A BOOK ON ANTI-WHITE RACISM by a former Black Panther supporter has sold out in three weeks despite two publishers' refusal to take it and widespread nervousness among American bookshops.
The book, Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes, has triggered fierce debate over its argument that anti-white racism is prevalent in America, aided and abetted by the country's politically correct liberals.
The author, David Horowitz, 60, criticizes politicians such as Bill Bradley, the presidential hopeful, and Hillary Clinton, who is campaigning for the Senate, for seeking the support of such figures as Al Sharpton, the demagogic black leader in New York, who he says have made ideological hatred of whites into a growth industry.
Mr. Horowitz, who was a student radical in the Sixties, blames civil-rights leaders and liberal apologists for tolerating and even encouraging anti-white racism. He cites as an example the magazine Race Traitor, which said "whiteness is the principal scourge of mankind" and, consequently, "the key to solving the social problems of our age is the abolition of the white race."
He says: "Such language is incendiary and fuels a widespread denigration of Americans … who are multi-ethnic and often dark-skinned, but who for official purposes are designated white." Not surprisingly in politically correct America, Mr. Horowitz who has written a number of successful books found that his usual publisher would not even consider Hating Whitey because of its title.
After one further rejection, he found a Dallas-based firm, Spence Publishing, which was willing to take it on. Bookshops were slow to stock the title when it was first published late last month, but some national chains began to carry it after a flurry of publicity provoked strong sales over the Internet. The first 30,000 copies sold out and a reprint of a further 25,000 copies is now under way.
But Mr. Horowitz has been attacked for his views, which have swung dramatically away from his student days at Berkeley, which led him to support the Black Panthers until, he says, they killed one of his friends. Critics say he is proof that, as the black columnist Jack White put it in Time magazine, "blatant bigotry is alive and well."
According to Ishmael Reed, the California-based publisher of the radical Konch magazine: "Anyone who examines Horowitz's writings over the years will discover a perverse obsession with black people … Bashing black people is a lucrative nineteenth-century industry that has survived into the twentieth century."
But Mr. Horowitz says that he always supported racial equality and integration, and that he was also a member of the exploratory committee which, in 1996, attempted to draft Colin Powell as president and has campaigned for the Republican Party to do more for poor people and minorities.
A booklet containing this proposal has been circulated widely within the Republican Party, and all members of George W Bush's presidential campaign staff have been told to read it by the Texas governor's chief strategist, Karl Rove. Mr. Horowitz's daughter-in-law is black and he has three grand-daughters.