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John Mc Whorter is the author of the bestseller Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America, The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, and four other books.
'' Authentically Black'' will do nothing to remove from Mc Whorter the tag of black conservative.
The Teaching Company has released four of his audiovisual courses.
Charles Drew and other Members of the 1922 Dunbar High School Basketball Team, Washington, D. Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of American History In the article below social commentator John H.
Mc Whorter challenges the nation to think differently about Black History Month.
Among the subjects Mc Whorter wants black textbooks to address is the decline of the nation's inner cities.
He mentions a number of common explanations -- racial discrimination, the exodus of middle-class blacks, the flight of blue-collar jobs to the suburbs -- and rejects them all as products of ''leftist brainwashing.'' If such jobs moved, Mc Whorter demands, why didn't urban blacks follow them?
Thus, ''all large, nurturing black women'' are '' Mammies,'' and any prickly black male is an '' Angry Black Man.'' Mc Whorter does not oversell his point.
He concedes that some black shows are trashy, and that black characters on white shows often go undefined.
While extravagantly praising the Republicans, he regularly derides the Democrats, who, he claims, have ''championed identity politics for decades, reveling in the self-congratulatory smugness of treating blacks as helpless.'' Mc Whorter's language seems not only overheated but also underedited. Being ''authentically black'' means insisting, in the presence of whites, that most African-Americans are poor, even though this is not borne out by statistics.
'' Nor,'' he adds, ''does a walk down the street of an American downtown give any suggestion that most of the blacks one sees are living hand to mouth.'' Of course, much depends on which street one chooses to walk down.