ers into patrons and keeping blacksnwhere they have always been — dependentnon the largesse of whites.” Allnparties, black and white, Steele suggests,nmust stop regarding blacks asnvictims deserving of special treatmentnand privileges, and begin instead tonthink of blacks as human beings — asnAmerican citizens whose constitutionalnrights guarantee them fair and equalntreatment, nothing more, nothing less.nWhite administrators (and facultynmembers) must stop trying to exorcisentheir “guilt” by caving in to ridiculousnblack demands for segregated facilities,nfor separate programs, and for specialnstandards. White administrators (andnfaculty members) must realize thatnsuch behavior is all but killing blacksnwith phony kindness. Rather, thesenadministrators and faculty membersnshould spend their energies in demandingnthat black students achievenfirst-rate academic performance and innhelping them to achieve it.nBlack students, conversely, mustnstop “taking comfort” in being victims,nmust stop blaming others for their ownnfailure and lack of initiative, must startntaking responsibility for their own actions.nBlack students must stop actingnin ways that confirm the racist stereotypenthat they hate learning, that theynare lazy and intellectually inferior.nBlack students must seek to excel innacademic performance by seeking aggressivelynto exploit the academic opportunitiesnuniversities “all but showernon them.” Rather than living as professionalnblacks, rather than being part ofna black collective demanding specialntreatment and programs, black studentsnmust realize that their salvationnlies in acting as self-interested individualsnworking toward becoming part ofnthe mainstream in the university and innsociety. At the risk of being labeledn”Toms” and “Oreos” by their blacknseparatist peers, black students mustnhave the courage to espouse middleclassnvalues. Black students must realizenthat “Hard work, education, individualninitiative, stable family life, propertynownership — have always been thenmeans by which ethnic groups havenmoved ahead in America.” “Regardlessnof past or present victimization,”nSteele insists, “these ‘laws’ of advancementnapply absolutely to black Americansnalso.”nConsidering that so many youngn34/CHRONICLESnblacks are educationally and economicallyn”disadvantaged,” how, withoutnspecial help, can they be expected tonattend, much less excel in, the universities?nSteele’s answer is that such programsnare desirable if they are availablennot only to blacks but to all “disadvantaged”nyoung Americans. Providen”better elementary and secondarynschools, job training, safer neighborhoods,nbetter financial assistance forncollege”—but don’t provide such helpnfor poor blacks on one side of town atnthe expense of poor whites on thenother.nA Book-of-the-Month Club selection.nThe Content of Our Characternhas been called a remarkable book,n”powerfully original,” and it has recendynwon the National Book CriticsnCircle Award. Yet it hardly seems remarkable.nMuch of what it says hasnbeen said by white conservatives fornyears. What is remarkable is that Steelenis not a white conservative. A professornof English at San Jose State in California,nhe is a black liberal, and as such henis able to bring to his material a point ofnview that converts the book’s fairlynconventional conservative thought intonsomething exciting.nIt is ironic, considering Steele’snviews on reverse discriminahon, thatnwere he not black his book wouldn’tnprobably be in print, but to say so is notnto diminish the quality or the importancenof his book. If good writing isnclear thinking made visible, good sensenin print, then Shelby Steele is a veryngood writer indeed. And The Contentnof Our Character, though short onnspecific solutions to the problems he sonably articulates, is important not onlynfor its attack on black separatism, butnfor its attack on the entire “politics ofndifference,” of “diversity” and ofn”multiculturalism” that threatens tondestroy the integrity of American universities.nArguing against all universitynprograms and policies that “make ofneveryone on campus a member of anminority group,” Steele establishesnhimself in the tradition of our sanestnand most distinguished critics of Americannhigher education, of such critics asnRobert Maynard Hutchins and JacquesnBarzun. In articulating his belief thatnuniversities must emphasize not “diversity”nbut “commonality,” Steelensets himself as a new champion of annidea as old as the university itself:nnnnamely, that the university is, by nature,nan intellectual community basednon values its members, as human beings,nhold in common; that it is ancommunity of individuals and specialistsncapable of conversing with andnunderstanding one another (and therebynof realizing themselves intellectuallynas individuals) only because they arenunited by a common stock of ideas, ancommon tradition, and a common language.nJames P. Degnan writes from Aptos,nCalifornia.nReinventing thenWheelnby Robert A. SiriconReligion, Wealth and Povertynby James Vincent SchallnVancouver: The Eraser Institute;n202 pp., $14.95nCapitalism or Socialism? AnnEconomic Critique for Christiansnby Enrique M. UrenanTranslated by Robert BarrnChicago: Franciscan Herald Press;n256 pp.; $14.95nTwo Jesuits have recentiy writtennbooks on social ethics, the humaneneconomy, and on liberating thenpoor. I know what you’re thinking: twonmore liberation theologians usingnMarxist criteria for their analysis, andnruthlessly criticizing the free market.nThink again.nPrevalent opinion traditionally associatesnthe Society of Jesus with all formsnof cabals, while a current version of thisnconspiracy theory identifies Jesuits withnsocialism and its religious expression,nliberation theology. Yet, if stereotypesncan be shortcuts to knowledge, theynmight just as easily be detours around it,nand the appearance of these books bynJesuit Fathers James Schall and EnriquenUrena (a Spaniard), both of whichnmake a moral case for a free market,nprove this fact. These works are madenall the more relevant by the centenarynof Rerum Novarum on May 15, thenfirst of the papal social encyclicals,nwhich will no doubt excite much de-n