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Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Intellectual CultureConclusion: Ellison, Obama and Post-Race Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Intellectual Culture: Conclusion: Ellison, Obama and... [In 1995 Ralph Ellison seemed outdated. Richard Bernstein opens his 1995 review of Ralph Ellison’s collected essays expressing shame that Ellison had “faded from the public mind, occupying what might be called a highly respected position on the sidelines of the general consciousness” (Bernstein, “Black Identity, Racism and a Lifetime of Reflection”). In light of our current political circumstances Bernstein’s reasons for Ellison’s irrelevance are very telling. Ellison, Bernstein writes, had faded from the public mind because he was an “integrationist in his very marrow and in these times of intense identity politics and multiculturalism that puts him outside the contemporary trendy mainstream” (Bernstein, “Black Identity, Racism and a Lifetime of Reflection”). In the four years leading up to Ellison’s death the USA was also at the height of the so-called Culture Wars and the critical reception of his work was and continues to be greatly influenced by that bellicose state of affairs. These concerns were clearly on Bernstein’s mind as he wrote his review for the New York Times. Bernstein, who in 1994 published Dictatorship of Virtue: How the Battle Over Multiculturalism Is Reshaping Our Schools, Our Country and Our Lives, a broadside against multiculturalist public policy and corporate hiring practices, welded Ellison’s work as a sacred talisman against the errant virtues of the times.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

Race, Ralph Ellison and American Cold War Intellectual CultureConclusion: Ellison, Obama and Post-Race Politics in the Twenty-First Century

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Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright
© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2013
ISBN
978-1-349-34043-9
Pages
144 –163
DOI
10.1057/9781137313843_6
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

Abstract

[In 1995 Ralph Ellison seemed outdated. Richard Bernstein opens his 1995 review of Ralph Ellison’s collected essays expressing shame that Ellison had “faded from the public mind, occupying what might be called a highly respected position on the sidelines of the general consciousness” (Bernstein, “Black Identity, Racism and a Lifetime of Reflection”). In light of our current political circumstances Bernstein’s reasons for Ellison’s irrelevance are very telling. Ellison, Bernstein writes, had faded from the public mind because he was an “integrationist in his very marrow and in these times of intense identity politics and multiculturalism that puts him outside the contemporary trendy mainstream” (Bernstein, “Black Identity, Racism and a Lifetime of Reflection”). In the four years leading up to Ellison’s death the USA was also at the height of the so-called Culture Wars and the critical reception of his work was and continues to be greatly influenced by that bellicose state of affairs. These concerns were clearly on Bernstein’s mind as he wrote his review for the New York Times. Bernstein, who in 1994 published Dictatorship of Virtue: How the Battle Over Multiculturalism Is Reshaping Our Schools, Our Country and Our Lives, a broadside against multiculturalist public policy and corporate hiring practices, welded Ellison’s work as a sacred talisman against the errant virtues of the times.]

Published: Oct 26, 2015

Keywords: Racial Identity; Black Identity; Public Mind; Black Nationalism; Political Hegemony

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