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September 18, 2008

Thomas Sowell: ' The High Cost of Racial Hype '

As we find ourselves in the final days of the political season, one in which a particular candidate has been fixed on Black this and Black that - seeing American life mostly in terms of race or class as did Karl Marx and Saul Alinsky, here's a couple of excerpts by the great Thomas Sowell on the wasted energy expended for navel-gazing over things like "identity":

[...] on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, was a picture of a black teenager whose mother was fixing his bow tie as he was getting dressed in a tuxedo, in preparation for a cotillion.

I never had the problem of wearing a tuxedo to a cotillion, so it was hard for me to empathize with their angst.

When I was that kid's age, I had real problems that taught me real lessons to remember when times got better, not navel-gazing problems that can distract you from reality for a lifetime.

Apparently there are middle-class blacks who spend a lot of time and energy worrying about losing their roots and losing touch with their black brothers back in the 'hood.

In one sense, it is good that there are people who think about others less fortunate than themselves. That's fine but, like most good things, it can be carried to the point where it is both ridiculous and counterproductive for all concerned.

In a world where an absolute majority of black children are born and raised in fatherless homes, where most black kids never finish high school and where the murder rate among blacks is several times the national average, surely there must be more urgent priorities than preserving a lifestyle and an identity.

[...] Blind tribalism means letting the lowest common denominator determine the norms and the fate of the whole group.

There was a time when most blacks, like most of the Irish or the Jews, understood this common sense. But that was before the romanticizing of identity took over ...

[...] The unanswered question is why an approach with a proven track record, not only in American society but in various other countries around the world, has been superseded by a philosophy of tribal identity over-riding issues of behavior and performance.

Part of the problem is the "multicultural" ideology that says all cultures are equally valid. It is hard even to know what that means, much less take it seriously as a guide to living in the real world.

Will time and energy spent on rap music and wearing low-riding baggy pants like guys in prison -- as badges of identity -- provide as good a future for young people as learning math, computer skills, and the English language?

Romantic self-indulgence and self-deception are things that some people can afford when they reach the point where they can afford identity angst. But millions of other people will remain mired in poverty if they believe such notions.

Do take the time to read all of Sowell's "The High Cost of Racial Hype."

For me, Sowell's take home message is his unanswered question, "Why an approach with a proven track record, not only in American society but in various other countries around the world, has been superseded by a philosophy of tribal identity over-riding issues of behavior and performance?". A commenter at Townhall.com offered that it's the same attitude that insists that Capitalism is inferior to Socialism and Communism in spite of the self evident reality. In the frame of today's political world, it seems that today's Democratic Party remains in existence by feeding a philosophy of tribal identity over-riding issues of behavior and performance insisting that Capitalism is inferior to Socialism and Communism in spite of the self evident reality to the contrary.



Posted by Richard at September 18, 2008 3:28 PM






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