John Arthur philosophically addresses the problems of racism and the legacy of past racial discrimination in the United States. Offering a thorough analysis of the concepts of race and racism, Arthur also discusses racial equality, poverty and race, reparations and affirmative action, and merit in ways that cut across the usual political lines. A philosopher, former civil-rights plaintiff and professor at an historically black college in the South, Arthur draws on both his personal experiences as well as his rigorous philosophical training in this account. His conclusions about the meaning of merit, the defects of affirmative action, the importance of apology, and the need for true equality deal productively with one of America's most vexing problems. His book is also relevant to any society struggling with racial differences and past injustices.