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.