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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?: Multicultural Conservatism in America

Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 266
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  • Book Info
    Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?
    Book Description:

    In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now? Angela Dillard offers the first comparative analysis of a conservatism which today cuts across the boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. To be an African-American and a conservative, or a Latino who is also a conservative and a homosexual, is to occupy an awkward and contested political position. Dillard explores the philosophies, politics, and motivation of minority conservatives such as Ward Connerly, Glenn Loury, Linda Chavez, Clarence Thomas, and Bruce Bawer, as well as their tepid reception by both the Left and Right. Welcomed cautiously by the conservative movement, they have also frequently been excoriated by those African Americans, Latinos, women, and homosexuals who view their conservatism as betrayal. Dillard's comprehensive study, among the first to take the history and political implications of multicultural conservatism seriously, is a vital source for understanding contemporary American conservatism in all its forms.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4407-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE: The Problem of Definition
    (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)

    I can pinpoint this book’s conception to the day I stumbled upon back issues of theLincoln Reviewin the library stacks at the University of Michigan. TheLincoln Review, I was surprised to discover, is a quarterly journal of black conservative opinion published by, I was equally surprised to discover, the Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, a black conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. At the time—B.C.T. (Before Clarence Thomas)—I was virtually unaware of the existence ofablack political conservative, let alone an entire cadre of them. I was certainly conscious of social and religious...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Malcolm X’s Words in Clarence Thomas’s Mouth: Black Conservatives and the Making of an Intellectual Tradition
    (pp. 24-55)

    I want to begin with a sustained exploration of black conservative thought, primarily because black conservatives have played such a central role in the development of a multicultural conservative style. While distinctive in many respects, the black conservative critique of liberalism and the federal government is not extraordinarily new or innovative, particularly in its appeal to tradition and to Americanism. Emergent social and political movements often seek to legitimate themselves and their ideologies by appealing to historical precedents and forerunners. Throughout U.S. history, a diverse array of groups (women, workers, immigrants, African Americans, homosexuals) have pushed for their rights by...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Toward a Politics of Assimilation: Multicultural Conservatism and the Assault on the Civil Rights Establishment
    (pp. 56-98)

    As I suggested in the previous chapter, the critique of the post-1965 civil rights movement has been key in the articulation of a black conservative jeremiad. But this narrative is not the exclusive property of African Americans. Among conservatives in general, the 1954–1965 phase of the movement is generally characterized as a heroic attempt to reform American democracy and to secure the civil and political rights of all Americans regardless of race. Unfortunately, according to conservatives, as civil rights leaders and organizations became part of the establishment, they turned away from the shared American consensus on race and race...

  7. CHAPTER 3 “I Write Myself, Therefore I Am”: Multicultural Conservatism and the Political Art of Autobiography
    (pp. 99-136)

    History surrounded the nomination and confirmation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. President George Bush’s decision to put Thomas forth was described as historic, while Thomas’s detractors and supporters vigorously debated his appropriateness as a replacement for Justice Thurgood Marshall and the high court’s “black” seat. Thomas was also adept at packaging his personal history for public consumption. Throughout the controversy Thomas told—and others retold—the story of his personal struggle up from poverty. The tale was in many ways a conventional one and thus resonated with Americans, especially African Americans.

    Born in rural Georgia, Thomas was rescued...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Strange Bedfellows: Gender, Sexuality, and “Family Values”
    (pp. 137-170)

    For the generation of Americans that witnessed, in concentric succession, the rise and decline of the New Left and the counterculture, the contentious struggle for civil rights and Black Power, and the scores of urban rebellions in the late 1960s, as well as the growth of vocal movements for women’s liberation, reproductive rights, and sexual freedom in the 1970s, these developments reinforced the idea that America was teetering on the brink of political and moral chaos. Seizing the opportunity to capitalize on widespread anxieties over the shifting terrain of race, gender, and sexuality, as well as on the continuing economic...

  9. CONCLUSION: A Multicultural Right? Prospects and Pitfalls
    (pp. 171-182)

    Given the nature of the often heated debates within the New Right, the Religious Right, and the Republican Party, it seems fitting to conclude with the question of whether the already diverse coalitions that have emerged on the Right will successfully congeal into a truly multicultural conservative movement.Ifconservatives aspire to fully diversify their movement—and it is far from certain that all conservatives would agree to the efficacy of such a plan—is it actually possible to do so? Can one party, let alone one movement, contain gay men and fundamentalists women, conservative Catholics and moderate Jews, free-market...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 183-218)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-232)
  12. Index
    (pp. 233-246)
  13. About the Author
    (pp. 247-248)