2 out of 4 stars
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What responsibility do current generations have for wrongs committed in the past? Can laws change deep social and psychological structures? How much have we really progressed? These and other important questions lie at the heart of H. J. Harris’ Solving the Race Issue In America. It's a book that closely examines the historical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of race relations in the United States.
The book is divided into twelve chapters, each approaching the topic of race from a different angle. The author is a retired attorney who joined the civil rights movement in the 1960s, so he has a wealth of experience dealing with discrimination. Harris tries bringing forth a comprehensive overview of black Americans throughout history, including matters related to the mentalities of individuals.
Central to the discussion is the concept of the Paradigm of Slavery, which has been entrenched in the country’s core for most of its history. The author claims that this paradigm has lead to the Slave Mentality and Slave Behavior that still affect black Americans today. The only way we can successfully move past this paradigm is by introducing a Paradigm of Freedom that directly counters the message of slavery.
It’s important to note that the author adopts a Christian worldview, so readers outside the faith might not be fully convinced by some of his arguments. For example, he argues that America’s treatment of black people in the past was akin to hating God, a sin that can be inherited by future generations. One can still enjoy the book through a secular perspective, however, as many of the cited religious principles are universal.
There are many historical documents and incidents featured in the book that help the reader understand the dimension of racism in the United States. For example, the author talks about the horrific Tulsa race riot of 1921, which I wasn't familiar with. He also discusses the reconstruction attempts after the Civil War in vivid detail, including testimony from former slave Abram Colby.
Sadly, some questionable information flies under the radar. The book spends a lot of time dissecting the supposed William Lynch speech, widely believed to be a hoax. The “hundredth monkey phenomenon,” a hypothesis based on a real study but distorted by misinterpretations, is also discussed without much critical examination. These dubious claims can make the reader mistrustful of the legitimate facts and studies presented by the author.
Solving the Race Issue In America is an interesting meditation on race and Christianity that falls short for two reasons: the previously mentioned lack of critical research on some topics and the poor editing. I found over ten errors in the book, mostly missing punctuation and misspelled words. So my final rating is 2 out of 4 stars. It can be a worthwhile read if you’re interested in the United States and its racial history.
Aside from dated words used in historical contexts like Negro, the book is generally free from profanities. That said, due to the complex subject matter and mention of topics like rape, I don’t recommend it to younger audiences. I also don’t recommend it to readers who hate spiritual and religious content.
Solving The Race Issue In America
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