment of slavery within our second generation. Lastly, I have no desire to "save" the African American, nor to "save" any race. African Americans need to do what every other successful American ethnic race has done, economic self-empowerment.

Doug Phelan               Back to top...


Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 14:54:24 -0500 
From: "Mack H. Jones" <mjones@cau.edu 
Subject: Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply 

Colleagues, How can one speak of "having the best record in the world in regards to slavery?" That is analogous to saying that one has the best record among rapists or murderers. There is no prize for subdued murderers or rapists.

Mack H. Jones Back to top...


Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 15:49:05 -0600 
From: Scott Syoen <smsyoen@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: The best record on slavery? 

I agree wholeheartedly with the post below. Additionally, slavery was an institution in the colonies LONG before the United States was *officially* formed; to say that we abolished it within a hundred years or so of our inception is *extremely* misleading. And, correct me if I'm wrong (I might be), but the U.S. was one of the last Western countries to abolish slavery, so in this sense, I believe we were actually on the tail end of a worldwide trend. I'm not sure how this affects our "wonderful" record on slavery, but it surely doesn't help.  

-Scott Syoen   Back to top...


Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 23:47:48 -0000 
From: Dan Tompkins <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

Additional to the comments already made: it is certainly true that many books on slavery contain special pleading intended to exempt one or another culture. You see this all the time in discussions of ancient Athens, which was--as we all know--the home of democracy etc. and therefore could not have been really awful in its treatment of slaves. My favorite example of special pleading there is the claim that the slaves in the silver mines at Laureion were treated well because the mines had air shafts, permitting, well, breathing.

In a culture where breathing is deemed a luxury, pretty much anything goes. At the same time, there are degrees of harshness. One thing the American south did was severely reduce the chances of manumission characteristic of other slave cultures, thus making slavery permanent in most cases. "Best record in the world"? Depends on your definition of "best."

Dan Tompkins

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Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 21:53:13 -0600 
From: Ryan Snyder <rwsnyde@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: U.S. morals 

I also agree with my colleagues Scott Syoen and Mack Jones. To say that the United States has the best record on slavery is totally misleading and to give credit to the U.S. because they fought a civil war over the issue of slavery is wrong. I hate to say this but the United States is not as great as some people may believe. We are still tolerant of discrimination, still tolerant of social injustice, still tolerant of group harms, and the United States is still tolerant of countries that violates or has no regard to human rights, unless, of course, it affects our economy then the U.S. would get involved. We need to see the cold, hard truth and stop being naive about the "high" morals of the United States.

Thank you,

Ryan Back to top...


Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 20:03:16 -0800 
From: Louis Charles Raymond II <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply 

Please, tell me that no was is as out of touch with reality to believe an ourageous statment like that. i totally agree that that staement is truly dumpfounded. i do not mean to be harsh, but that stament is offensive. Not just to Blacks but to the entire cilvilzed world. Back to top...


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 07:56:04 -0500 
From: Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

The statement did not come out as I intended, let me point out that there is no "best" record on slavery, I agree. Rather I was attempting to suggest that the US in its infant state, and being subjected to the European views on slavery, abolished slavery and fought a bloody civil war in doing so. Correct me if I am wrong, but I cannot recall another nation figthing a civil war to abolish slavery. This was my point, not that there is a positive twist to slavery.         Back to top...

 


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 08:12:51 -0500 
From: "Daniel p. Tompkins" <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

Thanks for the clarification, Doug. Makes sense to me. As often on lists, the original text gets kind of lost in a thread of responses.

Dan Tompkins Back to top...


Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 07:44:52 -0600 
From: Scott Syoen <smsyoen@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

Again, I would have to disagree, even if one subscribes to the view that the Civil War was fought *only* about slavery (which, most of us would agree, is greatly oversimplified). In this context, if the South fought to maintain slavery, then the North fought not to abolish slavery, but *to keep the South from seceding.* There is a crucial moral difference there, I think. The welfare of blacks was probably not foremost in the minds of many Northerners.  

-Scott Syoen

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 08:53:58 -0500 
From: Brent Simmons - Thomas Cooley Law School <simmonbr@COOLEY.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

You're still incorrect. The Civil War was started solely over the issue of State's rights. At the outset of the War, Lincoln was still prepared to accept slavery in the South, if it would bring an early end to the rebellion. Even the Emancipation Proclamation purported to abolish slavery only in the Deep South, while preserving it in the border states. It wasn't until the carnage at Gettysburg in the summer of 1863 and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address later that year that the abolition of slavery finally became an objective of the War. It provided a moral justification for continuing the struggle, as well as a cause for the 186,000 black Americans who fought for the North.

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 11:26:35 EST 
From: RThampi <RThampi@AOL.COM 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

The civil war was not about slavery although one of its outcomes was its abolition.

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 11:41:56 -0600 
From: Louis Charles Raymond <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 
To: POS334-L@h-net.msu.edu 

Adding on to what someone previlouly said, the addition of slavery to the civil war was a alast resort. Lincoln actually said that if he could save the union and not free a slave he would. The South were becoming upset with the norht because the saw the north as a grop of people who felt that they were better than the South. Slavery only gave Lincoln some extra bodies. as a matter of fact the so called great document, that freed the slaves, only freed them in the south. Not until the thriteenth amendament was it completly illegal.

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 12:59:15 -0500 
From: Dan Tompkins <dtompkin@THUNDER.OCIS.TEMPLE.EDU 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 

Clearly Lincoln held off with the emancipation proclamation. But lots of young men went off to die, from the start, with slavery in mind. it might be worth unpacking the gap between enunciated federal policy and what people were thinking. Lincoln had good political reasons for *not* specifying slavery earlier, but it's important to attend to what folks were feeling.

A southern perspective might be: it was about states' rights. But what rights? The right to oppress blacks and keep them in servitude.

Dan Tompkins

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 16:53:26 -0500 
From: "Mack H. Jones" <mhjon@mindspring.com 
Subject: Re: The best record on slavery? 
To: POS334-L@h-net.msu.edu 

I can accept Mr. Phelan's rejoinder that his comment on the "best record on slavery" did not convey the point he really intended to make. However, he still needs to think and read more deeply on the issue. Usually I don't find discussions of comparative evils helpful and try to avoid them. However, in this insstance I will join Mr. Phelan in his discussion. His point that unlike other countries the U.S. fought a civil war to end slavery may be less compelling than he thinks. In fact it could be used to support the completely opposite conclusion. The fact that the U.S. had to resort to a civil war to end slavery while other countries ended slavery without having to go to war could mean that among some segments of the dominant classes in the United States opposition to ending slavery was so strong that they were willing to risk everything to hold on to slavery. Perspective is everything.

Mack H. Jones

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Date: Thu, 5 Mar 1998 17:50:14 -0600 
From: Paul G Beeman <pgbeema@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: Best record of Slavery 
To: POS334-L@h-net.msu.edu 

Gentlemen, There have been many good points directed at Dougs comment on slavery. However, I think his point is a response to Dr. Thompson about his generalization of white racism, and "mostly wanting to be seen as different" by people of color. Clearly the men who fought and died for the abolition of slavery should be seen as "different". White men (and Black) did die for sole intention of abolishing slavery. History in this sense should dispell any kind of generalization of white men and thier desire to be seen as "different" and attempt to side step a "self serving, way out of a collective guilt for things white people did". I think this is Doug's underlying message, not that out history of slavery is somthing to be proud of or brag about.

Paul G. Beeman

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Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 12:19:16 -0500 
From: Douglas Stephen Phelan <dsphela@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: Review of: Two Nations; Hacker, Andrew 

I agree with your review of Hacker, although I did not read the book, it seems Hacker has no problems with generalizing the white people. I suppose Hacker would condemn such a generalization made by a white person as racist. America has the best record in the world against slavery. Within the first two generations of our countries birth, we abolished slavery and fought the a tragic, bloody civil war over the issue of slavery. Hacker does not seem to give America any credit for its stance against slavery, and the sacrifices made by white America to abolish slavery. I enjoyed reading your review, it was very interesting and well written.

Doug Phelan           Back to top...


Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 09:00:39 -0600 
From: CRFTHOMPSWL@CRF.CUIS.EDU 
Subject: The complexities of slavery. 
To: POS334-L@h-net.msu.edu 

The exchange over Doug Phelan's comment has been both civil and complex -- a good example of how scholarly debate can work. My observation that whites share collective responsibility is based upon results. Hundreds of years ago, some very morally questionable Europeans did some awful things to people of color in North America so that I could have a better life -- and it worked very well, indeed. If all whites reap benefits from things others did in their name, then we do have to open the question of "collective" responsibility (perhaps guilt was a misleading term). While some whites resisted slavery and other injustices done in their name and without their permission, then the plot thickens. Does this mean those individual whites are "different" in the sense of not being responsible for racial oppression, or does it simply mean that some of us can be in the complex situation of beiing both racist and anti-racist in the same flesh, so to speak?

Wayne Luther Thompson Dept. of Sociology and Social Work Concordia University, River Forest, IL crfthompswl@crf.cuis.edu Back to top...


Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 07:05:32 -0500 
From: "Samuel J. Perryman" <sper@LOC.GOV 
Subject: Re: Hacker 

Thanks you. However, I also think that people living in fear--there's only one fear, in my opinion--can never move forward as a people, until they get in touch with what that fear actually is. Actually, I thank they no!

My mute opinion is that they are overwhelmed by the threat of genetic annihilation based on skin coloration. Once I understood that, then nothing else neither fooled nor surprised me. It's called survival *by any means necessary*

Let's consider a case in point. The OJ Simpson paranoia, that many white people may have felt, is or was based overwhelmingly on their obsession with race. OJ may very well have killed two people (for whatever reason), but TIMOTHY MCVEIGH slew 569. Yet, the media hardly calls his name.       Back to top...


Date: Tue, 17 Mar 1998 02:40:59 -0600 
From: Louis Charles Raymond <lcraymo@ILSTU.EDU 
Subject: Re: Hacker\ Correction of Previous Reply 

I do understand that America fought a civil war. But the war was not for slavery. The war did not come after the freedom of the slaves. The Emacipation Proclamation came at the tail end of the war. This was a battle between the regions of this country. This is why one finds blacks fighting on the side of the south. Society does not talk about this becase it ruins the illusion that this war was for the freedom of the slaves.  Back to top...