"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Black Cultural Crisis

The esteemed editor of this fine blog saved me from my ignorance. I had written a piece about an article of Stanley Crouch thinking he is a liberal. Boy was I wrong. Not sure how that happened. I know I’ve read stuff by him before, but for some reason I had liberal on the brain. What he says would have been astounding coming from a real liberal, but it’s merely fantastic coming from him. So we’ll consider this take two. I came across a bio piece in Salon from 1999 that gives some good background on what makes Mr. Crouch tick. I’m glad he’s on our side in the culture wars. Here is what the author says about the label that Crouch might carry:

Although routinely and incorrectly described as a black conservative, Crouch calls himself a "radical pragmatist." To the uninitiated, his philosophy might best be described as rigidly humanist. It centers on an unsentimental vision wherein we must fight the siren temptation to obsess about our (mostly superficial) differences, lest we miss the chance to embrace our (very real and very numerous) commonalities.


Now to my updated take on his most current missive . . .

As we’ve seen more and more black liberals are finally speaking the truth about the problems with black culture. Stanley Crouch has been doing this for years, and it could be argued he paved the way for black liberals to finally begin admitting the truth about the sickness of much of black culture. In a piece this week he writes about hip hop culture, and the degradation it promotes. Even better is how he calls white liberals and the black middle class on the carpet for their silence in the face of this scourge besetting black youth.

That was part of what has surely become a cultural crisis in which young black men adorn themselves with surface trappings and take on the obnoxious vulgarity of thugs in order to meet the expectations of young black women who have embraced their own degradation, seeming to find it sexy. That degradation is expressed in the misogynistic doggerel that dominates popular hip hop recordings.

Added to this low-lying mix are the supposedly sympathetic white liberals, who are more than happy to submit gutlessly to the black middle class. These white liberals have been intellectually hustled into believing that the inarticulate thug and the freelance slut are young black people in their natural state.

The black middle class, terrified of being defined as a group that kowtows to "white values," does not tend to have the nerve to stand up to this crabbed vision of life or ethnic "authenticity."

But, at the end of the ride, the ones losing and left holding the bag are neither white liberals nor the black middle class. The tragic losers are those black kids who believe that their true identity is achieved through illiteracy, thuggish behavior, dropping out of school and psychologically ingesting the subterranean attitudes toward women that are espoused by pimps. They are sloughing through a spiritual sewer, incapable of knowing just how much it stinks.


Wow. Those are some strong words that black elites cannot blow off so easily today. Bill Cosby, who several years ago who created “controversy” by saying things exactly like this, opened the door for others to admit the problem. It is likely that blacks like Crouch who have been preaching in the wilderness for years are finally getting through.

This is a profound condemnation of the very essence of liberalism. For at the core of modern liberalism is a kind of antinomianism, a conviction that to be truly “authentic” mankind, to use that antiquated phrase, need not be encumbered by constrictive moral laws. Of course nobody can live that way, but their hypocrisy never seems to bother them. So white liberals and the black middle class (90% of whom embrace a liberal Democrat Party) can vicariously live their amoral secular philosophy through black, and many white, youth.

Unfortunately turning around an entire culture is a very difficult thing (whether it be sick or infected), to state the obvious, and as long as liberalism eschews traditional morality and religion taking on hip hop and the black underclass will resemble spitting into the wind. Talk as we know is cheap, so it will take more than talk to change things. We also know a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (that’s a biblical allusion for you liberals out there), and the noxious fruit of liberalism has shown us these last several decades just how destructive is that tree.

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