This book philosophically addresses problems of past racial discrimination in the United States. John Arthur examines the concepts of race and racism and discusses racial equality, poverty and race, reparations and affirmative action, and merit in ways that cut across the usual political lines. A former civil-rights plaintiff and professor at an historically black college in the South, Arthur draws on both personal experience and rigorous philosophical training in this account. His nuanced conclusions about the meaning of merit, the defects of affirmative action, the importance of apology, and the need for true equality illuminate one of America 's most vexing problems and offer a way forward. His book is relevant to any society struggling with racial differences and past injustices. John Arthur died of cancer in January 2007, after completing this book. He was professor of philosophy and Director of the Program in Philosophy, Politics and Law at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of Words That Bind: Judicial Review and the Grounds of Modern Constitutional Theory, The Unfinished Constitution: Philosophy and Constitutional Practice, and Studying Philosophy: A Guide for the Perplexed. From 1979 until the time of his death, Professor Arthur was the editor of one of the most widely used ethics anthologies in the United States, Morality and Moral Controversies, soon to be published in its 8th edition .