A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America (Paperback)
"Steele has given eloquent voice to painful truths that are almost always left unspoken in the nation's circumscribed public discourse on race." —New York Times
From the author of the award-winning bestseller The Content of Our Character and White Guilt comes an essay collection that tells the untold story behind the polarized racial politics in America today.
In A Dream Deferred Shelby Steele argues that a second betrayal of black freedom in the United States—the first one being segregation—emerged from the civil rights era when the country was overtaken by a powerful impulse to redeem itself from racial shame. According to Steele, 1960s liberalism had as its first and all-consuming goal the expiation of American guilt rather than the careful development of true equality between the races.
In four densely argued essays, Steele takes on the familiar questions of affirmative action, multiculturalism, diversity, Afro-centrism, group preferences, victimization—and what he deems to be the atavistic powers of race, ethnicity, and gender, the original causes of oppression. A Dream Deferred is an honest, courageous look at the perplexing dilemma of race and democracy in the United States—and what we might do to resolve it.
About the Author
Shelby Steele is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University, and is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. His many prizes and honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, an Emmy Award, a Writers Guild Award, and the National Humanities Medal.
“A book of considerable importance . . . [Steele] has a very strong case.”
— Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World
“A passionate and powerful voice.”
— New Republic
“Perceptive. . . . Steele is a clever critic.”
— Los Angeles Times Book Review
“With searing eloquence and an inspiring display of the freedom of mind that he wishes to encourage in others, Shelby Steele reminds us of the demanding principles by which Americans of every race can yet live together with mutual pride and respect.”
“Provocative and persuasive.”
— Library Journal