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Crippled by their Culture by Thomas Sowell - Essay Example

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Summary
A logical and well constructed argument on the role that culture plays on the differences between and within races Crippled by their culture, by Thomas Sowell considers the concepts of racism and racial differences between the blacks and the whites…
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Crippled by their Culture by Thomas Sowell
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Crippled by their Culture by Thomas Sowell

The focus, or thesis, of the writer is that race cannot be used as a predictor or a descriptor for these forms of difference, as the difference is not prevalent when examining members of the same race who have been brought up under different environments, such as African-Americans and native Africans. The author proposes that instead, the culture that these people are brought up in provides a much stronger driver of their differences, and that this can be self-reinforcing. The author cites a variety of anecdotal examples to provide evidence to his point of view, producing an effective and well researched argument. The author starts the essay by listing some of the main differences that are acknowledged to exist between blacks and whites, although the list is not significantly developed. Instead, the author goes on to discuss how these differences have been presented and explained, both in earlier and in present times. Citing an example of recent research, the author goes on to explain how these perspectives do not adequately explain all the differences that occur. The example the author was a study that looked at black Harvard alumni, and found that those from Africa or the West Indies, or were children of immigrants from either location, vastly outnumbered African-American blacks. The author goes on to suggest, that this difference and similar differences cannot adequately be explained by either racial differences or by racism. In the following paragraph, the author engages the audience asking them directly what possible explanations exists to explain “such large disparities …among these three groups of blacks?” Here he encourages the audience to consider his previous statements, and come to the conclusion that racism and race are not adequate descriptors of three groups that are very difficult to distinguish visually. The paragraphs that follow address the historical perspective, proposing that disparities within races have always existed, going back to differences between the “…’free persons of color’ in 1950…” and “…those blacks whose ancestors were freed in the next decade…” Following this, the author suddenly changes focus, from considering the past and specific examples, to the present time and the differences between the North and the South of the United States. Furthermore, he goes from considering differences between blacks, to individually considering differences within the blacks and within the whites across the Northern and Southern United States. To support his argument, the author gives a number of statistical examples of differences, such as the time children spend in school and the number of schools. He then considers how these disparities are able to cause other disparities, citing illegitimacy rates and violence examples. The author then restates and reinforces his points that “none of these disparities can be attributed to either race or racism”, then suggests and subsequently debunks slavery as an alternative theory. He suggests that culture is the only explanation that is left. The second half of the essay takes on a different tone. Up till this point the author focused on cultural differences from a more theoretical perspective, citing a range of examples. In the second half of the essay he talks solely about one specific case, the differences between the North and the South, using the common derogatory term for Southerners, rednecks. The author refocuses his direction on the black population, by considering how the redneck culture was occupied by approximately one third of the white population of the United States, 90% of the black populat ... Read More
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