33 Shelby Steele Quotes On Success In Life

Shelby Steele is a conservative author, columnist, documentary filmmaker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He specializes in the study of race relations, multiculturalism, and affirmative action. In 1990, he received the National Book Critics Circle Award in the general nonfiction category for his book The Content of Our Character. He is the brother of Claude Steele. These Shelby Steele quotes will motivate you.

Best Shelby Steele Quotes

  1. “Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. Without realizing it, he makes society rather than himself the agent of change. The power he finds in his victimization may lead him to collective action against society, but it also encourages passivity within the sphere of his personal life.” ~ Shelby Steele
  2. “Opportunity follows struggle. It follows effort. It follows hard work. It doesn’t come before.” ~ Shelby Steele
  3. “It is time for blacks to begin the shift from a wartime to a peacetime identity, from fighting for opportunity to the seizing of it.” ~ Shelby Steele
  4. “A black conservative is a black who dissents from the victimization explanation of black fate.” ~ Shelby Steele

  5. “Too often the result of affirmative action has been an artificial diversity that gives the appearance of parity between blacks and whites that has not yet been achieved in reality…Preferences tend to attack one form of discrimination with another…Affirmative action encourages a victim-focused identity, and sends the message that there is more power in our past suffering than in our present achievements.” ~ Shelby Steele
  6. “Every single progressive education fad of the past thirty years has hurt poor black children.” ~ Shelby Steele

  7. “Part of our identity is the idea that racism is still there and that we are vulnerable to it. So, the question is, ‘How vulnerable?’ In other words, is it really a problem for us, or is it just a small thing. How do you evaluate racism in America on a scale of 1 to 10? My suspicion is that most blacks overrate it a bit. Not to say it’s not there, but we overrate it because this masking is part of our relationship to the larger society. This is a way we keep whites on the hook. We keep them obligated, and we keep ourselves entitled. There’s an incentive, you see, to inflate it a little bit.” ~ Shelby Steele
  8. “My experience in life tells me that the values that are now being labeled ‘conservative’ are the only way that blacks can get ahead.” ~ Shelby Steele

  9. “I decided to live as an individual and as I grew older, and thought more, and read more and experienced more, my views became more conservative. But my group is liberal. Not only that, they say, ‘If you’re not liberal and not a Democrat, you’re not black. If you’re conservative, you’re a sellout.’ Here, then, I’m living with that kind of a pressure against my individuality.” ~ Shelby Steele
  10. “I would love to see us, as blacks, get to the place where we say, ‘I’m not going to play race games with you. Here I am. This is who I am. Take it or leave it.'” ~ Shelby Steele
  11. “Most important, [research on affirmative action] has completely failed to show that affirmative action ever closes the academic gap between minorities and whites. And failing in this, affirmative action also fails to help blacks achieve true equality with whites – the ultimate measure of which is parity in skills and individual competence. Without this underlying parity there can never be true equality in employment, income levels, rates of home ownership, educational achievement and the rest.” ~ Shelby Steele
  12. “The promised land guarantees nothing. It is only an opportunity, not a deliverance.” ~ Shelby Steele

  13. “Liberalism has become a moral vaccine that immunizes people against stigmatization.” ~ Shelby Steele
  14. “No matter how accomplished we may be, just any little white person can come up and say, ‘Well, you wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t for Affirmative Action.’ You put power in white people’s hands, and then they use it against you. It’s a trick bag.” ~ Shelby Steele
  15. “I’m not going to play a racial game. With me, you’re going to meet a guy named Shelby Steele, and you will have to get to know me as an individual. The color of my skin won’t tell you anything. I think there’s more and more of that in America.” ~ Shelby Steele
  16. “My honest opinion is that blacks have to fight much harder for their individuality than whites do.” ~ Shelby Steele

  17. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past.” ~ Shelby Steele
  18. “All politicians are going to mask to some degree in order to present themselves in away they think will get them votes. What’s different in Obama’s case is that he’s wearing a racial mask, this ‘bargainer’s’ mask, and I think very effectively, whereby he gives whites the benefit of the doubt. He’s essentially saying, ‘I am going to presume you are not racist, if you won’t hold my race against me.’ So, his mask is a distinctly racial one.” ~ Shelby Steele
  19. “Freedom always carries a burden of proof, always throws us back on ourselves.” ~ Shelby Steele

  20. “I grew during segregation in an all-black segregated neighborhood with segregated schools, etcetera. I was raised by a great father, my hero, who I much admired. So, I never really had anxiety in the way that someone like Obama would have. When he walks down the street alone, since no one knows who his mother is, they’re just going to see him as a black guy.” ~ Shelby Steele Quotes
  21. “I was raised in a completely black world. In those days, if a white woman married a black man, she lived as a black woman, and that was just the end of it. So, I don’t have a feeling of being bi-racial. I don’t have a connection to it. People often come up to me thinking I do have a connection to it, and I kind of let them down because I really don’t.” ~ Shelby Steele
  22. “If you are a minority, it is important that you have legal ways to defend yourself in the society in which you live.” ~ Shelby Steele

  23. “My problem with Obama is that he’s not a new paradigm; he’s an old paradigm. A new paradigm would be somebody like Harold Ford [former Democratic Congressman from Tennessee] or Michael Steele [former Republican Lieutenant Governor of Maryland], no relation, both of whom present themselves as individuals, and don’t seem to wear a mask. They don’t ‘bargain;’ they don’t ‘challenge.’ So, I see them as fresh, and as evidence of what I hope will be a new trend.” ~ Shelby Steele
  24. “Whatever I’m doing, I try to write well. I try to give the reader a nice, clean well-written surface, where the writing is transparent. It probably takes me longer to write things, but it’s very important to me that the writing itself be good.” ~ Shelby Steele
  25. “My rule is, whatever is the most urgent is what I do next.” ~ Shelby Steele

  26. “Barack Obama’s strategy is to get away from anything having to do with race as quickly as he can. His fear is that that might open a Pandora’s Box.” ~ Shelby Steele
  27. “Sometimes, Barack Obama is Martin Luther King, sometimes, he a black militant from the Sixties, then he’s a Baptist minister. He can be so different. There’s not yet an Obama voice.” ~ Shelby Steele
  28. “We have laws on the books. If somebody’s discriminating against you, I strongly advocate suing them. That’s the most effective thing you can do in terms of fighting racism. People understand that they’re vulnerable to lawsuit.” ~ Shelby Steele
  29. “I wrote a piece in the New York Times back in the Nineties saying that racial discrimination ought to be a criminal offense, not just a civil one. I’m all for the criminalization of discrimination.” ~ Shelby Steele
  30. “My individuality is my gift to my people.” ~ Shelby Steele

  31. “I know that whatever power Shelby Steele has always comes out of the writing. I’m not the greatest television pundit or the best public speaker, so it’s my writing that’s most important.” ~ Shelby Steele
  32. “If you’re getting harassed, it’s not helpful to know that racism has generally declined in America, when you’re still experiencing it. That is a reality that we’re still vulnerable to.” ~ Shelby Steele
  33. “What the Clintons have always done is embraced challenging. They can’t have enough photo opportunities with Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. They communicate to blacks that they agree with their challenging identity. So, in a sense, Hillary is blacker than Barack Obama. Their alignment with this black identity makes them ‘black’ in a metaphorical sense, I guess.” ~ Shelby Steele

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