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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.

20 thoughts on “Victims in America: Is it Reality or a Social Construct?

  1. I’m glad someone is trying to open up dialogue about this victim mentality that we are teaching generation after generation.
    Its time out for that.
    If the foreigners can come here with NOTHING and make something why can’t we do it and we live here and belong here???
    I’m tired of hearing the same dry stories year after year and YET nothing is being done.
    Either put up or shut up.

    • Zion, I agree that it is indeed time we open a dialogue on this subject within and among ourselves. I question you, others as well as myself as to what are the answers and/or solutions as to how we can do and put away the excuses. I have to question why we do not trust one another. SHOULD we trust one another? Is there an intrinsic reason WHY we do not trust one another?
      Although some foreigners arrive [here] with “pooled money” and prosper, some arrive with meager funds and prosper just the same. Are those without financial help more eager and determined that us? Are we just lazy with too many excuses?
      Mr. Devereaux, I sense a tad frustration at the bottom of your statement and it IS understandable.
      While you have unknowingly stole my words by saying “Put up or shut up”, I cannot keep my peace. (smile) I do not have the answers to my questions, but I cannot give up…not just yet.
      Good post!

      • The very FIRST thingwe need to do is get rid of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. These two have done NOTHING but create more confusion and seperation in the black community. To be honest neither of these men will tell the truth about our condition and try to help solve it. Solving the issues that plague our community would leave their pockets empty.
        Next, we need to be honest and take responsibility in the part that we have played in our downfall in these last two generations. Our forefathers set up up for greatness but instead of us running with this we sat back and waited for a “come up.” We stopped working. We stopped fighting. We believed this government and look what we have now? They don’t care about us don’t we see that now? When are we going to realize this and take back what we gave them?
        Lastly, we need TRUE black leaders who will stand up and fight against wrong- even if it is OUR FOLK that we need to fight. We need to get OUR house in order and realize that we are to blame for alot that we are enduring now.
        I am very frustrated that as a black man I can go to the white man and get help but I go to my own and get turned away YET I am told that I am wrong for going where the help is.
        Case in point.
        I have been trying to get in school and get more training. I asked for help- got none.
        However, I had to go to a friend of mine who is white who took the time to sit with me and help me get the information I needed.
        I’m tired of people getting upset and turning on men like Don Lemon who choose NOT to keep regurgitating the same b.s. over and over again.
        Hear me clearly, I am NOT in anyway telling anyone one of us to forget what we have endured. Never Forget. However, how long are we going to use our past as a crutch?
        Whenever we are challenged to do better we want to start moaning and complaining about what happened in the past and how they this and they that.
        They need to let it go.
        We hinder each other more than they hinder us.
        We kill each other more than they kill us.
        Yet, we want to march against them when Pookie, RayRay and nem in the hood shoot, kill and rob all day and NOBODY has anything to say about it?
        If it was left up to me I’d build a wall around those types of neighborhoods and give you a choice to leave and stay and let them kill each other off; go in, clean up and start over again.
        We are caring too much for people who don’t care about themselves.

  2. I congratulate those who come here and succeed. One of the reasons some foreigners are able to prosper in lowing paying cab driving jobs and start-up skimpy convenient stores, is that they enter a money pool with their people BEFORE leaving their country. The pool consists of money that each family contributes and when the foreigner arrives here, they are not just working with a small amount of U.S. funds. They do not try to live “high on the hog” or try to keep up with the Jones’, but live a simple life – just enough to live comfortably. The foreigners are trusted and must report to the families that contributed. As they earn money, they slowly repay the families.
    Some of our Black brothers and sisters us are indeed victims, but not all, as we have become doctors, lawyers, engineers and/or successful entrepreneurs and conquering investors.
    One thing is for sure, is that we as a Black people, have trouble trusting one another and we hardly have the financial support from our own. Hopefully, one day, our people will be able to cease the crabs in the bucket syndrome and do the same. (Notably and from a very personal point of view, I can TRULY understand why SOME of us do not engage in such “investments.”)
    We must teach our children to work for what we want. And the MOST important thing my parents taught their children: Because you are Black, many things will not be available to you and can be easily taken away. Work hard and get your education, as that is something that can NEVER be taken from you.

  3. Black people in general are suffering from too little education and too little entrepreneurship. You create wealth by starting and successfully running companies that supply goods and services to people. No more no less. If you are not an entrepreneur then you have to have some skill that is valuable enough for someone to pay you for it. Therefore,an engineer will get paid way more than some who is flipping burgers. If we become the best scientist and engineers in the world then we will be overly represent in that workforce just like how we are in basketball and football. I cringed every time someone just like to point at racism for every problem in the black community. In engineering white people are the minority most times. They are dwarfed by Indians, Chinese, Africans and other minorities.

  4. No doubt there aren’t as many African American entrepreneurs that there could, and should be. Unemployed black people should look in to starting their own businesses. Follow your dream!! For the record there are many African American businesses that do exist.

  5. So…I do get the power of the mind in determining your trajectory, but test scores are just that. And to make a blanket statement to say that immigrants from other countries come to another “closed” society and “rise” really dismisses the large number of immigrants who come to find themselves in poverty. I would have to see data to show that immigrants are outperforming “native” peoples. While a changed mindset can evoke change, it is not a placebo to the systemic and institutionalized oppression that poor people of England and African Americans face.

    • I said it. on said:

      Either way, these immigrants are not being forced to come in droves and then ill-treated for 100’s of years, “freed” to start from scratch and then expected to make something out of nothing; which for the most African Americans have. When that happens, they can rewrite these silly articles and get back to me.

    • Chester Todd Jr. on said:

      So the 400+ years that we have toiled, worked and built this counrty counts for nothing. You sound like a FOOL!! Tell the dead black ancestors that you do not consider them victims. The problem with the statement you are making is that in itself has been said for years by whites, so you are just mimicking some thing you heard from them. Again you are in the same boat with Elleders, Sowell, West *both of them) Smiley and all other turncoats.

  6. I am originally from the Caribbean and happen to be an Electrical Engineer. In college, almost all the black students in engineering were from the Caribbean, Africa and the few black Americans that were in engineering had immigrant parents from these areas. This carried on to my professionally career, The black engineers I rarely see are immigrants or of immigrant parents. I have experienced a lot of racism and the ” You are an engineer, but black stares” even from other black people and have not gotten jobs because of this. However, I encounter far more people white people, black people, Asians and Latinos who have hired me, promoted me or reward me for exceptional work. In the end in engineering it is about designing solutions to solve problems. I refuse to look at my self as victim despite set backs.

    • foonu: Lots of African Americans are a part of NSBE….The National Society of Black Engineers. 1000’s of members.We never hear much about NSBE…..but they are a great organization

      • I agree NSBE is a good organization. I had friend who were members. I was just recounting my engineering experience in my college and the surrounding colleges in Boston. Black Americans are severely under presented in Science and Technology. I believe it has to do with a fear of MATH.

  7. I said it. on said:

    There’s nothing worse than a unilateral conversationalits. If it wasn’t for Blacks in America this dude wouldn’t have a commentary. He uses his forum to get the people going at one another. It’s a played out method.

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