Analysis Of The Content Of Our Character

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An Ananysis of The Content of Our Character by Shelby Steele The Content of Our Character takes an in depth look into race relations in America. It explores how blacks and whites interact with each other in our society. Shelby Steele highlights how the current conflict between the races began, and he shows us how both black and white Americans have learned to look at one another’s color before their character. Steele challenges the traditional thinking among the races, by not only explaining why black Americans should stop playing the victim of racism and focus more on embracing a pride based on achievement, but also how white Americans should face their prejudices and learn to accept black people as equals in our society. In Steele’s examination of race relations in America, he states that, “the long struggle of blacks in America has always been a struggle to retrieve our full humanity. But now the reactive stance we adopted to defend ourselves against oppression binds us to the same racial views that oppressed us in the first place” (34). It is this statement that is the basis for Steele’s arguments that show us how Americans have become trapped in this never ending cycle called racism. Innocence Innocence and guilt are two elements of racial conflict that Steele presents. He explains how the motives of blacks and whites have been dominated by a desire of innocence. Innocence is explained as being equivalent to power, and the less responsibility you hold yourself to, the more power you have. He states that races are competing groups; they are competing for the ability to convince society that they are innocent, and if successful, a claim of innocence automatically places guilt on the other. So at that point, innocence used as a

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