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Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  144 ratings  ·  15 reviews
It is now more than three decades since the historic Supreme Court decision on desegregation, Brown v. Board of Education. Thomas Sowell takes a tough, factual look at what has actually happened over these decades -- as distinguished from the hopes with which they began or the rhetoric with which they continue, Who has gained and who has lost? Which of the assumptions behi ...more
ebook, 168 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1984)
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When heavy artillery is needed in the fight against collectivist propaganda, then it's time to wheel out Thomas Sowell. Now in his late seventies, this distinguished economist and political philosopher has devoted much of his career to combating the myths of political correctness.

A prime example is his 1984 book, "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality." In this monument to common sense, Sowell examines the disastrous turn in the American civil rights movement from equality of opportunity to equality
TJ Shelby
I marvel at the coincidence in my decision to read George Orwell's 1984 as I simultaneously read Sowell's "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality" which he wrote in 1984. Both deal with the issue of revisionist history and with those of capable thought processes to debate whether certain things did or were happening.

As a self-professed "Stat Geek" this book blew me away. It tore down a few walls that I harbored as fact and/or opinion regarding the role of government in the civil rights movement. One
In reviewing this book, I begin first with the last words in the closing chapter of this book, largely because the author Dr. Thomas Sowell has been misrepresented by those who are more politically liberal. This work is not a recommendation of minorities to lift themselves out of their own bootstrap, but rather a focus on political policies with government interference that affects the disadvantage. Thus, it's not a complaint against individual minorities, nor is it a denial that there is no suc ...more
Steve Sawyer
An awesome book by the extremely intelligent Thomas Sowell. Thomas Sowell grew up in Brooklyn and in his college days was an avowed communist. How ever after working for the government he quickly realized just how disastrous Central Planning was in a free country and understood how much more a disaster it would be if you gave government even more power.

This book really makes you think about civil rights with a focus on the arguments. He provides the statistics that show how the current civil rig
Peter B.
A good, factual examination of the civil rights movement, especially in the way it has developed into an ideological vision since the initial movement in the 50s and early 60s. Basically, while civil rights are important, they can't be made to solve all societal problems. Striving for forced equal group results actually harms the disadvantaged by ignoring economic considerations. Factual and economic sense is needed more than rhetorical flourishes in these civil rights discussions, and Sowell do ...more
Thomas Sowell does an outstanding job of showing how the economic impact of decisions can be counter-productive to the decision's intended consequence. I have read two or three other books by Thomas Sowell and this one seems to become very defensive towards the end.

I put "Ethnic America" & "Intellectuals and Society" on my reading wishlist.
A brief look at the contrast between the outcome promised by the civil rights "vision" and the reality of imposed quotas and increased unemployment, poverty, and reduced educational outcomes.
Ted Heitz
Amazing! A realistic and honest account in every aspect. All the ammo you could ask for as a conservative and a must read for anyone on the fence between the left and right.
This is an outstanding book on the degeneration of the Civil Rights movement citing sources and making very logical arguments. Worth reading.
A very good alternate point of view. He made some logic mistakes but this book is great for understanding why some concepts don't work.
Another Thomas Sowell home run. Equal outcomes are not the same as equal opportunity. This book is short and still valid today.
This blew me away. I was blind to how many of my ideas about civil rights were based on rhetoric and not facts!
Gloria Preston
Very insightful. Dr. Sowell makes you think, and then think again. I am enthusiastic about reading more of his books.
Civil Rights: It's all rhetoric!
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Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social commentator, and author of dozens of books. He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholars ...more
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“However much history may be invoked in support of these policies (affirmative action), no policy can apply to history but can only apply to the present or the future. The past may be many things, but it is clearly irrevocable. Its sins can no more be purged than its achievements can be expunged. Those who suffered in centuries past are as much beyond our help as those who sinned are beyond our retribution.” 7 likes
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