A: The integrity of family fortunes.
If your grandfather was a plumber and your father was a plumber and you are a plumber, chances are that you’re going to be a damned good plumber. I happen to know (and happened to date) a black woman who was in her residency. Her mother was a doctor and her grandmother was a doctor. This isn’t rocket science, it’s inheritance. This has worked for centuries, even millennia.
Now I am a computer scientist, my father was an urban studies professor and my grandfather was a fraternity house manager and cook. Do you know what I inherited? Their good looks, and that’s about all.
So speaking as an ex-conservative I give you this bit of common sense, and it’s going to blow your mind.
There is only one reason why you would associate yourself with slaves who died decades before your great-grandfather was born. That would be because you didn’t learn jack from your own family. So maybe you had to go learn jack in college and are the first in your family to do so, or the Army, or the Church or the Streets. Whichever. You didn’t inherit anything. You got what everybody in the public gets. No inside information. No home training. No legacy. No home field advantage. You start at Zero.
Now go watch The Color Purple.
In 1918 the flu killed millions around the world including a whole lot of Americans. It created lots of orphans here in America. Around that same time, began the exodus of 6 million. SIX MILLION, I say, African Americans leaving the South. So that was a huge reboot in America. So imagine in 1896 when Plessy was decided that Separate but Equal was OK and it took you 20 years to save the money to get the hell out of Alabama and move to where the Harlem Renaissance was happening. That would be plenty of time to get your family out from under Jim Crow. How many people did that? Oh yeah. SIX MILLION.
And yet. A lot of them stayed behind in that giant ghetto that was the Jim Crow South. Can you blame them? Or is The Color Purple just unbelievable fiction? Were they human beings capable of figuring things out, or just helpless infantile ignorant victims? Or maybe they considered themselves strong enough to survive Jim Crow and determined to win whether or not some people in the future could only see them as victims.
There is in a few paragraphs an awful lot to think about specific to some fraction of the history between today and the reboot of 1918. And we didn’t even talk about the Great Depression, where basically everybody was humbled into relative poverty. And we didn’t talk about the Mafia or the KKK either. Nor did we talk about WW2 or unions or the Urban League or black colleges.
And yet, why would people just say a whole race’s fate was determined by slavery when they had so many choices over multiple generations since then? And why would anyone think that the integrity of a family doesn’t make sense? I’ll tell you why. Because if you judged people’s prospects by their willingness and demonstration of keeping their families together, then you’d have to recognize the responsibility of the individual choices around family. And you then would have to recognize that the American Left does not weight that heavily but rather weigh institutions, environment and culture, all of which they seek to control. Whereas the American Right is more individualistic and family oriented and seeks to unburden people from the weight of institutions, especially government institutions which they seek to avoid.
So if you view history in terms of the agency of families, like the SIX MILLION who escaped the Jim Crow South of their own volition, then your attitude is one of faith in family values. You would probably see your highest value in creating more strength in your own family and alliances with other strong families.
On the other hand, if you view history in terms of the agency of institutions controlling the destiny of people, like the institution of slavery and the institution of Jim Crow, then your attitude is that people’s destiny is controlled by and their capacities explained by the manipulation of those institutions. You wold probably see your highest value in activism for or against certain institutions.
American conservatives use the power of family values to guard against the dysfunctions of the state. American liberals use the power of the state to guard against dysfunctions of the family. Which dysfunction is the bigger enemy?
If you started from Zero and your family didn’t teach you jack, you’ll probably go Left. If you inherited something and your family works, you’ll probably go Right.
And so, with finality. Race is a fiction. It has nothing to do with science in general or genetics in particular. It is a social and political myth, just like “Make America Great” is a social and political myth. But it has great organizing power for people who indulge in that sort of fantastical thinking.
Now for the rest of your education, read Kay Hymowitz. The short version is that the single greatest contributing factor in the prospects for children in America is whether or not their parents stay married.