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. 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 post-racial promise

by Shelby Steelevia Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For the first time in human history, a largely white nation has elected a black man to be its paramount leader...

Analysis and Commentary

Why Jesse Jackson Hates Obama

by Shelby Steele with Thomas Sowellvia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A few weeks ago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson made something of a fool of himself...

Barack Obama an Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Not Appeasement

by Shelby Steelevia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 18, 2008

As the world sees it, America tends to dash off to war without moral authority. How we could change that view. By Shelby Steele.

In the News

What Politicians Say When They Talk About Race

by Shelby Steele with Shelby Steelevia New York Times
Sunday, March 23, 2008

Americans and their political leaders have been tongue-tied on the subject of race....

Analysis and Commentary

The Obama Bargain

by Shelby Steelevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro may have had sinister motives when she said that Barack Obama would not be "in his position" as a frontrunner but for his race...

In the News

‘A Bound Man’

by Shelby Steelevia New York Times Book Review
Sunday, February 10, 2008

The first thing I ever heard about Barack Obama was that he had a white mother and a black father...

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Shelby Steele: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race

by Peter M. Robinsonwith Shelby Steelevia Uncommon Knowledge
Friday, January 18, 2008

In conversation with Peter Robinson, Shelby Steele explores Barack Obama's candidacy. (33:49) Video transcript

The High-Wire Act of Barack Obama

by Shelby Steelevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Shelby Steele on a black presidential candidate—and what his campaign says about the country.

Analysis and Commentary

Obama Is Right on Iran

by Shelby Steelevia Wall Street Journal
Monday, November 26, 2007

After a recent Democratic presidential debate, Barack Obama proclaimed that were he to become president, he would talk directly even to America's worst enemies...

Analysis and Commentary

The age of white guilt

by Shelby Steelevia Globe and Mail (Canada)
Thursday, October 25, 2007

In America, our racial history broadly defines the terms of our politics...