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I recently wrote a post on the Monopoly analogy to help explain systemic racism. Whilst many people protest (too much) against the idea that systemic racism exists, the simple fact of the matter is that there is myriad evidence to support it, from educational attainment data (in terms of teacher assessment and access to gifted and talented schemes) to exclusions data, from sentencing to inheritance and wealth accumulation, so on and so forth. Concerning education, just as an example: there are plenty of reviews into the literature that provide an exhaustive account of racial disparities in disciplinary policyaccess to advanced courses, assignment to gifted and talented and special education, and grade-level retention in this way. And that’s just for children. Who become, amazingly, adults in the community. I heartily advise everyone here to listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, and his episode “Miss Buchanan’s Period Of Adjustment” for a discussion of research into this area.

In light of my claims, I was hit with a comment from a commenter (who has occasionally posted to shout for Second Amendment rights – his comments will be italicised for ease of review) that looks pretty much like “all differentials are explained by culture”. Or, perhaps he really means something akin to “blacks are lazy”:

The Black community doesn’t suffer from an institutionalized-racism problem (which is little more than an ideological-crutch), rather, it suffers mostly from a toxic-cultural problem.

Beyond the decades-long and socially-destructive dissolution of the nuclear family and the rampant fatherlessness within (thanks in large part to the welfare-state), and the often abominable and self-defeating personal behaviors in interactions with law enforcement, and the counterproductive militant attitudes that some Blacks and other Americans harbor; the Black community itself has largely become it’s own worst enemy, mostly via the inculcation of the a toxic-subculture that often glorifies criminals and thugs; stigmatizes success through derogatory epithets/notions such as “oreo”, “uncle tom”, “not black enough” or the otherwise general stereotyping of an aspiring, self-actualized, or accomplished Black person as: ‘trying to be white’.

I’m going to step back in here. This really is offensive. It’s offensive because the commenter (Geralt_0f_Rivira) doesn’t seem in the least bit interested in explaining why these cultural properties might exist, if indeed they do. In other words, he stops all thought processes with “skin colour”. Skin pigmentation apparently drives this cultural milieu. Melanin somehow causes personal behaviours and interactions with police, it causes self-defeating behaviours, it causes militant attitudes. And skin colour here can be shorthand for genetics in a race realist manner.

It’s not just that it might have some impact, maybe in some nuanced way, it’s that it clearly explains everything.

This is so unbelievably naive and simplistic (these terms are too nice – I actually just mean racist) that I shouldn’t really lower myself to deal with them. In the words of Faith No More, it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it. What is terribly sad for me is that he had 17 or so minions upvoting his comments, sock puppets and lurking racists who like to see him put it to the libtard. Here goes.

I could start by talking about crime rates and marriage breakdowns in Ghana: those stats are far better than all across America, including its white communities. Damned “White Culture”, right? Or by looking at attainment rates for Nigerian and East African immigrant children compared to whites to show that being black isn’t the driving force. This article explains how Nigerian children are the most educated in the US, for example.

So, here, Geralt would be wise to ask why black people in the US, according to him (which is to say the claim may well be challenged, but even if it isn’t…), have “socially-destructive dissolution of the nuclear family and the rampant fatherlessness”, for a start. What he would need to do, after showing that blacks have a higher rate of this after controlling for all variables than whites, is to ask why this might be the case. Because it surely won’t be because of the genes encoding skin colour. Indeed, he accepts it’s a cultural thing.

Just a simple bit of research leads to interesting conclusions:

While poverty rates rose dramatically among single-mother families between 2001 and 2010, surprisingly many racial disparities in poverty narrowed by the end of the decade. This was due to a greater increase in poverty among whites, although gaps between whites and Blacks, whites and Hispanics, and whites and American Indians remained quite large in 2010.

In other words, as poverty goes up amongst whites, this drives a narrowing in disparities between (single-parent families in) whites and blacks. As the Institute for Family Studies concludes:

That’s because the vast majority of America’s overall marriage decline is concentrated among poor and working-class Americans, leading to a “marriage divide” based on class…

As marriage rates fractured among America’s poor and working class, the institution has remained resilient among America’s better-off, who still marry at rates similar to those 50 years ago.

And the collapse of marriage among the working class has coincided with a sharp increase in out-of-wedlock births, often to cohabiting parents—because people see marriage as ideal but unattainable, yet still desire children.

So, here we were that poverty drives marriage breakdown. Not, you know, being black.

And the idea that “the inculcation of a toxic-subculture that often glorifies criminals and thugs” is what is driving this “black culture” and its self-defeating direction is straight out of the right-wing, racist campaign manual, not helped by books like The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America, a book by Barry Latzer (praised by people like David Frum and  outlets like Breitbart). As Vox report:

…the book struggles to provide much insight when it focuses on “black culture.” The term “black culture” is so vague to be at once unnecessary and useless at explaining exactly what’s going on in black communities. It’s also offensive — a broad, biased characterization of 13 percent of Americans.

The book goes halfway by saying that violent “black culture”, though nebulous and poorly explained, is more violent a result of systemic racism, so there is that…

The book fails because it in no way explains, and cannot, the drop in crime using that same thesis:

For example, Philadelphia’s murder rate fell from 31.7 per 100,000 people in 1990 to 20.1 per 100,000 in 2010 as the percent of its population that’s black grew from 39.9 percent to 43.4 percent. New York City’s murder rate, meanwhile, plummeted from 30.7 to 6.6 as its black population dropped slightly from 28.7 percent to 25.5 percent.

As Vox continues:

In fact, there’s no reason to think the violent cultural traits that Latzer describes are even “black,” as the term “black culture” suggests. As Leovy wrote in Ghettoside: “Take a bunch of teenage boys from the whitest, safest suburb in America and plunk them down in a place where their friends are murdered and they are constantly attacked and threatened. Signal that no one cares, and fail to solve murders. Limit their options for escape. Then see what happens.”

Yet many people do use this term to bash black Americans. Blaming “black culture” is a common form of coded language that politicians and pundits use to get away with explicitly racist messages — from crime to immigration and terrorism.

Ian Haney López, author of Dog Whistle Politicsexplained: “Current racial code operates by appealing to deep-seated stereotypes of groups that are perceived as threatening. But they differ from naked racial terms in that they don’t emphasize biology — so it’s not references to brown skin or black skin.” He added, “It allows people to say, ‘Hey, I’m just criticizing the behavior, not criticizing a racially defined group.’”

The “culture” label also doesn’t give any information to fully understand these issues. This is a problem in Latzer’s book more broadly — what he means by “culture” remains very vague, and he never provides any clear solutions to these supposed cultural problems.

Oh dear for the “black culture” argument. Back to our friend:

In addition, the externalization of blame and the general acceptance of the sense of apathy and helplessness fostered by their so-called “allies” who promote their own noxious ideology of victimhood, does further damage.

When the blame for Geralt is…skin colour. Sorry, communities of people with a certain skin colour that breed a certain culture. Right.

These are major problems that very few seem willing to address, due, at least in part, to backlash by crackpot enablers, apologists, and low-IQ morons who are quick to level false accusations of “racism” at any position or person that they don’t like, obviously in an attempt to derail any and all reasoned discussion. Regardless of the delicate feelings of such ideologues, there can be no solution to any problem if the underlying causes or issues cannot be fully and openly addressed.

No, I am neither of low IQ nor am I making a false accusation of racism because I don’t like his position. I am making a claim of racism because his comments very clearly amount to… yup, you guessed it, racism.

Moreover, said subculture affects many across the board, including law enforcement personnel, because they, like most human beings, recognize patterns and learn to keep up their guard when they go into poor and/or violent Black neighborhoods; Black police officers do as much as well. I mean even Jesse Jackson, a Black, left-wing community organizer no less, recognizes the pattern:

“There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start to think about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Though, as Jackson alluded to, this is certainly unfair stereotype, it is in large-part of the Black community’s own making; for one, it is a consequence of Blacks (especially young Black males) committing so much violent crime and consequently being overrepresented in such rates by race, as well as representing the number one threat to other Blacks (males especially).

Actually, here, he can make his case somewhat on an inductive basis because we know that blacks do commit crime above the rates of whites. And interestingly, he (and Jackson) identifies these people by the colour of their skin as if this is the causal component of their behaviour. This is an identifier, but not causally so. This is the Correlation Fallacy. A better identifier here would be “poverty”.

For example, if he turned around on hearing those footsteps and saw a man in a suit, tie, spectacles and holding a briefcase, would the same relief not prevail?

Aha. I think so. This is a hugely important point to make because it illustrates Geralt’s preference for defining people by the colour of their skin when it is convenient to do so for his narrative. In effect, it is far more likely that poverty is what drives crime rates. So the question becomes: why is it that black people are far more likely to be in poverty than white people?

  • 10% of white children (4.2 million). In the 10 most populated states, rates of child poverty among white children range from 7% in Texas to 12% in Michigan.
  • 27% of Latino children (4 million). In the 10 most populated states, rates of child poverty among Latino children range from 19% in Florida to 35% in Pennsylvania.
  • 33% of black children (3.6 million). In the 10 most populated states, rates of child poverty among black children range from 29% in California and Florida to 47% in Ohio.
  • 12% of Asian children (400,000) and 40% of American Indian (200,000) Comparable state comparisons are not possible due to small sample sizes. [source]

I could list all manner of data here.[1] You get the picture.

So, why?

Oh, yes, systemic racism. It’s incredible to think that, just these short years after segregation, and on the back of centuries of white accumulating wealth, that the economic and societal systems of the US  wouldn’t still favour whites over blacks. To think otherwise is wishful thinking of the highest order.

Ultimately, the Black community is going to have to look inwards if the issues that affect it so profoundly are to be effectively addressed; constructive criticism aids this. Those on the outside who claim to care are going to have to have uncomfortable conversations and do more than engage in ‘woke’ virtue-signaling or pernicious brands of political correctness; it’s all too easy to move along with the herd, there’s little or no risk in doing so, thus it is not representative of ‘bravely speaking out’ or some other similar notion.

Oh, the old “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” approach. What wonderful constructive criticism his comment has been, I’m sure.

Except, they don’t even have boots, metaphorically speaking. As perfectly put by MLK (around the 16-17 minute mark):

YouTube video

But instead of defending his position and claims with data and evidence, he muddies the water by poisoning the well with claims of “woke” political correctness. It’s the old classic culture wars narrative of the right.

Geralt didn’t like me calling him out, as he explained in a further comment:

While you’re of course free to falsely accuse me of racism if it makes you feel better, doing so only amounts to the sophist rhetoric that many left-leaning folks are typically compelled to resort to, often to protect their own cognitive-dissonance.

No, it’s not false. It’s textbook racism. When you make claims to differentials between whites and blacks being solely on account, and with no reference whatsoever to nuance or confounding variables, of blackness qua culture, then you are being racist.

I do kinda get it though, you and others like you don’t want to accept the fact that black culture in the U.S. went from a positive and respectable one of inteligence, thoughtfulness, and positive achievement, to one of apathy, self-defeatism, and abominably low standards; nor do you wish to admit that this is largely a consequence of the left (which won the last culture war) and its own toxic-policies that effected a shameful dissolution of the once-predominate dignity-culture which not-so-long-ago sheparded black Americans through difficult and trying times, to the left’s prefered victim-culture, which from a results-oriented perspective, has consigned the black comunity to a generally abysmal state.

Wow. This is just mere, bald assertion, with no reference point, data, definitions for the “claims of intelligence, thoughtfulness and positive achievement”. This is the rosy past he is referring to – you know, the past where there was actual segregation, Jim Crow, and all the rest of it. This is just an insane claim.

“[T]he left (which won the last culture war)” – what? To end actual segregation? This is just ridiculous stuff. The inference is that this wasn’t a worthy win for all, but the left getting their way, as if he actually begrudges the end of segregation! Or is there another culture war that the left won that he can expand upon?

To be blunt, you and those like you are no friend to black Americans; if you were cognizant of the social, cultural, and generational damage you’ve helped do to them and if you were any kind of decent human being, you would be ashamed of yourself. As it is right now though, you’re simply exhibiting the same crackpot enablism and apologism of which I previously spoke.

This is not just incredibly insulting to me, I imagine it’s insulting to blacks, and it’s just downright bizarre.

And I’m the “crackpot”?

The main point that is overwhelmingly obvious to see here is that he is putting forward a racist narrative, common for the right, and cannot substantiate his claims with any data or evidence without invoking the Correlation Fallacy. He misindentifies the causal component of the different outcomes of black and whites as being the colour of their skin in determining behaviour. (The way that colour of skin determines behaviour is in terms of how other people view black people and adjust their behaviour accordingly, often compounding the scenario and solidifying their prejudices.)

You want to cure the “Black Culture” problem, Geralt? You cure the poverty problem, the equitable access to healthcare and education for blacks problem, where this addresses systemic racism in terms of attainment and exclusions. You look at solving the inequalities in sentencing problem, you look at problems with over-policing. And all of these other problems. Cure them, cure what you perceive as a “black culture” problem.


[1] Just one more example of the pervasiveness (from “Two American experiences: The racial divide of poverty“):

Poverty is more persistent across generations of black families than white families. Thinking back to our black and white children born in the late 1960s, what is the likelihood that their childhood poverty carries over into adulthood? Among children who spent at least one year in poverty, a black child is twice as likely as a white child to also be poor as an adult (43 versus 20 percent). Perhaps more astonishingly, though, black adults have roughly the same chance of experiencing poverty (43 versus 41 percent) regardless of whether or not they were ever poor as children. This stark finding suggests that black families are paying an unfairly high social and economic price in our society.


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A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...