COURAGE IN CRISIS: The Black Professional Today by Jonathan Bramwell

COURAGE IN CRISIS: The Black Professional Today

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A caustic and occasionally abrasive study of racism as it affects the black research scientist, engineer, academician and corporation manager. Bramwell, a black PhD. in biophysics, inveighs against the notion that race is irrelevant to the ""qualified"" elite or even (as the media have sometimes contended) that big companies are beating the bushes for black talent. True, overt racial slurs are rare, the bias being subtle and institutionalized, beginning with the ""information pinch"" which keeps black adolescents from knowing the mechanical procedures of college admissions and the black executive from the inner sanctum of, say, the Harvard Club, where top positions are often Filled. Further, he asserts that quotas exist (""if there is a black manager then there is no need for a black chemist"") which pit black professionals against each other for the few slots available. Essentially Bramwell argues that the social pressures of moving up in white society -- conforming to white standards of food, dress and manners -- and not ghetto early exposure to rats and roaches is the truly debilitating factor. Maybe -- but Bramwell saves his most startling allegations for the end. Discounting both separatism and integration as a means of upgrading the black socioeconomic position he suggests instead that science -- especially the new sciences of computer technology and cybernetics -- can be used to circumvent the racist system. If blacks were brought (presumably by the thousands) into such new fields as oceanography, space research and computer science and ""trained to operate the new life-supporting systems"" they could leapfrog years of catching up. Scientifically he feels this is feasible since in these fields traditional, formal education is less important than ""a new set of imaginative skills."" A fascinating idea but also one which seems utterly utopian in terms of social and technocratic realities.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1972
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill