Sowell on the black-on-white intifada

Here is Thomas Sowell’s syndicated column “A censored race war,” which many readers have sent.

While the piece is welcome for its frank characterizations of the black-on-white violence going on around the country, I find it on balance disappointing, for reasons I will explain later.

NB: it is not an NRO article, but a syndicated column which has been posted at many places besides NRO. So please let no one give the boys of NR credit for publishing it.

Another article on the censoring of black violence that I need to write about, much more significant than Sowell’s in my opinion, is Kyle Rogers’s piece in the May 9 Charleston Conservative Examiner in which he interviews the Newark Star Ledger reporter who wrote about a mob attack at a concert in Newark. The reporter admits that he remained silent about the race of the attackers and the victims and gives his reasons. I found it illuminating.

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John McNeil writes:

The main part of the article that I disagreed with was the notion that this black-on-white violence is going to lead to a white backlash. I do not believe that the majority of whites are a capable of participating in a “backlash,” and the fact that whites hardly fight back in these incidents shows how weak the white race has become. More importantly, the white backlash bit implied that Sowell’s chief objection to the violence was the potential white reaction, as if that’s what we should really be concerned about. I’m sure that’s not how he actually felt, but that’s how it came across to me and possibly other readers.

More importantly, the notion of a potential white backlash plays into the liberal/neocon conjured fears of a evil white majority that is ready to unleash genocide upon minorities. This narrative is a haunting spectre that has no basis in reality, especially in the United States, and only serves as propaganda to justify the dispossession of white people; whites need to be ethnically cleansed in order to avert a new Holocaust.

LA replies:

Mr. McNeil has expressed my own problems with the column.

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Jim R. writes:

Thomas Sowell is correct to be concerned about a white backlash. It just will not be a violent one. That is not because whites are better or worse, or more weak and inherently “soft” (a comment made repeatedly by black men about white men, and often repeated by white women). Rather, it is because middle class people, which whites overwhelmingly are, behave like middle class people.

The white backlash is likely to consist of:

1. Voting to cut off welfare, affirmative action, and other transfers of money and of special privileges to blacks from whites; and

2. Demands for criminals, even if they are black, to be locked up for a long time. This alone would put between 40-65 percent of younger black men in jail for up to twenty years. Given much lower criminal rates among whites, far fewer white men would go to jail.

White people are perfectly capable of acting with extreme, and sustained violence. They generally do not riot and act like black or Hispanic peoples in street violence. But they are good at a more “beta male”-type, enduring violence, one that drags on year after year, in horrible conditions, requiring a great deal of cooperation, skill, and such like the Balkan Siege warfare, complete with artillery, tanks, and the like. That is violence, often even with the group that has the upper hand enduring horrific conditions (like the U.S. Marines in the South Pacific in WWII), and requiring large amounts of discipline and skill and cooperation.

I would not call the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and before that Iraq, and in Djibouti, and many other places not publicized “soft” or weak. And overwhelmingly, the combat troops in those places are white, not black or Hispanic.

Sowell is both right and wrong. Whites will not be burning crosses in black people’s lawns. But neither will they fund wealth transfers and tolerate the special privileges black people currently enjoy over white people. The Internet, a stagnant economy, and resentment of special black privileges in combination guarantees this. If Detroit lost welfare payments, the people there, overwhelmingly black, would starve to death within weeks not months.

LA replies:

But Sowell was not speaking of the type of white “backlash” you describe. He was speaking of real violence by whites against blacks. So, by your own lights, Sowell is not both right and wrong. He is simply wrong.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 16, 2012 12:03 PM | Send

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