John McWhorter 



Manhattan Institute

Beth Parker
Senior Publicist
Dutton/Gotham Books

Book Info:

Available at
ISBN: 1592401880




John McWhorter's new book, Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (Gotham Books, January 2006) was a finalist for the 37th NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work in Non-fiction.

Four decades after the great victories of the Civil Rights movement secured equal rights for African Americans, black America is in crisis. Indeed, by most measurable standards, conditions for many blacks have grown worse since 1965: Desperate poverty cripples communities nationwide, incarceration rates have reached record highs, teenage pregnancy and out-of-wedlock births are rampant, and educational failures are stifling achievement among the next generation. For years, prominent sociologists and pundits have blamed these problems on forces outside the black community, from lingering racism, to the explosion of the inner-city drug trade, to the erosion of the urban industrial base and the migration of middle-class blacks to the suburbs. But now, in an important and broad-ranging re-envisioning of the post-Civil Rights black American experience, acclaimed author John McWhorter tears down these theories to expose the true roots of today's crisis, and to show a new way forward.

In Winning the Race, McWhorter argues that black America's current problems began with an unintended byproduct of the Civil Rights revolution, a crippling mindset of "therapeutic alienation." This wary stance toward mainstream American culture, although it is a legacy of racism in the past, continues to hold blacks back, and McWhorter traces all the poisonous effects of this defeatist attitude. In an in-depth case study of the Indianapolis inner city, he analyzes how a vibrant black neighborhood declined into slums, despite ample work opportunities in an American urban center where manufacturing jobs were plentiful. McWhorter takes a hard look at the legacy of the Great Society social assistance programs, lamenting their teaching people to live permanently on welfare, as well as educational failures, too often occurring because of an intellectual climate in which a successful black person must be faced with charges of "acting white." He attacks the sorry state of black popular culture, where indignation for its own sake has been enshrined in everything from the halls of academia to the deleterious policy decisions of community leaders to the disaffected lyrics of hip-hop, particularly rap's glorification of irresponsibility and violence as "protest." In a stirring conclusion, McWhorter puts forth a new vision of black political and intellectual leadership, arguing that both blacks and whites must abolish the culture of victimhood, as this alone can improve the future of black America, and outlines steps that can be taken to ensure hope for the future.

Powerful and provocative, Winning the Race combines detailed research with precise argumentation to present a compelling new vision for black America.

John McWhorter is the author of ten books, including the New York Times bestseller Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, the national bestseller The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language and most recently Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care. A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, he holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stanford University and is a frequent media commentator on race, language, and culture. He lives in New York City.

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WATCH John McWhorter discuss Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America at the Manhattan Institute luncheon celebrating the release of his new book. John's talk is 27 minutes with about a 15 minute Q and A period.


Books by
John McWhorter

Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority
Gotham Books, 2004

Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America
Free Press, 2000






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