Lonely at the Top

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2012, 12:00am


Lonely at the Top
by Christina Lewis Halpern
Kindle Single (e-book)

The memoir of Christina Lewis Halpern, daughter of Reginald Lewis, the first black man to own a billion-dollar business, Lonely at the Top tracks the academic and professional careers of both Lewises: he graduated from Harvard Law School and later donated to the institution a record US$3 million. She, also a Harvard graduate, worked for The Wall Street Journal and wrote this to share the guilt, pride and uncertainty she felt as a black American born into privilege. Did she deserve to be where she was? Did her father? That he was probably the only person to be admitted to Harvard without applying is knowledge that eats at Lewis Halpern, who wonders whether standards were lowered in accepting him. These are the sorts of questions that plague successful African-Americans, who wonder to what extent they owe their good fortunes to affirmative action, she writes. 'White mediocrity is normal, understandable, but black mediocrity is shameful,' she notes, adding that too often we emphasise black exceptionalism to the detriment of black normalcy.