Wednesday, 28 October 2015

SETTLING FOR LESS: LOSING THE RACE by JOHN H. McWHORTER



There is a level of conformity among blacks that whites would find hard to believe.

Christopher Jackson, A White Teacher Speaks Out


The only significant threat facing modern-day black Americans is themselves, not white people.

Scott Hampton, Culturism



That there exist serious problems within black culture and society, such as it is, can scarcely be denied by any honest observer; that those problems are the legacy of white racism is moot. This is the theme of Losing the Race, and the main reason why you won’t have heard of John H. McWhorter. While white Liberal America lionises Ta-Nehisi Coates, his execrable prose style, and his mantra that evil whites are dedicated to ‘destroying black bodies’, McWhorter’s book gathers dust when it should be on the reading list of every politician, head teacher, police chief and government worker in America.

McWhorter, at the time of writing the book in 2000, was a black Linguistics Professor at Berkeley, who was also a hobbyist actor, light operatic singer and musician. A black man, in short, about as far removed from rap music, cornrows and Black Lives Matter as could be, which is why his fellow blacks despise him. Black society does not take kindly to brothers who don’t read from the victim script, and McWhorter is far too accurate in his sociology to be doing anything other, in the eyes of other blacks, than working up at the house.

Losing the Race has as its sub-title; Self-Sabotage in Black America, and McWhorter’s abilities as a linguist enable him to parse that dysfunctional bloc with precision and an honesty rare in his ethnic co-workers. He isolates three main pillars which support the edifice of black suffering/white racism: Victimology, Separatism, and Anti-Intellectualism.

Victimology is the received wisdom that blacks are always and everywhere the victims of whites, either literally, as in the largely mythical police brutality supposed still to exist, or as a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation. It is viral and self-replicating, interested in keeping itself alive not least for the revenue it generates. It relies on an ‘apocalyptic embroidery’ of actuality, and McWhorter includes a very instructive case study.

The Reverend Al Sharpton is a genuinely odious man. A posing, preening race-hustler, he is of course high on the list of Obama’s White House invitees and advisers. After twitting him delightfully for ‘sporting James Brown’s campy hairstyle’, McWhorter points out how much Sharpton enjoys the latest drummed-up racial scandal. Invented racism keeps Sharpton in his trademark natty suits, which is why the well will not run dry any time soon. For the rest of black society, though, whether they realise it or not, ‘we have replaced the shackles whites hobbled us with for centuries with new ones of our own’.

Black Separatism is the method which keeps victim status in place. The cult of Separatism dictates to black people that their culture is entirely separate – and yet just as valid – as the default white culture which dominates. It enables victim status by posing as a separate enclave from which criticism of white culture can be made, but which will accept none in return. It infects academia, a cultural domain concerning which McWhorter is well placed to comment;

‘All too often, black scholarship is devoted not to general scholarly enquiry about black people, but a subset of this: chronicling black victimhood past and present…’

This begrudging isolationism also validates, in the minds of black academics, a separate ‘black’ methodology;

‘In “black” academia, as often as not, comment is preferred over question, folk wisdom is often allowed to trump rigorous argumentation, and socio-political intent is weighted more heavily than the empirical soundness of one’s conclusions.’

Anyone who has any knowledge of the bizarre versions of history taught during Black History Month will see this anti-academic non-methodology in action.

Finally, the black cult of Anti-Intellectualism is laid bare, a cult the existence of which anyone honest who has worked in education will confirm. We all know about affirmative action, about blacks and ‘the book thing’, about education viewed as ‘something whitey does’. What is horrific is both the extent of the rot, and its defence by black American educational elites. This type of nihilism may provide a supporting wall for Victimology and Separatism, but if black culture is not careful, white culture will be left with the only explanation remaining; the old IQ/genetics argument. The Bell Curve waits in the background.

Excuses for black educational underachievement, in the final analysis, do nothing but keep black children where, presumably, black society – and perhaps white – wants them, caught ‘in a cultural holding pattern they cannot help’. The tortuous excuses and faux explanations for black failure are an insult, and yet they inform American academic practice, and have doubtless already arrived in the UK. McWhorter quotes from a New York State Board of Regents document on the subject of black learning;

‘[Black children tend] to prefer “inferential reasoning rather than deductive or inductive reasoning” and show “a tendency to approximate space, number and time instead of aiming for complete accuracy”… In other words, they are less likely than students of many other ethnicities to dwell spontaneously in the post-Enlightenment ways of thinking that education is founded upon and is dedicated to fostering.’

Black music and dress is one thing; there is no ‘black mathematics’.

John McWhorter is currently catching flak for daring to question the probity of the Black Lives Matter movement, a blatantly racist, deceptive pressure group which again is championed by Obama, the most racially divisive president in US history. Any black writer who dares question the narrative should be applauded and championed, but the opposite is almost always the case. The truth doesn’t matter; acting like a good brother does. But those resentful, non-inferential, self-righteous agitators who believe in Ebonics, ‘the Talk’, Black Lives Matter, trigger words, dog-whistle racism and all the other intellectual rap music that passes for modern black thought have a saviour in their midst who, as usual, they don’t recognise.

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