Thomas Sowell on “race-hustlers”

A reader pointed me to this recent article (last week in the Washington Times) by Thomas Sowell where he talks about “race-hustlers”.

I think that what he says can equally be said about Maori in New Zealand today.

Years ago, someone said that according to the laws of aerodynamics, bumblebees cannot fly. But the bumblebees, not knowing the laws of aerodynamics, go ahead and fly anyway.

Something like that happens among people. There have been many ponderous academic writings and dour editorials in the mainstream media lamenting that most people born poor cannot rise in American society anymore. Meanwhile, many poor immigrants arrive here from various parts of Asia, and rise on up the ladder anyway.

Can’t is a swear word in my house. You learn a lot by listening to the words of people…those who say can’t a lot, often  can’t…and they don’t like others who can and do.

Often these Asian immigrants arrive not only with very little money, but also very little knowledge of English. They start out working at low-paid jobs but working so many hours, often at more than one job, that they are able to put a little money aside.

After a few years, they have enough money to open some little shop, where they still work long hours, and still save their money so that they can afford to send their children to college. Meanwhile, these children know that their parents not only expect, but demand, that they make good grades. 

Some people try to explain why Asians and Asian-Americans succeed so well in education and in the economy by some special characteristics that they have. That may be true, but their success may also be a result of what they do not have; namely, “leaders” who tell them that the deck is so stacked against them that they cannot rise, or at least not without depending on “leaders.”

Such “leaders” are like the people who said that the laws of aerodynamics showed that the bumblebee cannot fly. Those who have believed such “leaders” have, in fact, stayed grounded, unlike the bumblebees.

Not just in America, but here too. I well remember one of my tenants…an Indian who brought his family here with virtually nothing…they begged us to rent the unit to them because they had been turned down everywhere else. I asked only one question…can you pay the rent? They could and they did…staying 18 months and then moving to their own house…they now have 3 houses and their own business.

A painful moment came for me years ago, when I was on the lecture circuit, after a talk at Marquette University, when a young black student rose and asked: “Even though I am graduating from Marquette University, what hope is there for me?”

Back in the 1950s when I was a student, I never encountered any fellow black student who expressed such hopelessness, even though there was far more racial discrimination then. We knew that there were obstacles for us to overcome, and we intended to overcome them.

The memory of that Marquette student came back to me, years later, when another black young man said that he had wanted to become a pilot, and had even planned to join the Air Force in order to do so. But then, he said, he now “realized” that “the Man” would never allow a black guy to become a pilot.

This was decades after a whole squadron of black fighter-plane pilots made a reputation for themselves in World War II as the Tuskegee Airmen. There have been black generals in the Air Force.

Thomas Sowell is black too, so just think about that student asking a successful academic such a question. Sowell has a lable for those “leaders” who brainwash people into believing they are useless.

Both these young men — and many others — have learned all too well the lessons taught by race hustlers, in their social version of the laws of aerodynamics, which said that they could not rise.

You don’t hear about racial “leaders” such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson among Asians or Asian-Americans. Here and there, you may see some irresponsible academics peddling that line in the classroom — some of whom are of Asian ancestry, since no race of human beings is completely lacking in fools.

But they do not get the same attention, or draw the same following, as race hustlers operating in black or Hispanic communities. By and large, Asian youngsters rise and fly.

Race-hustlers.

I like that…we have so many of them here…blaming Europeans for poor maori or pasifika performance, despite in rising, in under 200 years from a subsistence existence in the Stone Age to a modern vibrant first world economy. Child abuse…white man’s fault. Unemployment…white men. Violence, drinking and drug addiction…whiteys again…they are race-hustlers and we should call them on it.

A poem by Carl Sandburg, back during that era, referred to a Jewish fish peddler in Chicago: “His face is that of a man terribly glad to be selling fish, terribly glad that God made fish, and customers to whom he may call his wares from a pushcart.”

This fish peddler probably had not gone to college, and so had no one to tell him that he couldn’t make it, and that his children couldn’t rise, because this was such a terrible country.

No one can claim that there was no anti-Semitism in America, any more than they can claim that there was never any anti-Asian discrimination. There was plenty of both. But that is very different from following “leaders” whose message would only keep them grounded, after the skies were open to them as never before.

Thomas Sowell is a wise, wise man.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.

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