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2016-2017 PLACE Theme: Race and Ethnicity: White Guilt

Resource Guide for PLACE

Book Club

Library is hosting a book club session March 21 @ 12:15.  A light lunch will be served for those who RSVP.  A thought-provoking book discussion will be led by moderator Dr. Craig Nakashian.

About the book

Editorial Reviews

Steele asserts that the primary focus of the civil-rights era was a legitimate quest to remove racial barriers. In the shift to the black-power era, Steele sees a paradigm shift, away from racial uplift and agency, where blacks assume responsibility for themselves, to a "race is destiny" mode. As the counterculture merged with the civil-rights movement, America was exposed for its racial hypocrisy and, consequently, lost its moral authority. Here, "white guilt" became the moral framework for America. Steele argues that liberal whites embraced guilt for two reasons: to avoid being seen as racists and to embrace a vantage point where they could mete out benefits to disadvantaged blacks through programs such as affirmative action. Steele believes blacks made a deal with the devil by exchanging responsibility and control over their destiny for handouts. He sees a deficiency in black middle-class educational achievement, further raising questions about claims of lack of equal opportunity. Despite these omissions, the cultural analysis of America's loss of moral authority for its exposed racism has resonance today. Vernon Ford

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“There is no writer who deserves black America’s allegiance more than Shelby Steele... Steele’s writing is a marvel.” (John McWhorter, National Review)

“Piercing and personal... WHITE GUILT is a brilliant little essay, deserving of a large and appreciative audience.” (Washington Times)

“Thought provoking.” (Library Journal)

“Powerful, lucid and elegant...On questions of race in America--white guilt, black opportunism--[Steele] is our 21st century Socrates.” (Charles Johnson, author of MIDDLE PASSAGE, National Book Award winner)

“ Shelby Steele is America’s clearest thinker about America’s most difficult problem.” (George F. Will)

“A hard, critical look at affirmative action, self-serving white liberals and self-victimizing black leaders.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Prophet or polemicist, Steele is a graceful and often compelling literary stylist... [and] deserves a wide readership.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“As delightful a read as one can find on a book devoted to America’s historically most contentious topic.” (New York Post)

Shelby Steele Photo

About the Author

Shelby Steele is an American author, columnistdocumentary film maker.and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations,multiculturalism, and affirmative action.  Steele has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.

Steele has written extensively for major publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. He has also spoken before hundreds of groups and appeared on national current affairs news programs including Nightline and 60 Minutes.

Steele is a member of the National Association of Scholars, the national board of the American Academy for Liberal Education, the University Accreditation Association, and the national board at the Center for the New American Community at the Manhattan Institute.


In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. In 1991, his work on the documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst was recognized with an Emmy Award and two awards for television documentary writing—the Writer's Guild Award and the San Francisco Film Festival Award.

Steele received the National Book Critic's Circle Award in 1990 in the general nonfiction category for his book The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. Other books by Steele include A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win (Free Press, 2007), White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (HarperCollins 2006) and A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America.

For his work on the PBS television documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst, he was recognized with both an Emmy Award and a Writers Guild Award. In 2004 President George W. Bush, citing Steele's "learned examinations of race relations and cultural issues," honored him with the National Humanities Medal.