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July 21, 2003
Black achievement versus black macho street culture

Anyone who combines being British with trying to be honest knows that there is more to British black underachievement than white racism, and that a big part of the story is a black macho culture of street-based anti-achievement, or perhaps one should say achievement of another sort. One day, maybe, some genius (don't know what colour) will manage to combine the best of macho black street culture with the best of white nerd culture. As it is, any black boy who shows the slightest tendency to go the black nerd way to study, do his homework, try to go to university, etc is liable to get the crap kicked out of him by his black "brothers".

This debate in the Guardian on this fraught subject is of particular interest, because it doesn't bang on only about white racism. Sample paragraph:

The gospel I preach is a simple one. It asks black young men to look beyond the street and beyond immediate gratification. It asks some hard questions about their own responsibilities: homework, bedtime, respect for peers and adults, good manners, self-control and how to succeed in the system. Nobody is asking our boys these questions. We just get more politicians telling them they're victims of racism.

It's worth a longer read. Thanks to the Philosophical Cowboy who also alerted Joanne Jacobs to this piece, who also comments.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:35 PM
Category: Peer pressure

Re: Black achievement versus black macho street culture:...
The problem is obvious, and so is the solution.
Compulsory, unpaid labor is slavery, black or white, male or female, young or old. School is an employment program for teachers and other school staff. Students work as unpaid window-dressing in this massive fraud. The archetypal thick-headed, shuffling "Stepen' Fetchit" fieldhand stereotype acts rationally. If today you exceed your quota, only to end the day with the same bowl of mush and bed of straw, and if tomorrow your overseer will beat you and your barracks mates for not meeting his new expectations, and if tonight your workmates will beat you for raising the overseer's expectations of their abilities, why study, er, exceed your quota? The rational thing to do as to lower the overseer's expectations as much as possible.
Command economies must deal with this problem (read Solzhenisyn's __Gulag Archepelago__, read John Barron's __MIG Pilot__). What we have on our hands is a slave revolt. The obvious way to end a slave revolt is to abolish slavery. If school is --not-- an emloyment program for teachers, then offer O-level and A-level (in the US, GED and SAT) exams at any age and subsidize post-secondary education or employment to age 18, from the per-pupil allocation the taxpayers' would have spent on pre-college instruction.

Comment by: Malcolm Kirkpatrick on July 22, 2003 02:12 AM


Dr Sewell wants black males of school age to take some of the responsibility for their low academic achievement. Lee Jasper wants white host society to take the blame. In both cases the underlying supposition is that change is within reach and will produce academic results.

Is this true or really fair? American educationalists have been searching for this holy grail since 1965. They are no nearer to finding it, as The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has recently had to admit. Link to www.jbhe.com/latest/37_b&w_sat.html

Perhaps the hip, sexualised counter-culture of the street really is a naturally occurring phenomenon among black populations and needs to be understood anthropoligically. That wouldn't please the good doctor or Mr Jasper, it's true - and eaglitarian liberals would be appalled. But if the evidence suggests that conclusion, why are we avoidng it?

Comment by: Guessedworker on July 25, 2003 12:55 PM
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