Books in Brief: June 2021

Identity Capitalists: The Powerful Insiders Who Exploit Diversity to Maintain Inequality, by Nancy Leong (Stanford University Press; 240 pp., $28.00).

Nancy Leong recounts her chagrin at a friend’s wedding to start her jaundiced polemic, Identity Capitalists. The tipsy bride, gushing with thanks for Leong’s attendance, hugged her before joking indelicately, “I mean if you hadn’t been here everyone here would have been white.” Leong, a law professor, accuses her friend of “identity capitalism,” which she defines as “efforts by ingroup members to benefit from outgroup members.”

Leong’s statistical analysis evokes the Creel Committee’s WWI war propaganda efforts. She submits that “white people tend to exaggerate their relationships with nonwhite people” based on a survey of Harvard and University of Michigan students. That elite subset represents white Americans about as well as Justice Clarence Thomas’ social justice views represent those of NBA players. Yet she dismisses another sample as “not a representative cross-section of Asian Americans” when it contradicts her preferences. And she rejects an amicus brief in Justice Anthony...

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