The Devil You Know: A Black Power Manifesto
by Charles Blow
256 pp., $26.99
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
by Isabel Wilkerson
496 pp., $32.00
The verbal tics of the orthodox Marxist vocabulary in mid-20th century Europe made it virtually impossible for communists to camouflage themselves. Ex-communist author Arthur Koestler vividly describes a female comrade who had almost fooled the police but then used the term “concrete” for a second time. She grew flustered when asked where she had learned this expression, and the jig was up.
Charles Blow and Isabel Wilkerson are elite members of a cultic political quasi-religion not unlike communism in many ways, and just as easily identifiable by the formulaic, fatuous language members speak as evidence of their adherence to the cult’s belief system. In this world, everything is evidence of “racism,” “white...