Shelby Steele: Up From Obscurity

With his maverick views on affirmative action, writer Shelby Steele is being noticed -- and not always favorably

When Shelby Steele heard about the racially motivated murder of 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkins in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn last August, his first reaction was fear -- the same fear he used to feel as a young black boy growing up in Chicago in the 1950s. There was, he recalled, "a sense that an ugly element of our history had somehow crawled forward into the present and made our belief in racial progress feel like an illusion." But Hawkins' death also evoked in Steele an overwhelming sense of what he calls "racial fatigue," that inescapable burden of color that all black...