AFRAM Challenges Common Assumptions

Submitted by Ellen Palms on
Black Intellectual Tradition -- University of Illinois Press

AES Assistant Professor, La TaSha Levy, recently published a book chapter entitled "Black Conservative Dissent" in The Black Intellectual Tradition: African American Thought in the Twentieth Century (University of Illinois Press, 2021).

While the book chronicles a diverse body of ideas among Black intellectuals, activists, educators, politicians and religious leaders, Professor Levy's chapter challenges the common assumption that African American thought is inherently progressive or radical when it comes to understanding race, racism and racial inequality. In this chapter, Levy explores the rise of Black conservative intellectuals who waged an ideological campaign in the late twentieth century to oppose and discredit liberal and radical approaches to achieving racial equality.

She explains Black conservative resistance to the legacies of the Civil Rights Movement complicated racial discourse in the post-civil rights era, which includes the controversial rhetoric of personalities such as Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Anne Wortham, John McWhorter and Star Parker. According to Levy, Black conservative dissent was a crucial factor in deepening racial polarization in U.S. politics.