A thoughtful, thorough analysis geared toward African-American leaders and educators that offers limited readability for a...



Former high school math teacher Reverend Rufus Phillips explores the root challenges of African-American’s self-actualization in this blend of memoir and sociological study.

Composed of “case studies” from his public school classroom, Phillips zeros in on two obstacles to academic success for African-Americans, or “soul people,” as he says. One of his conflicts centers on “experiential” rather than “abstract” expression styles. He offers the example of an African-American girl commenting on the weather by saying “It’s cooold outside” rather than “It’s extremely cold.” Another obstacle is a tendency to value the community more than the individual. Consequently, he theorizes, the model of independent success and single-minded competition that drives many Americans does not inspire many black Americans, particularly females. By reframing his pedagogical approach around these observations, Phillips details how he was able to reach certain students who’d appeared to be academically hopeless. Some of what Phillips describes as an African-American student’s dilemma could be said about many young people, across cultures, who flourish when exposed to alternative learning methods and flounder under the static approach of standard public school education. But Phillips goes deeper to show how this alienation takes a toll on his students’ confidence and their larger individual and cultural identities. In order to rise to their true potential, Phillips believes that African-Americans must nourish their dual identities and embrace both immediate and abstract communication styles, learn how to be both pro-individual and pro-community, and own both their heritage as the oppressed and their present reality as privileged members of a “Euro-American” society. Further, he advises forgiveness, because to live with anger toward white America fosters a damaging “moral philosophy based on victimization.” This text is carefully constructed with considered observations and support drawn from a variety of sources and thinkers. Phillips can be commended for not injecting any pop-culture fluff or oversimplifying his message, but as a whole, the book lacks fluidity and intuitive organization.

A thoughtful, thorough analysis geared toward African-American leaders and educators that offers limited readability for a general audience.

Pub Date: March 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468566123

Page Count: 240

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2012

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A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.


A British journalist fulminates against Black Lives Matter, critical race theory, and other threats to White privilege.

“There is an assault going on against everything to do with the Western world—its past, present, and future.” So writes Spectator associate editor Murray, whose previous books have sounded warnings against the presumed dangers of Islam and of non-Western immigration to the West. As the author argues, Westerners are supposed to take in refugees from Africa, Asia, and Latin America while being “expected to abolish themselves.” Murray soon arrives at a crux: “Historically the citizens of Europe and their offspring societies in the Americas and Australasia have been white,” he writes, while the present is bringing all sorts of people who aren’t White into the social contract. The author also takes on the well-worn subject of campus “wokeness,” a topic of considerable discussion by professors who question whether things have gone a bit too far; indeed, the campus is the locus for much of the anti-Western sentiment that Murray condemns. The author’s arguments against reparations for past damages inflicted by institutionalized slavery are particularly glib. “It comes down to people who look like the people to whom a wrong was done in history receiving money from people who look like the people who may have done the wrong,” he writes. “It is hard to imagine anything more likely to rip apart a society than attempting a wealth transfer based on this principle.” Murray does attempt to negotiate some divides reasonably, arguing against “exclusionary lines” and for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s call for a more vigorous and welcoming civil culture. Too often, however, the author falters, as when he derides Gen. Mark Milley for saying, “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white”—perhaps forgetting the climacteric White rage that Milley monitored on January 6, 2021.

A scattershot exercise in preaching to the choir.

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-316202-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Broadside Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2022

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Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.


The tech mogul recounts the health care–related dimensions of his foundation in what amounts to a long policy paper.

“Outbreaks are inevitable, but pandemics are optional.” Thus states the epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, a Gates adviser, who hits on a critically important point: Disease is a fact of nature, but a pandemic is a political creation of a kind. Therefore, there are political as well as medical solutions that can enlist governments as well as scientists to contain outbreaks and make sure they don’t explode into global disasters. One critical element, Gates writes, is to alleviate the gap between high- and low-income countries, the latter of which suffer disproportionately from outbreaks. Another is to convince governments to ramp up production of vaccines that are “universal”—i.e., applicable to an existing range of disease agents, especially respiratory pathogens such as coronaviruses and flus—to prepare the world’s populations for the inevitable. “Doing the right thing early pays huge dividends later,” writes Gates. Even though doing the right thing is often expensive, the author urges that it’s a wise investment and one that has never been attempted—e.g., developing a “global corps” of scientists and aid workers “whose job is to wake up every day thinking about diseases that could kill huge numbers of people.” To those who object that such things are easier said than done, Gates counters that the development of the current range of Covid vaccines was improbably fast, taking a third of the time that would normally have been required. At the same time, the author examines some of the social changes that came about through the pandemic, including the “new normal” of distance working and learning—both of which, he urges, stand to be improved but need not be abandoned.

Gates offers a persuasive, 30,000-foot view of a global problem that, he insists, can be prevented given will and money.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-53448-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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