The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America - Chapter 9, The Memory of Enemies Summary & Analysis

Shelby Steele
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Chapter 9, The Memory of Enemies Summary and Analysis

Steele notes that people often give their enemies territory in their minds and prepare themselves to be on the defensive against those enemies. One reason oppression hurts so much is that it leaves an "enemy-memory" due to the territory we give them. The allure of enemy-memory is powerful for blacks. Enemy-memory pulls people back into the past and causes reactivity. One example of this in Steele's mind is the drop in black enrollment just as race relations improve. Blacks become casual to opportunity and instead of taking the opportunities react to past victimization. Enemy-memory always pulls those who have it backward.

Steele then explains his concept of an "objective correlative" where a negative emotion is tied to some objective event associated with racism. Blacks are surrounded by objective correlatives. Enemy-memory is produced by...

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This section contains 387 words
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