Losing The Race: Self-Sabotage In Black America - Algernon Austin of The Economic Policy Institute Still Blames Whitey

"Are black students really afraid of 'acting white'?" Algernon Austin asks in The Daily Voice. According to him, the answer is NO. Austin is director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, and apparently, based on a read of his recent article, a man who carefully avoids the complex issues affecting black student performance in American schools. After a long piece that omits any possible evidence, study, book, or dialogue that does not support his facts, he predictably summarizes his argument by blaming black student problems on nothing more obvious than White racism:

Adults concerned about raising black student achievement have two options: we can get back into the civil rights business of confronting the social and economic inequalities that produce the achievement gap or we can cling to convenient stereotypes and keep on blaming black students. Blaming black students certainly means less work for us.

In other words, black communities, leaders, families, and students bear zero responsibility for underachieving black student performance on all levels over the past 20 years. This is an age-old and seriously flawed observation, among others that have acquired cult-like status among the Al Sharpton racists. But nothing dispels such notions faster and more powerfully than John McWhorter's classic, Losing The Race: Self-Sabotage In Black America. To quote John McWhorter:

Victimology is seductive because there is an ironic and addictive contentment in underdoggism. However, it also inherently gives failure, lack of effort, and even criminality a tacit stamp of approval. In addition, because focusing on the negative debases the performance of any human being, focusing on remaining aspects of victimhood rather than the rich opportunities before us is a ball and chain restraining any effort to move ahead.

And no scholarly note here, but still, an interesting comment on Amazon.Com by one of the books many supporters, D. A. Martin:

For years I have grown sick and tired of liberal "blacker than thou" pseudo-intellectuals who claim to have MY best interests at heart as a Black American. They blame all of our problems on racism, constantly making us out to be victims - even 30-plus years after the Civil Rights Movement! Yet, they are never willing to turn the microscope on us as Black Americans and how we should take responsibility for the ways in which we do ourselves in, but are quick to try to censor, berate, and/or brand as a "traitor" someone like McWhorter for doing so, all for the so-called crime of "airing our dirty laundry."

Though I'm not Black, this comment resonated with me. Why? Because I've heard these same comments myself, made privately to me by Black friends and associates who are exhausted by the stereotype White liberals force on them via academia and the media. It seems that Algernon Austin, even many years after John McWhorter's ground-breaking book, even after the studies, many anecdotes, and hot debate on these issues, continues to adopt a simplistic and convenient racist stance, i.e., he exclusively faults White people as the ultimate cause of all Black failure in America.

As human beings, we need to begin openly and forcefully rejecting such notions, for the sake of defeating racism in all its forms, whether it derives from White liberals or Black intellectuals. If not, meaningful change and dialogue will remain impossible.

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