The 1970s to 1990s era has witnessed a new archaeology of the African American intelligentsia. This has involved a steady growth of conservatism among black intellectuals and, more recently, some ideological differentiation within conservative ranks. The early set of conservative black intellectuals can be called “hard core” or “true believer” conservatives, for they cherish laissez faire American capitalism, while the newer set can be called “soft core” or “ambivalent” conservatives, for, while they are enamored of American capitalism, they hesitate to give it a full love embrace, so to speak. Prominent personalities among the hard core set include Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Alan Keyes, Walter Williams, and Glenn Loury (though Professor Loury has for two years or so now been recasting himself into a pro-active, liberal conservative). The soft core set includes Hilton Als, Randall Kennedy, Henry Louis Gates, K.A. Appiah, Daryl Michael Scott, and Gerald Early.
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