Saviors or Sellouts: The Promise and Peril of Black Conservatism, from Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice

By Christopher Alan Bracey | Go to book overview

SEVEN
The Rising Tide
of Black Neoconservative
Intellectualism

The Blame Game, “Self-Help,”
Shelby Steele, and John McWhorter

Among black neoconservatives, it was the intellectuals that received consistent media attention throughout the 1980s and proved most effective in shaping the contours of black neoconservative thought. Interestingly, the most influential figures to emerge were all men: Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Glenn Loury, Shelby Steele, and more recently, John McWhorter. There were, however, a handful of women who joined the ranks as well. The most prominent were Illinois State University sociologist and Ayn Rand disciple Anne Wortham, and Harvard-trained Eileen Gardner, a researcher at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Wortham proved the more conservative of the two, exemplified by her critically acclaimed book The Other Side of Racism, which presented an extended and often argumentative dismissal of human rights and civil rights activism. Gardner, along with Claudia Butts, the Heritage Foundation's minority outreach director who would go on to serve briefly as the Bush administration's White House liaison to blacks, similarly worked to advance the new black conservative agenda. Whatever suspicions one might have regarding the gender imbalance among black

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