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I spoke with anthropologist Maxine L. Margolis about her research topics: gender and society and Brazil, with a focus on Brazilian immigran...

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Malcolm Gladwell: Good Blacks, Bad Blacks

In 1997 Malcolm Gladwell discussed the phenomenon of Jamaican blacks in New York being contrasted favorably for their work ethic to native African Americans. The phenomenon demonstrates how much cultural conditions influence the ways people are perceived and how they act.

Gladwell published his thoughts in the New Yorker and then he read an excerpt for This American Life which you can listen to here.

The excerpt ends:
There must be people in Toronto just like (Gladwell’s Jamaican cousin and her husband) Rosie and Noel with the same attitudes and aspirations, who want to live in a neighborhood as nice as Argyle Avenue, who want to build a new garage and renovate their basement, and set up their own business downstairs. But it’s not completely up to them, is it? What has happened to Jamaicans here is not the end of racism, or even the beginning of the end of racism, but an accident of history and geography. In America, there is someone else to despise. In Canada there is not. In the new racism, as in the old, somebody always has to be the nigger.

The black slaves brought to Jamaica were from the same ethnic groups as those brought to the US.

Clearly being black does not make you more criminal or stupid than other "races" although that is exactly the view supported by people like John Paul Wright, professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati College of Education Criminal Justice and Human Services, and director of the graduate program in criminal justice there.

I recently found Wright's Wikipedia page, which had no mention of Wright's views on race even though he was briefly famous as the author of a study used by Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

I fixed the Wikipedia entry. But I fully expect someone to come along and white-wash it. I will report about that here when it happens.

Pinkerite has discussed Gladwell's conflict with Steven Pinker which took place in 2009. Pinker reviewed Gladwell's book "What the Dog Saw" and argued with some of Gladwell's claims by using professional racist Steve Sailer as his source for statistics.

Race science promoters refuse to acknowledge such clear-cut evidence against the notion that race is biological rather than cultural. And they are not asked to acknowledge it. Race science promoters go along making claims which are rarely given critical examination because race science promoters are mostly ignored and that's how they keep getting away with promoting their racist views, as John Paul Wright does as a professor and director at the University of Cincinnati.

There is a whole network of biosocial criminologists promoting race theories of criminality. Eventually some journalist will wake up and do an article about them and I fully expect the people at the University of Cincinnati responsible for hiring Wright to express complete surprise over his views. Whether they knew about them or not.