The Culture Canard of the Model Minority Myth: how racial gaps in academics aren’t due to cultural pathology

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This past week, Bill O’Reilly was his usual raging asshole self when he set out on his Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” to debunk the notion of White privilege. The essence of his argument? Asian Americans are doing great socioeconomically even though we are not White. Therefore, racism must not really exist, and the root of the problem for African Americans must be a cultural pathology.

To bolster his argument, O’Reilly pointed to racial disparities between Blacks, Whites and Asians in graduation rates, unemployment rates and median family income to conclude that African Americans have essentially invented a mythological White privilege as an attempt to avoid taking “personal responsibility”. O’Reilly argued:

Just 13 percent of Asian children live in single parent homes compared to a whopping 55 percent for blacks and 21 percent for whites. So, there you go. That is why Asian Americans, who often have to overcome a language barrier, are succeeding far more than African-Americans and even more than white Americans. Their families are intact and education is paramount.

In essence, Papa Bear provides a textbook example of Asian Americans used as the wedge minority by the White mainstream to berate African Americans (and implicitly other academically disenfranchised minority groups) for not bootstrapping their way to socioeconomic success. It can’t be racism; it must be some deficiency in Black culture to blame, right? After all, the Asians can do it, why can’t the Blacks?

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Lives Unlived & Dreams Undone: America’s Siege on Blackness | #Ferguson

Students at Howard University protest the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by Ferguson PD.
Students at Howard University protest the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Mike Brown by Ferguson PD.

An unarmed teenager raises his hands above his head and pleads for his life. He is fatally gunned down by Ferguson police officers. He was 18.

An unarmed man is detained at San Francisco’s Fruitvale Station on New Year’s Eve. He is fatally shot in the back by San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit train police while lying face down on the ground and hands cuffed behind his back. He was 23.

An unarmed teenager walks home through an unfamiliar neighbourhood, an iced tea and a pack of Skittles in his pocket. He is fatally shot by a self-appointed vigilante. He was 17.

An unarmed teenager knocks on the door of a house, seeking help after a car accident. She is fatally shot in the face with a shotgun. She was 19.

An unarmed man reaches for his wallet. He is fatally shot 41 times by New York City police. He was 23.

These are only a handful of the lives cut far too short — the victims of American Blackness under siege.

Continue reading “Lives Unlived & Dreams Undone: America’s Siege on Blackness | #Ferguson”