How Black Pride produces Black Poverty – part 4.

Culture is not something inherent or genetically determined. It is a result of choices made by a group at one time, choices that could have been wrong at the time due to insufficient information or right for that time but not for a different time. These ideas and practices become automated over time until they begin to look like they are inborn.

It is not just ethnic groups and communities or even nations that have culture. Even corporations, for example, have cultures. When you visit Google in Mountain View, you can almost immediately see their culture of intellectual independence, passion and freedom (when I visited the Google offices with a Stanford group, I was shocked to observe that they are even allowed to bring their dogs to work!)

Another older software company, say IBM, that might have developed a culture of great managerial efficiency but not enough creativity will try to copy what Google does so that they can also achieve great results. That’s what the Harvard Business Review exists for: to study the habits of winning companies so that others can simply copy.

If this other company instead said, “let’s not copy anyone, let’s be proud of our culture, after all we have achieved so many things in the past that others even copied from us; we were once the kings in software, that’s a great heritage …” (and so on), we can all tell that such a company will continue being left behind, it will never catch up with Google. It even risks death.

If we can see this with companies, why is it so hard to see that the same applies to communities and even nations?

Indeed there is plenty of evidence in history showing this very attitude and how it destroyed once successful people. China, for example, was once upon a time the most advanced civilization in the world. It had the attitude of learning from others no matter who they were, as they came to trade with it and as the Chinese went out to them, until it became the most knowledgeable and most envied society in the world.

So how did they ultimately lose this status? They suddenly decided that they were too good to associate with others – the “barbarians” – and they now deliberately kept to themselves.¬† Meanwhile other societies continued to humbly copy the advances of Chinese culture and to add to it other practical lessons from elsewhere. By the time China came into conflict with them, it was easily conquered. It was by now far from being the greatest, it was a mere shadow of its past.

Black pride has had an even worse effect on blacks all over the world, as they have continued to see other people, especially whites, as moral barbarians.

Leaders of black communities, including some now famous former community organizers, get surprised when they fail to get many young blacks interested in things like education, hard work, etc. But the reason is that the same leaders present the white people as moral barbarians, as “greedy capitalists” who are in fact responsible for their poverty, both historically and presently. Once these kids associate something with white culture, they will rebel against it even if you try to turn around and encourage them to embrace it. Why should they act the way evil people act? These evil people love school, so we shouldn’t love school, because we don’t want them to control us by giving us their things. We should have pride.

That’s the deeper, sometimes subconscious, logic that makes the black underclass rebel against the civilized practices discovered and internalized by other people who are more humble when it comes to learning from others.

Heritage is nothing to be proud of if it’s still not taking you to the top.

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How Black Pride produces Black Poverty – part 3

Some of my fellow blacks have argued against my proposal by pointing out blacks who have had some tremendous achievements or who have always practiced these positive habits practiced by other successful groups.

But I am not arguing, like a racist white supremacist, that there are no blacks who are great, intellectually or economically. The very fact that some blacks have practiced good cultural habits and succeeded well in their intellectual or business ventures is proof that such cultures are not the genetic property of certain ethnic groups. A black man can be disciplined even when he lives amidst a culture of general indiscipline, in short.

But this does not change the fact that the culture of his group is still backward. It means that a child who grows up in that community is more likely to grow up undisciplined than disciplined due to the general influence of those around him: his (absentee) father, his (jailed) uncles, the neighbor who boasts about gang rape, drugs, etc. Whether we like it or not, groups of people do have certain cultural habits that they promote, certain things that they value or disvalue. Some are fortunate enough to have parents who abandoned such a culture, sometimes by physically moving to an area where the reach of such influence is largely dissipated. But sometimes their children can still be influenced through the omnipresent reach of the media, unless they take some very deliberate steps to train them in another culture they observe from other people.

I remember a line in one of Tupac’s songs: “I come from a family tree of killers, thugs and drug dealers…” the legendary artist boasted. Using a talent that is definitely superior among blacks (music), many black artists have expressed a very negative culture from their communities that does not lead to true achievement. Economic measures might exclude such drug dealers and thieves from the brackets of the poor because of what they stole or because of a bestselling song they made about it, but in actual fact they are still poor because that’s not a sustainable way to live as a human being. Real success has to come from cultivating real virtues that will enable you to succeed anywhere and at any time, like the ability to always improve your education, for example. And an ability to always work hard, no matter what job it is or whether or not someone is watching over you. And of course the ability to always keep time, and so on.

One of the best brain surgeons in the world is a black doctor named Ben Carson. When my country (Zambia) had a very complicated case of Siamese twins born with joint heads who needed to be separated, they had to fly in the best surgeons in the world to do this. The operation was led by the famous Ben Carson.

But Dr. Carson’s life story only underscores my point about culture. He was going to a predominantly white school but he was the worst student in his class. He was coming from a community that did not value such discipline as the one demanded by school. His neighbors were only boasting about gang membership (at worst), or basketball skills (at best). And he came from a typical young single mother headed home in his community.

And then his mother just suddenly decided that she had had enough of this culture and resolved to save her children from their inevitable tragic future. She forced Ben Carson and his brother to start spending many hours a day just reading, even though she didn’t have any education herself. She didn’t care if they were accused of “acting white.” Learning from (or copying) more successful communities or nations does not mean you are trying to become them, it means you are trying to have what they have. If you want the results they have, you also need the same cause: the habits they culturally value.

From having the lowest IQ, Ben Carson soon became the best student in this predominantly white school and went on to become one of the best brain surgeons in the world (contrary to what some experts say, any normal person can raise his own IQ very significantly). He was also the youngest to hold his prestigious position at John Hopkins hospital.

His life confirms my theory that those who make the biggest cultural leap tend to become superior in ability due to that extra effort they have to make, especially when this even requires going against the trends in your own community. But the best is for the community itself to change its culture, as other groups have done in the past, by abandoning this strange postmodern concept of having pride for nothing.

How Black Pride produces Black Poverty – part 2

Will black people ever be on top (in IQ scores, education and other intellectual and economic achievements)?

Yes, I believe it’s inevitable. My theory is that the bigger the cultural gap that has to be closed by one group to catch up with another culturally superior group, the more superior the copying group will end up becoming. This is why Jews have achieved more than the people they copied. Although Jews scored very low in IQ tests at one time in America, they still ended up being the group with the highest test scores in a matter of decades (or less) after they made the leap to catch up with the leading culture. Now they dominate in Nobel Prizes, literary prizes, and so on.

The Chinese in America were once so culturally inferior to whites in America that the latter gave up on trying to change them and finally concluded that they are “unassimilable.” Now they score higher in IQ tests than whites.

Black Americans are now at the bottom in IQ and culture; they consequently have the fewest achievements and highest unemployment rate. African blacks have an even lower IQ and culture in many ways. But what a great opportunity! What a great time to be last!

If blacks decide to catch up, culturally, without feeling any shame for this, they will make the biggest cultural leap in history and will naturally become conspicuously dominant in the sciences, technology, business, and so on. Others would then have to play catch up, at least intellectually.

But they will have to first get past the biggest obstacle of all: themselves. They will have to change their negative attitude to copying other people who are culturally more disciplined. And of course it takes hard work to become disciplined, especially at a time when there is no social pressure to change since your lifestyle supposedly expresses your identity and your weaknesses are blamed on others (which means they are the ones who should change).

How Black Pride produces Black Poverty.

One of the main things that have kept black people at the bottom of most measures of human development is the feeling of shame they have at copying the cultures of other people. In many black American communities, for example, a person who works very hard and reads a lot is stigmatized for “acting white.” They want to preserve “black pride” at any cost.

 

This particular problem with school can not be found virtually¬† anywhere in Africa itself, the “motherland” of African Americans. The culture of Africa in that area comes from the influence of Christian missionaries who brought and emphasized education to Africans very long ago. Some African Americans might argue that this shows that such formal education is not really part of African culture since it was just brought by whites. But the same blacks shamelessly proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ and see no irony in that!

 

In Africa, black kids can walk many miles just to get to a school, and in some of these schools the kids sit on bricks instead of desks due to poverty, and yet some of them endure – at least until their parents can no longer afford to let them go. I know at least one Chemistry professor who went to such a primary school and he had to walk a very long distance every single day (he taught me at university). In Africa, a good education is very highly valued but very difficult to achieve beyond the many obstacles. Most of these kids would give anything to get the quality of education that is offered to inner city black American kids!

 

And yet even Africans, especially when they do get very educated, start talking about “preserving our own culture” and avoiding copying Western culture, which is also a common view among the middle-class black Americans who do like education. Ironically, they learn this nonsense from Western universities or textbooks. That’s where they hear about the supposed importance of maintaining “diversity” in world cultures, and the ridiculous idea that all cultures are equal and valuable. They too embrace the attitude of black pride at this higher level and begin to claim that our culture is great but our problems are actually caused by “greedy white capitalist” countries (or just greedy white capitalists, in the case of black Americans).

 

If your culture does not produce prosperity, does not produce technological developments, does not cure diseases, and so on, it must be changed. It is certainly not valuable. There’s no rational reason for preserving something just because you’ve done it for a long time. For example, in many African villages, instead of hospitals, they have witch doctors. Should they reject the building of modern hospitals because these are “western” or “foreign” things?

 

Fortunately for Africa, the people in these poor villages have not had the privilege of going to university to learn about preserving their own culture. When a hospital is built among them they quickly recognize it as superior to their witch doctor and they take their children there because they can empirically see that it has a much higher success rate compared to the ramblings of their witch doctor.

 

The only hope for blacks all over the world is to humble themselves at every level and start copying the general lifestyle, manners and work habits of other people who have been more successful. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, because that’s how everyone else develops. No group started out developed. They all copied from other people and sometimes even improved on what they copied so that the copied group eventually started copying from the copiers.

 

Thus when the Japanese officially decided to copy American culture and business approach after the second world war, they did so well that Americans started sending people to Japan to study their management techniques. But I am quite sure it is not the “black” ghetto culture that the Japanese copied. It is the mainstream American culture, perhaps mostly practiced by people of European descent, that they copy. It is a disservice to black Americans to tell them that this culture does not belong to them, but belongs only to white people; they could have gained the benefits of such a culture even more than the Japanese and other people who were learning it from afar.