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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Recent Commentary


Rooftop Revelations: Shelby Steele And Pastor Brooks Discuss True Black Power (2:23)

interview with Shelby Steelevia Fox News
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses self-empowerment, true black power, and how to help the younger generation succeed.


Shelby Steele Debunks The Race Hustle

interview with Shelby Steelevia Andrew Klavan Show
Friday, January 28, 2022

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses the current societal obsession with race to spotlight the destructive and harmful nature of Critical Race Theory, and to debunk many of the most popular racial narratives today.

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American Humanist

featuring Shelby Steelevia City-Journal
Monday, November 15, 2021

Shelby Steele’s work stresses the importance of blacks accepting the burdens of freedom—and rejecting narrow racial claims.


Shelby Steele On Tucker Carlson Tonight

interview with Shelby Steelevia Fox News
Friday, November 5, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses the Democrats' agenda as well as the flaws concerning critical race theory.


Shelby Steele On Fox News

interview with Shelby Steelevia Fox News
Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele talks about Condoleezza Rice's comments concerning race in America. Steele says Rice's comments were beautiful and genuinely expressed.


This Is Not A Systemically Racist Society: Shelby Steele

interview with Shelby Steelevia Yahoo! News
Friday, July 23, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele weighs in on athletes protesting the US at the Olympics and compares it to the 1968 games.

In the News

Keep Critical Race Theory Out Of Our Schools

quoting Shelby Steelevia Orlando Sentinel
Thursday, June 3, 2021

You’d be hard-pressed to peruse the Sentinel these days without coming across an article or commentary extolling the virtues of critical race theory, with nearly half a dozen columns or news stories published in the last three weeks.


Conservative Author Shelby Steele Discusses Race In Policing, ‘White Guilt’ & Cancel Culture On ‘Banfield’

interview with Shelby Steelevia NewsNation Now
Monday, April 26, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele discusses race in policing, the concept of “white guilt,” cancel culture, and more.

“Michael Brown Was Not Killed by Racism”

interview with Shelby Steelevia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 26, 2021

Hoover fellow Shelby Steele’s documentary laments the tragedy of a young black man whose death far too many seized upon as a means to power.


Shelby Steele: Maxine Waters Is Probably Broken Hearted There Wasn’t A Full Blown Riot Last Night

interview with Shelby Steelevia Brian Kilmeade Show
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Shelby Steele says that the that the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial did not change the debate that America is systemically racist. Steele says keeping victimization and racism alive is the Democrat’s way of holding onto power.