Race Matters can be categorized as a social sciences text authored by Cornel West and it was first published in 1993 by Vintage Books. The book scrutinizes moral influence and racial deliberations regarding skin color in the America. The book investigates issues pertaining economics, politics, ethics, spirituality, and also it addresses the predicament in black leadership. The basic litmus test for American economy, administration, criminal justice structure, education and culture remains how expansive are the arbitrary authority exercised and deployed against the blacks. In this regard, the predicament of the 21st century remains the issue of the color line (West 76). This book was a national best-seller in its first year of publication, and it has since developed into a revolutionary model on race in United States.
Race Matters holds West’s most the imposing articles on the subjects pertinent to black Americans at present. These issues include desolation, black conservatism, myths regarding black sexuality, the predicament in leadership in the black society, and the bequest of Malcolm X (Hacker 21). In Race Matters West give details of his idea and appeals to Blacks, and whites, to appreciate that racism and race are entwined in American history and it is difficult to eradicate them without acknowledging that “race matters” in everything that people deem American. Race Matters is a manuscript designed for every American, as it assists in building a real multiracial democratic system. It is a testament to the author’s willpower to base his theorizing in the everyday that he preludes his stimulating new compilation of essays, “Race Matters,” with an enlightening anecdote
Through the author’s critical eyes the reader is able to observe various, often fateful, ways in which race has grown to be America’s national mania. As west explains, the predicament in black leadership can be remedied if only people openly tackle its continuation. There is need for national debates to reflect, deliberate, and plan how best to take action (Hacker 22). It is not an issue of a new Messiah figure surfacing, but rather, it is a subject of grasping the institutional processes that have spoiled, distorted, and distressed black America such that the funds for nurturing joint and vital consciousness, moral obligation, and bold engagement are greatly underdeveloped.
There is much to agree with West’s fundamental supposition that race really does matter. The society has been and remains ruined by race segregations and .there is no American nation by itself. The United State of America is a multiethnic nation the citizens do not live in a “color-blind” society. Those who believe that Americans already live in a “color-blind” world are usually the same people who protect the status quo that continue positioning Blacks and women in a second-class position and also the same people who complains about white male bashing (West 82). Progressives and communists should support building of new nation-states founded on ending old ethnic segregations. People must fight for nonracial communities as the African National Congress promotes the configuration of new South Africa. However, it should also be acknowledged that such a transformation is only achievable with the end of capitalism, a scheme which breeds segregations and racism. Just like West who considers himself a “radical democrat” the battle in the America is to fight for complete democracy in addition to struggling to substitute capitalism with communism.
While there is much to disagree with West’s views on nihilism, his criticism of such subjects as the role of women in the struggle, traditional liberalism, and anti-Semitism are correct. Naturally, West does not provide answers to the numerous deep-rooted problems in the Black society and American people. Nonetheless, he opens a platform for debate on issues generally not hung out to dry in the general public which is exceptional. According to West, the liberal idea that more government initiatives can solve racial problems is simplistic since it focuses exclusively on the economic aspect (85). Also the conservative idea that what is required is a transformation in the moral conduct of poor Black city dwellers highlights wicked actions whereas ignoring public duty for the immoral conditions that disturb fellow citizens. West backs government intercession to help the Black and poor people but unlike various liberals he says that will not be enough. Engaging with the capitalist structure has brought some developments but not basic relief for the huge majority of underprivileged Blacks (hacker 26). Black conservatives obtain some hearing specifically because liberal resolutions have not worked. The debate among liberals and conservative Blacks does not relate to elemental change but how best to restructure the system that is in charge of the color line.
While there is much to disagree with some of West’s criticisms of Malcolm X, his central premise is acceptable. The middle- class and well-known leaders are not presenting solutions to the decline of the Black society (Hacker 31). What is needed is a fresh leadership founded on the most exploited segment of the Black populace which is the working class. The leadership should be founded on militancy and should stretch out to all citizens of color.
If West’s expression sometimes sounds peculiar, it may be because there are so few thinkers who question the constricted political vocabulary framing the debates, and even fewer who then proceed to fashion an option. Through notions such as “prophetic leaders” and “the love ethic West brings his theological susceptibility to bear on worldly problems. The drastic question of “What is to be done?” is a wake up call that makes the book “Race Matters” important reading.
Hacker, Andrew. Two nations: Black and White, separate, hostile, unequal. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
West, Cornel. Race matters. NY: Vintage Books, 1993.