Who’s Responsible for Black Poverty?

 Posted by on 13 September 2005 at 7:41 am  Uncategorized
Sep 132005

According to this article by John McWhorter, the blame lies not with racist whites who hate blacks but with the 1960′s liberal white do-gooders. Some relevant excerpts:

In fact, white America does remain morally culpable — but because white leftists in the late 1960s, in the name of enlightenment and benevolence, encouraged the worst in human nature among blacks and even fostered it in legislation. The hordes of poor blacks stuck in the Superdome last week wound up there not because the White Man barred them from doing better, but because certain tragically influential White Men destroyed the fragile but lasting survival skills poor black communities had maintained since the end of slavery…

In 1966, however, a group of white academics in New York developed a plan to bring as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible. Across the country, poor blacks especially were taught to apply for living on the dole even when they had been working for a living, and by 1970 there were 169% more people on welfare nationwide than in 1960.

This was the first time that whites or blacks had taught black people not to work as a form of civil rights….

McWhorter then analyzes the results and concludes,

But before the 1960s the kinds of behaviour so common among the blacks stranded in the Superdome, possibly including multiple rapes, was a fringe phenomenon. Only after the 1960s did it become a community norm.

Because McWhorter is himself a black scholar, he can get away with saying things that a white scholar can’t (at least not without being branded “racist” by academia). I don’t necessarily agree with everything he writes, but I’m glad there’s someone like him out there saying these things.

Of course, the individuals who have committed specific crimes in post-Katrina New Orleans are culpable for their actions. But McWhorter is pointing out the under-recognized role of the white intellectuals in this process. In many ways, it’s analogous to the supposedly well-meaning philosophers whose ideas led to the totalitarian states in Nazi Germany and the USSR. Although individual Nazis or Communists are definitely responsible for their crimes, the intellectuals who unleashed them also bear their share of responsibility.

For those who want to read more by McWhorter, he’s written a number of essays and op-eds harshly critical of dysfunctional black culture, which can be found on his website.

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