Read Intellectuals and Race by Thomas Sowell Online


Intellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense of one that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the American experience in a wholly new light. The views of individual intellectuals have spanned the spectrum, but the views of intellectuals as a whole have tended to clustIntellectuals and Race is a radical book in the original sense of one that goes to the root of the problem. The role of intellectuals in racial strife is explored in an international context that puts the American experience in a wholly new light. The views of individual intellectuals have spanned the spectrum, but the views of intellectuals as a whole have tended to cluster. Indeed, these views have clustered at one end of the spectrum in the early twentieth century and then clustered at the opposite end of the spectrum in the late twentieth century. Moreover, these radically different views of race in these two eras were held by intellectuals whose views on other issues were very similar in both eras.Intellectuals and Race is not, however, a book about history, even though it has much historical evidence, as well as demographic, geographic, economic and statistical evidence-- all of it directed toward testing the underlying assumptions about race that have prevailed at times among intellectuals in general, and especially intellectuals at the highest levels. Nor is this simply a theoretical exercise. The impact of intellectuals' ideas and crusades on the larger society, both past and present, is the ultimate concern. These ideas and crusades have ranged widely from racial theories of intelligence to eugenics to "social justice" and multiculturalism. In addition to in-depth examinations of these and other issues, Intellectuals and Race explores the incentives, the visions and the rationales that drive intellectuals at the highest levels to conclusions that have often turned out to be counterproductive and even disastrous, not only for particular racial or ethnic groups, but for societies as a whole....

Title : Intellectuals and Race
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ISBN : 9780465058723
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Intellectuals and Race Reviews

  • Leslie
    2019-03-02 18:40

    Remarkable! Thomas Sowell is our day's Booker T. Washington, and his books are essential to understanding race relations and economics in America. Sowell's books on economics and race are quickly filling our shelves, as he is by far the most coherent, data-driven (over 30 pages of footnotes in this book alone!) and realistic voice for why there are disparities among races in America. This book challenges the empty narrative and false dichotomy presented by progressives that disparities are due to either genetic determinism (early 20th century idea) or discrimination (rhetoric of today). I highly recommend Intellectuals & Race, as Sowell particularly address the "intelligentsia" and their ideas, often presented and promoted without tangible evidence. His version is in step with history, economics, social and biological truths that every American ought to consider as he forms his ideas about race.

  • Michael Skaggs
    2019-03-05 17:29

    Extremely provocative - the "intelligentsia," which Sowell does not really define, will probably fly into a rage at this book. While some of examples could be backed up with better data - which Sowell cites as a prime criterion for testing the validity of intellectual-liberal social engineering - but his ideas are sound. In most cases he makes logical, if not emotionally satisfying, appeals to draw clearer lines between social problems that go beyond blaming majority / well-off populations.

  • Grieve Chelwa
    2019-02-27 00:17

    Thomas Sowell never disappoints.

  • Mike Horne
    2019-03-18 16:36

    I did not find this well written, but very interesting. His thesis is that intellectuals in the 1900s blamed race differences simply on genetics (social Darwinism) and that modern intellectuals blame race differences simply on the racism of society. Neither of these are correct. This book is strongly anti-multiculturalism. I certainly buy Sowell more thanthe textbook on Multiculturalism by James Banks.

  • Bill Powers
    2019-03-18 00:27

    Intellectuals and Race is a refreshingly honest, but rare, discussion of race and the history of intellectuals and race in the western world. Sowell is a real thinker who has no use for the politically correct pabulum our culture is drenched in today. Sadly, far too many of our black youths who idolize athletes and entertainers, many of them being convicted felons, likely have no idea who Thomas Sowell is. Sowell’s is the kind of intellectually stimulating thought that should be taught in our schools.

  • Roslyn Ross
    2019-02-21 18:25

    Super interesting. Sowell argues that academia's ideas about race created the social unrest that led to the first world wars and are doing the same thing now. Church and state must always be separated. But people don't realize that academia is now a church. It used to be priests that made the king legitimate. Now academia serves that same function for the state.Sowell uses many interesting examples to show that poverty culture of a specific racial group combined with victim ideology exists in different places all over the world, not just the US. Legalized discrimination to help one group that is too low or hurt one group that is too high has been enacted in various places and times on every continent throughout history. (And it never works out well.)Sowell believes the solution lies in culture. He shows example after example of different impoverished racial groups rising by copying what the more successful cultures around them are doing, which in the modern day has always been education. Education is the golden ticket out of poverty.And that is a far more interesting idea than Sowell realizes. If academia is the new church, it has a stranglehold on the world. You cannot rise unless you join. Whatever culture you are a part of, it better kowtow to academia, or it will be kept down. Doesn't matter if what academia is preaching is rational or not, they are the current super powerful, super scary priests of the modern day. Government has sanctioned their church. You cannot work in virtually any well-paying field without their seal of approval.For more on the fascinating power that is academia, read this book review:

  • Ryan
    2019-02-19 23:21

    I used to count Sowell among those with whom we (the vast majority of scholars working in the fields he critiques in this book) had to engage as he has in the past raised serious and important questions about the assumptions of scholarship around race, etc.This book fails, miserably, to meet that standard- as I gather much of his more recent work does. His audience is clearly not those whose objective is to think seriously about issues of race/racial justice/racial inequality, but rather those who are searching for a non-white writer to give voice to their deepest resentments and private intuitions about racial difference. The underlying assumptions here, though, are not terribly distant from the kind of tired "cultural pathology" tropes that have been in currency for the last 40 years- some of which he at least refers to directly.I'l identify just a few criticisms, though there are nearly too many to name, but such a seriously regarded scholar deserves some specific criticisms.For a book whose subject is race, there is a terribly imprecise treatment of the construct, and he often conflates, confuses or otherwise misrepresents the differences between race, ethnicity, and culture. These differences are important in general, but especially important to the kind of culturalist argument he is advancing.His effort to suggest (with a few carefully placed caveats) that eugenics and biological racism - both of which still have some purchase in the far corners of the paleoconservative movements today- are essentially a phenomenon of the progressive Left is hugely irresponsible and dishonest. It's absolutely true that many progressive-era thinkers bought into and propagated pseudo-scientific racism, but the suggestion that it is necessarily the product of "social engineering," or that these ideas were somehow a product of progressive ideology or politics, or that they were not FAR MORE constitutive of the conservative movements of the day is terrible dishonest. This whole line of argument, irresponsible and ahistorical as it is, has been propagated by Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" among many other paces- with reminders that "The Klan were Democrats," etc. Of course this is, like what Sowell has done here, an intentional conflation of party with ideology, etc. Conservative movements have always been characterized by an affinity for- or at least acceptance of "natural hierarchies" and scientific/naturalistic racism is one species of this perspective. Note that unlike Sowell, I am NOT implying the conservatism leads to eugenics, not in the least.His effort to make his culturalist argument about race more robust by referring to majority/minority relations in other societies is irresponsible as well because universalizing a cultural argument undermines the cultural context. Ethnic Han Chinese in Malaysia are not the same as WASPs in the US for a whole variety of reasons, for example.The sloppiest rhetorical move in the book was to suggest that somehow "The American Dilemma" was a watershed moment for nearly all progressives that caused a wholesale migration from eugenicism to the modern racial liberalism that Sowell so decries. Not only does he not explain a mechanism by which this process might have happened, but provides no evidence of individuals or organizations that made this transition. This is the fingerprint of a fundamentally unserious writer- to find a narrative device (for which there is no evidence) that ties up the whole "progressives are responsible for all racism" deceit in an ugly bow.There is, however, considerable evidence in the academic literature that those who once made eugenicist/biological arguments for racial inequality now make the kinds of culturalist arguments that Sowell is advancing. (See Larry Bobo's recent work, for example). Because it is no longer considered polite, for example, to suggest that people of color are more likely to be poor because of their inferior brains, THE SAME people today are much more likely to couch their resentment and dismissal in reflections on "Black Culture."While Sowell half-heartedly concedes that structural factors maybe be the cause of and/or intertwined with cultural practices of, for example "Southern African Americans," he seems to gloss over the fact that changing structural relationships might be possible or desirable. This is a rather significant error.Perhaps the most shocking claim in the entire book, carefully couched in condemnation of the institution of slavery, was his subtle suggestion that those descended from slaves in the US were lucky for such an advantage relative to the current peoples of West Africa. This is a long and well-worn suggestion that has great currency in the Neo-Confederate and White Supremacist communities today, but is frankly well beneath the kind of discourse that Sowell suggests he is promoting.There is some recent work as well about the experiences with discrimination of recent African Immigrants that also undercuts the culturalist explanation- it turns out that being perceived as "Black" regardless of your own culture and values (and other opportunity structures" can limit one's life chances in ways that matter. (See Quincy Stewart's work on this)Unlike the caricature of the sentimentalist guilt-ridden disconnected radicals determined to be "on the side of the Angels," most folks who take this work seriously- that is understanding racial inequality- hold themselves and their work to a much, much higher standard than the quality of this book. There is, even within the academy from which Sowell is so estranged, a shift toward understanding culture better as it relates to racial inequality. There's a serious effort to really understand the complexity of the yawning gaps of racial inequality in our country. Problems that, in many ways, are getting worse and not better.But that was never the point of this book. This is a polemic designed not only to grant absolution to those who have supported and do support systems, policies and practices that create and exacerbate racial inequality, but it's also a dressed-up smear job directed at those who oppose them. This is a book written for resentful white people designed to provide a fancy justification for opposition to racial justice.Sowell is clearly a gifted intellectual whose influence is especially significant in certain quarters of our society. But this particular effort represents a new low in pandering and dishonesty. Those of you who love this intellectual so much should demand more of him. And he of himself.

  • Cornel Darden jr.
    2019-03-16 20:40

    I think that Sowell sheds light on issues of race that many don't mention in their everyday bickerings over race. Sowell seems like a Booker T. Washington of our times. What seems like rhetoric catering to white supremacy, Sowell provides black folks with a cultural mindset that would help eliminate many of the social ills that affect blacks as individuals and to also give those individuals a solution to their racial problems. What's sad is that many black people have not read him. His books do seem to be somewhat repetitive. But hey, repetition is good! The great information that he provides will stick!!!

  • Steve
    2019-02-21 19:17

    Here is a perspective on this key issue that you won't hear anywhere else. Sowell lays out the reason why the pursuit of an abstract equality is doomed to mutate into oppression, hurting the very people in whose name it acts. The drivers of the new vision are the intellectuals, the "anointed", whose vision for society has driven the agenda of multiculturalism and egalitarianism.

  • Jaron Roux
    2019-03-10 19:42

    Great book that expounds on a section from Intellectuals and Society. Sowell puts forth excellent arguments about Race and how we think about history with respect to race. Joy to read!

  • Phillip Elliott
    2019-03-12 16:20

    Dr. Sowell never disappoints. Every one of his books is better than the last one and this one is a thought provoking look at facts and figures that fly in the face of conventional thought.

  • Jacob Jewell
    2019-03-08 17:38

    I read the extended version of this, titled Intellectuals and Society. It had worthwhile thoughts with interesting examples. I'm glad I read it.

  • Bob O'bannon
    2019-03-12 17:16

    Sowell makes the case that a false dichotomy (124) has prevailed in discussions about race for the last century, which is that disparities of outcomes among races are due either to some kind of inherent racial inferiority (which was believed by many elite intellectuals in the early 20th century, as documented in startling fashion in chapter 3), or due to malicious discriminatory injustices in the society itself that foment an “agenda of resentment-building” (108). Sowell believes both of these options are wrong-headed.Largely because of the influence of multiculturalism, which claims that all cultures are absolutely equal, the question is rarely considered whether a particular minority might be lagging behind others because of certain unproductive behavioral patterns that people within the culture are pressured to adopt (110). The well-being of certain people cannot improve as long as there is a “nonjudgmental view of socially counterproductive behavior.” (117).Sowell does not limit his analysis to relations between blacks and whites in America, but instead refers to many other examples of minority cultures in other parts of the world throughout history. He shows that a multitude of factors, such as geography, history, demographics, and happenstance, will always influence group outcomes, making it impossible that the same end result can ever be achieved for all. In any case, the wrong way forward is to encourage minorities to “see other people’s good fortune as a grievance, rather than an incentive for self-improvement.” (113)

  • Todd Luallen
    2019-03-09 18:37

    An exceptional book on a topic that is always a hot one. Sowell, a brilliant and talented man, has done an exceptional job of explaining the problem that faces society if we continue to follow the "intellectuals" without question. Sowell presents a plethora of data to support the premise that equality of outcome should not be expected, and that there are MANY factors that contribute to the inequality of outcome, most of which have nothing to do with racial or ethnic prejudice. I found the book very informative and helpful. His conclusion is fairly simple and straightforward. He doesn't ask for broad sweeping changes in government programs or in spending (although I'm sure he has an opinion on such things), instead he just says that he wants the public to be aware that the "intellectuals" have no consequence for being wrong. And therefore we need to be careful when we listen to their "wisdom" so as not to be swept up in a self-serving industry that may actually do more harm than good for those that they claim to represent. This book is actually a quick read as it was originally a few chapters within a larger book on the broader subject of "intellectuals." The larger book was titled "Intellectuals and Society."

  • Sarah
    2019-03-18 22:30

    Intellectuals and Race is full of very polarizing ideas. As a conservative Black man who argues against identity politics and, it seems, the general social-justice movement, Thomas Sowell is a very polarizing man. The book attempts to show that academic research around race and its interpretations have swung from one extreme to another. In both cases, he argues that the intelligentsia is wrong and has abused its power by cherry picking data to support preconceived notions.In the early 20th century academics began observing discrepancies among races and attributed them to genetic differences that could never be surmounted. This contributed to terrible injustices and prejudiced ways of thinking that contributed to horrors like the Holocaust. At this time in history the intelligentsia (people who study and work in ideas, not all of the “intelligent” people) interpreted differences among groups as reasons why some were inherently inferior to others.Currently the intelligentsia has swung to the opposite interpretation. Discrepancies aren’t a sign of genetic differences; they are a sign of injustice. In its most extreme version this means that all people are literally created equal and if some are more successful than others then the system needs to be dismantled. This has led to controversial programs like affirmative action and welfare that are lauded by some groups as great equalizers and condemned by others as adding to or creating more social problems.Sowell's interpretation of discrepancies among groups of people is that there are myriad influences that have led to them throughout human history. Geography, available resources, and other environmental factors greatly contributed to differences among races in more distant time periods. In modern times culture, education and local economy have played much larger roles. He remains firm that the variety of human ability is present among all races and groups, but that that doesn't preclude differences in averages among groups.Sowell attacks "soft science" intellectuals who promote identity issues more than hard science. This attack stems from the belief that culture is a primary factor of whether or not a person succeeds in their environment. He describes situations in history where groups that assimilated into dominant cultures tended to have greater economic success (he draws on Eastern Europe, immigrant waves to America in the 1800s, and America post-emancipation for examples).He has a very unpopular view on multiculturalism and diversity. He knows of no evidence that diversity itself is beneficial, and sees multiculturalism as a form of the caste system, in the sense that it freezes people in the culture they were born into, whether or not it fully prepares you for success in the world you live in. He also thinks that our attempts to right the injustices of the past are creating more. He describes a timeline of social and economic decline of many Black Americans that started around the time that welfare was instated and points out that Affirmative Action often only helps the most advantaged of the disadvantaged.I think Sowell’s ultimate goal in writing this book is to say: don’t be taken in by academics. Demand proof and think critically about what they’re saying. They’re fallible people too, and the intelligentsia has been wrong in the past – with disastrous effects.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-08 18:44

    This is a brave book. [Thomas Sowell] (the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow for Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University) explores the impact on society of intellectuals' ideas on race. He begins by defining intellectuals aspeople whose work begins and ends with occupational designation rather than an honorific title, and implies nothing about the mental level of those in that occupation. The racial theories of eugenics, intelligence, social justice or multiculturalism are discussed in light of economic and statistical evidence. [Sowell] points out that The industrial revolution could hardly have begun in the Balkans or Hawaii, regardless of what people were living there - and neither could the people in those places have developed the same industrial skills, habits and ways of life at the same time as other people in other places where the industrial revolution did in fact begin.This method of analysis shows how racial theories have turned out to be counterproductive and even harmful to the people they were intended to help, and to society as a whole.I have a lot of quotes to share - really I'm just saying this book is highly recommended.Quotes:By "intellectuals" is meant here people in a particular occupation - namely, people whose work begins and ends with ideas. It is an occupational designation, rather than an honorific title, and implies nothing about the mental level of those in that occupation. Chemists or chess grandmasters may be of equal or greater mental accomplishment, but there are not intellectuals because their work ends with an outcome subject to empirical verification by known standards, while the outcomes of the work of intellectuals are subject essentially to peer consensus.Intellectuals on opposite ends of the spectrum in different eras have been similar in another way. Both have tended to ignore the long-standing warning from statisticians that correlation is not causation. One race may be more successful than another at a particular endeavor, or a whole range of endeavors, for reasons that are neither genetic nor a result of the way the society in which they live treats them. There are many historic, geographic and demographic reasons for groups to differ from one another in their skills, experiences, cultures and values - whether these are different social, national or racial groups.The initial thrust of the civil rights movement, and of laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was the extension of the same rights to all citizens, irrespective of race. It was understood that such an extension would be especially valuable to those citizens - such as blacks and other minority group members- who had previously been denied some of those rights in one way or another. But while such policies would especially benefit particular groups, the larger implication of the civil rights movement was seen as being in effect a completion of the American Revolution, by bringing its ideals to fruition for all, the goal being aimed at making race irrelevant to laws and policies. Whatever the merits or demerits of this particular conception, it was one attracting a broad consensus across racial lines, among both intellectuals and the general public, and bipartisan support in Congress...Despite the breadth of this consensus, it was short-lived...The ghetto riots that swept across many American cities in the 1960's... forfeited much sympathy for blacks among the general public. Among blacks, disappointment that the economic and social advances did not match the high expectations of the social revolution that the civil rights laws and policies were to produce, provided fertile ground for more radical elements urging more extreme action.A cosmic injustice is not a social injustice, and proceeding as if society has both the omniscience and the omnipotence to "solve" the "problem" risks anti-social justice, in which others are jeopardized or sacrificed, in hopes of putting some particular segment of the population where they would be "but for" being born into adverse circumstances that they did not choose. It is certainly no benefit to blacks in general to take a sympathetic view of those blacks who commit crimes, since most of the crimes committed by blacks - especially murder - are committed against other blacks.Quite simply, intellectuals pay no price for being wrong, no matter how wrong or whit what catastrophic consequences for millions of other people. The sweeping acceptance of theories of genetic determinism by intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic in the early decades of the twentieth century had impacts on things ranging from immigration policies to compulsory sterilization policies to the Holocaust. Yet those who promoted these beliefs paid no price.Many people who advocate what they think of as equality promote what is in fact make-believe equality. In economic terms, taking what others have produced and giving it to those who have not produced as much (or at all, in some cases) is make-believe equality - as contrasted with real equality, which would be enabling the less productive to become more productive, so that they could create for themselves what they are trying to take from others. However, real equality is not only harder to achieve, it is something whose achievement cannot be created by outsiders, as redistribution can be, but requires the efforts of those who lag. Make-believe equality, by creating a sense of entitlement to what others have created, reduces the incentives to making efforts to produce for one's self.

  • Shane Huber
    2019-02-17 17:28

    Leftist intellectuals and race industrialists benefit by shrinking the issue of racial disparity of outcome in the United States down to a one word singularity: it exists because "racism." Sowell here wonderfully dollies the camera out for a macro "long shot" of the picture; taking into account global historical trends of similar disparities and attempts to formulate a more cogent assessment than the intellectually lazy pejorative: racism. The foundation of his argument is a wonderfully comprehensive package of data and bibliographical references. Well worth a read.

  • Jay
    2019-02-21 00:33

    100 years ago, many intellectuals explained the differences in outcomes between races as being due to genetics. 100 years later, many intellectuals explain the differences in outcomes between races as being due to discrimination. Those explanations, then and now, confidently excogitated by the "intelligentsia" fall short, according to Sowell, and promote counter productive and sometimes dangerous policy and attitudes. Most of the stuff here can be found in Sowell's other books, but, as always, there's much interesting information here

  • Joël Linger
    2019-03-08 20:16

    Another great read. This is the second book of Thomas Sowell I have read and I am a big fan of his work. His views on multiculturalism, how not all cultures are equal (people are) and how certain aspects of certain cultures can be detrimental to said cultures, were an eye-opener for me. I'm not sure which book of his I am going to order next but I will definitely continue reading all things Sowell.

  • Sylvester Kuo
    2019-03-14 00:45

    Thomas Sowell's latest slam down on racism was as factual and as accurate as ever. Sowell's analysis of the problem with racism over the centuries has provided beautiful insight on why the intelligentsia has been cashing on this term for many years. I'll summarise each chapter now:-Introduction: debunking the myth of the discrimination against African Americans by introducing more racial groups into the statistics and you can see it's not the discrimination against the racial minority at fault.-Question about race: explanation of the cultural development of different geographical regions and how it has impacted the generation of wealth for different groups of people.-Disparities and their causes: Understand what disparity is and how it is manifested not only in African Americans but in other groups such as Jewish, Irish or Italian Americans and examining the disparities of racial groups in other countries such as Malay and Chinese. Stereotypes were used by the intelligentsia to control the behaviours of certain groups and even sub groups within a certain racial group can divide themselves such as Russian Jews lived clustered as well as Polish Jews, Hungarian Jews in Chicago, but German Jewish lived uptown in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.-Changing racial beliefs: Debunking the myth of genetic determinism by introducing factual data in the real world and exposing the contradictions and biases in IQ testing. It is important to note, other Southern and Eastern Europeans were also discriminated. And by classifying people's intelligence using the idea of Regional Grouping is inherently wrong because Irish immigrants typically have score lower on IQ test even though they would belong in the Nordic group. Such racial theories have been used by Propagandist for their own benefit such as protecting privilege from an interest group or for political motives. In fact, Nordic groups were far inferior during the classical antiquity age.-Internal response to disparities: Racial segregation has in fact generated tension through the propaganda by the racial leader who studied nothing but soft studies such as humanity and liberal arts, ultimately destroyed their country. Sowell used many examples but specifically the German and Czech relations, Anti Asian sentiment and antisemitism, while pointing out the hypocrisiy of the segregationist in their reluctance to acknowledge the discrimination against other groups but themselves or the reason why one group were able to be productive and the other cannot. Sowell also noted the acceptance of superior cultures by the Scots and Japanese has greatly improved both countries (Medicine and Engineering for Scots and Science and Technology for the Japanese).-Race and intelligence: Sowell attacked both the concept of genetic between different groups being the main determinant of intelligence using historical facts and statistics.-Liberalism and Multiculuralism: Liberation was the first movement to attempt to address the intelligence issue but still fails at recognizing it's more than just "Inequality" or "Legacy of Slavery" at work but it's the culture as a general that stop people from achieving. The best example is the similar delinquency in Brittons who have never been slaves themselves. Racism is deunked and to show the liberal era was doing more harm than good for the African Americans by promoting the identity politics. Multiculturalism was even worse, it created the entitlement mentality and no objective truth in the nation, for instance, by not teaching English properly to Spanish speaking Mexicans or African Americans.-Race and cosmic justice: The intelligentsia now attempts to play the "social justice" card by blaming others for their own problems. Racially motivated crime perpetuated by the Africans on other races (including asians) were largely ignored, intelligentsia even outright said it's due to systematic inequality or institutional racism. The idea of slavery has been present for thousands of years and America was the only country to have a war to end it yet the mentality of slavery ruined everything has been ingrained in the mind of young people, especially the non slaves who now have the dichotomy of ancestral guilt or arrogance of one's race-The past and the future: The false dichotomy is further deconstructed, in fact, all these ideologies presented by the intelligentsia were used as a race industry for their own benefit. Thousands of funds were spend on the organisations and commissions to bring about a false sense of achieving equality/closing the gap but it has greater impact than they expected. Affirmative action has done more harm than good, studies have found African and Hispanic graduates of Science and engineering degree rose by 51% after the abolition of preferential admissions and doctorates rose by 25%. Affirmative action also ignore the other disadvantaged races when it in fact serve to benefit the already advantaged groups. The disparate impact is the decline of ability and quality of the graduates in educational settings and reduced productivity in industrial setting. The only way we can stop this atrocity is equality. Respect for oneself and respect for the others.It is a fascinating read, I couldn't put it down once I picked it up. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the destruction of racial politics.

  • Clayton Brannon
    2019-02-24 23:35

    Extremely fascinating book that delves into subjects that many consider as taboo. Many will not agree with anything Mr Sowell says and I suspect he will be criticized by many for his ideas. Great book that I think everyone should read. He brings up a lot of questions that need to be asked and many assumptions that need to be questioned.

  • Rui
    2019-02-24 21:36

    A concise version of the author's another book Black Rednecks and White Liberals.

  • Corey
    2019-02-27 20:44

    Informed reading material though reads like a text book, though very informative.

  • Essy K
    2019-03-09 17:17

    Thomas Sowell takes on the challenge to confront the massive ideology wall of our times. In this book, he dives into the history of intellectual thinkers from the early twentieth century, and its emphasis on eugenics, to the twenty-first century, and its social justice for race. He talks about group disparities in America as well as abroad, cultural and environmental influences for such situations, the liberal ideology and multicultural narratives, as well as the causes behind such cases. Sowell proposes that the disparities between black minority and white majority groups are due mainly to economic, cultural, and environmental causes rather than social injustices. Normally, accusations from liberals contend that perspectives like these are only shared between conservative, white male elites; however, the author, in this case, is a highly rational, African-American economist. If people are going to determine the legitimacy of someone’s arguments based upon the color of his or her skin, then Sowell’s points should not be taken lightly.Much of what I read in here I already knew but needed more clarification on. Some of it I understood as related by people in my own life, who knew these truths from firsthand experience. In my church gathering, I know a bi-racial family, of which the father is African-American. He grew up in a middle-class neighborhood due to his parents’ work ethic, expressing that he was treated like any other white person and never experienced racial discrimination where he lived, in school, or the workplace as purported by modern-day social justice warriors and liberal elites. Racism still exists in America today, but its supposed dominance in permeating the people and power structures of society is virtually nonexistent. I’m glad Sowell emphasized this point in his book. Another example would be of my dad, who grew up in the poverty characterizing many blacks in the ghetto culture today. Without a father, he lived with his single mom and her drunken boyfriends, was kicked out of many homes, ran with a bad crowd, and abused drugs. Any “white privilege” he had had came from hard work and God’s hand in his life. In the workplace, he was repeatedly passed over for promotions by African-American and Hispanic co-workers of lesser experience. Booker T. Washington, a former African-American slave, is also an example of where hard work and God’s grace can get a person. These examples further confirm Sowell’s points, that equal opportunity is not the same thing as equality of outcome unless there are the necessary attitudes and skills of a driving work ethic; the disparities in our culture today are a result of this lack and not racial discrimination.I think the points made in this work of Sowell’s can shed light on the practical handling of racial issues today, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. I also note that he repeatedly used the phrase “being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil” throughout the book, which I find hilarious. But this phrase is very insightful as well, since it indicates the truth about man and his heart. Humans are created by God to have meaning in their lives, and they will try to find it wherever they can, however misdirected. In the case of the intelligentsia, and their unsuspecting followers, they create this meaning by committing themselves to movements and constructing “cosmic” narratives in which they are the good guys; they couldn’t stand not to do so.

  • PolicemanPrawn
    2019-03-02 21:39

    I watched a clip of Thomas Sowell, whom I was not familiar with, and was struck by the things he was saying, things few people would dare to voice. I knew I had to read his book, which is as good as promised.His main point is that intellectuals (people who work with ideas) across time have had steadfast and dogmatic views on race, opinions which have little correlation to the truth. In the early twentieth century, they believed that it was innate biological differences that resulted in a difference of outcomes. People who held otherwise were dismissed. In this progressive era, these differences are now attributed primarily or exclusively to external factors, particularly racism – and anyone who believes otherwise will get excoriated. Sowell proceeds to brilliantly dismantle these arguments. Note that he does not say external factors have no influence, just that it's much less than is conventionally believed. He claims rightly that these people have no interest in getting to the truth, that they would rather “position themselves as on the sides of the Angels against the forces of darkness” – virtue signalling in other words. It harms the groups in question as all responsibility for their plight is taken away from them, so that nothing they do can change their situation. Sowell also provides the most considered arguments in the realm of race and intelligence I’ve seen.Overall, this is one of the most insightful books on the topics of intellectuals and race I’ve seen. It says much about the state of our discourse that such arguments are pretty much barred, let alone openly debated. Sowell’s position allows him to say it, but most people would drown under a barrage of deployments of the r-word and other terms people use to avoid engaging in the substance of arguments. One caveat: he mostly limits himself to the black–white paradigm; consideration of other possibilities would shed further light on the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of the Intellectual Yet Idiots (IYI).

  • Tahni Candelaria
    2019-03-13 21:40

    I was intrigued by this book because of my interest in racial issues, in the US and abroad, and also because I am on the path toward becoming an "intellectual," or, one who is employed to produce thoughts and ideas. This book opened my mind. I thought I had gone through so many things, and read so much, that my mind was pretty much open to all the possibilities of human interaction and conflict. Besides all the other things this book taught me, it took me a step further in critical thinking and awareness. The ideas in this book will probably inform how I approach my future research and ideas about social justice/inequalities/disparities. Much of the thinking is easily taken and applied to other issues in the social sciences. The writing style is somewhere in between academic language, and language for the common man. :) There were a few times I had to re-read paragraphs, but all in all- I think Sowell does an excellent job communicating his thoughts, and logically at that. I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in race relations in the US, as well as an interest in social and cultural conflict. I will definitely be reading more of Sowell's work.

  • John Rudd
    2019-03-19 22:40

    Sowell provides a thought-provoking critique of intellectuals' conclusions regarding disparities in racial outcomes. Earlier in the twentieth century, intellectuals believed genetic differences were the cause of racial disparity. In the latter half of the twentieth century, intellectuals have believed that racism was and is the cause of racial disparity. Sowell adeptly debunks both beliefs and shows the disastrous results they have produced.Sowell argues that disparities in racial outcomes are primarily the result of cultural differences. To produce an equality in racial outcomes, we must encourage less successful cultures to change, rather than simply bequeathing benefits on those less successful cultures (i.e. through affirmative action, welfare, etc.). Sowell's position is controversial but quite persuasive.

  • Luc Blazejewski
    2019-03-12 22:33

    An agnostic look at how the concept of race has been applied to society in the US and aboard and how intellectuals have defined it and used it to influence society. The author did an incredible job at separating the hard facts for ideology surrounding the topic to make some very valid and valuable points. I feel everyone who has an interest in racial inequalities should read this book because it takes a very different perspective that is often ignored or potentially ridiculed by mainstream movements. My one critique is it is very technically written in a style found more in academic circles. The text is dry, technical words are used frequently, and long complex sentences are used to convey information and summary remarks. However, the points are made quickly and concisely, so the reader does not become bogged down in mundane details. Its a quick thought provoking read.

  • Chris Michael Burns
    2019-03-05 00:31

    REFRESHING AND PROVOCATIVE. Could have been much longer and bogged down with example after example, but there are sufficient notes if the reader wants to read case studies. This book was more about expounding an alternative methodology, asking readers to seek evidence and be skeptical. We mustn't accept anything at face value, including Sowell's arguments, in the spirit of being intellectually rigorous. In short, Sowell explains why explaining is more useful than blaming when discussing broad racial issues. It's a deeply refreshing read, and it's made me want to read his other books about culture and race.

  • Niels
    2019-02-24 00:17

    Not one of the best books i have read, but certainly one of the best contemporary writers. The topic is considered taboo or polarizing for some people but Mr. Sowell writes with elegance and have some very salient convincing arguments. The arguments are steeled by his unapologetic, analytic style that has made me compelled to rapaciously stockpile his other works. There are numerous video interviews with Thomas Sowell on youtube worth watching, if you are on the ropes weather to invest your time reading this work.