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