People wonder why middle-class black students still have these low grades and scores. There’s no reason to wonder. Part of it is that there’s an element in black culture that is a legacy of racism, and another part of it is that there’s no reason for that to go away, because everywhere a black person turns, they’re given a pass. That has to stop.
– John McWhorter quoted in an interview with Salon.com
Within the span of a few pages, McWhorter shuns prominent black leaders, shoots down affirmative action, calls Britney Spears black, and much, much more.
He does not hold back, and his interview makes for both fascinating and frustrating reading.
On one hand, at least some of McWhorter’s assertions make a lot of sense. Wouldn’t it be more logical, after all, providing college scholarships to a poor white kid with uneducated parents over a well-off black kid whose dad is a doctor?
But on the other hand, McWhorter is quick to offer criticisms but ultimately unable to come up with much in the way of solutions on his own. And indeed, it’s neither a sign of bravery or brilliance to question the character and ‘leadership’ of folks like Al Sharpton, even from a fellow black.
McWhorter’s basic message — that blacks need to move beyond victimhood and take personal responsibility for their success — certainly has substantial merit. But without attention paid to equally deep and related issues, McWhorter’s sentiments seem to be as stark and painful as a diagnosis without a prescription.