Why the race battle is so hard to win – A Book Review

By Patrick McLaugrin |

If you follow the news, or pay attention to the statistics, its obvious Black people in the Diaspora today continue to face huge challenges – in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and elsewhere. The problems surrounding racial discrimination are long-standing and persistent. Less obvious is why these problems are so difficult to solve. A true iconoclast, Dr. Julian With is not afraid to offer hard truths. As a social psychologist and commentator of many years’ standing, he brings a wide-ranging perspective. He is more interested in trendlines than headlines, and saying what’s right instead of what people want to hear. Some readers may find his arguments chastening, but they are always razor-sharp, drawing on nuanced analyses and evidence.

In Why the Race Battle is so Hard to Win, he demolishes what he sees as the self-limiting dogmas and misguided articles of faith among the Black community internationally. Here, he argues that his fellow Black people continue to waste their energy blaming slavery for their current strife, and that the fight for reparations is futile, only distracting focus from where it should be more usefully directed. But he should not be mistaken for a Black author who writes negatively about the Black struggle to please white readers.

Dr. With is a fierce critic of white racism, and strongly supports affirmative action and the liberation of Black people everywhere from oppression, discrimination and social injustice. Yet because he is pragmatic rather than dogmatic, he does not see any use in advocating for behavioural change in white people as a way to improve the situation of Black people. Unlike other authors, he accepts that willing change among white people has been marginal, and shall continue to be so. Rather, he prefers to hold Black people also responsible for the poor improvement in the battle against racism. He looks for solutions to Black peoples’ problems in how they can change their own behaviour, because they at least have motivation to change. White people have no motivation to change a behaviour – discrimination – that benefits them.

In this book, Dr. With covers many topics, all in short, easy-to-absorb articles. He looks at: patterns of Black voting in the United States; his condemnation of Black people who vote for the Republican party; intra-racial discrimination in the Caribbean and elsewhere; the problems with ‘integration’; how other minority groups in Europe and the U.S. approach self-determination; how to promote Black solidarity; why Black people should put less effort into campaigning for the problems of other ethnic groups, much less relying on support from other groups in their own struggle; a criticism of some “Gods” within the African-American community; and the psychological effects of living in majority-white societies on Black consciousness, among many more topics.

From each of his critiques flows suggestions for improving the standing of Black people around the world. His proposals include: persuading Black people to put their money at Black banks; sending Black children to Black-run schools so they might be spared the systemic prejudice of white educators; and creating organisations within the Black community to help promote family unity, as well as organisations to celebrate and encourage the achievements of Black children and youth. All Dr. With’s proposals deserve serious attention.

Why the Race Battle Is So Hard to Win (352 pages). It is available at Amazon.com ($ 20).

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About Cholo Brooks 7067 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.