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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?

Multicultural Conservatism in America

Angela Dillard

Publication Year: 2001

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.

Published by: NYU Press

Front Matter

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p. vii

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Preface: The Problem of Definition

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pp. ix-xvii

A conservative Latino man, a black conservative woman, and a gay Christian conservative . . . this may sound like a set-up for an off-color joke, but members of such a diverse contingent could easily pass one another on Capitol Hill, gather for a roundtable discussion at a public policy think tank, or be seated together at a dinner gala sponsored by the Republican National Committee. Such occurrences...

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pp. 1-23

I can pinpoint this book’s conception to the day I stumbled upon back issues of the Lincoln Review in the library stacks at the University of Michigan. The Lincoln 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 ...

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1. Malcolm X’s Words in Clarence Thomas’s Mouth: Black Conservatives and the Making of an Intellectual Tradition

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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. ...

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2. Toward a Politics of Assimilation: Multicultural Conservatism and the Assault on the Civil Rights Establishment

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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 ...

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3. “I Write Myself,Therefore I Am”: Multicultural Conservatism and the Political Art of Autobiography

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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 ...

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4. Strange Bedfellows: Gender, Sexuality, and “Family Values”

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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 ...

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Conclusion: A Multicultural Right? Prospects and Pitfalls

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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. If conservatives aspire to fully diversify their movement—and it is far from certain that all conservatives ...


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pp. 183-218


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pp. 219-232


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pp. 233-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780814744079
E-ISBN-10: 0814744079
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814719398
Print-ISBN-10: 0814719392

Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2001

OCLC Number: 51273585
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1980-.
  • Group identity -- Political aspects -- United States.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 1989-.
  • United States -- Ethnic relations -- Political aspects.
  • Political culture -- United States.
  • Minorities -- Political activity -- United States.
  • Conservatism -- United States.
  • Cultural pluralism -- United States.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Political aspects.
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