TOWARD THE “BEST” POST–CIVIL
THIS BOOK SYNTHESIZES the major civil rights theories pertaining to blacks articulated since the early 1970s, the end of the civil rights movement. Four major theoretical positions have emerged during this post– civil rights period—traditionalism, reformism, limited separation, and critical race theory. Informed by the contrasting racial dynamics of the Age of Obama (racial success and racial despair), each theory is built around what I regard to be the central civil rights question of the day, at least as it pertains to African Americans—to wit, what are the major factors that sustain the American race problem, and what should be done to redress these factors? I define the American race problem as resource disparity between black and white America or, in other words, capital deficiencies within black America. Each theory is carefully presented and constructively critiqued based on its completeness (my theory of completeness), that is, based on its external and internal diagnosis of and prescription for the problem of race pertaining to blacks today. The diagnostic analysis proceeds at the empirical level, while the prescriptive analysis proceeds at the normative level. This particular approach reflects my strong view that post–civil rights theory should use the “is” of diagnosis to produce the “ought” of prescription.
Collectively, the post–civil rights theories beg the question, what is the “best” civil rights theory for blacks in this post–civil rights period? More specifically, what is the “best” way to both diagnose and resolve resource deficits in black America? This question can, of course, be raised with respect to nonblack civil rights groups, including Latinos, Asians, and women. But, as I have indicated in the introduction, one would have to begin with a careful definition of the post–civil rights problem facing each group. Resource disparity may or may not be the best way to define the race or gender problem pertaining to these groups. For example, immigration issues may need to be factored into a definition of the post–civil rights problem facing Latinos, and disparate resources may not be the most accurate or complete way to define the civil rights problem facing Asians because they have greater resources than whites in some areas of American life (see the appendix). Hence, each civil rights group has its own set of post–civil rights problems that warrant individual attention. My