Shelby Steele: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism

Shelby Steele has a new article in The Wall Street Journal on the exhaustion of White guilt and the impending demise of Black Run America (BRA):

“The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos. Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.

All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?

America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us. …

This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now. Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all—liberal and conservative alike—know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. …”

What is BRA? and Occidental Dissent have spent years discussing Black Run America. It is our term for the epoch of American history we have been living through since 1965. It means an America run at every level of society for the benefit of black people and to the detriment of everyone else living here. Actual Black Run America (ABRA) are the areas of the United States like Detroit and Birmingham which have succumbed to black majority rule.

In the broad span of American history, BRA is as distinct as Jim Crow. In fact, you could think of it as an inverted Jim Crow system where White people aren’t supposed to get “uppity” because blackness is the repository of moral authority. In contrast, whiteness has no legitimacy. BRA has its own culture, legislation, narrative, heroes and icons, obsessions, racial etiquette, etc. The Obama presidency was the culmination of BRA in full flower and the way it ended was a sure sign of its decadence.

Trump’s election was the clearest sign yet that BRA is unsustainable. He shrugged off accusations of “racism” to win the presidency. He picked a fight with ‘civil rights icon’ John Lewis. As Shelby Steele notes, Elizabeth Warren’s sanctimonious speech about Coretta Scott King is a symptom that we are at the end of something. Ryan Lenz of the SPLC told The Guardian that Richard Spencer holding up that “Wanna talk to a ‘racist’?” sign at the RNC last summer was “a tipping point.”

Personally, I think we are at the beginning of the end of BRA. We have entered the transition phase in America’s racial history similar to 1876 to 1896 or the decade between 1954 and 1965. The old system is dying while the new system is struggling to be born. Remarkably, this time around we are seeing violence erupt in liberal enclaves in the Deep North like Middlebury College and on the West Coast in Berkeley. Black Run America is dying in a way that is uncannily similar to the way it was born.

Hunter Wallace
the authorHunter Wallace
Hunter Wallace is the founder and editor of

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19 Comments on "Shelby Steele: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism"

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Twin Ruler

No, I actually fear the opposite to be the case. I think this is merely the beginning of Black Run America, if anything. The fastest growing demographic, worldwide, are Blacks!


Of course no one went up the guy with the sign and asked him why millions of Whites are living in poverty if they are “privileged”?


“Richard Spencer holding up that “Wanna talk to a ‘racist’?” sign”

Who needs Jews when we have “White Nationalists?


I know one thing: The danger of black on white violence is far underreported and is far more dangerous than you might think.

Phil Stacy

Black Lives Matter was BRA jumping the shark.

BRA has died down not only because of the profound changes in Whites, but also because of the emergence of the third element: Hispanics (for me, the term Latin resonates more with Ancient Rome than with the guy that cuts my grass). The Hispanic culture is one of the unchecked racism against Blacks and is already pushing Blacks from LA, New Orleans and other places. I am buffled by Black leaders’ silence against illegal immigration. Their grudges are totally misdirected against Whites. Keith Ellison is passed before Perez and Hispanics are very unlikely ever to vote for another Black president.… Read more »

White guilt is just an updated, warmed over version of the Doctrine of Original Sin,applied to white people and to nobody else. It is no better than the right wing fundamentalist Protestants who blindly believe that we are all born guilty for what Adam and Eve supposedly did in the Garden of Eden. Both of these concepts of guilt are pure unadulterated bull$#!t.

Gubbler Chechenova
The Prog Problem or Proglem. Progs saw society and noticed social inequalities. Some inequalities resulted from laws and cultures. Laws might favor one group over others. Or culture might restrain some groups from opening up to new opportunities. It’s like some ultra-orthodox Jews stuck with old way and say NO to new way. So, there were lots of divisions and inequalities among many groups. Progs figure more freedom, more equality under the law, and more opportunity would result in equal success for all groups. Convergence of rights, freedoms, and opportunities would lead to the convergence of results. This could have… Read more »
Albionic American

In the South, it could be that Mexers are now picking cotton too.

They’ve taken the jobs in the chicken-processing plants in Arkansas. Marshall Islanders as well.

My grandmother did that sort of work when she lived in Decatur back in the 1970’s, but I guess the state has run out of hillbillies or something.

crypter27 .

I couldn’t agree with you more ,white America is developing an immunity to their shaming tactics

Albionic American

Those white Southern segregationists don’t seem like such bad guys now.

“Equality” never existed to begin with. Otherwise progressive utopians wouldn’t have had to construct their system of propaganda, indoctrination, shaming, bullying, gaslighting and coercion to enforce compliance to the ridiculous implementations of this idea, like making a movie about how black women, instead of white former Nazis, got the space program to work in the 1960’s.


It is not about equality, though.

Cousin Curtis

Be careful what you wish for. Segregation actually strengthen the black community helping us create our own banks, schools and many other things. We became so independent that white were scared and viewed it as a form of colonism. There were plenty of black Wall Street around the United States including Durham where the statue fell. I always tell people that segregation would help our black community. They look at me crazy but when you are dependent your are weak. We can band together to fight foreign threats and taxes l but that should it

Charlie Primero

I agree with Steele and Wallace.

White Pathological Altruism has a limit. We are fast approaching it.

Jews doubling-down on it is the best thing that can happen to us. Turning down the Poz would be the worst thing for our cause. I have faith in their short-sighted greed.

Fearan Iarthair

“Racist” is a fraudulent term, equivalent to “witch” in pre-modern Europe, to “counter-revolutionary” in Communist hellholes and to “kaffir” in Islam. It is just a slur, without any meaning but “Shut up, Whitey, give me your stuff and die.”

Alex Harris

“Racist” is a fraudulent term, but I’m no longer so sure that “witch” was. Let me ask you, what did witchcraft allegedly consist of? What were its elements? Its methods, techniques, and practices?


Autism is real.

June of 44

Ashes to ashes funk to funky we know major Tom’s a junkie..