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View Full Version : I just read John McWhorter's Losing the Race


nikkibong
01-05-2009, 05:29 PM
Just finished John McWhorter's 2000 tome, Losing the Race: Self-Sabatoge in Black America. It made for great airplane reading as I flew across the country yesterday. (Although a few people gave my some dirty looks when they saw the title - Thanks, John!)

I've never read any of McWhorter's other books, but damn, the guy can write. I speak here, simply in terms of style: McWhorther's prose practically jumps off the page. (In contrast to just about everyone else in academia!) Positively crackling.

McWorther identifies three strands in the black community that he claims are substantially retarding development: victimology, separatism, & anti-intellectualism. His commentaries are trenchant, to say the last.

One seeming contradiction: McWorther dwells often on positive statistics about rising black income, education levels etc., saying essentially, that things have never been better; yet he claims that a crisis is afoot in the black community due to the strands listed above. How to synthesize this?

Anyone else read this book? If not, it certainly gets the NIKKIBONG seal of approval.

uncle ebeneezer
01-05-2009, 10:12 PM
Nikki, thanks for the review. Sounds great. I'll have to pick that one up soon.

I have read several books based on BHTV diavlog appearances. I've been pleasantly surprised at the quality of writing by the Bloggingheads participants. So far, George Johnson (Fire In the Mind), Neil Shubin (Your Inner Fish) and Carl Zimmer (Parasite Rex, At the Water's Edge etc.) have been standouts. George is particularly good at using description and metaphors to shine a different light on science-oriented topics.

I would also recommend: Traffic (T. Vanderbilt), The End of Science (John Horgan), Geography of Bliss (Eric Weiner) and of course anything by Bob Wright.

nikkibong
01-07-2009, 01:29 PM
Thanks for the recs. I'll definitely check out George Johnson's book. I too loved the End of Science (and, of course, Nonzero.) Good bhtv authors! Forgive me if I don't get around to Liberal Fascism, however . . .

claymisher
01-08-2009, 02:22 AM
I read it too. I have kind of mixed feelings about it, being a white guy and all, but I can appreciate that he was trying to shake people up and move the program forward. Like a lot of things, I don't have to agree with it 100% to be glad that it's out there.

But a whole lot has happened in the last eight years, and it looks like we've got a great chance to make a lot of progress real soon.

nikkibong
01-08-2009, 01:11 PM
Yes: I'm curious as to how John would view his arguments today in light of the developments of the last decade.

sugarkang
01-18-2009, 03:51 AM
John is just really awesome. Class Act. I also liked how he destroyed Ta-Nehisi in a diavlog, especially when he called him out at the end.