Shelby Steele

Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow

Shelby Steele is the Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. He was appointed a Hoover fellow in 1994.

Steele has written widely on race in American society and the consequences of contemporary social programs on race relations.

In 2006, Steele received the Bradley Prize for his contributions to the study of race in America. In 2004, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. In 1991, his work on the documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst was recognized with an Emmy Award and two awards for television documentary writing—the Writer's Guild Award and the San Francisco Film Festival Award.

Steele received the National Book Critic's Circle Award in 1990 in the general nonfiction category for his book The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America (HarperCollins, 1998). Other books by Steele include Shame: How America's Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country (Basic Books, 2015), A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win (Free Press, 2007), White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era (HarperCollins, 2006) and A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America (HarperCollins, 1998).

Steele has written extensively for major publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. He has also spoken before hundreds of groups and appeared on national current affairs news programs including Nightline and 60 Minutes.

Steele is a member of the National Association of Scholars, the national board of the American Academy for Liberal Education, the University Accreditation Association, and the national board at the Center for the New American Community at the Manhattan Institute.

Steele holds a PhD in English from the University of Utah, an MA in sociology from Southern Illinois University, and a BA in political science from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Shelby Steele 2018
In the News

Freedom In America Today: A Conversation With Shelby Steele

mentioning Shelby Steelevia Patch
Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Thompson Center, UW-Green Bay Weidner Center, and UW-Milwaukee College of General Studies are pleased to welcome Dr. Shelby Steele for a conversation on freedom in America today.


Shelby Steele Interview | Race And Liberty In America: “What Killed Michael Brown?”

interview with Shelby Steelevia Independent Institute
Sunday, March 28, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses the issues of race, liberty, and law in America, and in the process, they examine the crucial issues addressed in Steele's documentary, "What Killed Michael Brown?"


Shelby Steele On The Andrew Klavan Show

interview with Shelby Steelevia Andrew Klavan Show
Friday, March 26, 2021

(69:15) Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses what is happening with our culture today.


Shelby Steele Debunks Critical Race Theory As First Guest On Fox News Podcast With Ben Domenech

interview with Shelby Steelevia The Federalist
Monday, March 8, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses the nation’s latest cultural revolution on race, decrying the social justice movement as one based on the pressure to prove white innocence exploited by the left.


Shelby Steele & The Consequences Of Courag‪e‬

interview with Shelby Steelevia The Ben Domenech Podcast
Monday, March 8, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele shares how the conversation around race has changed over his lifetime, he helps explain the difference between equality and equity in America and what he sees as some of the larger issues facing race in the country today.


Shelby Steele: African-Americans, "Stop Wasting Time Protesting Racism". Whites Dealing With "White Guilt, Grow Up."

interview with Shelby Steelevia Colors: A Dialogue On Race In America
Friday, March 5, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele says Black Americans have won the "good will" of the American people. Continually complaining about racism, he says, is a disservice to the race.


How Equality Lost To ‘Equity’

featuring Shelby Steelevia The Wall Street Journal
Friday, February 12, 2021

Civil-rights advocates abandon the old ideal for the new term, which ‘has no meaning’ and promises no progress but makes it easy to impute bigotry, says Shelby Steele.


Dr. Shelby Steele: Freedom Is The Biggest Problem Black America Now Has

interview with Shelby Steelevia Brian Kilmeade Show
Monday, January 18, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele talks about what Martin Luther King meant to him as well as some of King's greatest accomplishments.


Shelby Steele: What Killed Michael Brown?

interview with Shelby Steelevia Capital Research Center
Thursday, January 14, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses his film What Killed Michael Brown?


Shelby Steele: 'Cancellation' Now An Exercise In Moral Power

interview with Shelby Steelevia Yahoo! News
Monday, January 11, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele reacts to corporate America's attempt to cancel and restrict President Trump.