The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Shelby Steele
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Steele say is the first step to pursuing power?

2. In what type of setting did Steele experience discrimination and therefore the feeling of inferiority?

3. Steele said blacks are many times threatened by the repentance of whom?

4. For blacks, what is a method of handling freedom, per Steele's thoughts?

5. What type of self-proclaimed identity did Steele say he developed as a result of feeling of inferior?

Short Essay Questions

1. What tool do blacks use to create a tolerable, false sense of reality, in Steele's estimation?

2. What did Steele mean when he spoke about integration shock? When does it generally occur? Are blacks and whites equally likely to experience it?

3. Why did Steele say race is a source of shame for blacks, but didn't say the same for whites?

4. What effect did Steele say integration shock has on blacks' attitude about racism as a whole? How did he say it affects their individual attitudes?

5. How do whites act innocent when it comes to the racial struggle, as per Steele's opinion?

6. How did Steele say the black students in his classes react to discussions of racism?

7. In Chapter 3, how did Steele say blacks deal with racial insecurities?

8. What are the three ways that Steele said integration shock manifests as segregation?

9. In line with Steele's experience, how are individualistic blacks received by those who have conformed to the 'black identity'?

10. How did Steele say race-holding negatively affects the civil rights freedoms won decades ago? What must blacks do to avoid this?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

According to Steele, blacks deal with the feeling of powerlessness in two ways: challenging and bargaining. Define what these two terms mean. What is the purpose of taking on these attitudes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the two? Who are some examples mentioned in the book of people who 'challenge or bargain'?

Essay Topic 2

What is the black power movement? What type of people did Steele say were generally a part of the movement? Did it affect blacks in a positive and / or negative way? How did it affect whites? What about society as a whole? Is the movement still in effect today? If so, in what ways. If not, why not?

Essay Topic 3

How did Steele define racial vulnerability? How does it affect the politics, clothing style and dance of blacks? Do blacks generally acknowledge this vulnerability? If so, how? Does racial vulnerability affect the way blacks respond to their problems?

(see the answer keys)

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