Shelby Steele is an American author, columnist, documentary film maker, and a Robert J. and Marion E. Oster Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, specialising in the study of race relations, multiculturalism and affirmative action. In 1990, he received the National Book Critics Circle Award in the general nonfiction category for his book The Content of Our Character.
Since the social victim has been oppressed by society, he comes to feel that his individual life will be improved more by changes in society than by his own initiative. Without realizing it, he makes society rather than himself the agent of change. The power he finds in his victimization may lead him to collective action against society, but it also encourages passivity within the sphere of his personal life.