Monday, August 15, 2005

Thomas Sowell... Genius.

I am rather eclectic when it comes to the politically oriented reading I do. There are only a few writers and media types for whose work I go out of my way to read at all costs. A few of these people include Ann Coulter, Larry Elder, Joseph Sobran, Dr. Walter Williams, and above all, Dr. Thomas Sowell. Dr. Sowell is a fellow at the Hoover Institution on the campus of Stanford University, and he received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. For a full accounting of his academic and professional career, here is his resume' and while you are at it, check out the rest of his website when you have the chance. I have read every one of Dr. Sowell's syndicated columns, and several of his books, such as Inside American Education, The Vision of the Anointed, Ethnic America, Basic Economics, and his latest masterpiece, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. As a teacher in a semi-urban school district, I tolerate on a daily basis the experience of teaching students (mostly black, I'm afraid), who ape the "ghetto" culture, with the ebonic-esque street patois, the belligerent and defiant attitudes, the over-the-top mannerisms and ways of dress, the anti-intellectualism where trying hard academically is deemed as "acting white," the obsession with sports (especially basketball) and forms of useless recreation. Yes, I see it all. And all these characteristics are considered by many if not most in the black community as being "authentically" black, and "keeping it real". Oh the humanity. Then along comes one Dr. Thomas Sowell who puts a blowtorch to what most people - black, white, or otherwise - regard as the common wisdom of what defines "blackness". By the way, it is at this time that it becomes relevant to inform you that Dr. Sowell is black.

You see, in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Dr. Sowell presents a thesis so astounding, and yet so logical, that my head is still swimming as I think about it. According to Dr. Sowell, all these traits of the black "ghetto" culture were inherited from their southern slavemasters of old. Yes, when black people act "ghetto", they are imitating white people from the antebellum South. Since nine tenths of blacks in America lived in the south until about the 1920s, it stands to reason that they were bound to imitate the only culture to which the vast majority were exposed. Oh, but it gets better: the culture of the antebellum South was brought over by the Europeans who settled the American south. The vast majority of those Europeans came from a few select areas in northern England, Scotland, and a couple counties in Ireland - commonly known as the Scots-Irish. So not only is the black "ghetto" culture imitating southern Confederate whites, they are imitating a culture from the United Kingdom, which is about as white as white can get. It's kind of hard to be considered "authentically black" when this "authentically black" culture is based on a dysfunctional culture that died out in the lily-white United Kingdom quite a while ago, and is currently dead or dying in our southern states. The only place where this particular culture is still alive and well is in our ghettos and inner cities. And when I say that these cultures are similar, I'm not just whistlin' Dixie (insert rimshot here). The speech patterns were almost exactly the same in northern England as in our current ghettos, right down to saying "axe" instead of "ask", and "dis and dat" instead of "this and that". The emigrants from these areas of the United Kingdom also brought with them all the very same social pathologies that you hear Bill Cosby railing against on a regular basis. The bad part of about the current state of Black America is that this poisonous "ghetto" culture is not just in the ghetto anymore. Black youth from the middle class are also picking it up due to peer pressure. If you don't believe me, just put the term "acting white" into Google and enjoy hours of educational reading. Or get your hands on the book, Losing the Race by John McWhorter, who is a black linguistics professor at UC Berkeley. He will tell you all about this absolute tragedy where academic achievement is often looked down upon among our black youth because to succeed is considered to be "selling out" to the Man. What an absolute tragedy.

What is also a tragedy is that some knee-jerk leftist could read this post of mine, and instantly surmise that I am some sort of racist. The reality is that I am far from it. I WANT black Americans to succeed just as much as anyone else, and thankfully, most already are. The black middle and upper classes are larger in this country than ever before, and I say, "Awesome!" But the problem is that on a daily basis, I see the other side of black America that still needs a lot of work, because the side I see has embraced this poisonous ghetto culture that came out of the South during the great northern migration in the first half of the 20th century when southern blacks (and whites) began moving to our northern cities looking for work, and they brought their dysfunctional culture with them, much to the chagrin of northern whites... and blacks. Intrigued? Then I highly suggest you get your hands on Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Dr. Thomas Sowell. It will be your best read all year.

Good Day to You, Sir.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

read everything on your blogger to date, and you are a wonderful writer.

good for you in having the guts to say what you feel and believe regarding this subject. if there were more people like you out there, maybe this wouldn't even be an issue.

Anonymous said...

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