May 5, 2005

The soft bigotry of low expectations

Rob at Gut Rumbles talked about an essay from one of my favorite writers -- Thomas Sowell. I have written about Sowell before (here, here, here, here, here, here and here) From Rob:
This guy is good
If you don't read Thomas Sowell, you are missing something really good. Too many black editorial writers (in MY humble opinion) ride a one-trick pony--- everything bad that happens to black people today is the result of racism.

Sowell doesn't take that track. He digs a lot deeper and tells the truth. Black "leaders" don't like him for it, but I do.

I caught the tail-end of what he's talking about in the article I linked. I grew up in my really formative years in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky. My grandparents both quit school in the eighth grade to get married and run the farm Papaw inherited when his father died.
Rob sets the stage talking about his own family history, grandparents and parents coming from a dirt poor existence where education did not have that much value and his parents transition into realizing that education was necessary for sauces. Rob again:
But my parents both INSISTED that my brother and I get a good education. They saw the light and school came before anything else in our home. Man, if you wanted to get your ass in really hot water, just let a teacher send a note home detailing your transgressions, receive a call from the principal or bring home a bad report card.

If I did that, my ass was grass, and I was mowed very quickly.

I am proud to say that I am the first child born on either side of the family who earned a college degree. Others came after me, but I was the first. My family KNEW that education plus hard work equals success in this country. They preached it, they practiced it and they were successful at it.
Rob then quotes from Dr. Sowell:
White liberals come into this story because, since the 1960s, they have been aiding and abetting a counterproductive ghetto lifestyle that is essentially a remnant of the redneck culture which handicapped Southern whites and blacks alike for generations.

Many among the intelligentsia portray the black redneck culture today as the only "authentic" black culture and even glamorize it. They denounce any criticism of the ghetto lifestyle or any attempt to change it.

Teachers are not supposed to correct black youngsters who speak "black English" and no one is supposed to be judgmental about the whole lifestyle of black rednecks. In that culture, belligerence is considered being manly and crudity is considered cool, while being civilized is regarded as "acting white."
Rob again:
You want to keep the slaves on the plantation? Continue doing what we're doing now. Reinforce bad ideas and ignore the obvious. Nobody HAS to live as a second-class citizen anymore, not in this country. If my family could crawl out of the coal mines and the hollows of eastern Kentucky and produce successful offspring, anybody can do it.

Today, however, calling the typical black ghetto lifestyle self-destructive is a racist notion, and you're better off to keep your mouth shut about it. I won't. It IS a self-destructive lifestyle and nobody HAS to live that way. And I blame white liberals (who "love" black people) and race-mongers such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for wanting to maintain the status quo.

Sweet Bejus! Get an education. Learn a skill. Don't get pregnant at the age of 16. Learn to hold a steady job, work hard and stay out of jail. Is that really so difficult to do? It must be.

A lot of blacks can't manage it. And there's no goddam excuse for that shit.
Hard words but very very true. Shades of what Bill Cosby has been saying for the last ten years about education. My first wife teaches school in the Seattle system. She works as a substitute and the majority of her work is policing the classroom. When we were married (ten years ago), there were schools that she would not set foot in. I can only imagine what the situation is like now... Posted by DaveH at May 5, 2005 10:58 PM
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