Kirkus Reviews QR Code
BLACKWARDS by Ron Christie

BLACKWARDS

How Black Leadership Is Returning America to the Days of Separate but Equal

By Ron Christie

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-312-59147-2
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

A senior advisor to Congress and the White House offers some outspoken advice on how to oppose racism in a post-racial society.

Christie (Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur, 2010, etc.) believes that “education is the civil rights issue for the twenty first century.” The author advocates a path forward that involves ending affirmative action based on racial quotas, re-examining the functions of the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus and other black organizations, and “refraining from hurling allegations of racism against political opponents.” The author first appeals to the legacies of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., and the tradition of Brown v. Board of Education. For him, their legacies represent their successes, and the “march for equality is over in most respects.” The author argues that to continue to fight for improvements for minorities through affirmative action and other means (e.g., promoting multiculturalism) is to express a particular interest against the general welfare and is therefore regressive. For Christie, such advocacy is also racist, so many black organizations, including the Black Caucus, “are racist and should be disbanded.” In his view, the Obama administration has been a main source of racial polarization. He also asserts that the problems facing black communities—e.g., unemployment, school quality, poverty, broken households—are no longer problems of deprivation of rights or lack of equal protections, and thus do not need addressing via the methods of the past.

The author’s argument is likely to find support, but absent any discussion of how to fund and implement education and employment policies, it lacks utility.