Why have sociologists failed to understand twentieth-century American race relations? James McKee finds answers in assumptions underlying sociology's perspective on race in American life and in the discipline's demeaning image of blacks. Tracing developments in the sociology of race relations from the 1920s to the 1960s, McKee maintains that sociologists assumed the United States would move unimpeded toward modernization and assimilation, aided by industrialization and urbanization. The fatal flaw in their perspective was the notion that blacks were culturally inferior, backward, and pre-modern, a people who had lost their own culture and couldn't grasp that of their new society. The major wave of black rebellion in the 1960s finally made it obvious that sociologists had been wrong.