Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Real Culture of Pathology is White Privilege

The "culture of poverty" has been a myth from the beginning. The rich and their apologists have always used it to justify continuing to steal from the poor to enrich themselves.

Invoking it in 21st century America, however, is pure unadulterated racism.

Kathleen Geier at Political Animal writes that the real “culture of pathology” is neoliberal discourse about poverty:

When Ta-Nehisi Coates is at his best, he’s on fire. And his response to Jonathan Chait’s warmed over 90s neoliberalism about African-Americans’ “culture of pathology” is Coates at the top of his game. The whole thing is terrif, but these grafs were key:
And the president of the United States is not just an enactor of policy for today, he is the titular representative of his country’s heritage and legacy. In regards to black people, America’s heritage is kleptocracy—the stealing and selling of other people’s children, the robbery of the fruits of black labor, the pillaging of black property, the taxing of black citizens for schools they can not attend, for pools in which they can not swim, for libraries that bar them, for universities that exclude them, for police who do not protect them, for the marking of whole communities as beyond the protection of the state and thus subject to the purview of outlaws and predators.
The bearer of this unfortunate heritage feebly urging “positive habits and behavior” while his country imprisons some ungodly number of black men may well be greeted with applause in some quarters. It must never be so among those of us whose love of James Baldwin is true, whose love of Ida B. Wells is true, whose love of Harriet Tubman and our ancestors who fought for the right of family is true. In that fight America has rarely been our ally. Very often it has been our nemesis.
There is no evidence that black people are less responsible, less moral, or less upstanding in their dealings with America nor with themselves. But there is overwhelming evidence that America is irresponsible, immoral, and unconscionable in its dealings with black people and with itself. Urging African-Americans to become superhuman is great advice if you are concerned with creating extraordinary individuals. It is terrible advice if you are concerned with creating an equitable society. The black freedom struggle is not about raising a race of hyper-moral super-humans. It is about all people garnering the right to live like the normal humans they are.

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