Shelby Steele

Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow
Biography: 

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. Other books by Steele include 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.

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

Analysis and Commentary

Obama's Unspoken Re-Election Edge

by Shelby Steelevia Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

This presidency flatters America to a degree that no white Republican can hope to match...

In the News

Closing the Door on Innovation: Why One National Curriculum is Bad for America

by John E. Chubb, David Davenport, Richard A. Epstein, Williamson M. Evers, Robert P. George, David R. Henderson, Edwin Meese III, Michael McConnell, Shelby Steele, Herbert J. Walbergvia K12Innovation.com
Monday, May 9, 2011

A Critical Response to the Shanker Institute Manifesto and the U.S. Department of Education’s Initiative to Develop a National Curriculum and National Assessments Based on National Standards...

Analysis and Commentary

The 'Two or More Races' Dilemma: Take the Politics Out of Race

by Shelby Steelevia Room for Debate (New York Times)
Sunday, February 13, 2011

Identity politics is a cynical and dehumanizing business that, in the end, helps no one. Better to eliminate all such categories and leave race and identity in the private realm...

Analysis and Commentary

A Referendum on the Redeemer

by Shelby Steelevia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Barack Obama put the Democrats in the position of forever redeeming a fallen nation rather than leading a great one...

A Referendum on the Redeemer

by Shelby Steelevia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Whether or not the Republicans win big next week, it is already clear that the "transformative" aspirations of the Obama presidency—the special promise of this first black president to "change" us into a better society—are much less likely to materialize.

Good Manners and Anti-Semitism

by Shelby Steelevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As troubles in the Middle East proliferate, many in the West have
reverted to a very old, very bad habit: scapegoating the Jews.

Analysis and Commentary

Israel and the Surrender of the West

by Shelby Steelevia Wall Street Journal
Monday, June 21, 2010

One of the world's oldest stories is playing out before our eyes: The Jews are being scapegoated again...

Israel and the Surrender of the West

by Shelby Steelevia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, June 21, 2010

The most interesting voice in all the fallout surrounding the Gaza flotilla incident is that sanctimonious and meddling voice known as "world opinion." At every turn "world opinion," like a school marm, takes offense and condemns Israel for yet another infraction of the world'

Freshman Folly

Freshman Folly

by Shelby Steelevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Barack Obama still defines himself by what he is not. During the campaign he may have been able to get away with it. No longer. By Shelby Steele.

Freshman Folly

by Shelby Steelevia Advancing a Free Society
Thursday, April 15, 2010

America still has a race problem, though not the one that conventional wisdom would suggest, the racism of whites toward blacks. Old-fashioned white racism has lost its legitimacy in the world and become an almost universal disgrace.

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