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Black Rednecks & White Liberals [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Sowell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This explosive new book challenges many of the long-prevailing assumptions about blacks, about Jews, about Germans, about slavery, and about education. Plainly written, powerfully reasoned, and backed with a startling array of documented facts, Black Rednecks and White Liberals takes on not only the trendy intellectuals of our times but also such historic interpreters of American life as Alexis de Tocqueville and Frederick Law Olmsted. In a series of long essays, this book presents an in-depth look at key beliefs behind many mistaken and dangerous actions, policies, and trends. It presents eye-opening insights into the historical development of the ghetto culture that is today wrongly seen as a unique black identity--a culture cheered on toward self-destruction by white liberals who consider themselves "friends" of blacks. An essay titled "The Real History of Slavery" presents a jolting re-examination of that tragic institution and the narrow and distorted way it is too often seen today. The reasons for the venomous hatred of Jews, and of other groups like them in countries around the world, are explored in an essay that asks, "Are Jews Generic?" Misconceptions of German history in general, and of the Nazi era in particular, are also re-examined. So too are the inspiring achievements and painful tragedies of black education in the United States. "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" is the capstone of decades of outstanding research and writing on racial and cultural issues by Thomas Sowell.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of America's foremost black conservative intellectuals returns with this provocative collection of contrarian essays. Hoover Institution Fellow Sowell, author of Ethnic America, argues that "internal" cultural habits of industriousness, thriftiness, family solidarity and reverence for education often play a greater role in the success of ethnic minorities than do civil-rights laws or majority prejudices. The title essay posits a "black redneck" culture inherited from the white redneck culture of the South and characterized by violent machismo, shiftlessness and disdain for schooling. White liberals, gangsta-rap aficionados and others who lionize its ghetto remnants as an authentic black identity, Sowell contends, have their history wrong and help perpetuate cultural pathologies that hold blacks back. Sowell also examines the cultural achievements of such "middleman minorities" as Jews and expatriate Chinese whose frequent persecution, he feels, represents an animus against capitalism. And he defends Western culture itself against charges that it was uniquely culpable for slavery; in fact, he contends, it was uniquely responsible for eradicating slavery. Many of Sowell's arguments-that the 20th-century resegregation of Northern cities was a response to the uncouthness of black rednecks migrating from the South, or that segregated black schools often succeeded by suppressing redneckism with civilized New England puritanism-will arouse controversy, but these vigorously argued essays present a stimulating challenge to the conventional wisdom.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Thomas Sowell is persuasive and provocative and always scintillating. I’ve read all his books and never been even faintly disappointed. -- Fred Barnes, executive editor, The Weekly Standard, and Fox News commentator

Tom Sowell is a national treasure, America’s most perceptive, productive, and thoughtful commentator on racial and ethnic issues. -- Stephan Thernstrom and Abigail Thernstrom, authors of America in Black and White

Product Details


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
490 of 528 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again, Sowell is at his best! May 9, 2005
Format:Hardcover
This is indeed a terriffic thesis documented with thousands of references, suggesting that the 'culture' in the South is responsible for the ghetto culture, not 'racism' alone. The reasons are due to how the Britains lived in the outskirts of England(the lawless regions) before moving into the antebellum South, carrying their anarchic, chaotic culture with them. He also details how slaves lived under the rule of their masters, and how the black culture actually had their own elite/mulatto/light skinned class that continually discriminated against the dark skinned, uneducated blacks that were woven into the cracker culture from the onset. He also compares the northern blacks to the southern blacks, showing how the northern blacks were much more educated because the 'north' had 4x more schools than the south, scored higher on tests, had a higher graduation rate, etc.

The northern region itself used discrimination methods not just against black rednecks, but to white rednecks. He notes that racism in the north started when ghetto blacks moved up north, being that the whites and blacks both were uncomfortable with the redneck culture within their community. Racism hardly existed in the north until the migration of blacks from the South after the emancipation of the slaves. He also notes that there weren't just white slaveholders. There were many black slave holders as well, notably in the southern regions of Louisiana.

In his thesis regarding the history of slavery, he notes that it was the Western civilization itself that took a stand against slavery around the world, and spent a huge amount of time and effort in order to push this ideology to free slaves from South America into Africa and throughout the world.
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141 of 149 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Yes, this title sounds provocative and I am sure some people shy away from the book because of it. But you shouldn't hesitate to get a copy of this book and read it cover to cover. It is a collection of six fine essays on the topic of race, ethnicity, historical honesty, education, and the corrupting power of political influence on each of these topics.

While I cannot recreate all the information and structure of each essay, and summarizing them in some way does them a bit of an injustice, I do want you to know why I am so enthusiastic about this book and want you to read it. The title essay, "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" demonstrates that so much of the urban "black" culture is really not African in origin, but comes from the now extinct culture of northern Britain. The folks who brought their culture with them from Scotland and environs tended to settle in the South, owned slaves, and became what we call Rednecks. The slaves took on the culture of their masters and this leads to the term Sowell uses in the title.

Protecting a dysfunctional way of living because it is in some way African is not only masochistic, it is a false concept. Instead, the rejection of education and literacy, casual sexual attitudes, and the failure to structure life to prepare for the future are actually artifacts of the slave master culture (that portion of slave holders who were Rednecks, that is). Sowell contrast this reality with what is done by White Liberals to protect Urban Blacks to the detriment of those supposedly being helped.

The second essay, "Are Jews Generic" brings up the reasons why not only Jews, but other minorities around the world (Chinese emigrants, for example) have become "middlemen" and why this has led repeatedly to resentment and persecution.
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300 of 335 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fine work (file under "cultural studies") May 8, 2005
Format:Hardcover
My advice to naysayers - even if your perspective is crippled by being an high income person and/or a "yankee" - is to read the book. In 1989 Grady McWhiney published "Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South" and described the vast cultural divide between North and South that existed prior to the War. As any careful reader would've noticed, *all* of the stereotypes that would later be applied to African-Americans were first applied to White Southerners by Northerners. This is a reality. And the Civil War taught us, if nothing else, that the South was - in the emerging industrial world - an anachronism. Thomas Sowell takes these observations as his point of departure. I can imagine that the people who'll most take offense at the book are caucasian, elitist, self-styled "liberals" who want to maintain *their* static, monolithic idea of "Black Culture" as some kind of museum piece. This is an articulate, searching text that goes well beyond the traditional Liberal/Conservative ping-pong.
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121 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, except for title essay May 17, 2005
Format:Hardcover
That Thomas Sowell hasn't yet won the Nobel Prize for Economic Science reflects more poorly upon the economics profession's infatuation with mathematical formulas than upon Sowell's lifetime achievement. Personally, I've learned more from Sowell than from any other living economist, with the possible exception of his old teacher, Milton Friedman.

Now in his mid-70s, Sowell's latest book of essays, Black Rednecks and White Liberals, doesn't break much new ground. But it forcefully summarizes many of his recurrent themes in a half dozen extended meditations on historical issues of great relevance to the contemporary world.

For example, in "Are Jews Generic?" Sowell outlines the tendency of the masses to persecute "middle-man minorities" such as Jews, Armenians, and the Overseas Chinese, precisely because of the value of their contributions to the economy.

In "Germans and History," he defends that much maligned nationality against insinuations, such as in Daniel Goldhagen's bestseller Hitler's Willing Executioners, that German history should be viewed as inevitably leading up to the Nazis. Sowell concludes, with his characteristic concern for the universal fallibilities of mankind:

"The racial fanaticism of Hitler and the Nazi movement ... were not historically distinct characteristics of Germans as a people. On the contrary, the rise of such a man as the leader of such a people should serve as a permanent warning to all people everywhere who are charmed by charisma or aroused by rhetoric."

Unfortunately, the title essay, "Black Rednecks and White Liberals," is the most questionable in the book.

Yet it features many acute observations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thomas Sowell writes with great clarity.
Published 4 days ago by James Summers
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Perfect condition, fast delivery, great price - all is perfect. Highly recommended!
Published 23 days ago by Ocean's 15
5.0 out of 5 stars Great count to racist rants
This work is well-researched, and is the answer to racists who believe that African-American's are an inferior race. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Art
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Sowell gives us such an education and insights into our culture. Great read.
Published 1 month ago by Julie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!!!
Published 1 month ago by Kathleen Constantineau
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Sowell takes a few topics, researches them and shows that conventional wisdom is not always accurate. Read more
Published 1 month ago by gideon
5.0 out of 5 stars great conservative message
good reading. Can't beat Sowell
Published 1 month ago by jim Faulkner
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Sowell is a Nationa Treasure... One of the most gifted...
Thomas Sowell is spot on with a lot of pivotal issues. The man is a national treasure. He should have been president because he would set this country straight once and for all. Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Granger
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
excellent. Informative beyond belief. Who would know that the English monarch forced the ottoman empire to stop trafficking slaves and that there are existing treaties to prove it... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Timothy Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening. You can never go wrong with Thomas ...
Eye Opening. You can never go wrong with Thomas Sowell.
Published 2 months ago by Fred Michels
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More About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

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