That certainly seems like a relevant question.
Paul Daniel Ash

Okay, I’ll bite. But you’ll have to bear with me for the minute.

Consider a time not so long ago — in the memory of those still living. There is a certain race living in the United States. They are Americans, but they are generally poor, urban, and discriminated against, and they have their own distinct culture within American society. And they absolutely dominate basketball.

The time is the first half of the 20th century, and they are… the Jews.

Why did Jews dominate basketball then, and blacks dominate basketball now? Well, they are both urban and relatively culturally isolated. Their youth both saw basketball as a way to get a leg up in life and to get into colleges — as well as it simply being a popular pastime.

The lesson here is that a broad cultural preference can result in astonishingly stark outcomes. We see the same effects everywhere — like for Asian-Americans in academics, especially STEM fields. Whenever we look at a sub-culture in the United States, we should ask: what confers high social status within this subculture? Because all humans are social animals, much energy is always invested in status-boosting activities.

For Asians, academics is an excellent status-booster; for whites, academics is an okay status-booster; and for blacks — especially poor urban (or “ghetto) blacks — academic achievement is a great way to get yourself ostracized.

This effect is already insidious enough on the individual level. Apply it to whole neighborhoods at once and you get cultural pathology. Add economic poverty, drug abuse, and familial breakdown — leading to gang-based socialization, rather than family-based or school-based — and the mixture has become absolutely lethal. It’s no accident that certain neighborhoods and subcultures can produce Yummy Sandifer, and others don’t.

This culture can get started by external discrimination, but eventually becomes self-reinforcing and free-standing. It’s a simple vicious circle. And, importantly, it cannot be solved by affirmative action alone or simply getting all us whites to confess our awful inherent implicit racism (in fact, by implicitly discouraging black/white engagement, the “Social Justice” people are probably making things worse).

[I’m not saying all blacks live in such an environment, but enough do to make this a useful diagnosis. Nor am I blaming them for the culture they live in! But I am saying that their problems stem from a self-reinforcing culture that encourages criminality, rather than, say, malicious whites.]

I’m not the first to give this “racist” view (I’ve been called a racist for this). Notable proponents of this view include other “racists” such as… Barack and Michelle Obama. To quote our ex-First Lady: “Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, [young blacks are] fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper”.

Of course, our intrepid “Social Justice” movement is having none of it. For example, Ta-Nehisi Coates states that fantasizing about being a rapper is like fantasizing about being a writer (something that white kids do all the time). This is completely incorrect. A rapper often gains social status from violence, degrading women, or personal venality, while a writer doesn’t. Writers don’t, to my knowledge, have murderous “beefs” with each other. Norman Mailer famously punched Gore Vidal in the face once, but I don’t recall a follow-up where Vidal’s crew straight iced Mailer.

For example, I love 2pac, but really, listen to Changes sometime — “some punk that I roughed up way back”. Listen to Hit ’em Up or Fuck tha Police, and then think of the typical writer-fantasy fare — compare and contrast!

Note, by the way, that my argument is not that gangsta rap is the cause but rather a symptom of this cultural malaise, a sign of what is going wrong. After all, white kids (me included, back in the day) listen to this stuff all the time without apparent ill-effect (no matter what our parents think).

This general cultural decay results in higher levels of crime — leading to other people being afraid of blacks, and black/police distrust and enmity. It is not the fault of anyone in particular (I can’t imagine that anyone living in Sandifer’s neighborhood did well, having myself seen certain neighborhoods in Oakland and North New Jersey), but neither is it going to be solved via affirmative action or “social justice” or whites confessing our guilt or any of that nonsense. In fact, “social justice” is probably exacerbating the problem by encouraging blacks to turn their backs on the system, doubling down on a failing culture and collapsing urban centers — and discouraging sympathetic whites from engaging for fear they’ll say something wrong and “offend”!

Furthermore, consider the slew of pernicious side effects that come with this situation! I was recently discussing this with a friend of mine — the most liberal, SJ-oriented person I know — when he brought up stereotype threat as an alternative explanation for black under-performance. In an indirect way, I think he hit on a key piece of the puzzle. If stereotype threat is a real thing, what better way to induce the effect than to bake it straight into the subculture? Is it more of a “threat environment” to casually say that a quiz will measure intellect, or to invent a term like oreo?

So, if this diagnosis is correct, what to do next? If you want, I can discuss my views on this next, but this reply has already ballooned to a ridiculous length.

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