The End of Racism
Dinesh D’Souza’s THE END OF RACISM is a tour de force on the race question in the United States. Its principal thesis is that racism is not the cause of black failure, and liberal assumptions about the causes and consequences of racism are wrong. According to D’Souza, the problems of the black underclass stem from cultural pathologies, which result largely from unintended consequences of government policy. “Great Society” programs helped destroy the African American family, making paternal responsibility unattractive and rewarding maternal irresponsibility.
The role of the state in meliorating the lot of the black underclass should be limited and the primary vehicle of improvement generated within the black community. D’Souza calls for a united black effort to effect their community’s rebirth, supported and encouraged—not engineered—by the larger society. When these endeavors succeed, racism will die a natural death.
D’Souza further argues that current widespread preferential policies are premised on an equality of cultures incompatible with fundamental principles of liberal democracy, such as equal protection of the laws. He attacks the “proportional representational” premises of preferential policies, which often wrongly assume bias, and is scathing in his treatment of the handmaiden of relativism in education, multiculturalism.
Although often compellingly argued, THE END OF RACISM is not without flaws. One example is D’Souza’s slippery discussion of the connection between intelligence and heredity. He accepts the notion that group differences are best explained by cultural characteristics, without providing a basis for doing so, other than his evident desire that competing views be false.
Despite this lapse and others in taste and judgment (ironical terms such as “Uncle Tom’s Dilemma” and “The Content of Our Chromosomes” abound), D’Souza presents important arguments. THE END OF RACISM is worth a serious and careful read.
Sources for Further Study
The Christian Science Monitor. November 1, 1995, p. 14.
The Economist. CCCXXXVII, October 14, 1995, p. 101.
Forbes. CLVI, September 25, 1995, p. 58.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. November 26, 1995, p. 4.
The New York Review of Books. XLII, October 19, 1995, p. 10.
The New York Times Book Review. C, September 24, 1995, p. 9.
The New Yorker. LXXI, October 2, 1995, p. 91.
Newsweek. CXXVI, September 25, 1995, p. 72.
Time. CXLVI, October 2, 1995, p. 87.
The Wall Street Journal. September 21, 1995, p. A20.