Book Review – Black Rednecks and White Liberals By Thomas Sowell

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I’ve been wanting to read something by Thomas Sowell for a while. He is probably the greatest conservative thinker alive. I chose Black Rednecks and Whtie Liberals to start. Why? I’m not sure. perhaps because it has the most inflammatory title. I’m a sucker for some trollery.

The question Black Rednecks and White Liberals attempts to answer is what makes certain people prosperous and others less prosperous. Frankly, is it race or is it culture? Spoilers! Sowell says it’s culture.

Sowell makes a rather strong case. He examines several different races and using historical data shows that many of these perceptions often come from a cultural tradition. Sowell then shows how a person of a “less productive race” when put in a more productive culture often succeed just as much as the native members of that culture.

The book praises the Enlightenment influenced protestant culture. While he never makes a claim as to which culture is best. There is an implication. It begs some interesting questions about what should happen to less productive cultures. So while Sowell refutes racist claims showing that the differences in people are usually cultural, he leaves the door open for some sort of culturalism. This is a whole other can of worms that I do not wish to open.

In all this collection of essays is thought provoking and well researched. It easily destroys racist claims instead proposing that differences among people are due to cultural traditions. Showing how transplants from various races have succeeded in their new adoptive culture.

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