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Black Rednecks and White Liberals

Publisher: Encounter • 2006 • 250 pages
4.86 out of 5 • View Ratings Details • 37 Ratings

Lazy, lawless, and sexually immoral – that’s how Northern employers and cops regarded poor Southern “rednecks” as late as the 1940s and 1950s. Many Southern blacks, Thomas Sowell explains, picked up the same habits. But while both white and black Southerners have moved up in class and affluence, Sowell notes that ghettos are still filled with “black rednecks” who have never escaped these self-destructive patterns. Why not? Their attempt to escape, as Sowell demonstrates in “Black Rednecks and White Liberals,” has been consistently and repeatedly hampered by white liberals. The Left, says Sowell, has turned dysfunctional “black redneck” culture into “a sacrosanct symbol of racial identity.”

These essays bring you the most enlightening results of Sowell’s over twenty-five years of fearless and groundbreaking research on racial and cultural issues. He tackles a broad spectrum of issues, sweeping aside entrenched liberal clich?s and dogmas. He ably supports his profoundly original and arresting vision with data that liberal analysts would prefer to ignore or have failed to grasp.

In numerous ways Sowell boldly challenges the racial orthodoxy that has prevailed largely unchallenged since the 1960s among leftist academics and the media elite. He even dares to explore the real history of slavery, asking why historians have produced volume after volume about Africans enslaved by white Americans — and all of American slavery’s historical and sociological fallout, real and imagined — while virtually ignoring the fact that slavery has been ubiquitous throughout history and is still practiced by Africans in Mauritania, the Sudan and parts of Nigeria. Elsewhere he draws striking parallels between the tragedy of Jewish history and the bloody fate of Ibos in Nigeria, the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire and other “middleman minorities.”

Wisdom from Thomas Sowell:

  • Proof that the peculiar subculture of Southern whites and that of blacks did not result from slavery
  • Why the low test scores of some European immigrant children cannot be automatically attributed to their being new to the United States — and hard facts about how some kinds of cultures tend to produce lower mental test scores, whether the people in those cultures are black or white, American or European
  • How elements of transplanted Southern culture came to be seen as immutable features of a distinctive “black identity” — despite their mirroring very similar cultural patterns among Southern whites in times past
  • Evidence that black pioneers and leaders of the early twentieth century were not just “the cream of the crop” but emerged from a culture very different from that in which most blacks were raised and educated
  • How racial barriers erected by “black rednecks” prevented black cultural elites from separating themselves as much as they would have liked from lower-class blacks
  • White liberals: how Leftist intellectuals, politicians, celebrities, judges, and teachers have aided and abetted the perpetuation of a counterproductive and self-destructive lifestyle among blacks
  • The much-overlooked source of many of the prevailing misconceptions of the histories of both blacks and whites in America
  • How white liberals have promoted a conformity of beliefs and affirmations among blacks, with those who hold different viewpoints banished from consideration intellectually and ostracized socially
  • “Middleman minorities”: how certain kinds of economic activity engaged in by minority groups increases resentment against them more than their ethnicity
  • How the widespread belief that Jews and other middleman minorities have made no productive contribution to the economies in which they lived has often been belied by the decline or collapse of those economies after their departure
  • Proof: contrary to liberal myth, for most of history, slavery was not based on racism — and most slaves did not differ racially from their masters
  • What the Western world — and the United States in particular — had that made the abolition of slavery possible, while slavery was still taken for granted in the Islamic world and other non-Western societies
  • Why modern-day liberal critics are wrong, and Abraham Lincoln was wise not to have made the moral case for the abolition of slavery in the Emancipation Proclamation
  • How Leftists scream for slavery reparations from the American government while saying nothing at all about non-Western slaveholding countries past and present, from which no reparations or other concessions can remotely be expected
  • Bias: how scholars have long known that slavery was a worldwide institution, going back thousands of years, but this has not led them to provide adequate coverage of slavery outside of Western civilization
  • A cardinal and illuminating reason for German cultural predominance in Eastern Europe
  • Why the genocide of the Jews perpetrated by Hitler’s Germany is even more chilling than most people realize
  • How the differences between W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington have been exaggerated by modern-day liberal revisionists for political purposes
  • One of the most obvious — and most overlooked and suppressed — reasons for the deficient educational performance of black students
  • How putting unqualified people in charge of black colleges and universities for the sake of racial proprieties was a serious setback for the schools, and for the young people who were educated in them
  • Revealing details of the decline and academic collapse of Dunbar High School, once an elite school for blacks in Washington, DC
  • How the desire of predominantly white colleges to secure a demographically representative student body made lower standards of admissions for blacks virtually inevitable
  • Why the magnitude of employment discrimination cannot be reliably measured by the relative numbers of blacks in particular occupations
  • Prominent educational “experts” who ignore or dismiss examples of black educational success because they don’t fit in with their ideological agenda

Over the last thirty years, Thomas Sowell has established himself as one of our nation’s most brilliant and insightful conservative commentators on racial issues. Black Rednecks and White Liberals is his masterwork.

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