When it comes to matters of race, today’s political environment is so poisoned that the opinions of straight, white, middle-aged men (like me ;-), unless they are aligned with the extreme left, are viewed as either incredulous, inappropriate or at least inconsequential.
So I have compiled the words of several black intellectuals who are actively writing and speaking on race-related topics today.
Below you will find articles, videos, podcasts and quotations from several great black intellectuals including Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Coleman Hughes, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Larry Elder, Jason Riley and Walter Williams.
The great Coleman Hughes has written a series of articles addressing many of today’s most contentious race issues:
“The people who were oppressed for four centuries finally won an enormous amount of freedom in the 60s but they still lived with the same people who oppressed them so there was this tension in society. And the oppressors now had some degree of guilt. To its credit, America fully recognized, stood up to and faced what it had done and it has to be given credit for that, but then the people they had oppressed are right there and they were saying, ‘It’s nice for you to have apologized, but you did this and I’m still suffering and you owe me.’ And you can begin to see the kind of political tensions that come out of that. It’s blacks having a kind of bounty of moral authority as victims and whites losing moral authority as oppressors. And whites in that sense have had to live with that deficit of moral authority since and this has caused us many problems, most of which have to do with, in many cases, ‘eating up’ our own society in order to win back the innocence that has been lost.” – Shelby Steele, April 2019
“Your racial identity is a passive thing. Your racial identity is not an agent of change. It is not going to build a new life for you. It is not going to do all of the things that life calls upon you to do for yourself. In fact it’s a delusion in which you can waste an awful lot of time.” – Shelby Steele
“Maybe you don’t know what to do with the opportunities that surround you. It’s understandable. You were oppressed. People have not pointed out to you the challenge of freedom. What do people do with freedom when they don’t know how to handle it? They reinvent their oppression, even as it has faded away. They make it up in their mind all over again: Racism is around every corner. There is systemic racism. There is structural racism. There are microaggressions and there’s white privilege… Look at today’s black leadership. They have no clue as to how to move ahead. All they can think to do is ask for more from the government. Well the government has given us almost everything. No where in history has the government paid off its people more than America has in the last 60 years and yet by most socioeconomic measures we are still further behind white Americans than we were in the 50s when we had none of these social programs. Freedom comes with a judgmentalism. It judges you. If you don’t know how to thrive in freedom, it means that you are at fault. You are (in the worst word you can use with blacks) inferior. It’s a chilling idea, but it is the heart of the shock of freedom. Freedom is now saying that you can’t use oppression as an excuse anymore… If you’re not doing well, it’s on you.” – Shelby Steele
“One of my points with the NFL protests and Black Lives Matter, is that there’s this sort of hysterical protesting where they can’t even articulate what they’re protesting against. Well if racism is so virulent, it ought to be obvious. When I was a kid it was obvious. No one denied it. It was visible to everybody everyday. Today, where is it? Where are you being stopped? Well, I want to be rise, I want to be a politician, I want to be the President. Ok. I want to be the CEO of such-and-such corporation. Ok. You can do anything you want! The reality and the problem that occupies black America today is that we are at last a free people.” – Shelby Steele
“There are no important forces in American life advocating for racism. As blacks we need to ask ourselves why we have become so dependent on this delusion that we live in a society that is intent on keeping us down. That’s over with. We need to face ourselves, more frankly. Seventy-five percent of black children born out of wedlock. Understand that kind of dysfunction in just that statistic alone. Who’s going to fix that? The government? Right now we have an identity as blacks that is victim focused. We’re victims that is basically designed to tap into white guilt and get them to give us basically crumbs. And we’re just kind of locked into that. And there is no examination of how self-reliance and more personal responsibility for one’s decisions in life; that these are the things that now determine our fate.” – Shelby Steele
“What passes for blackness now is a kind of mindless mimicry of resentment that has struck me with the NFL and Black Lives Matter as instance of pathos where it’s just sad to see these football players out there on their knee when they can’t even articulate what they’re protesting against. I can tell you that Martin Luther King knew what he was protesting against. He articulated it as superbly as possible and the country responded These players today and Black Lives Matter are pathetic. There’s no nice way to say it. They just sadden you. They don’t inspire you, they sadden you.” – Shelby Steele
If the Klu Klux Clan had invented a social policy to keep black people down they could not have done a better job than affirmative action… Affirmative action basically says that what’s important about you is the color of your skin – the very thing that was important about us when we were oppressed! When do we get to be human beings? When do we get to be people who compete on our own merit?” – Shelby Steele
“Racism is not dead, but it is on life support – kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racists’.” – Thomas Sowell
“Few subjects produce more fallacies than race. Among these fallacies are that race was the basis of slavery, that racism is the main reason for black-white differences in income and in all other aspects of life that depend on income. Moreover, there is also an implicit assumption that racism and discrimination are so closely linked that they go up and down together.” – Thomas Sowell
“Another fallacy is that the fatherless family so prevalent among contemporary blacks are a legacy of slavery where families were not recognized under slavery. This ignores the fact that the problem has become much worse under generations of blacks far removed from slavery than among generations closer to the era of slavery.” – Thomas Sowell
Other worthwhile videos and podcasts: