Social Poison – A Reading of Thomas Sowell’s BRAWL by Amanda S. Green

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A Social Poison – A Reading of Thomas Sowell’s BRAWL by Amanda S. Green

As promised, I’ve returned to Thomas Sowell and the final parts of his excellent essay, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Whether you believe in a “Redneck culture” or that it is something that came to parts of the South from sections of England, the underlying basis of what Sowell has to say still stands. There is a culture that white liberals have identified in African-American society, held up as being “authentic” and have championed. This action by white liberals is, according to Sowell, a social poison that must be counteracted sooner, rather than later.

Slavery.

A simple word that brings up so many negative connotations and rightly so. No one today wants to think about being owned by another person, being property to be bought and sold at the whim of a master. It is also a dark part of our history. But it is just that, history. At the time, despite our horror at the idea today, slavery was legal. Yet, the aftershocks of it can still be felt. Must of that is because of the so-called good intentions of white liberals. Yet, as Sowell points out, using it as THE causation for today’s problems does more than a simple disservice to our country and, most especially, to the African-American that are part of it.

 

Many of the prevailing misconceptions of the histories of both blacks and whites in America derive from trying to amalgamate morality and causation, so as to make the moral evil of slavery a causal explanation of contemporary negative social phenomena which have in fact had entirely different historical bases. . . When discussing both blacks and Southern whites, slavery has served as an all-purpose explanation of many social phenomena, ranging from broken families to poor education, lower labor force participation rates, and high rates of crime and violence. . . No matter what the origin of counterproductive behavior, such behavior must be changed if progress is the goal. (BRAWL, p. 56)

 

Two things in the above quote are important to remember. The first is Sowell’s use of the phrase “trying to amalgamate morality and causation”. If you think about it, that is exactly what we’ve been seeing since the 1960’s. We have been told time and again that slavery, a morally repugnant act, is the basis of racism in this country. The first problem with that is it assume there can only be racism on a white to black basis. Despite arguments to the contrary, racism is more than a white and black issue. It isn’t difficult to see racism across the spectrum. Whites can be racist against African-Americans or against Hispanics or against Asians, etc. But it isn’t limited to white. African-Americans can be racist against whites or Hispanics or Asians just as Hispanics and Asians or any other “race” can be racist against those who don’t look or act like them.

But that doesn’t fit the narrative. If you go onto social media, you can easily find people claiming only whites can be racist because racism comes from positions of power. Yeah, no. The fact white intellectuals have continued to promote this idea is not that difficult to understand if you think about it. Such a belief gives them a social superiority of sorts over those they want to prove aren’t as enlightened or “woke” as they are.

The second point Sowell makes here is that it doesn’t matter what the origin of the “counterproductive behavior”. What matters is changing that behavior if there is to be progress. Yet, do we see white liberals, especially white liberal intellectuals saying this? No, just the opposite, in fact.

 

[I]f the real agenda is to score points against American society, then blacks can be used as a means to that end. More generally, a pro-black stance by white intellectuals enhances the latter’s moral standing and self-esteem, whether or not the particular manifestation of that stance helps or harms blacks on net balance. (BRAWL, pp. 56-57)

 

Looking at the above, something else starts to become clear. Some, if not all, of these intellectuals care more about their own standing than about those they claim to help. It helps enhance their “moral standing and self-esteem”. How is that helping those they claim to champion?

 

Blacks in effect become the mascots of these intellectuals, symbolizing and acting out the latter’s resistance to “society”—or, more accurately, civilization. But, while mascots may be indulged, more fundamentally mascots exist for the sake of those who adopt them, and the actual well-being of the mascot is seldom a high priority. By cheering on counterproductive attitudes, making excuses for self-defeating behavior, and promoting the belief that “racism” accounts for most of blacks’ problems, white intellectuals serve their own psychic, ideological, and political interests. They are the kinds of friends who can do more harm than enemies. (BRAWL, p. 57)

 

Sowell might be a bit blunt with the above but he’s right, especially if you look long and hard at what has been going on in this nation since the 1960’s. What attitudes and behaviors have the white liberal intellectuals been cheering on? A “ghetto” behavior. They’ve used slavery, broken homes, lack of education, etc., (all of which they then tie back to slavery) to excuse these “counterproductive attitudes”. These same white intellectuals are the ones promoting the idea that racism is behind it all. And yet, what solutions have they offered that would break the cycle of counterproductive behavior? Nothing workable and nothing that would break the counterproductive behavior of the so-called “culture” they are trying to propitiate.

 

A crucial fact about white liberals must be kept in mind: They are not simply in favor of blacks in general. Their solicitude is poured out for blacks as victims, blacks as welfare mothers, criminals, political activists against the larger society, as well as those blacks who serve as general counter-cultural symbols against the larger society. (BRAWL, p. 57)

 

 

Victims. That is the key here. In fact, if you think about it, victimhood is the current preferred state when you listen to so many liberals, be they “intellectuals” or not. We have them promoting the idea of African-Americans as victims because of slavery. It doesn’t matter if the African-American in question came from a Southern slave heritage or not. We have the idea that women are victims because of the patriarchy. We have the belief that anyone not identifying as a heterosexual is a victim because of the fact they are “different”. We are told non-Christians are victims because of much the same. This constant state of victimhood, with the correlating idea that victims MUST be believed until proven wrong, is weakening not only the individual but the country as a whole. It harms the individual because it truly does make a victim of them. They expect to be mistreated, either physically, mentally or emotionally. They don’t learn how to stand on their own but have to have their safe spaces where they can go so they don’t have to be exposed to words or ideas or even just the sight of people who offend them. In other words, they would rather feel than do and they certainly don’t know – or possibly don’t want – to adult.

 

Intellectuals in the 1960s began promoting the idea that those blacks who exhibited a culture different from the ghetto or black redneck culture were not “really” authentic blacks. . . Rooting black identity in a counterproductive culture not only reduced incentives to move beyond that culture, it cut off those within that culture from other blacks who had advanced beyond it, who might otherwise have been sources of examples, knowledge, and experience that could have been useful to those less fortunate. . . But more successful blacks were increasingly depicted as either irrelevant non-members of the black community or even as traitors to it. In turn, this meant that many blacks who had a wider cultural exposure and greater socioeconomic success felt a need to conform, to some degree or another, to a more narrow ghetto view of the world. . . .(BRAWL, pp. 57-58)

 

Whether these intellectuals meant to cause problems for the more successful members of the African-American community or not, we’ll never know. I’m sure there were at least some of them who started this with the best of intentions. They simply didn’t think through the cause and effect of their actions. Instead of rewarding effort and hard work, they wound up punishing it. They caused a rift in the community they were supposedly helping. Instead of expanding the world view, as Sowell says, they narrowed it.

History shows us the problems with a narrow world view. It might feel safe and familiar, but it will ultimately lead to trouble. Not only does it often lead to isolationism, it leads to a lack of understanding what goes on around you. Both can and will eventually blow up in your face. The ability to adapt is stifled and that society or culture will stifle. How, then, does that help the African-American – or any other – culture? It doesn’t, not that the white liberal intellectual will ever admit it.

Sowell has some interesting comments and insights in the summation to the article. Here are just a few:

 

In addition to the negative effect of the redneck culture on the achievements of both blacks and whites, it has also, for generations, provoked adverse reactions to rednecks of either race by others. (BRAWL, p. 60)

 

I hadn’t really thought about it, but Sowell is right. When most people think about rednecks, no matter what the color of their skin, they think about men who wear “wife-beater” t-shirts, are ill-educated and don’t hold down jobs. They are drinkers and fighters and ne-er-do-wells. The women aren’t much better. These are what “good” parents pray their boys don’t grow up to be and that their daughters don’t fall for. Is it an accurate portrayal? That depends on who you ask because, as we can see from the comments to the earlier installments of this series, not everyone defines a redneck the same way. However, Sowell has a very specific definition and it isn’t one with much to redeem the individual.

 

There is no reason to rule out, a priori, the possibility that different subgroups of blacks were themselves different in behavior, attitudes, skills, and performances. That has already become apparent when comparing blacks from the Caribbean with blacks from the South, or when comparing blacks from the New England enclaves in the South with blacks from the redneck culture. (BRAWL, p. 60)

 

To support this, Sowell gives hard evidence of census data, etc. Even with only circumstantial evidence, it should be clear his statement is true. So why do liberal intellectuals, especially white liberal intellectuals, continue to hold onto the belief that all the ills of African-American culture stem from slavery? Obviously, not every member of that culture comes from a slavery background. Yet, to so many, that doesn’t matter. Slavery is the source of all ills and racism is at the root of it.

Nope, but try telling that to those who hold tight to the belief.

 

Easy recourse to slavery as an explanation of either North-South differences or black-white differences fails empirical tests. . . The counterproductive redneck culture that eroded away over the generations, among both whites and blacks, has been rescued after the 1960s by a “multicultural” ideology that has made this residual survival among ghetto blacks a sacrosanct badge of racial identity, not to be tampered with by teachers or criticized by others, under pain of being labeled “racist.” . . . In short, prevailing explanations provide an alibi for those who lag—and an alibi is for many an enormously valuable asset that they are unlikely to give up easily. (BRAWL, p. 61-62)

 

An alibi.

I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but Sowell is right. It is an alibi, an excuse. It goes hand-in-hand with the attitude of entitlement we see in too many of this nation, no matter what the color of their skin. Too many have forgotten what made America great, that spirit of facing trials and tribulations, of overcoming dangers and challenges, to forge a new homeland and to excel at what they did. Too many of us want it all handed over on a silver platter, preferably paid for by the government. What they don’t realize is that the government has to pay for it somehow and that somehow is us. It is money out of our pockets.

When I start hearing how we shouldn’t put time limits on how long someone who is able to work but who chooses not to, for whatever reason, I can only shake my head. Why should we, as taxpayers, support someone who can go flip burgers but won’t because they don’t like shift work or because they feel it beneath them. Yes, if a person is infirm and can’t work, they should be helped. If a mother can’t afford daycare and needs to stay home with a young child, exceptions can be made. But we shouldn’t continue to pay for her to do so and to continue to have more children so she can keep on the dole. That sort of government “help” only serves to help someone into a mindset where they don’t want to do for themselves or where they believe they can’t. Neither attitude or belief is productive or conducive to breaking out of the cultural mindset Sowell has been writing about.

 

Those who provide black rednecks with alibis do no favor to them, to other blacks, or to the larger society in which we all live. . . The liberal vision of blacks’ fate as being almost wholly in the hands of whites is a debilitating message for those blacks who take it seriously, however convenient it may be for those who are receptive to an alibi. . . By making black redneck behavior a sacrosanct part of black cultural identity, white liberals and others who excuse, celebrate, or otherwise perpetuate that lifestyle not only preserve it among that fraction of the black population which has not yet escaped from it, but have contributed to its spread up the social scale to middle class black young people who feel a need to be true to their racial identity, lest they be thought to be “acting white.” It is the spread of a social poison, however much either black or white intellectuals try to pretty it up or try to find some deeper meaning in it. (BRAWL, p. 64)

 

It is, as Sowell says, a social poison. The antidote is there. We, as a society, must be willing to take it. That is the challenge facing us and it is a difficult one. I’ll admit, I hesitated writing this series of posts. I am one of those “whites” so often told I can’t understand what racism is because of the color of my skin. I can’t understand what people of color go through because I am pale and have red hair. But I not only agree with what Sowell says, I admire him for having the courage to speak out, knowing he would be condemned.

The other day, something happened that banished any lasting concerns I had about writing these posts. I got into a discussion – and that is putting it mildly – with someone about race and racism. The other person, someone who is the typical white liberal intellectual, started lecturing me on how I couldn’t understand or identify with the plight of persons of color. Of course, her definition of a “person of color” excluded everyone who didn’t have their long ago origins on the African continent. When I called her on it, she huffed and puffed and had all sorts of excuses. Then, not unexpectedly, she turned it back on me. I couldn’t understand because of my whiteness.

I’ll admit, I did what I’d wanted to do for a long time with her. I pointed out that my “whiteness” included a great-grandmother who was born on the Trail of Tears. Unlike Elizabeth Warren, I can trace my ancestry back to the Cherokee Nation and have the proof. I can show how my ancestors had their land seized by the government before they were force marched from their homes to the Oklahoma Territory. I may burn in the sun but I have more Native American blood in me than Warren or many others claiming to be Native American or persons of color.

It is past time to call bullshit on much of what these white liberal intellectuals are doing. They are not helping those they claim to champion. They sure as hell are not helping our country. Why do we keep listening to them? Stand up, speak out and tell them to sit down and listen to the adults for awhile.

[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to  send the woman a drink–  And her Amazon author page is here –  Also, she has a new book: Light Magic, under her Ellie Ferguson pen name. SAH]

 

 

136 responses to “Social Poison – A Reading of Thomas Sowell’s BRAWL by Amanda S. Green

  1. When I look at the current “anti-racism” movement, it looks to me like Savonarola’s reign in Florence. On one hand, it calls on people to do penance and repent for imputed or even imagined sins. But on the other hand, it’s a way for the wealthy and powerful to show off their wealth and power in reverse—in Florence, because they had Botticelli paintings to burn; today, because they can defer to victim populations and still have expensive educations and the ability to look down on “racist” white people of lower social standing.

    • Exactly. Of course, you bring up history, something the other side would like us to forget — or at least let them rewrite.

    • Right. I was going to point out that it’s not just social capital that the white liberal (per Sowell’s definition) gains by going on and on about how only they can be racist because only they have power over others. There’s also the element of humble-brag because they’re saying “hey, look how superior I am, but I feel bad about it, so that’s okay. BTW, did you notice my superior position? But I feel bad. Sooooo bad. But I can’t change it, so here I am, all superior and sh*t. And even better than those-people-over-there who aren’t woke enough to feel bad.”

      In the mean time it comes with a constant message that if you’re not white and superior, you also can’t do anything about it and you’re screwed. But sending messages of helplessness is a sacrifice that those who are superior are willing to make. :/

      • That’s exactly what I get out of it when they start pontificating. It’s all a ‘humble brag’, only they ain’t so humble.

        • True. According to the Left, the white race has the power to defeat, enslave, and oppress all other cultures- who are absolutely helpless against that onslaught, not to mention absolute power over Nature herself!
          We’re talking serious white supremacism here.

          • That requires some serious study — the Left is supporting the views of the people they are demonizing — interesting.

            • It’s more that they haven’t really thought through the implications of intersectionalism and the victim game.

              • Joe, you’re absolutely right. I just wish that, for once, they would not only listen to themselves but consider the implications of what they spout.

                • I remember a while back when I first heard about Vox Day, and I took a look at something he had written. He said, in it, that if you believed in progressive premises about the good of society being the highest value, you could make a case for throwing acid in schoolgirls’ faces on that basis, IN CONTRAST TO his own believe in a different ethical standard. This was almost universally reported as “Vox Day advocates throwing acid in schoolgirls’ faces.” So it seems that even if you say explicitly, “progressive beliefs logically imply X,” this is likely to be understood as saying, “I advocate X.” That’s a great shield against logical refutation.

                  • Thing is, it’s possible they’d read a lot of VD. If you go through his archives, you find a lot of his talking out both sides of his mouth, while maintaining plausible deniability.
                    I also used to believe he just played games. But if you read all of his archives for a year or so, you can’t avoid the feeling the devil is indeed as racist/sexist/homophobic as he’s painted.
                    My point of realization is when he talked about how the future was going towards those more intolerant of gays. (And this was a good thing.) In proof he cited some African country passing the death penalty for homosexuality.
                    Because when it suits him, then African kakistocracies are the future.
                    And then there’s his repugnant obsession with “the Joos did it.” Carefully disguised under “but I have Jewish friends.”
                    I say it’s spinach and I say to hell of it.

                    • Amsel, Matthew

                      VD is weird. He’s obviously fairly bright (at least in his specialties), but he has some *really* odd blind spots and obsessions.

                    • It’s a danger of assuming a cranky world view for the public and then internalizing it.

                    • Amsel, Matthew

                      Could be. I’m not really sure whether he started fairly reasonable and was taken over by his persona, or if he was always so nutty and eventually let the mask drop.

  2. It is past time to call bullshit on much of what these white liberal intellectuals are doing. They are not helping those they claim to champion. They sure as hell are not helping our country.

    Preach it sister!

  3. One tiny niggle, Amanda. “Alibi” and “excuse” aren’t synonyms. An alibi tells why I couldn’t have done something I’m accused of; an excuse tells why I was justified in doing it.

  4. *G* I ended up shutting up a liberal TA in a very similar fashion once. Though my ancestress avoided the Trail by being married to a guy who went to Georgia… in an oxcart, I’m told. And the family just kept mum about things afterward.

    A few years ago my class was on our way back from a university field trip, and the TA (who was driving) started off on a rant about how all white people were horrible and ought to die because of the horrible power structures of modern society. As this was a very white guy, I was both bemused and concerned. And absently wondering if I was going to have to dive for the steering wheel, if he felt that way about it.

    And then he got to Native Americans and the horrible life on reservations, and I couldn’t take it any more. “You know, some of us do our best NOT to live on the reservations.”

    …You could hear the gears in his head grind, I swear. 😉

    • LOL. I had a similar conversation about the reservations this weekend with my cousin who was visiting from out-of-town. Her father was full-blood Shawnee (iirc). He and his family worked hard to get off the reservation and stay off of it. Yes, he had some of the problems you find on the reservation but his kids have continued to fight not only to be the best, most successful people they can be but to overcome the demons their father fought against and, unfortunately, often fell victim to. Each of them are the first to step up and say you can break away — if you want and they point to their father’s family as proof.

      • Funny, ennit, how those denouncing The Rez are so enamored of The Black Ghetto.

        At the time of establishment of the reservation policy under President Grant it was hailed as enlightened policy … which, in contrast with the policy prior, was probably true.

        • and the two are basically the same thing… from a certain perspective.

        • The problems were fundamental. Individuals and corporations wanted the land the Indians were on (for mining, logging, or growing). The nation was generally unwilling to deploy the Army to force Americans to comply with treaty terms and not occupy/exploit the land the treaties had left to the Indian tribes. So long as those two conditions applied, conflict was inevitable. The reservation system merely changed some of the dimensions of the conflict.

          • I can’t recall the details, but I know there is at least one case (in Iowa, I believe) of an Indian Chief telling themWhite government “The hell with a treaty. To hell with a reservation. I want a deed.”. Which he got, and his tribe did very well in comparison.

            • Smart move. If nothing else, it let his tribe fight any contemplated encroachments in the courts.

            • Tama County, IA. Wholly owned in fee simple (or at least 90%) by one Indian tribe. And they like it that way, thank you.

              And it varies from reservation to reservation. The Dakota/Lakota have problems the Cherokee and Shawnee don’t, the internal tribal politics of the Southern and Northern Cheyenne… yikes, the Comanche have disputes that go back to before Quanah Parker… Alas, trying to keep a tribal culture in a free-market world can lead to some really disfunctional situations. Good land, bad land, doesn’t seem to matter as much as willingness to adapt, improvise, and overcome.

              • I’ve read in more than one place the theory that the real problem with the reservations is that they’re trying to keep the tribes more or less frozen as they were in the 1600-1800s. It’s not good for a people to try to be a living museum.

                • My father grew up in Colorado in the depression. His take, which Imdon’t insist on, was that one of the biggest problems the Tribes hve had is that the policies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are all too likely to change ever four to eight years. He felt that if the Tribes had had ONE policy to deal with, that stayed in place for a generation at a time, they would have had more luck adjusting.

                  Just throwing it out there, for what it may be worth.

              • That willingness to adapt, improvise and overcome is what Sowell talks about when it comes to breaking the cycle. Unfortunately, as he points out, the white liberals — especially the white liberal intellectuals and those picking up their banner — don’t want the “ghetto” culture to adapt or improvise or overcome. They want, as they have proven, things to digress into a culture that lets them continue to act as the “champion” and “savior”. It doesn’t matter what the cost to the culture.

                • The only culture white liberals seem to abhor is that which descends from Western Europe. In their eyes, all other cultures are to be celebrated and valued, and any who immigrate to America from other cultures should keep their culture and pass it down to their descendants.

                  The liberals have forced us from the melting pot to the salad bowl model. Assimilation is condemned. Even cultural syncretism (the buffet approach?) is something they condemn. They rant and rave about rights and agency, then attempt to deny them to those who’d choose differently than the liberals would prefer.

                  • Here in Canada back when I was growing up *mumblety* years ago, they talked about the “Cultural Mosaic” and how great multiculturalism was. Legacy of the policies of Trudeau the Elder. Where he tried, and mostly succeeded, in trying to create a Canadian culture that was different from the American “Melting Pot”. We are reaping that misguided thinking now with all sorts of issues and problems.

        • RES, isn’t it? Maybe I ought to get upset with them for being racist against me and my ancestors. What do you think? Oh wait, I’m too white for that to work. And to straight. And to conservative. Oh hell, can I just point and laugh at them?

    • in an oxcart, I’m told.

      Oxen have pull.

  5. 11B-Mailclerk

    One cannot be a political savior if the plebs are self-help types.

  6. There are names for those who truly believe that only white people can be racist. The kindest name is ‘ignorant’, next is ‘dupe’, and lastly, ‘moron’. The term ‘provocateur’ applies to those who don’t really believe it, but find it useful to claim such.

  7. Some, if not all, of these intellectuals care more about their own standing than about those they claim to help.

    And thus the Social Worker in the ghetto – no matter how deluded – is at least attempting to be useful rather than attempting use. Might be a damn fool, but at least not a soi-disant “Intellectual.”

  8. A crucial fact about white liberals must be kept in mind:

    White liberals like minorities who know their place are authentic.

  9. … who exhibited a culture different from the ghetto or black redneck culture were not “really” authentic…

    How can we spread the meme (in the original sense of the term) that “‘Authenticity’ IS slavery.” ?

  10. I suspect there’s another factor that nobody has mentioned. Regional bigotry.

    The modern Left isn’t just liberal, it’s very specifically Northeastern. New York, New England, New Jersey. In particular, the corridor between New York City and Boston. And they have despised Southerners since the 1830s. Using slavery as the all-purpose excuse for all the ills of the United States means that their regional bigotry and provincial attitudes are justified.

    • Cue 1776 and the explanation of how The North(east, at that time) were part of the Triangle Of Slavery…

      • But yasee by changing to immigrant labor and stamping a boot on the ignorant bigots of the south that continued the practice their indulgence to the holy church of statism was granted.

        On a serious note, the practices of the north that exploited the immigrant labor was in some ways the same as chattel slavery. In addition the exploited not only did not have to feed and house their workers, had minimal initial investment and could further gain by methods such as company store.

      • A process so clear that even a simple Alaskan bartender* was able to explain it.


        *John Cullum, Edward Rutledge (1776) and Holling Vincoeur (Northern Exposure) as well as delightful reader of the Annals of Barnabas Sackett

        • N.B., John Cullum and his spouse, Emily Frankel (married in 1959) do a regular series of charming programs for New York’s Artist In Residence program.


          Including his being considered for the lead in Sweeney Todd.

    • Everything I’ve heard is that New England is racist in such a way that the “South” look like poseurs.

      At which point projection is a thing. After all, If enlightened-me is this awful, how awful must those people that I look down upon be?

      • If you mean racist as we sit up and take notice of all non-palefaces in New Hampshire, then sure, we’re racist. 93% identify as white. 2% identify as Asian and 2% identify as Hispanic. Only 1% identify as black/African American, and only 1% identify as two or more races. Less than 1% each identify as American Indian, 3 or more races, Native Hawaiian, or Native Hawaiian-Pacific Islander.

        It also appears that there are 18,000 more females in the state than males. Mostly older females, as the +85 female cohort outnumbers the men 2 to 1. Which begs the question: Is the scarcity of older males in New Hampshire contributing to their continued and increasing scarcity?

        • Piffle.

          Country folk are suspicious of outsiders no matter who they are or what they look like.

          I’m thinking, you know, Philadelphia. Which, quite apart from “what I heard” about regional tendencies is also the very first time in my life that I was exposed to casual and outright racist white people “explaining” about black people. Since we were on a choir tour for my bible school and being graciously put-up by the families of the church we sang at in their homes, it quite shook the foundations of my young, mid-western farm-girl world.

        • I’m with Synova – you sat up and noticed this paleface from Arizona quite readily, even after I lived there for four years. (Conversely, I zero in on any “Live Free or Die” plates I see here in Tucson – all two or three a year.)

    • Actually, that’s only half of it. What you’re describing is more or less the “respectable” left. They’re the lefties that try to make sure that they’ll at least look good at the dinner parties. Kerry, anyone named Kennedy, etc… The Clintons were trying to get into this group, I suspect. They’re not against subverting the process to beat Trump. They’re just making sure that they maintain at least a thin veneer of respectability while doing so.

      But there’s another prominent left group. And that group is found on the West Coast, with its main voices coming out of the Bay Area. The Northeastern opposition to Trump has been focused on trying to find something they can pin on him, or attempting to trip him up. The West Coast opposition doesn’t bother with any of those niceties. Instead, they go all-out scorched Earth against anyone and everyone who doesn’t openly support their policies, including the passage of laws that are violently in opposition to the US Constitution.

  11. The element of Marxism that repeats most successfully is the setting of groups against one another. A passionate few polarizes a setting and drives conversation to the point of no return — the “other” become the “foe.” Eventually the transformation becomes irrational and frightening. Read about the excesses of Mao’s Cultural Revolution and see if your blood doesn’t run cold. The “outing” and “re-education” were bizarre. The same proved true in more than one “cycle” of the USSR, though the blood-thirstiness is more paranoid than bizarre.

    • The setting of groups against one another is the basic job description of the community organizer.

    • It’s one of the reasons I’m so dead set against alt-right/alt-white white tribalism/racialism- that’s giving up and playing the Left’s game by the Left’s rules with the Left refereeing.

  12. They make everyone a victim of another – because people love to think all their troubles can be explained by how others treat them. It’s a very easy thing to sell to almost anybody. Even rich white people can feel SOMEBODY is treating them unfairly. An guess who is going to be their savior? Any uh, decade now, next week is obviously impossible.

    • I am so tired of the victim state folks try to pin on us. Maybe I’m weird — okay, I know I am. I’m a writer, after all — but I was raised to value myself and what I have to offer. I was taught how to say “no” and how to deal with guys who couldn’t take “no” for an answer. I don’t hold myself as a victim and I sure as hell don’t want someone to think that just because I’m female, my word should be taken over a man’s without proof. The same goes re: race or anything else. Those asshats who want to diminish anyone because of their gender or color or whatever need to take a very long walk off an extremely short pier into deep water.

      • “Those asshats who want to diminish anyone because of their gender or color or whatever need to take a very long walk off an extremely short pier into deep water.”

        I’ve modified the above to a running leap off a Grand Canyon cliff, they can choose which one.

        I wanted my job because it requested “Bachelor Degrees in Computers* & Forestry*, at least 2 years experience in each” plus salary requirements, which since position was on Oregon Coast a strong hint salary requirements should not be astronomical … oh, yea, I got the job because I met the requirements & recognized the location was not going to command CA, Portland, or even Eugene rates.

        *Not a common combination then, well before GIS. Used to have to justify to corporate why Foresters had data collectors in the field or even shared ones in the Office. Very common, almost required, now.

      • This, exactly. I had an … just let me call it an unfortunate life experience. Under the present PC Rules of Engagement, I could have had a good, decades-long run of milking it out … but at what cost to my soul? My own image of myself in my mind? (Not to mention the soul of my daughter, who would have been affected, if I had chosen that course of dealing with it.) There were all sorts of single-parent support groups available to me, early on. I walked away from them, upon sussing out that they were mostly a means of enabling the participants to pick at the scabs caused by a bad or unfortunate relationship, just to make SURE they would NEVER heal.

  13. The whole slavery narrative is a gross, deliberate distortion of what really happened. If you look up the wiki on the African Slave Trade,

    “The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the transatlantic slave trade were Africans from central and western Africa, who had been sold by other West Africans to Western European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas.”

    So it wasn’t the “evil white man” who did the initial enslaving, we ‘merely’ provided a market for people who otherwise would have been tortured to death or executed. And that was the only choice they had: death, or slavery. The conquering tribes had zero interest in leaving potential malcontents in the area to have to fight all over again a generation later.

    Wiki also says that, “The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires.” I don’t see the United States listed there at all.

    And most of the slaves were sent to Brazil, and the Caribbean, not to the North American colonies.

    What’s funny, or tragic, is that a couple of people quoted in the article, the progressive line on slavery and racism hook line and sinker. Walter Rodney, a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, claimed that it was 400 years of the slave practice that have made whites racists against blacks. Which of course totally ignores enslavement of anyone by blacks in Africa or the Americas, or Muslims in North Africa and the Middle East. Eric Williams blames racism on slavery; which doesn’t pass the common sense test since there hasn’t been any slaves in the U.S. for over a hundred years, and doesn’t past the reality test, since racism really seems to arise as a consequence of us versus not us either due to tribalism or merely being physically different in some manner.

    • The fact that many slaves were slaves sold to the white man by their fellow Africans is contrary to the narrative and must be silenced.

      See Kim DuToit’s tour of one of the African slave ports…. (hoping he will retell the story)

    • Sowell takes on the history of slavery in an essay later in the book. A significant number of slaves were sold into the Middle Easy (Islamophobia Alert!!!) where the men were typically castrated for service as harem guards. Given the medical technology of the era it is unsurprising that many did not long survive the procedure.

    • The Caribbean, in particular. I’ve read that between malaria and yellow fever, the average lifespan of a slave sent there was three years. Ugly business.

    • I highly, highly recommend _The Fante and the Transatlantic Slave Trade_ by Rebecca Shumway. It is a detailed account of how the local African tribes controlled the slave trade with Europeans between 1700 and 1807. It is a bit academic in spots (was her dissertation) but is a great curative for “slavery was a white thing run by whites and inflicted on poor blacks.”

    • Rich Rostrom

      “The major Atlantic slave trading nations, ordered by trade volume, were: the Portuguese, the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch Empires.” I don’t see the United States listed there at all.”

      Of course not. The slave trade started circa 1500, ended after just 1800 and the United States didn’t even exist until 1776. Most of the slave trade to what became the U.S. was when the colonies were part of the British Empire.

      As a matter of strict historical accounting, slave trading by colonial merchants could be counted toward the “U.S.” share.

    • Sort of. I suspect that what we today now think of as racism came about as an attempt to justify slavery, once the Enlightenment got going.
      After all, if you can’t enslave somebody just because you can, you have to have a reason for it. And the reason seized on was “because they can’t handle freedom, because…(fill-in-the-blank with supposed innate racial characteristics here.)

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Nod.

        The Blacks are “better off under Slavery” idea started in the US only after there was a strong element of “Slavery is Bad” thought in the US.

        Heck, IIRC even many of the anti-Slavery folks were “racist” by modern standards but they still saw Slavery as wrong.

  14. Dan Hamilton

    From various sources only 5% of African Slaves were brought to the US.
    Yes, they are saying that 5% of the trade drove the trade.

    Slaves in Africa were extremely cheap. They would have to be for the traders to totally ignore deaths during transit.

    What started out as indentured servants turned into slavery because of the cultural differences between the US and Africans. The freed Black Indentured Servants acted according to their African cultures and drove the GOOD PEOPLE crazy. Those that changed and became part of the US culture were accepted and prospered. The ones that did not drove the GOOD PEOPLE to demand that SOMEONE (there was no government to do it) take care of these CHILDREN. So they were turned from Indentured Servants into Slaves because they couldn’t take care of themselves or their children.

    BTW: How are the GOOD PEOPLE who demanded that Someone take care of the Blacks any different than today’s GOOD PEOPLE demanding that GOVERNMENT take care of Blacks. Neither believes that Blacks are able to care for themselves.

    • Not true. They were slaves in Africa. There still are slaves in Africa. It had nothing to do with difference in cultures. GEEEESH.

    • they are saying that 5% of the trade drove the trade.

      That was where the profit margin was made.

      Math is hard. Life is hard for those without privilege. You would realize that if you were not so privileged.

      • Nope. The main trans-Atlantic slave trade was to the Caribbean. In the 1600s and 1700s, the Big Profits were there, in the sugar trade. And between malaria and yellow fever, the average life expectancy of a slave was about three years…meaning there was on ongoing demand for them.

        The trade to the North American colonies for use growing tobacco was a minor side-trip.

      • They don’t understand math. Or economics. Or life.

      • Fine, I’ll teach the non-privileged how to do long division and they can join the ranks of the privileged. By the way, it wasn’t until an astute teacher noticed that I couldn’t do division in the 7th grade that she sat down with me for a week and finally got it into my skull. God Bless her.

        • You can’t, not unless you do it the Common Core method which means math doesn’t matter, only the process — which is completely and totally fucked up.

          • But ‘m not a government certified teacher, I can ignore Common Core with impunity. Not that they wouldn’t try to come after me for teaching without a license or certification. And no background check!

      • RES, you forgot one. Math isn’t just hard, it’s racist.

    • Actually, the shift came about because white indentured servants were becoming more expensive (due to the population surplus in England drying up) and because escaped white indentured servants could hide in the population. It wasn’t so easy for blacks. And Indians either refused to be enslaved or died (see the Yamasee War in the Carolinas). I recommend Peter Kolchin’s books on the topic.

      Indentured servants were cheaper and could be allowed to die since there was not as much investment to lose, unlike chattel slaves.

  15. This seems particularly appropriate today with the Kayne West/Chance the Rapper uproar going on. (“Blacks don’t actually have to be Democrats…” “Shut up, you race traitor!”).

    I’d also note that it reminds me a bit of how “Barry” turned into the Barack Obama that we all know and love. As I recall, he spent quite a bit of time developing an “authentically black” identity in college, doing everything he could to separate himself from the biracial boy raised by white grandparents.

  16. Two thoughts:

    Blacks can be, and are, ‘racist’ against Blacks. A lot of ‘Black Culture’ has revolved around skin tone, one way or another. At certain times light colored Blacks have been more favored, and at other times they have been ill favored among Blacks.

    And

    I don’t think it’s an accident that the Progressive Left latched onto Blacks as hardmas they did, or the destructive way that they did, after the ‘working man’ abandoned them for the pleasures of Levittown (and similar developments), TV, and cars with tail fins.

    From the depression through WWII the Progressives had been SURE that the ‘Working Man’ was with them and down with the program. But with the war over the majority of ‘Working Men’ had had a belly full of being under orders ‘for the common good’ and dropped the Progressive creed with the alacrity of a recruit getting shut of a live grenade.

    At least that’s how it went in the US. Elsewhere the Progressives got their way more and don’t seem (to me, anyway) to have latched onto dark skinned peoples in quite the same way.

    • “Elsewhere the Progressives got their way more and don’t seem (to me, anyway) to have latched onto dark skinned peoples in quite the same way.”
      Until recently. The modern euro proggie has latched onto the plight of the poor refugees from the ME, and is importing them by the droves. Which will have the eventual effect of utterly destroying Leftism in Europe- either by energizing the old latent tendency to put on jackboots, or via the eventual adoption of Islamic law.

      • True. Importing Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers will Not Work Out Well.

      • Would the Islamists wear jacksandals?

        • That would imply their ability to maintain any kind of large scale, thight organization. Presumes facts not in evidence.

      • Same reason the Left here has abandoned blacks in favor of Hispanics. There’s a larger supply closer by to import replacement voters from. Columnists like William Raspberry were predicting this in the 90s and were against immigration because “we can’t guilt trip Hispanics over slavery the way we have whites.”

    • There you go again, bringing logic and reality into things. I thought you knew better by now. VBEG

      It has always amazed me that there are those who say blacks can’t be racist when it is so easy to see — and many will even admit — to discriminating or judging fellow blacks based on the color of their skin (not to mention their level of education, choice of jobs, of where to live, etc.).

      • I am not sure that qualifies as racism (at least, not under anything other than our contemporary debased definition of the word) as Sowell describes this pattern several times in the various essays in his book. His description delineates of established members of a group being dismayed at the behaviour of later immigrant members of that group.

        Thus German Jews who had assimilated to American society were appalled at the behaviour of their Eastern European co-religionists who came to America in a later immigration wave, and Blacks who had established themselves as respectably bourgeois in the Northern states before the War of Secession were appalled at the deportment of rural Southern blacks when they made their way North a few generations later.

        In both instances they established group members found their social status threatened by the unassimilated behaviour of those who could be easily associated with them in negative manner. The interaction might be compared with the Upper Crust Whites at the arrival of White Trash in the community. In all cases the problem stems from judging people wholesale – the colour of their skin – rather than retail – the content of their character.

        • To this day, a person with a “hick” accent is often seen as stupid and incompetent. The Cohen brothers love to play with that perception in their movies (Fargo & Hail Caesar!) come to mind.

  17. Tom Wolfe covers the upper class appeal of the radical blacks over the boring old civil rights negros in “Radical Chic”. The old guard was too Bourgeois to really appeal to the wealthy opinion makers, whereas the radicals had just the right amount of danger and nostalgia de la boue to be the perfect hip fashion accessory.

  18. Rich Rostrom

    There was a very strong connection between slavery and racism. There has been all kinds of inter-ethnic bigotry over time in America. Between whites and blacks, whites and Indians, anglo whites and hispanic whites, among whites, among Indians (quote from the great 1939 Western Stagecoach: “He’s a Cheyenne. They hate the Apaches worse than we do.”), between hispanics and blacks.

    But the strongest, bitterest, 150 proof bigotry was white against black. And that was because of slavery. By the time of the Revolution, the injustice of slavery was obvious (certainly afterwards). But the very substantial slave-owning class in America could not admit it: that they were in the wrong, and that they should lose an immense amount of property. So they invented the theory of white superiority and the absolute necessity of racial separation. The more they were hemmed in morally, the more fanatical they became.

    After the Civil War, they re-established white supremacy in the South by criminal terror. And again, powerful rationalization was required to justify such extreme actions.

    They propagandized so effectively that non-Southern whites went along. (It’s a curious fact, but “Jim Crow” segregation of public spaces began in the North. And in the 1900s and 1920s, the Republican Party had total national dominance, but couldn’t be arsed to Do Anything about lynching.)

    One can see the difference between the US and former slave countries in Latin America. Latin cultures felt no great moral panic over slavery; so they never established the sort of racial ideology Americans did. There’s still a racial hierarchy in Brazil, or Cuba, but it’s a slope, not a wall.

    However…

    Since 1948, that ideological racism has been pretty much erased. That was largely the work of liberals – who want to live in that heroic moment forever, and therefore can’t even acknowledge their victory. (Thus the absurd motto of the YWCA: “Eliminating racism, empowering women.”)

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      I’ll grant ‘after reconstruction’ and ‘criminal terror’, but the Jim Crow/segregation legitimation narrative was quite a bit more complex than racism alone. They identified as Democrats, identified as enemies of the Republicans, and also killed white Republicans, not just the Freedman’s Bureau. Tyrant Lincoln, Monster Sherman and State’s rights narratives should not be overlooked. Even if the State’s rights was a purely revisionist claim; documents at the time of succession discussed slavery. (I think it also true and significant that they were not willing to accept as a loss an election Lincoln won with only 40% of the popular vote.)

      “The south will rise again” is also significant. Many of the ‘wild west’ train and bank gangs were raising funds to purchase arms for this.

      The Republican party did largely stop paying back their black voters. a) Posse comitatus meant that the Federal government did not have the power it did during reconstruction. b) Period federal law enforcement did not have modern intelligence collection. Which meant Democrat controlled local and state governments had much more plausible deniability when it came to conspiracy. c) Post creation of the civil service (thanks Mugwumps), Wilson was able to implement his tyrannical agenda. This may have created federal powers and bureaucracy that may have been less responsive in the hands of Republicans. d) The Progressive movement of the early twenty century was a distinct thing, related to similar overseas fads at the time, such as fascism, nazism, and communism, and the eugenics component of this had racist policy effects.

      Left/liberals and boomers arguably did not play a driving role in the end of segregation. a) Technology changes were making plausible deniability threadbare, weakening information control, and opening people to different regional cultures. b) WWII likely played some role in demonstrating the end result of such policies. I am sure a number of veterans did not like what they saw in the mirror. Look at the differential cultural impact of German versus Japanese camps. Those pictures of the Nazi camps had a pretty strong and wide effect. c) It’d been four or five generations since the ACW. Transmission of legitimating narratives break down over time. The people doing the work age, and replacements do not necessarily match the numbers originally recruited. The intensity of support may have been declining, and events perhaps only increased during the twenties due to the progressives and WWI veterans giving it a shot in the arm. WWII veterans would have always thrown the balance of power off. It is not clear that any post WWII circumstances would necessarily have provided enough militant radicals to keep the system going.

      The mid seventies start of the extermination, sorry, healthcare access for poor women, program could be argued as continuing support for progressive racist eugenics nutjobbery.

      • Posse comitatus was a key part of why the rights of black Americans weren’t much enforced in the decades after the end of Reconstruction, but it wasn’t alone.

        The 14th and 15th Amendments gave Congress power to enforce them with legislation, but the Supreme Court kept declaring portions of such legislation unconstitutional. If I understand right, when all was said and done, much of the legislation was asserted to not apply to private citizens. That is, if a police officer lynched a black man, the Feds had grounds to intervene. If John Q. Public committed the same act, the Feds couldn’t act. Similarly, while the Feds could act against state laws that discriminated on the basis of race, a grocery store that discriminated on the basis of race was fine.

        Attempts to remedy this with new legislation failed in part due to the filibuster. And before 1890, this was also a factor in not just the Senate, but the House as well, through a “disappearing quorum.” Speaker Reed put an end to that in the House, at least, but the Senate would prove an obstacle in these matters until late in the 20th century. For example, Henry Cabot Lodge’s 1890 attempt at a Federal Elections Bill passed the House quite easily, only to fall prey to filibustering Democrats in the Senate. (Tangentially, a year later he blamed the lynching deaths of eleven Italian immigrants on said victims, and suggested restrictions on Italian immigration.) The 1957 civil rights act was as weak as it was because too many of the Democratic senators opposed an act with teeth. The 1964 civil rights act faced 60 days of filibuster before some minor compromises were made to get enough votes for cloture; until then cloture had not been achieved on any civil rights act after Reconstruction’s end. A far higher percentage of Republicans voted for it than Democrats, of course.

  19. Amanda, I posted some excerpts from your essay at Neo-neocon, here.
    http://www.neoneocon.com/2018/04/24/the-black-bloc-et-tu-kanye/
    “A fitting adjunct to the Words of West and the Candor of Candace: they are newly restating the Sagacity of Sowell.”

  20. Not having (to my knowledge) a POC heritage to fall back on when dealing with the White Social Justice Warrior – I simply ask them about who issued them their whiteness – why is it different from my whiteness?

    • Talk about the teacup calling the saucer white!
      Being “woke” leftist allows one access to the “It’s Not (blank) When We Do It!” exemption, which means that even if one is privileged whitey, you can be as sexist/racist/homophobic as you want towards those outside the plantation.

    • My reply tends to be: “As a white Southerner, I know something about always blaming other people for my problems. Turns out that really doesn’t get you anywhere. You have to actually take responsibility if you want to better your condition.”
      It’s no coincidence that South started getting past its status as America’s version of the Third World only after people who didn’t learn about how the Yankees came down and ruined everything from people who lived through the Civil War started voting.

  21. Amanda, Thanks for writing the “Here a Format…” articles. They were very informative.

  22. The other person, someone who is the typical white liberal intellectual, started lecturing me on how I couldn’t understand or identify with the plight of persons of color.
    My response would be, “Then WTH makes you think you understand… whitey?”

    I also propose an experiment based on this….
    We need to print up tracts – with Sowell’s face prominently on the front – of this essay, emphasizing the connection to ‘redneck’ culture. Then, when we see blacks acting out the ghetto culture, ask them, “Why you actin’ white?!” Then hand them a tract, and finish with, “Free your mind from its chains,” and walk on.
    I would LOVE to film reactions to that.

  23. As the 126th or so commenter on this, the last segment, on Amanda’s take on BR&WLs ( During which, as I’m noting in this parenthetical aside; I’ve had my copy out on the beer table to review & refresh my memory.) I can only say Amanda, young lady, you done did g̶o̶o̶d̶ great!