Shelby Steele on racial minority privilege
Scholar Shelby Steele's latest book is called "White Guilt." Steele argues that people like Tim Wise have it wrong, that today in America there is minority privilege, and it's not white privilege that shuts blacks out.
"I grew up in segregation, so I really know what racism is," he says. "I went to segregated school. I bow to no one in my knowledge of racism, which is one of the reasons why I say white privilege is not a problem."
Steele says black irresponsibility is the bigger problem — that high illegitimacy and high school drop-out rates are limiting black progress.
"Racism is about 18th on a list of problems that black America faces," he says. "There's black irresponsibility today, there's a lot of that. It's a bigger problem than racism."
Steele says today there's "minority privilege."
"If I'm a black high school student today … there are white American institutions, universities, hovering over me to offer me opportunities: Almost every institution has a diversity committee," he says. "Every country club now has a diversity committee. I've been asked to join so many clubs, I can't tell you. There is a hunger in this society to do right racially, to not be racist. … And I feel rather privileged by it. I don't have to even look for opportunities in many cases. They come right to me."
Shelby Steele and White Guilt
Shelby Steele takes on racism, imperialism, affirmative action
The language of white guilt