Emancipating blacks from Leftist ideology
I've been a huge John McWhorter fan ever since I read Losing the Race : Self-Sabotage in Black America. McWhorter is not an easy man to classify. Here's a little summary about him from today's Opinion Journal:
He is routinely classified--and, in certain circles, dismissed--as a "black conservative." But his views are not easily labeled. He advocates some drug decriminalization, for instance, and favors affirmative action for those in economic need (but not for middle-class children or the children of immigrants). He didn't even vote for George W. Bush. Still, he argues compellingly that the widely accepted ideas that try to explain the persistence of racial inequality--leftist views, for the most part--stand in the way of black progress.The same opinion journal discusses McWhorter's belief that current paradigms, mostly arising on the Left, operate to keep African-Americans ghettoized:
A former professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley (he is now a fellow at the Manhattan Institute), Mr. McWhorter has a keen eye for the foibles of social scientists--that is, for the way they maneuver their methodology to find the big idea (the "golden key") that will explain black poverty. He inspects each big idea in turn--deindustrialization, housing segregation, slum clearance, drug supply, high-rise public housing--and finds it less than compelling. Indeed, he finds that such big ideas only help to induce a sense of impotence that impedes black America's rise from poverty. Thus he counsels against "the plangent image of young black men 'spatially mismatched' from factories that move away." To accept such an image as an explanation "is to agree that the only humans in history incapable of adapting to changing employment conditions were descendants of African slaves in the United States." Of those who blame ghetto life on the flight of middle-class blacks to the suburbs, he asks: "What other group of poor people besides black Americans has been depicted as going to hell because middle-class ones were not around?" Many scholars, he notes, suggest that "there is something sinister and small about the millions of us who moved away from the ghetto." But their logic suggests, in turn, "a kind of permanent racial balkanization." He is impatient with those who contend that the crack epidemic is responsible for the black community's plight, as if "poor blacks are so vulnerable, so devoid of any human agency, that all one has to do is wave a crack pipe in front of them and about every second one of them will leap at it like a dog grabbing a pork chop." And then there is hip-hop. Mr. McWhorter is clearly familiar with the whole hip-hop scene and even values some of its music. But he insists that, on the whole, hip-hop, or rap, neither conveys the reality of ghetto life nor points young blacks in the right direction. Meanwhile, intellectual apologists "tie themselves up in knots trying to criticize and yet excuse rap's sexism in the same sentence." The plain fact is that rap is "the most overtly and consistently misogynistic music ever produced in human history."I'll definitely have to put McWhorter's book Winning the Race, which underlies on the WSJ article, on my reading list.