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White Nationalism, Black Interests explains how and why white racism

continues to play a central role in the setting of public policy and governmental priorities.


Books by Ronald Walters


Black Presidential Politics in America (1989) / Pan Africanism in the African Diaspora (1993) / African American Leadership (1999) 


Bibliography of African American Leadership: An Annotated Guide (2000) /  White Nationalism Black Interests  (2003)


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White Nationalism Black Interests

Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community

By Ronald W. Walters







Chapter 1 The Making of White Nationalism


Chapter 2 The Formation of a Policy Rationale


Chapter 3 The Assumption of Official Power


Chapter 4 New Democrat Politics and Policy Convergence


Chapter 5 The Deregulation of Civil Rights


Chapter 6 The Attack on the Black Poor


Chapter 7 The War on Blacks: Criminalizing a Race


Chapter 8 Attacking Black Access to Education


Chapter 9 Black Conservatism: White Interests


Chapter 10 Conclusion: The Integrity of Black Interests



November 19, 2003

Book Launch at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

White Nationalism Black Interests

Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community

by Ronald Walters

Event Summary

Nationalism, according to Ronald Walters, connotes a movement aimed at realigning the state with the nation. It is a reclamation movement based on the assumption that the concerns and interests of the government have fallen out of line with the wishes of the people; an attempt by those who feel newly disempowered to reestablish the primacy of their agenda. Today's white nationalism is a right-wing movement that, far from being the instrument of fringe groups, has taken control of the Supreme Court, the presidency, and the Congress, thereby effectively controlling the American political system. Ironically, its genesis lay in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

During the heyday of that movement, Martin Luther King warned of the possibility of a "white backlash" against the radical and systemic institutional shifts being generated by the civil rights effort. In White Nationalism Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community, Ronald Walters suggests that the Reagan administration was the first one to reflect that backlash. An explicit endorsement of the Reagan campaign by the Ku Klux Klan in 1980 was rejected by the Reagan camp but accepted in 1984, a shift that Walters points to as both a disturbing testament to the state of race relations in America in the mid-1980s and indicative of the shift that took place between 1980 and 1984.

The negative attitude toward the black community fit the larger conservative agenda of reduction of funding for social service programs, the benefits of which were seen as aiding the black community disproportionately. Walters believes that the concomitant rise in the drug trade, violence and accusations of police brutality in the 1980s can be traced to a sense of desperation on the part of the black community at the erosion of social services that had been taken for granted.

Walters draws connections between the shift to conservatism and the 1994 crime statute (Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act) and 1996 welfare reform legislation (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act) signed into law by President Clinton. These substantive cutbacks to entitlement programs, he suggests, illustrate the extent to which the neo-conservative agenda permeated the actions of even a liberal administration.

This change, however, may itself be undergoing a transformation. Walters views Clinton's "third way" for the Democratic Party as less of a substantive shift than a tactical one, aimed at political victories rather than the achievement of particular public policy goals. Walters has recently observed a shift in the party back to substantive goals and an attempt to return to the roots of post-World War II Democratic ideology.

Finally, Walters argued that, contrary to suggestions made by analysts such as Carol Swain (The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration), the best way to combat the pressures of white nationalism is to create more rather than fewer opportunities for the mobility of racial minorities. To agree to the elimination of affirmative action programs, he says, is to surrender the possibility that this country could ever look different from the way it does now.

Daryl Fears, the race and ethnicity correspondent for the Washington Post, remarked on the importance of Walters' work as a comprehensive intellectual exploration of the way the issue of race has shifted America public opinion to the right. He commented on what he sees as an attempt by white nationalists to create a new black intellectual cohort that will legitimize conservative points of view in the black community, Fears applauded the self-directed and honest perspective espoused in Walters' work. White nationalists have also managed to criminalize the black community in the white American mind, he asserted, thereby exacerbating the punitive nature of the criminal justice system and racializing discussions of public safety.

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Dr. Ronald Walters is internationally known for his expertise on the issues of African American leadership and politics, his writing and his media savvy. Walters carries three major titles. He is director of the African American Leadership Institute and Scholar Practitioner Program, Distinguished Leadership Scholar at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, and professor in government and politics at the University of Maryland. For the 2000 presidential election season, Walters also served as senior correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association and political analyst for Black Entertainment Television's Lead Story. Walters is a frequent guest on local and major media as an analyst of African American politics. He has appeared on such shows as CNN's Crossfire and The Jesse Jackson Show, Lead Story (BET), CBS News Nightline, NBC Today Show, C-Span, public television shows such as the Jim Lehrer News Hour and Think Tank, Evening Exchange, radio shows such as All Things Considered (NPR), Living Room (Pacifica), and many others. Dr. Walters also writes a weekly opinion column for newspapers and Web sites.

Dr. Walters is the author of over 100 articles and six books. His book, Black Presidential Politics in America (SUNY Press, 1989), won the Ralph Bunche Prize, given by the American Political Science Association and the Best Book award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientist (NCOBPS). Pan Africanism in the African Diaspora (Wayne State University Press, 1993) also won the NCOBPS Best Book award. His most recent books are African American Leadership, (SUNY Press, 1999) and, with Cedric Johnson, Bibliography of African American Leadership: An Annotated Guide (Greenwood Press, 2000).

Walters is the winner of many awards, including a distinguished faculty award from Howard University (1982), Distinguished Scholar/Activist Award, The Black Scholar Magazine (1984), W.E.B. DuBois/Frederick Douglas Award, African Heritage Studies Association (1983), the Ida Wells Barnett Award, Association of Black School Educators, (1985), the Fannie Lou Hammer Award, National Conference of Black Political Scientist (1996), Distinguished Faculty Contributions to the Campus Diversity, University of Maryland (1999), and the Ida B. Wells-W.E.B. DuBois Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the National Council for Black Studies (March 2000). He was awarded the honor of "Alumnus of the Year" by the School of International Service of the American University in April 2000.

Walters received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government with Honors from Fisk University (1963) and both his M.A. in African Studies (1966) and Ph.D. in International Studies (1971) from American University. He has served as professor and chair of the political science department at Howard University, assistant professor and chair of Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, and assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University. He has also served as visiting professor at Princeton University and as a fellow of the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is a former member of the governing council of the American Political Science Association and a current member of the Board of Directors of the Ralph Bunch Institute of the CUNY Graduate School and University Center. Walters has also served as the senior policy staff member for Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. and Congressman William Gray.

In 1984, Walters served as deputy campaign manager for issues of the Jesse Jackson campaign for president, and in 1988, he was consultant for convention issues for the Jackson campaign directed by former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. He serves as a senior policy consultant to the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and is consultant to its Devolution Initiative Project and Director of its Scholar/Practitioner Program.

Ron Walters, Director African American Leadership Institute (AALI) and Distinguished Leadership Scholar
301.405.1787 and 301.405.2560 Email:  

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Dr Ron Walters Dies at 72

Ronald W. Walters, one of the country's leading scholars of the politics of race, who was a longtime professor at Howard University and the University of Maryland, died Friday [September 10, 2010] of cancer at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He was 72.

[Ronald William Walters was born July 20, 1938, in Wichita, Kansas.. His father was a musician and had served in the military; his mother was a civil rights investigator for the state.]

Dr. Walters was both an academic and an activist, cementing his credentials with his early involvement in the civil rights movement. In 1958, in his home town of Wichita, he led what many historians consider the nation's first lunch-counter sit-in protest. Later, he became a close adviser to Jesse L. Jackson as one of the principal architects of Jackson's two failed presidential campaigns. "Ron was one of the legendary forces in the civil rights movement of the last 50 years," Jackson said Saturday.

Dr. Walters also helped develop the intellectual framework of the Congressional Black Caucus in the 1970s. Some of his political ideas, such as comprehensive health care and a proposed two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, were viewed as radical. A quarter-century later, they are part of the intellectual mainstream. . . . Dr. Walters had recently edited a book about D.C. politics, Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia and was at work on a book about Obama at the time of his death. In an essay in January, Dr. Walters defended Obama's record in the face of criticism from the left and the right.WashingtonPost

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Faces At The Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

By Derrick Bell

In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school's hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell's fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard's president and all of the school's black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell's And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.Publishers Weekly

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The Heart of Whiteness

By Robert Jensen

The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard we work or how smart we are, we all know — when we are honest with ourselves — that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many white people are afraid of that fact. A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have — literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable.Robert Jensen  

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Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia

Federal Politics and Public Policy

Edited by Ronald W. Walters

Washington, D.C., is among the most known and least understood cities in the world.  A collection of emerging scholars and activists have produced a rare volume exploring the nation’s capital, or as some describe it, the nation’s “last colony.”  Michael Fauntroy discusses the Home Rule Charter; Toni-Michelle Travis presents chapters on mayors Walter Washington and Sharon Pratt Kelley; Wilmer Leon III writes about Mayor Marion Barry, Jr.; Daryl Harris writes on Mayor Tony Williams; ReShone Moore and Darwin Fishman analyze the city’s educational system, Kevin Glasper presents a chapter on crime; Angelyn Flowers discusses the dynamics of poverty; William Jones analyzes housing policy and Jared A. Ball writes on the impact of the city’s media environment.

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The White Masters of the World

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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Home   Black Librarians  Criminalizing a Race Blacks and Prisons

Related files: Contents White Nationalism   White Nationalism  Reviews   Introduction White Nationalism  Legitimacy to Lead   The Price of Racial Reconciliation  

Stirrings in the Jug Adolph Reed  The History of White People  Tea Party, Schmee Party   Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination  The History of White People  

White Nationalism Black Interests  The Reagan Doctrine of National Suicide  A Time for Peace: A Time for War   The Real Michael Steele 

Stirrings in the Jug Adolph Reed   Theodore W. Allen and His Insights  White Privilege, White Entitlement, Election 2008   White Privilege