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Thursday, April 28, 2005 

It's the culture, stupid

Incredibly intriguing article here setting out a theory that claims that neither race nor racism accounts for many of the disparities between blacks and whites in (North?) America. It's a brief piece, almost a precis, so I'm not sure if Sowell is taking on too much for his theory, or what he thinks the ramifications are (read: if I find out more about this later and he winds up being crazy, I reserve the right to change my mind), but I would think it's worth investigating at the very least.

I agree that it's interesting, but I'd need to see much better logic to really take what he's saying. I think his problem is the confusion of the racism of an individual and institutional/hegemonic racism. It doesn't take racist people to make an institution capable of producing racist consequences.

That said, as a cracker, there's certainly something cultural to be looked at. I'd argue, though, that race is an aspect of a society (culture or not can be debated), and the very color of a person's skin automatically puts her in a disadvantaged place in a society in which white is privileged. How much that privilege is tied to culture? There's the interesting place. Let me know if you see more on this...

Yeah, all of the above is why it's so frustrating he's only got the bare minimum of stuff at that link. Most of his claims I take on a "hmm, interesting, but can you back it up?" sort of level.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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