John Hamilton McWhorter V (b. 1965) is a linguist and social commentator who currently serves as senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and teaches linguistics at Columbia University. After earning his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford University in 1993, he taught at Cornell University for two years and then at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1995 to 2003. A frequent commentator on African American issues and race relations, his books include Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America (2000), Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority (2003), Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America (2005), and, most recently, Linguistic Simplicity and Complexity: Why Do Languages Undress (2011).
Author: John McWhorter
The identity of both individuals and groups is determined partly by how we see ourselves, partly by how others see us. This subject has long concerned the American linguist and political commentator, John McWhorter (b. 1965), who has published widely on language and race relations. This excerpted essay is taken from his book, Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America (2000).