ONE BY ONE FROM THE INSIDE OUT by Glenn C. Loury

ONE BY ONE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A call for the civil rights movement to take a new direction. In this collection of essays and book reviews, Loury (Economics/Boston Univ.) examines such topics as political correctness, leadership failure among black intellectuals and politicians, economic discrimination, and black-Jewish relations. But the book's central thrust is that the African-American community must look within for the solution to such problems as inner-city violence and the breakdown of the family. ``The civil rights movement now confronts its greatest challenge--to redefine an agenda created during the turbulent 1950s and 1960s, so that it may conform with the sociopolitical realities of the 1990s and beyond,'' he writes. Traditional activist remedies, aimed at governmental or legislative intervention, have reached a point of diminishing returns, he argues, and black moral leadership should now be directed at achieving a behavioral change that will ``seek to mitigate the worst conditions of lower-class black life.'' Loury contends that preoccupation with victim status impedes this. The divide he traces is a longstanding one among African-American intellectuals, generally ascribed--as it is here--to the competing legacies of the activist W.E.B. Du Bois, who saw equality as a right, and Booker T. Washington, who viewed it as a reward for self-improvement. The divide is bitter, and this is at times a heart-wrenching book. Loury seems transfixed by his apostasy when he speaks of being applauded for his ``courage'' by people whose approval he does not seek and scarified by the outrage of those whose ear he most wants. Uneven, limited, level-headed, important--and, yes, courageous: not to be ignored.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1995
ISBN: 0-02-919441-5
Page count: 300pp
Publisher: Free Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1995