John McWhorter, What is Wrong With You?

Hey kids, remember John McWhorter, the shufflingest shuffler that ever shuffled? He’s still shuffling.

blac(k)ademic caught him on CNN last month and… it wasn’t pretty:

i turned on my television yesterday and came across your two hour talk on cnn, where you were promoting your new book, “winning the race.” i never watch cnn, but i have read a few of your articles lambasting black america, so i was intrigued to see how much hate you could possibly spew in your two hour allotment. i was especially curious to see if your audience would challenge your theories. what i saw upset me so much, that i had nightmares. i was absolutely in shock to see such a brilliant black man, on national television, claim that the black condition is a produt of our own victimology and pathology. you said that we have an “attitudinal problem,” that our demographic doesn’t seem to get that racism is over, and that we keep having kids because we don’t have jobs, so what else is there to do but fuck? you and bill cosby will make such good friends.

The whole post is brilliant and I encourage you to go read.

8 Responses

  1. As a honky, married to a sister for many years, my viewpoint may be colored (no pun intended), but JMW makes sense at times. Whether one agrees or disagrees, is it not long overdue to hold a civil discourse with those whom you disagree? There is enough madness being demonstrated in this society, why add more?
    Just asking.

  2. Angry Black Woman, you fail to comprehend that black people are always at fault either way you view different perspectives. Everybody else walks on water, and well, we walk on sand. That it is always the responsibility of black people to be the “bigger person”-the Good Negro-evolve to the model minority, to “prove ourselves”, “to apologize just cuz”, to put our aspirations,hopes,interests, considerations-LAST, to stay in our place since the benevolent white man saved us out of Africa,to avoid stepping on the toes for the precious white man; because, after all, we were brought here for his benefit. We should always thank our stars for our second class status because were are not even worthy of that! Sarcasm intended.

  3. for to long jackson, sharpton, dyson ect have been the speakers for black america, these men are race pimps who are never challenged, as a black man from the DR, i belive these men are not in the interest of helping mend racs, they only promote it

  4. I remember starting McWhorter’s ‘Losing the Race’ and only being able to stomach about 26 pages before throwing the book away.

    It was only the second book that I actually threw in the trash. The first one, ‘Maniac McGee’ I forced myself to finish, because it was a class assignment, before ripping it apart and throwing it into the trash.

    I wish Black people didn’t have the level of hatred for each other, as well as for themselves, that McWhorter exhibits in his speech and writings. After reading ABW’s essay about John’s comments, it reminded me of the struggle to sympathize with his, what I thought was anger, but learned it was hatred John is dealing with.

    As I processed ABW’s comments, I listened to music on my computer. I thought of a lot of Black people during this time who, I feel are doing “stupid” things; Jay-Z is one of them, in my opinion. Unlike John McWhorter, hate for myself and other Black people don’t devour who I am.

    In fact, I was brought to tears as I was reminded exactly how I feel about myself and other Black people who, either slip or purposefully do “stupid” things, when I heard the sweet sound of Marvin Gaye’s voice radiate the lyrics to, ‘I Wish I Didn’t Love You So.’

  5. I find it absolutely absurd that someone would throw away “Losing the Race”. What, you couldn’t handle all the complicated “facts” and “logical theories” that he put forth based on anecdotal and statistical evidence? Your attitude is typical of Americans in general (not just white or black Americans)… Why read anything that you don’t agree with? McWhorter might be wrong and he might be right and, most likely, he has his good and bad points. The problem is that many black people do not want his opinions heard because it either erodes their credibility or it dispels the illusion which they have created for themselves. Chase – I realize that certain works may make you uncomfortable but reading such material will expand your obviously narrow intellectual horizons.

  6. “What, you couldn’t handle all the complicated ‘facts’ and ‘logical theories’ that he put forth based on anecdotal and statistical evidence?”

    There were no complicated “facts” or “logical theories” in Losing the Race, just the same diatribe conservatives, white and black, have been spouting since the the 80s. The book is so simple in its logic and its language that any literate racist or self-hating (and self-effacing) black could have written it. His answer to black people’s blights are simple: Be more like white people. Throughout his books he compares blacks to whites as if they are the golden standard that everyone should aspire. Don’t deviate, don’t aspire to be better, just be white. Because if it’s white, it’s alright. Or so says McWhorter.

    I applaud the poster that put McWhorter’s book where it belonged: a trash bin. After all, it’s literary garbage. It’s nothing new and it’s nothing blacks haven’t heard before. Read anything put forth by Booker T. Washington and you’ll get the same message: Work hard, abandon whatever remnants of your culture or pride you have, and maybe one day the Massah’ll except you.

    The irony in McWhorter is the fact that he is an obvious product of Affirmative Action. Reading his books on race was a painful experience, not just because his arguments were wholly shallow, but because he is a terrible writer — despite being a professor of language. For all his understanding of syntax he can’t put together a compelling paragraph. But why should he? He slipped into the Ivory Towers because of race-based admissions.

    Thank God that McWhorter will never be the influential black intellectual that he aspires to become. He may be a harsh critic of the likes of Cornel West and Micheal Dyson, but luckily for black America, he’ll never be as important.

  7. In defense of Booker T. Washington, he begin to question his stance in all-or at least some-of the things you mentioned around the end of his life. But judging from the outlooks and actions of these black conservative hat-in-hand hankerchief head wearing bedfellows walking round today, this ephiphany ain’t nowhere near in the works; and, these conservatives today ain’t go do nothing to try to contribute to the betterment of the community because they do not stay in it! There will be no Tuskegee Institutes and well meaning economic plans out these folks because there is not the interest,the vision, or the concern for them to waste their time to even craft it!

  8. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and others are not where black thought begins or ends. But even if these leaders and what they represent was, their outlook and tactics are responsible for some of the progress we have today. There motives are still constructive and their actions are still effective thought not as much as they used to be. I do not think the tactics work all the time either and I think we need new a new program and new tactics for a new day. But John McWhorter, Larry Elder, Clarence Thomas, Condoleeza Rice, Star Parker?, Armstrong Williams and others offer nothing in the way of vision or a workable program. To be blunt, even as liberal polices have given people gains, they admittedly have not been a panacea to all problems. But policywise, republican policies have not been worth a damn. We have been up under republican plutocratic rule for eight years now. What has the average American gained from it?

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