The Age Of White Guilt And The Disappearance Of The Black Individual By Shelby Morrison

Great Essays
White Guilt
J.C. Watts, a former U.S. Representative, states “I 'm not one that believes that affirmative action should be based on one 's skin color or one 's gender, I think it should be done based on one 's need…” This idea that affirmative action, a societal way of helping those in need, should not be based on ethnicity is supported by esteemed author Shelby Steele. Shelby Steele, the author of “The Age of White Guilt and the Disappearance of the Black Individual”, claims that Blacks have self-victimized their own group and that Whites are plagued with “White Guilt” –the idea that someone has to prove that they are not a racist. The discussion of racial disparity in American society is a hot topic, but Steele is able to quench the flames
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Steele uses anecdotal evidence to establish his ethos. “…I already knew that I was black, or “Negro”, as we said back then…The world had made this fact quite clear by imposing on my life all the elaborate circumscriptions of Chicago-style segregation.” Through this life story, Steele appeals to his main audience, the Black individual. Steele shows that he has lived in times of segregation –where he was his ethnicity. He “…grew up in a black neighborhood and walked to a segregated black school.” Since Steele’s audience is living in non-segregated America, Steele is able to reinforce his own opinions about America’s current status has he has personal experience of what critics often compare current time to. Steele’s dictions throughout “The Age of White Guilt and the Disappearance of the Black Individual” is ad populum. His appeal to the people, or more specifically his appeal to his main audience, is that Steele refers to Africans Americans as “We” Steele emphasizes that “…we were faithless...”, “we have not been the same since”, and “we have been a contingent people…” By identifying as a part of the same group his audience is a part of, Steele shows his similarity and desire for a common …show more content…
These Black equality movements are a misnomer. Steele is right. Blacks are fighting in a time of White guilt –not White oppression. The Black equality movements are not looking for equality but more so. Affirmative Action promotes this goal of more than equality by giving benefits to minorities in a time where America is relatively ethnicity agnostic. Affirmative Action is one of the last policies standing in the way of what the great Civil Rights activists fought for. Blacks then did not want to be treated better. They wanted to be treated like a White person, like equals. Whites do not receive the benefits of Affirmative Action. Whites are not granted “the equivalent of hundreds of SAT points” Martin Luther King Jr. stated that an “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” Those truly in favor of racial equality like Martin Luther King Jr. would not want this type of special treatment. A Black should have the same chances of success as a White, an Asian, or anyone of any ethnicity for that matter. Steele accounts for this desire for more than equality by blaming the self-victimizing nature of Blacks and White Guilt, but Steele fails to sufficiently show how equal the playing field is. Even though Steele does not sufficiently demonstrate this, he achieves his purpose with his timely and considerate argument of a complex relation between

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