Counterfeit Heroes or Colourblind Visionaries: The Black Conservative Challenge to Affirmative Action in Modern America

Journal article


Ondaatje, Michael. (2006). Counterfeit Heroes or Colourblind Visionaries: The Black Conservative Challenge to Affirmative Action in Modern America. Australasian Journal of American Studies (AJAS).
AuthorsOndaatje, Michael
Abstract

The increasing prominence of black conservative voices within American intellectual discourse during the past quarter century has prompted scholarly scrutiny of their contributions to black social and political thought, and led to fierce debate about their role in the nation's rightward cultural shift. While their numbers have remained relatively small, the political impact of their presence has nonetheless been significant. Indeed, for much of the 1980s and 1990s, black conservative ideologues were ensconced at the heart of the national dialogue on 'race', tapping into the enduring American philosophies of individualism and free enterprise, seeking to overturn the corrective political initiatives secured by the great civil rights movement. Insisting that their differences were not with the goals of freedom, justice and equality, but with the methods employed to achieve them, black conservatives argued that the liberal policies associated with the 'Great Society' of the late 1960s had failed, that government, far from providing the solutions, was in fact exacerbating the problems faced by African American people. This article will assess the validity of these charges by focusing special attention on the black conservative critique of affirmative action in contemporary America. It seeks to bring together the various fragmentary 'micro' analyses of black conservatism offered by prominent liberal and radical scholars concerned with defending affirmative action, and to mould a coherent 'macro' response to the black conservative challenge. In so doing, it reflects more broadly on the political climate of the 1980s that made the emergence of black conservative intellectuals possible, and assesses the implications and practical consequences of their work for the majority of black people who continue to live what Malcolm X called the 'American Nightmare'.

Year2006
JournalAustralasian Journal of American Studies (AJAS)
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand American Studies Association
ISSN1838-9554
Page range31 - 50
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationAustralia
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/85899/counterfeit-heroes-or-colourblind-visionaries-the-black-conservative-challenge-to-affirmative-action-in-modern-america

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