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August 23, 2005


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One compelling thing to me is Wilkins' acknowledgement that the single most significant outcome may have been in accelerating white flight (thereby catapulting conservative political agendas and eroding municipal capacity to provide services)CONTRASTED with King's growing frustration, in 1968, with the effectiveness of moral suasion and the entrenched nature of black poverty/dependency.

McWhorter has on occasion argued that the fundamental impediments are removed and that his personal example of success is proof of this. It can, however, be argued that since he's in the academy, it's really not the same thing. After all, he's merely a linguist and social commentator of a people who still spend 94 cents of every dollar outside of their collective, whose net worth is 10% of white america, whose wages are roughly 63%, and who do not control a single industry. To the extent that McWhorter does not participate in any organized activities to address these singular conditions, he is an unquestioned success of the non-economic liberalism approach espoused by the NAACP.

While that approach does not represent the sum of his parts, it's an interesting element to consider in weighing the extent to which any of us are success and the extent to which things have changed.

The question of obtaining an effective foothold or control of an industry - from production through distribution must be resolved in the affirmative...and it won't be settled by anything other than black folk being excellent at activity x. And, in most cases, it will certainly require excellence.

After all, what would it take, and how long would it take to make that kind of move in construction or film making or video game design? What type of community can achieve these goals? What will be the character of that collective? It seems to me that these are the types of questions that King was confronting as he drew close to April 4, 1968.


It seems to me that the foothold that African Americans have gained has been in the Civil Services and in the Armed Forces, which are perhaps unique areas of dominance. What few black American scholars other than Thomas Sowell have bothered to do is check out what has happened in the post-colonial world among other minority groups similarly situated. We have no idea, for example, how black Canadians fare in comparision to us or themselves a generation ago.

So whenever I see something like 'our net worth is 10% of white America' the first thing I think of is 'So is the entire economy of Brazil'. Could black Americans run Brazil? So I understand where we start talking about excellence vs achievement which I'll bring to the top. But are we really so pitiful for not controlling an industry? We've got our eyes where the Russians couldn't put spies, but our mission was never to subvert and destroy America, so McWhorter *is* proof of what his family's arc intended. The question of Black NAtionalism is whether it can aggregate more successful families. Tough sell.


I can't agree with you here because McWhorter has achieved excellence in an arena (the academy)in which contests are not articulated principally by dollars or guns. Scholars can achieve prominence without the benefit of inter-generational wealth and without holding a gun to a publisher's head. He is a modern-day scholar in the tradition of dubois engaged in work that is non-quantitative that neither creates nor encourages changes in the material condition of black folk. therefore, it's a big "so what?!?"

In the arenas that define modern corporations and nation-states (like energy, transportation, food, communications, defense and research) the game is fundamentally different. The intended arc of McW's family would not lend itself to replicable excellence in these areas - except to the extent that it undermined collaboration between black folk...ie., no type of EU or G8 or WTO for black collectives, but a Condi-Colin'esque commitment to extend white nationalism.

as to the question of running Brazil, my question would be, "To what end?" And, what would you do with the 2nd generation white supremacist/fascists who migrated from Germany and Italy to take over the economics/industry of the country? Do you have plane tickets for them?

My argument is not that black folks are "pitiful" (lacking capacity) for not controlling an industry, but we are kidding ourselves if we believe this is immaterial. This type of economic positioning is essential to survival in the 21st century. Life contingent on the good will of white folks is tenuous at best, and degrading in essence. The broader issue is the extent to which we desire to organize collectively in pursuit of wealth that improves employment, education, health care and social stability by providing wages/wealth-building opportunities for more black folk.

I believe that's part of the reason why governments apply tariffs. After all, imagine what the Brazilian economy might look like without US protectionism in the SUGAR Industry. Your numbers would change - even if your perspective might not...but the empirical support for your position might be just as limited.


McWhorter's fame is not from linguistics, it's from being a Black critic of Blacks.

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