Despite the apparent racial progress reflected in Obama’s election, the African American community in the United States is in a deep crisis on many fronts—economic, intellectual, cultural, and spiritual. This book sets out to trace the ideological roots of this crisis. Challenging the conventional historical narrative of race in America, Peller contends that the structure of contemporary racial discourse was set in the confrontation between liberal integrationism and black nationalism during the 1960s and 1970s. Arguing that the ideology of integrationism that emerged was highly conservative, apologetic, and harmful to the African American community, this book is sure to provide a new lens for studying—and learning from—American race relations in the twentieth century.
“Gary Peller’s Critical Race Consciousness is a profound inquiry into the prevailing frameworks through which we understand race in America. His compelling critique of liberal integrationism alongside his rejection of postmodern understandings of race is a major contribution to scholarship and political struggle for freedom!”
“Gary Peller, the long-time Intellectual social activist, examines in Critical Race Consciousness the worsening racial climate in the wake of Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s leader. Reviewing racial developments over the last half century, Peller asserts that the triumph of ‘integrationism’ over black nationalism left a leadership void for the unfulfilled black middle class who are no longer able to provide a bridge up for the growing number of poverty-level blacks, who were mostly passed over during the civil rights era, find themselves with few opportunities and no effective plans to improve their plight.”
—Derrick Bell, NYU Law School, author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism
“Peller’s brilliant critique of color blindness and his case for race-consciousness are more important and valuable than ever, as the Supreme Court works to forbid in the name of race neutrality the few remaining programs of the civil rights movement.”
—Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School