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Stephen and Abigal Thernstrom. America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible.Simon and Schuster, New York, 1997

From Subject
Clayton cobb <clcobb@ilstu.edu> Review: America in Black and White (Clayton Cobb)
Ray Briggs No Subject
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Re: America in black and white.
ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM> Re: Review: America in Black and White (Clayton Cobb)
Maria Beatriz Diaz <mbdiaz@ilstu.edu> Review America in Black and White (Diaz)
Nonito P Ong <npong@ilstu.edu> Review of America in Black and White(Clayton cobb)

Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 17:13:35 -0600
From: Clayton cobb <clcobb@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Review: America in Black and White (Clayton Cobb)

(America in Black and White: One Nation , Indivisible), by Stephen and Abigal Thernstrom. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1997  

Clayton Cobb

clcobb@ilstu.edu    

Of all the issues facing the state of well being for Blacks in the United States, none are more critical to our collective well being than those related to education. In spite of the increased attention focused on urban areas, public schools continue to fail to educate a significant segment of our population. As the enrollment in the nation's public schools becomes increasingly more racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse the need to examine the crucial issues related to educating Black students cannot be overstated. This need takes on an additional urgency when one considers that economic and social progress, particularly for people of color, has historically been related to one's access to equal education. The economic and social well being of Blacks in the nation is linked to the quality and vigor of the nation's elementary, middle and secondary schools.  

Further disheartening is the realization that even fifty years after the historical decision of Brown vs. the Board of Education, clear understandings about educating cultures have yet to be implemented in any consistent way. This political polemic has moved from a general consensus that integration is the judicial way to educate students to more recent thinking in some areas that desegregation was a mistake that needs to be reversed. One must look at the way in which students are taught, which is a major concern for some researchers who discount the quantified data that places many Black students in lower tracks and label them "at risk." Mwalimu Shujaa (1993) notes that despite superficial gains that Brown provided, "the content of school knowledge that is made to Black students as well as the kind of teaching they experience in many instances does not meet their individual, academic, or cultural needs" (p. 246).  

This is not the case in America in Black and White: One Nation Indivisible by Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom. The husband and wife authors focus on the progress Blacks have made in our society since the era of desegregation and their comparison to author, Gunnar Mydrals, An American Dilemma. The title reflects the state of American racial practices during 1944 or the time of segregation. A survey taken from that book states, "Negroes should have as good a chance as White people to get any kind of job," the majority of Whites said that "White people should have the first chance at any kind of job." Blacks belonged at the back of the employment bus most Whites firmly believed (p. 13).=20 This response illicits the mindset of White America in an era of blatant prejudice, racism and white supremacy, which is the premise of the Thernstroms' argument that much progress has been made in the statehood of Black America since desegregation. They begin America in Black and White with historical chapters that detail the history of the Jim Crow laden South to the Civil Rights Movement to the present day use of affirmative action practices in higher education. They use statistics and opinion polls to back their claim that the social condition of Blacks in various areas have improved dramatically such as life expectancy, occupational, educational and income attainment, decreases in poverty rates, and increases in home ownership rates. In politics, the number of Black office holders increased by 17% from 1970 to 1995. Black mayors have been elected in major urban cities such as Dayton, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Little Rock. On the national level, "the Democratic Party would have lost every presidential election from 1968 to the present if only Whites had been allowed to vote." Racist campaigns have all but disappeared in America because they cost votes."  

The Thernstroms state that the same kind of progress can be seen in the growth of the Black middle class. Economic achievement is linked to schooling. In 1960, the percentage of Whites who attended college was more than twice that of Blacks. By 1995, a gap still existed, but it had significantly narrowed. Figures show 49% for Whites and 37.5 % for Blacks. The increase in Blacks attending college also leads to the disparity of income for the two groups as well. Black males now earn 67% of what White males earn, an increase of over 20% from 1940. If you compare two parent Black households to two parent White households, Black families make 87% of what white families make. While 31.9 percent of Blacks in America now live in the suburbs, compared to 15 % in 1950.=20 What the Thernstroms' evidence fail to examin is the racial make-up of these suburbs. Are these suburbs integrated or segreated?  

In looking at the issue of affirmative action the authors claim the socioeconomic gains made by Blacks in the affirmative action era have been less than impressive than those that occurred during segregation.=20 At Stanford University, an institution with a history of racial unrest between Black and White students, Black students were entering the institution with an average SAT score of 1,164 (a very good score by national standards) putting them in the top 6% of all national test takers. But their White counterparts were entering with a score of 1,335, placing them in the top 3% nationally. Because of this the Thernstroms state: Affirmative action programs call attention to racial differences...They heighten racial consciousness. And then too, they reinforce the myth of black inferiority =85Almost all students start competitive colleges like Stanford feeling insecure, but for African American students' the anxiety is not only personal, but racial.' (p. 388).

Although there have been gains in the Black community during the practice of working affirmative action programs it is no secret that the authors dislike the use of such programs. 'It's not a process likely to encourage its beneficiaries to work hard in high school. The message is clear: color is the equivalent of good grades. If you don't have the latter, the former will often do" ( p.422). This quote is in direct opposition to the authors' earlier position that affirmative action programs reinforce the myth of Black inferiority. They even go to the extreme of citing a quote from Black conservative author Shelby Steele who recalls hearing a speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. to back their positions. "When you are behind in a footrace the only way to get ahead is to run faster than the man in front of you. So when your White roommate says he's tired and goes to bed sleep, you stay up and burn the midnight oil" (p.422).  

As a whole, America in Black in White is a fairly insightful book that is big on historical references, which will aid the unfamiliar reader with the history of the struggles of Black Americans. But the message of the book only goes one way, and that is in favor of the Thernstroms.=20 They deny that there is still a lot of improvement to be made in the Black community and do not offer many solutions. They do not portray the bad news for to admit it would demean their argument that great strides have taken place in the Black community since desegregation. To stress the bad news is to distort their view of the overall picture of tremendous accomplishment. It would be the equivalent of pouring muddy water on a person while trying to convince them it was rain. Their view and the views of Americans, should be viewed as Blacks not wanting or demanding special legislation or separate admissions policies to attend professional schools; what the Thernstroms call "Black exceptionalism," but as a way of equality, void of preferences or reparations. Equality for many Blacks does not exist in 1999. This equality is rooted in having access to an equal educational system that is not inferior to their White counterparts. Having this opportunity may irradiate the burdensome enigmas plaguing many Black communities. There is much to still be achieved to improve the plights of Blacks in America. Although, poverty has decreased for Blacks, the number of Blacks living in poverty in comparison to Whites has tripled. And despite the fact that Blacks comprise 13 % of the population, they control 2% of the wealth in this country. Until disparities such as these are erased from society, and until we truly embrace the concept of judging an individual on the content of his/her character, we will never reach racial equality and justice.

Works Cited   Shujaa, Mwalimu J. 1993. "Introduction to Beyond Segregation-Perspectives from the 1990's," Educational Policy, Vol.7, No. 3.  

Thernstrom, Stephen and Abigal. America in Black and White. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

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Subject: Reviewed by Raymond Briggs

America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible. Reviewed by Raymond Briggs Illinois State University, 3-2-99 POS 334

Have blacks truly made progress toward becoming an important and influential part in America? That is the fundamental question posed in the book, “America in Black and White: One Nation, Indivisible”. The authors, Stephen and Abigail Thernstrom, try to answer the question with a summary of the progress of blacks in America thus far and compare that status with the indignities and inhumanity that blacks suffered in the years following the Emancipation Proclamation. In this lengthy history they point out the major setbacks and victories sustained during the era of Jim Crow laws all the way through the end of the civil rights movement. The authors look back to the work of Gunnar Myrdal, who in his famous 1944 book titled “The American Dilemma”, saw racism in America as just that, a dilemma. While Myrdal’s work had optimism for what could happen with race relations this book has a profound enthusiasm for what has and what can happen. The book has two purposes. The first purpose is to give an in-depth history of black progress in America. The second purpose is to show that we still have a long way to go in race relations but we have made a very positive effort to reconcile the wrongs of history.

The book is divided into three sections. The first of these sections deals with the history of blacks from reconstruction to the present. The authors paint a grim picture of the Jim Crow south. This is a time in the south where although blacks have won their freedom from slavery they have not won their freedom from fear. The rise of the KKK, voting blocks such as poll taxes, and the legal invisibility of blacks created an atmosphere of hatred which needed to be changed. This change begins slowly with the migration of blacks from north to south, although they no longer lived in fear from whites they faced more subtle discrimination. The real change for blacks starts in the final years of WWII, where blacks from the north and south are allowed to fight next to each other. These black soldiers from the south bring a level of defiance home with them after the war, which leads to the sit-ins and marches of the 50’s and 60’s. We also see the rise of visible black leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., and the rise of groups such as the Back Panthers. Events, such as the desegregation of public schools and institutions are outlined in these chapters along with major civil rights legislation. This concise history of blacks since the civil war is good enough to be a stand - alone book. The authors use this history to show that the racism that exists today is much different then the racism suffered by blacks years ago.

Now that the authors have given us an overview of the past in the first section of the book they now transport us to the present in the second section. We are shown the struggle that has continued since the end of the civil right movement. We are given statistics such as the income levels of blacks, how many are in the middle class, how many live in the suburbs, and how many are going to college. The writers give us many statistical tables which they use to back up their own findings and from which we can infer our own opinions on the subject. In my opinion statistical tables can be used to convey whatever information you want them to. The reader can only guess how many statistics that are not in the book which could contradict the authors’ arguments.

The third and final section of the book deals with the authors’ perceptions of public policy toward race and the racial climate in America today. Topics and issues such as busing, legislative districting and affirmative action in universities are discussed in terms of their origins and public opinion towards those programs. In the third section there is focus on the racial climate of America. Such events as the O.J. trial, conspiracy theories, and the social interaction between blacks and whites are given as an example of the current racial problems in America.

At the conclusion of this book the authors find themselves considering the status of blacks today and compare that status with that of other racial minorities in America. Also, the authors give us their personal hopes for the future. These authors make the statement that they are committed to “race-neutral” policies. The authors believe that any policy or legislation that is not “race-neutral” is inherently dangerous. They summarize the profound change that blacks have experienced and that they hope that this change continues. Although change has occurred the authors believe that there is still a racial divide in this country. To conquer this racial divide we must look at where blacks have come from (i.e. their history) and where they are today. Race conscious policies carry the American conscious backward and we need to eliminate them. The author’s feel that their book is as optimistic as Myrdal’s, and like his book theirs can show that there is a definite want for change.

Overall “America in Black and White” is a very good book. It does a great job of providing a history of blacks in America since the civil war all the way to the civil rights movement. It sets a very good stage for itself by looking back at the work of other writers (Myrdal) and the comments of civil-rights activists. The authors are very adept at pointing out the current problems with race relations by cutting out what clouds the true issues at hand and discussing only those issues. The book also gives the reader a great deal of hope concerning the idea of change in race relations in the fact that is has occurred and that it will continue to occur.

Although it is a good book overall there are a few things about the book that I did not agree with. The authors use of statistics is one of them. In a significant section of the book the authors use a great deal of statistics to provide foundation for their opinions. I feel that anyone can use statistics to back up what they are saying, especially if they provide only statistics which help them and not others which might cast doubt on their ideas. Plus, I feel that statistics are subjective and usually have an easily debatable content. Another aspect of the book is that although it does not overly imply it, the book does advocate for some reduction (if not elimination) of affirmative action. The authors believe those policies’ such as these foster racial problems rather than reduce them by creating race consciousness. I feel that this is untrue in the fact that great advances in integration have occurred through affirmative action. Aside from these minor detractions “America in black and White” is a well-planned book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the civil rights movement and race relations today

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Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 23:52:22 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: America in black and white.

According to your review the authors do not feel that there should be any policies that benefit minorities. Such policies would include AA and hate crimes laws. Do they see these as unnecessary? It seems that they are saying that minorities have achieved parity. Do you agree?

Without any legislation that favors minorities, the prospects of future equality seem bleak. Should we continue to maintain the status quo, or should we promote the advancement of minorities? I agree that laws favoring one demographic group over another may be racist, but is that always bad?

The question of whether or not we continue our anti-racist policies is the heart of the question. Have minorities reached equality, or should we try to assist their further advancement?

What do you think?

Rob ltrobmil@hotmail.com

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Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 00:17:39 CST
From: ROBERT MILLER <ltrobmil@HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: Review: America in Black and White (Clayton Cobb)

Clayton,

Do you think that education is a symptom or the illness. Could educational equity bring overall equity, or would it only serve to distort the root of the problem?

Can education alone bring equity? Social problems that contribute to the disparity of students may be more to blame than the education system. Without regard to race, those of lesser means have greater difficulty achieving scholastically. Perhaps we should address other social dysfunctions in conjunction with education. I don't think that educational reform by itself can alleviate the problems of inequity.

It is my opinion that the root of the problem lies in values. If we advance equity as a core value for our children, several things can be gained. The first would be the advancement of parity among our children and their peers, thus helping future generations. The second possible outcome would be for the ostrification of extremist groups in their generation. The final would be positive change of our own opinions. We could, through the desire to instill positive values in our children, gain greater understanding ourselves, and subsequently fight the core problems that lead to inequity.

It doesn't seem that modifications of our education system alone can fix the racial problems that our country faces. Without improvement in other areas, educational changes can only do so much good.

What do you think?

Rob ltrobmil@hotmail.com

 

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Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:12:50 -0500
From: Maria Beatriz Diaz <mbdiaz@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Review America in Black and White (Diaz)

Thernstrom,A., Thernstrom, S. America in Black and White. New York: Simon & Shuster.

In an exhaustive work on race relations in America, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom survey the myriad of problems associated with race within American borders. America in Black and White alludes to the history of America in an effort to trace the beginnings of black-white relations during slavery, the period after the Civil War, the Jim Crow period characterized by segregation, the era of the Civil Rights Movement, and the current period. The Thernstoms examine Gunnar Myrdal’s American Dilemma to remind America of the prevalent poverty suffered by blacks in the Deep South in the 1930’s and 1940’s and the historical tendency by whites to ignore the human needs of African Americans. In addition, the authors update race relations over the last fifty years which includes a discussion of African American migration from the rural South to the urban North. They recount the sit-ins, the period of the genesis of affirmative action, the level of urban black crime from the 1960’s to the end of the 1980’s, and the gradual increase of the black middle class. The authors point to the judicial, educational, political, and social impacts, despite real and continuing problems, have been some advances in relieving black poverty.

The Thernstroms’s argument that the progress black people have made, after the implementation of affirmative action policies, has occurred because of racial preferences although they recognize that racial discrimination is the most relevant factor in the widening gap between blacks and whites with regard to income, wealth, and education. Nonetheless, despite onerous racial discrimination, they endorse the conservative view that affirmative action should be abolished. America in Black and White alludes to increasing black improvement slowed, however, by high rates of crime, a breakdown in primary and secondary education, and a collapse of family solidity. They note: that just 3.2 percent of blacks in 1940 had ever been to college and a mere 1.3 percent had completed four years or more. In 1995, the percentage of blacks who had completed four years of college was 15.3 percent of the 80 percent of the total that attended. (pp. 391-392). Despite the improvement in the number of blacks who completed college, today half of black families are composed of a single female parent and seventy percent of black babies are born out of wedlock.

The Thernstroms do not attribute such black progress to affirmative action policies, for they believe there is no ground to show a connection between racial preferences and black progress. These preferences cannot remedy the circumstances of the black students high school dropout who are too incompetent for the highly sophisticated world of work. Educational inequalities disable black achievement which began to peak in the early 1980’s, thus narrowing the gap between blacks and whites. However, by 1990, achievement gap had significantly widened due to the destruction of the black family and the introduction of crack cocaine and violence into the black community. This, in turn, led to a rise in disruption in the schools that simply could not overcome the bombardment of an immensity of new problems. Therefore, black graduates of these schools were academically and otherwise ill-equipped to compete at the college level. Black students then failed in large numbers. According to the Thernstroms, the failure is to be attributable to preferent policies that segregate blacks and whites.

In Derrick Bell’s Afrolantica Legacies, unlike the Thernstroms’s America in Black and White, the reader is provided a more complete history of the suffering of African Americans as well as whites. Bell, an African American Professor of Law at New York University and the composer of eight books regarding the race question in this country, has obviously felt the sting of racism or race discrimination and thus understands race relations in a way the Thernstroms cannot. He is a member of an oppressed group, a hated group that has somehow survived the debilitating effects of slavery, segregation, and bigotry for a period of approximately four hundred years. He does not appear to be the kind of black person who forsakes his own people in order to obtain more benefits from white society. Rather than enter into a external discussion of poverty, Jim Crow laws, and the American dilemma unearthed by Myrdal, Derrick Bell dares to recognize the uniqueness of black suffering throughout history:

America has benefited because its citizens or their parents came from every country and culture on earth. But like so many countries, we tend to link along lines easily recognized cultural attributes and to designate a group that is different as “the other,” burdening members of that group with adverse treatment. I recognize, of course, that many groups have experienced bias because of their race, ethnicity or religion, but only black Americans have been enslaved for two hundred years, segregated by law for almost another century and, in our time, given more the promise than the performance of equal opportunity. (Bell, pp. 7-8).

In addition, the Thernstroms assessment of history fails to adequately account for the vast hatred whites currently hold for blacks and the precepts of inferiority and superiority engendered periods of dehumanizing slavery and segregation. Bell manages to brilliantly connect the past to the present in ways that seem to elude the Thernstroms. According to Bell, slave holders convinced poor whites to stand together with them against slaves who may revolt or escape. Such a plan worked quite well because “poor whites took out their frustrations by hating the slaves rather than the masters who held both black slave and free white in economic bondage.” (pp. 12). Despite the fact that slavery ultimately ended, the economic gap between poor whites and upper-class whites, “camouflaged by racial division” (pp. 12), the understanding or plan continues to work quite well. As Bell so aptly discovers, the racial strife in America tends to blind white Americans to their own subordinated status in comparison to upper-class white Americans. If blacks were to suddenly, completely disappear from America tomorrow, both poor and middle class white Americans would begin to see and feel the exploitation of turn-of-the-century white immigrants who were exploited by factory and mine owners that required the immigrants to work under brutal conditions for long hours and comparatively few dollars. Immigrants hatred for blacks by virtue of their white skin constituted the glue that held together the country thus preventing rebellion and uprising against upper-class exploiters. Thus, it is blackness that gives whiteness meaning and usefulness. Bell notes little has changed since the beginning of the twentieth century:

The history, according to scholar David Roediger, mirrors the present. The ideology of whiteness continues to oppress whites as well as blacks. It is employed to make whites settle for dispair in politics and anguish in the daily grind of life...Unsealing the loaded metaphorical associations of whiteness would free both blacks and whites for it would confront racism as well as lead the recovery of the “sense of oppression” in the white working class. (Bell, p12-13)

Utilizing actual American history, Bell sheds light on white resentment of blacks as an adhesive that binds whites to their own “class disadvantages,” their own oppression, their own second class citizenship. Yes, even today, not unlike the horrible period of slavery, most poor and middle class whites, because they seem to be blinded by the deception of white skin privilege, cannot see that a concerted effort to eradicate racism to relieve an enormous burden on blacks has the potential to free whites from their own bondage. The Bell insights are simply much deeper and more thorough than those attempted by the Thernstroms who do not seem to construe the potential connections and commonalties that have existed for centuries between oppressed blacks and whites and the meaning implicit in the union of the two groups.

The Thernstroms simply adhere to the arguments of most white conservatives on issues relative to what is perceived as the break-down of the black family unit. While they seem to recognize that racism plays a major role in the retention of black impoverishment, high crime rates, poor schooling, and out-of-wedlock birth, they appear to provide fodder for the conservative justification that social programs designed by state and federal governments for the poor ought to be either cut severely or completely eradicated. Bell (1998) on the other hand, suggests these conservative arguments succeed in fanning the flames of “racial conflagration”:

They (conservatives) single out black crime , welfare rates, out-of-wedlock babies, dysfunctional families and communities, and conclude that these people don’t need any help or sympathy. (Bell,p 15).

Bell cites The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin and When Work Disappears by William Julius Wilson to show that massive unemployment rates among blacks caused by racial discrimination constitutes the best rationale for explaining the devastation in black communities. Further, just as crime is a serious problem in the black community, it also manifests itself among poorer whites. Bell reminds us the vast crime rates that existed among poor Europeans, particularly in the England of Oliver Twist and in the France of Jean Valjean. Black youths who end up in prison are seduced into selling drugs because no other opportunities exist for them. The American media has succeeded in convincing white citizens that black drug crime is a greater danger than cigarette products that kill 400,00 people a year and that are well subsidized by the government. The government also provides monetary benefits to corporations that throw deadly pesticides and other poisonous chemicals into our water, causing high rates of cancer among both adults and children. The food we eat, including vegetables, are laced with pesticides that cannot be fully removed, yet black crime rates among black youths without job or employment opportunities fill us with fear and trepidation and obscures the government-corporation partnerships that lead to dangers nearly undetectable to the average American citizen. Again, Bell confronts the centuries-old tactic of separating and dividing American citizens along racial bias The American media plays its role quite well by highlighting, almost obsessively, black crime rates, out-of-wedlock births, and the general devastation of the black family to inspire and perpetuate fear and hatred in poor and middle-class whites for more subterranean purposes of retaining a status quo that allows “one percent of Americans to hold forty percent of the wealth” (Bell, p. 116) and a mere ten percent of this country’s citizens to control or own 90 percent of the available resources. The Thernstroms prefer to ignore the inherent dangers in massive amount of resources being held by relatively few people and the abuses and corruption that flow from the growing gap between the poor and the wealthy. Hopefully, the ever-shrinking middle-class will awaken and begin to act to reverse the politics of division that effectively divide the American people whether they be white or black.

With respect to affirmative action, Derrick Bell, I am sure, would likely ask the Thernstroms whether or not they would be interested in eliminating all legacy programs for prospective students whose parents graduated from a vigorously supported prominent universities like University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, and Yale. According to Bell, the academic credentials of legacy students are not better on the whole than the academic credentials of inner-city black and Latino prospective college students. Bell would also like to know whether or not the Thernstroms would call for an eradication of a life time of white privilege that probably counts for any distinction in test scores between blacks and whites who seek entry into the university system. The Thernstroms seem to require neither the elimination of legacy programs nor the elimination of white privilege, but Bell does, for he sees white privilege as a property right given only to and enjoyed by whites. Certainly, if whites are willing to give up whiteness as a property right, then, minorities would obviously be content to forego the relatively meager benefits affirmative action provides.

The Thernstroms note that affirmative action policies that provide preference in college admission to blacks and Latinos have accounted for a greater part of black progress over the last forty years. However, Professor Bell would assert that it is precisely white privilege that has accounted for the better part of white progress over the last four hundred years, indeed, at the expense of blacks and Native Americans whose progress was severely arrested for four centuries. Andrew Hacker’s (1995) exhaustive, qualitative study on race relations on America, Two Nations, reveals the key ingredient in white thinking that explains the fury surrounding the abolition of affirmative action:

There persists the belief that members of the black race represent an inferior strain of the human species...This belief is seldom voiced in public. (pp. 272).

Bell would obviously concur with Hacker’s finding that most whites hold the view that blacks are an inferior race of people and thus do not deserve even the relative “crumbs” dispensed by affirmative action. Do the Thernstroms too hold this belief? Does this belief in the inherent inferiority of blacks force conservative whites to advocate abolition of affirmative action without providing a replacement remedy? Is inequality more comfortable to whites than equality?

Advocating the abolition of affirmative action, the Thernstroms then must fully support the notion that the employment and education of blacks are to be left to the devices of whites who view African Americans as “an inferior strain of the human species” and who have for four centuries dominated and brutalized them. Professor Bell favors the retention of affirmative actions programs that open the door for a relatively few blacks , but it is much more auspicious than the remediless proposals argued by the Thernstroms who have likely never been the targets of significant amount of discrimination.

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Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 13:36:50 -0800
From: Nonito P Ong <npong@ilstu.edu>
Subject: Review of America in Black and White(Clayton cobb)

clayton

Was the overall the main focus of this book on Education, integration, and other related issues concerning blacks and whites? I think you are trying to say that the authors feel alot of progress has been made for blacks, but there's still a long way to go? Is that correct? You also mentioned that the authors failed to mention solutions to the problems. Did you have a solution that would help narrow the gap between blacks and whites? From what I read from the book, I felt the authors of this book failed to mention an important issue concerning race and education. From what stories i hear about integration of public high schools, things aren't going to well as they should be. We can't force people to go to schools they don't want to go to. I have a solution on how to have more sucess with integration of schools . Integration of kids in public schools should not start at the high school level, the current practice in the U.S. If we integrate at the grade school level, we decrease the chance of having racist kids and increase cultural awareness at an earlier age. A 1st grader is more likely to be less racist than a freshman in high school mainly because they been exposed to the prejudiced beliefs as much. Kids at a younger age are so much easier to be pleased. For example, a family with a 8 year old vs. a family with a 18 year old will have less chances of an argument on where to go for a family vacation because that 18yr old will have a developed a long list of likes and dislikes on where to go. They way things are now, who knows what racism a child has been taught throughout his or her life. A kid growing up in the a small town probably never grew up around blacks or asians. There's a good chance that this kid won't know how to act towards others that are of a different race. There's also a chance that he could have racist attitudes because of what he hears or probably what he fears. Isn't that what alot of racism and ignorance is based on? Fear. Not knowing what others different than you are like? What do you think about this idea of mine? Do you think it would be more sucessful?  

Will Ong

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