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I want to challenge you this morning to open your minds and to think differently. I want you, regardless of how bad your circumstances might be, to not think of yourself as a victim. I ask because something I read recently challenged some of my own beliefs. In fact the article is titled “A Challenge to Our Beliefs.”
It was written by Thomas Sowell an award winning writer, American economist, social theorist, political philosopher and author, who happens to be African American. Sowell writes from a libertarian and conservative perspective. But this is not really about ideology, it’s about facts.
So, here we go.
Sowell starts by addressing the issue lately of black students scoring far below white students on standardized tests and the different ideological explanations as to why.
He uses a new report from England published by the distinguished “The Economist” magazine as an example of why many may need to rethink their current beliefs.
The report took a look at low income black children of immigrants from Africa, low income children of immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan, low income children of black immigrants from the Caribbean and low income white, English children.
According to “The Economist” all the immigrant children of darker hues scored higher on standardized tests than the native, white, English children in any London borough.
He says that poor whites in England and urban and poor American blacks have more than just low incomes in common. Children from other similar economic groups outperform both whites in England and blacks in America.
He goes onto say that what they do have in common is quote “a generations-long indoctrination in victimhood.”
In America he’s referring to race. In England he’s referring to class, stating that in both countries, immigrants who have not been in the country as long are less likely to be distracted by such ideology and excel in spite of it.
He wonders why, “In both countries, immigrants enter a supposedly closed society that refuses to let anyone rise — and they nevertheless rise, while the native-born at the bottom remain at the bottom?”
He cites studies that found even in the 1940’s when African Americans had far fewer choices and rights, that in a place like New York there was no such gap on test scores between black schools in Harlem and white, working class schools on the city’s lower east side.
Sowell asserts that “those who promote an ideology of victimhood may imagine that they are helping those at the bottom, when in fact they are harming them, more so than the society that the left is denouncing.”
I’m not sure that that’s true. I’m not sure that I believe any of it. But it certainly did make me think. And isn’t that what a good editorial, a good commentary and a good writer should do? Make you think.