Monday, March 02, 2009

Losing the Race

In Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black AmericaJames McWhorter examines why African American students underachieve academically, not just those from low income homes, but those in all socio-economic strata. He presents a lot of data that I'd never seen and argues his points logically and persuasively. The book is trenchant and brave, in that he often says things that will get him in hot water, that other Black scholars don't want to address. It's a good book for anyone interested in addressing the achievement gap and for anyone who wants to learn how to argue well. How to present your side and refute critics.

As a language teacher, I enjoyed his explanations of linguistics and Black English. I admire him for standing alone in the Ebonics controversy. Others might find those passages off-topic.

I can see that some will use his thesis to bolster their prejudices and to say we can't help "some people."

When I get home, I plan to read his next book Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America.Evidently, he doesn't merely criticize and diagnose, he presents a solution.

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