Thursday, October 09, 2008

Is Obama So Popular Because He's Not a Black Redneck?

Thomas Sowell's book Black Rednecks and White Liberals is one I want to read. Here is an old WSJ article on why Obama might be so popular---he has no black redneck in his pedigree, only African [and East Coast African, not the Kongo Coast which was the source of many unwilling black slave immigrants]. Here's Sowell:
The culture of the people who were called "rednecks" and "crackers" before they ever got on the boats to cross the Atlantic was a culture that produced far lower levels of intellectual and economic achievement, as well as far higher levels of violence and sexual promiscuity. That culture had its own way of talking, not only in the pronunciation of particular words but also in a loud, dramatic style of oratory with vivid imagery, repetitive phrases and repetitive cadences.
Although that style originated on the other side of the Atlantic in centuries past, it became for generations the style of both religious oratory and political oratory among Southern whites and among Southern blacks--not only in the South but in the Northern ghettos in which Southern blacks settled. It was a style used by Southern white politicians in the era of Jim Crow and later by black civil rights leaders fighting Jim Crow. Martin Luther King's famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was a classic example of that style.

But Sowell notes that the difference between the Scotch-Irish and the blacks has widened as the S-Is assimilate into the broader "Northern" culture while blacks continue to confuse authenticity with some sort of ebonics and a criminal subculture based on resistance and resentment of "The Man," e.g., an adult participation in the middlebrow or highbrow culture which Obama is fully at ease with. More Sowell:
While a third of the white population of the U.S. lived within the redneck culture, more than 90% of the black population did. Although that culture eroded away over the generations, it did so at different rates in different places and among different people. It eroded away much faster in Britain than in the U.S. and somewhat faster among Southern whites than among Southern blacks, who had fewer opportunities for education or for the rewards that came with escape from that counterproductive culture.

Nevertheless the process took a long time. As late as the First World War, white soldiers from Georgia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi scored lower on mental tests than black soldiers from Ohio, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania. Again, neither race nor racism can explain that--and neither can slavery.

The redneck culture proved to be a major handicap for both whites and blacks who absorbed it. Today, the last remnants of that culture can still be found in the worst of the black ghettos, whether in the North or the South, for the ghettos of the North were settled by blacks from the South. The counterproductive and self-destructive culture of black rednecks in today's ghettos is regarded by many as the only "authentic" black culture--and, for that reason, something not to be tampered with. Their talk, their attitudes, and their behavior are regarded as sacrosanct.

The people who take this view may think of themselves as friends of blacks. But they are the kinds of friends who can do more harm than enemies.

When Obama gave a speech last month at U of Miami, my daughter was amazed to see a couple dozen American blacks stand up in the audience and interrupt Obama, waving placards denying BHO's "authenticity" in colorful patois. These were UM students she thought, who cannot accept the kind of invitation Obama is making to the American people.

I don't support Obama and believe he is terribly compromised by the choices he made to get to the top---Ayers, Wright, Rezko, et al.---but he is not part of the self-destructive black redneck culture that Sowell rightly describes as "a major handicap."

And liberals appear to be content to allow the black rednecks a tiny slice of the American Pie, and really seem to prefer their self-exclusion from full participation in the exercise of their freedoms.


John S. Bolton said...

Obama is not from that milieu, he expresses displeasure at street blacks who called him Alabama for example. How destructive can Obama be for America and civilization though? The Obama panic in the financial markets has already cost us trillions, and it has to be considerably about the political uncertainty of the leftmost senator possibly coming to power, under the shadow of bomber Ayers, as markets look forward. They are not a statement on the Bush administration, while a McCain lead in the polls would very likely grant us a respite from this global panic. What if we're voting for Chavez, or the foreign policies of one; that's what foeign markets probably are panicking over as much as anything else.

TGGP said...

It's a great book, read that with Amy Chua's "World on Fire". I've placed one of the chapters from Sowell's book online. It's called "Are Jews Generic?"

knowitall said...

He is so popular because of the eloquence of his words. Let's look passed how he's saying the words, and look at what he's saying. He and the socialist illuminati are going to spread the wealth.