What do you think?

... the perception of black men as inherently criminal is what most black people really mean by “racism” when they talk about its prevalence.

So says John McWhorter in a recent article in New Republic article.  

What do you think?

I recognize that the statement is unverifiable.  How would one ever find out what most black people really mean by any statement?  You can poll and find out what percentage of people would agree or disagree with a particular statement, but what they really mean is impossible.   But be that as it may.

McWhorter is zeroing in on what seems to be the most potent white racist tropes, which underlie not only the relationship between black men and criminal justice system, but also many public policies.  And he is making a double-sided observation.  Not only does he imply that most white people really make this connection, but also that most black people think most white people make this connection and that it drives everything else.

Is not the desire to restrict voting rights justified by prospect that black people are engaging in widespread voter fraud, what with their registration drives and buses from church and New Black Panthers enforcing party line voting?

Is not the striking down of the Voting Rights Act itself arising from the stated perception that the preclearance requirements were an undeserved racial preference?

And welfare and food stamps and every other program for the poor being systematically looted, in the eyes of white racism, by black people on the make?

After reading McWhorter's piece, I finally get the rightwing discourse about Barack Obama, this slight academic intellectual politician, as being a Chicago gangster thug straight out one of Kelsey Grammer's fever dreams.  And the birther narrative, Obama, an illicit illegitimate politician from before birth.

Conversations about race tend to broaden and broaden and broaden, as all of the aspects of Europe's brutal exploitation and oppression of all of the world's people are identified and catalogued.  (England's particular contribution: the creation of racist ideology is one key thread.)  But McWhorter suggests that a narrowing of focus might be useful: the presumption of African American male criminality.

What do you think?


  1. Excellent. Thank you. And may I humbly mention that Politywonk logged on to address the very same topic, from a remedial point of view.




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