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Authentically Black Essays for the Black Silent Majority

By John H. McWhorter
Gotham Books 2003 ISBN: 9781592400010

About the Book

In his New York Times bestseller, Losing the Race, John McWhorter, a Berkeley linguistics professor, tried to make sense of why so many African-Americans continue to define themselves by race and examined what he calls the cult of Victimology, Separatism, and Anti-Intellectualism he has witnessed on America’s college campuses. In Authentically Black, McWhorter broadens his lens in this penetrating and profound collection of essays that continue his exploration of what it means to be black in America today.

According to McWhorter, nearly forty years after the Civil Rights Act, African-Americans in this country still remain “a race apart.” He feels that modern black Americans have internalized a tacit message: “authentically black” people stress initiative in private but cloak the race in victimhood in public in order to protect black people from an ever-looming white backlash.  McWhorter terms this phenomenon the “New Double Consciousness” in homage to W. E. B. Dubois’s description of a different kind of double consciousness in blacks a century ago.  It is within this context that McWhorter takes us on a guided tour through the race issues dominating our current discourse . . .

With his fierce intelligence and fervent eloquence, John McWhorter makes a powerful case for the advancement of true racial equality.  Authentically Black is a timely and important work about issues that must be addressed by blacks and whites alike. Authentically Black is a book for Americans of every racial, social, political, and economic persuasion.

About the Author

John H. McWhorter is a City Journal contributing editor, linguistics scholar, and cultural commentator. McWhorter’s writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, National Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, Time, Daily Beast, Politico, The New Yorker, and New York magazine.


Reviews of Authentically Black:

  • Janita Poe, “Intellectual Unafraid of Tackling Tough Issues.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 6-1-03.
  • Brian Lewis, “Unorthodox Take on Racism Worthwhile.” The Tennessean 3-30-03, p. 32D.
  • Michael Massing, “Black, White, Read All Over.”  The New York Times 3-16-03, p. 7-29.
  • Jean Nash Johnson, “New Offerings Celebrate All Facets of Black Life.” The Dallas Morning News 2-25-03, p. 1C.
  • Jane Lichtenberg, “Nonfiction Works Deal with Varied Aspects of Race.”  The Indianapolis Star 2-23-03, p. 5E.
  • Rosemary Herbert, “Books: Editor’s Choice.”  The Boston Herald 2-21-03 p. 47.
  • Carole Goldberg, “The Glory of Color: What It Means to Be Black in America Through Art, Stories and Religion.” Hartford Courant 2-16-03, p. G4.
  • Andrea Renee Goode, “McWhorter Makes Excellent Points; We Just Wish He’d Stop There.” SF Weekly 1-29-03.