Tuesday, April 26, 2005

No More Need for White Liberal Guilt?

Very interesting piece talking about how the disparities in black vs. white achievements in the US are not due to race and racism but culture. The author looks back to the differences among Northern and Southern whites in pre-Civil War culture.

The North had four times as many schools as the South, attended by more than four times as many students. Children in Massachusetts spent more than twice as many years in school as children in Virginia. Such disparities obviously produce other disparities. Northern newspapers had more than four times the circulation of Southern newspapers. Only 8% of the patents issued in 1851 went to Southerners. Even though agriculture was the principal economic activity of the antebellum South at the time, the vast majority of the patents for agricultural inventions went to Northerners. Even the cotton gin was invented by a Northerner.

Disparities between Southern whites and Northern whites extended across the board from rates of violence to rates of illegitimacy. American writers from both the antebellum South and the North commented on the great differences between the white people in the two regions. So did famed French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville.

He makes the case that the cultural differences are traceable back to the Brits who settled this country, and continue up through WWI. Very good points, which I think make far more sense than the racism argument, and I thought this piece dovetailed nicely with this article


about Bill Cosby, family culture, and academic success.


Nylarthotep said...

Wow. A First.

Granted said...

Very interesting. Ain't going to be real popular amongst huge swathes of the populous. Being the local rep for red necks, having grown up south of the Mason-Dixon line in a Confederate state, this actually rings pretty true.

Oh, and congrats on your first post.