The majority sociological explorations of mass culture, especially those undertaken within a Marxist or critical theory standpoint, tend to be restricted in their cultural and political postulations. This cultural elitism also rests upon a position of high culture, needing discipline and simplicity which can only be acquired by the professional rational through years of withdrawal from everyday labor and daily realities. More significantly, an elitist criticism of mass culture presumes, not only the peculiarity between low and high culture, but also the accessibility of some general or complete values from which a position of critique can be sustained.
Subsequent Alasdair MacIntyre's reasonably influential study After Virtue (1981), argue that a rational system of values as the base of criticism presupposes a comparatively coherent community as the fundamental social fabric of moral systems and ethical point of view. As in contemporary society the primary communal realism of values has been devastated, there can be no clear position of hierarchical values so as to found a critique of mass culture. In any case, the significance of postmodern cultural pluralism is to weaken the basis for the privileged asserts high culture to be the standard of aesthetic preeminence. Therefore, the leading metaphor or mode of thought in modern critical theory is inevitably reflective, since critical evaluation should be retrospective.
The foundationalist and dualist philosophical endeavor that under girds the social order should be abandoned, so that alternative ideas can be amuses. In this regard, West admits that he has "a very strong anti-metaphysical bent" (West, 1993b: 51). Truth is thus conditional and tied thoroughly to human desires and aims. Truth, as West writes, is the product of reasonable assertions that are themselves value-laden and commendable of human beings working in cohesion for the common good" ( West, 1989: 100). In this way, West is anti-metaphysical. Consequently, persons should be made sentient that an all surrounding common culture is not a prerequisite for securing vivacious and harmonious race relations.
As Roland Barthes is fond of saying, postmodernists consider persons to be open signifiers (Barthes, 1977). Undeniably, writers such as bell hooks, Paul Gilroy, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Cornel West, and Manning Marable--prominent writers in the field of race relations concur that the analysis of essentialism offered by postmodernists is dominant to establishing an democratic society.
This does not mean, though, that all the writers such as Paul Gilroy, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West consider themselves to be postmodernists. Indeed, at times, each one condemns postmodernism for a diversity of reasons. But what is clear is that their basic arguments are consistent with Lyotard's understanding of the key thrust of postmodernism: "astonishment toward meta-narratives" ( Lyotard, 1984: xxiv).
The consequence of this attack on absolutes is that the racial ontology offered by assimilationists is no longer workable. Certainly, the uneven social relationships continued by minorities based on disparities in biological, cultural, or genetic aspects, which have put in to enriching particular cultures over others, can no longer be