Black Americans: Culture & Wealth

I like American Vision’s focus on the social gospel, racism, and social justice. It is edifying, Biblical, and speaks well for the future of Christian Reconstruction. A very welcome counterpoint to the influence of the kinists!

But while reconciliation between White and Black American Christians is definitely desirable in the eyes of God, Black Americans must also get to work – especially as their repentance of their own rebellion against God will benefit themselves greatly.

Even if the wicked and corrupt kinists triumph in the current battle within Christian Reconstruction, that merely means that Christian Reconstruction (as a movement) will dwindle and die, like all the other cross-waving God-haters. I pray that the kinists will fail in their drive to corrupt the Faith, though, and cast their lot with their true brothers, the crooked-cross literally God-damned Nazi failures.


Aside: The victory of the kinists is something I strongly doubt, actually: the glory days of white supremacy are long dead, and the white birthrate will continue to crater so long as they insist on placing idols of Race or Nation above the Law-Word of God.

The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers,

Deuteronomy 30:9, English Standard VErsion

God opens the womb. Something for both White Americans (who are still falling below replacement births) and Black Americans (who are just fallen below replacement levels) should keep in mind.

Stand on the Lord’s side, and inherit the land. Stand against Him, and be disinherited.


Back to the point:

The point being the need of Black Americans to change their own culture, to be in conformity to God’s Commands, and thus receive God’s Blessings.

I ran across a well-argued article by Coleman Hughes, titled Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. It points out the ways Black Americans defeat themselves, before even rising to compete against Whites and Hispanics in the marketplace. (Nevermind the Jews or Chinese!)

(Also see: $15 Trillion for What? The War on Poverty )

Socialist Red Herrings

From Mr. Hughes’ article:

In his Atlantic essay, Coates argues that slavery is central to explaining American affluence. “Nearly one-fourth of all white Southerners owned slaves,” he writes, “and upon their backs the economic basis of America—and much of the Atlantic world—was erected.” The wealth gap, therefore, “puts a number on something we feel but cannot say—that American prosperity was ill-gotten.”

But slavery is hardly the root cause of America’s prosperity. If it were, then we would expect American states that practiced slavery to be richer than those that did not. Yet we see precisely the opposite. The South, where slavery thrived, was “the poorest and most backward region of the country,” according to the economist Thomas Sowell.1 This remains true today. A recent analysis of census data found that Northeastern states, which forbade slavery, “are among the wealthiest,” whereas “states in the Southeast are among the poorest.” Nor is the disconnect between slavery and wealth unique to America. Similar disparities have emerged in Brazil, where the formerly abolitionist southern region has been, and continues to be, wealthier than the formerly slave-owning northern region.2

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

Slavery does not enrich a nation. Surprise, surprise.

(Insert: gasps of shock by innumerable socialists… as the Red Aristocracy relax in their safe government positions, and the masses toil and starve in the Fields of the People.)

Coates’s mistaken view about the origin of American prosperity is part of a larger fallacy about national wealth in general: the assumption that if a nation is wealthy, it must have stolen that wealth from somebody else. To the contrary, a nation’s wealth has more to do with the economic system it adopts and the set of skills its citizens possess. The example of Singapore is instructive: although it was raided by Portugal in the seventeenth century and colonized by Britain in the nineteenth, today Singapore is wealthier than both Portugal and Britain, in terms of median wealth per adult. By the same measure, not a single one of the nations that made Atlanta Black Star’s list of “Top 6 Countries That Grew Filthy Rich From Enslaving Black People” would make the list of top six wealthiest countries today. Indeed, they would rank 9th, 11th, 12th, 21st, 24th, and 30th. The wealth of modern nations was not plundered; it was, and continues to be, created.3

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

Socialists don’t like to talk about Singapore, or Hong Kong, or Japan. Christians should.

Remember: our goal is to be a blessing to the world, not a curse like the Socialists are. We should teach the people to get rich by obeying God and serving the customer at a good price, not starve and oppress them while shouting about our moral superiority!

The second factor offered as an explanation for the wealth gap is the exclusion of blacks from a set of New Deal policies designed to promote homeownership, income growth, and wealth accrual. […] But this story, though based in truth, has been massaged to give the false impression that benevolence from the state is a prerequisite for wealth accrual.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

Christians would be wise not to look to mighty human masters for wealth – be that master a private slaveowner, or a bureaucratic Servant of the People.

The Bible makes it clear that righteous men leave an inheritance to their grandchildren. It also says that wealth is accumulated in order for righteous people to inherit it. The righteous will inherit the earth (Psalm 37:29). This means that they will inherit enormous responsibility. This is eschatologically certain. It is a prophecy. Jesus confirmed it. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). The meaning is not that wimps will inherit the earth. It means that people who are meek before God will exercise dominion. This means that covenant keepers must strive for mastery in their fields. They must therefore strive for success. This is a moral requirement. It is not optional.

Christian Economics, Teacher’s Edition by Gary north

Gods people are expected to WIN.

OK, back to the article:

The prevailing progressive narrative also gives short shrift to the history of immigrant groups succeeding in the face of racist hostility and without help from the government. Baradaran, for instance, criticizes the “pervasive myth that immigrant success was based purely on individual work ethic.” To the contrary, she claims, “most immigrants’ bootstraps had been provided to them by the government.”13

But history tells a different story. Starting with the California Alien Land Law of 1913, fourteen states passed laws preventing Japanese-American peasant farmers from owning land and property. These laws existed until 1952, when the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. Add to this the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II, and it’s fair to say that the Japanese were given no bootstraps in America. Nevertheless, by 1970 census data showed Japanese-Americans out-earning Anglo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Polish-Americans.14 For Asian-Americans on the whole, an analysis of wealth data from 1989 to 2013 predicted that their “median wealth soon will surpass the white median level.” If wealth differences were largely explained by America’s history of favoring certain groups over others, then it would be hard to explain why Asian-Americans, who were never favored, are on track to become wealthier than whites.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

Black Americans ascribe far too much power to human masters… and far too little respect to their TRUE Maker, Master, and Judge!

Why fear men, when you can fear God instead?

Recommendations…

Conspicuous by its absence in the progressive account of the racial wealth gap is any active role for blacks themselves. Reading Baradaran, Rothstein, and Coates, one gets the impression that there is nothing blacks could do to improve their lot—outside of asking the government for radical policy solutions. But there are things that blacks can do. Indeed, there are certain elements of black American culture that, if changed, would allow blacks to amass wealth to a degree that no government policy would be likely to match.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

It will always be easier for Black Americans to whine and pout and point fingers, instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting the job done.

Of course, this whining and pouting and finger-pointing is encourages by the Democrats, who have perfect the art of creating comforting, pleasing chains around Black necks and hands and throats. “Trust the welfare state… Our Master in Washington will always care for you…”

Depressingly, there are plenty of Republicans who are into racism: yes, even many who are within the camp of Christian Reconstruction carry that stink about them. And for as long as that’s true, Blacks will not listen to them, regardless if their advice is good or evil. “Why listen to people who have always hated and despised us… hate and despise us right now… and will always hate and despise us?”

In general, I encourage Black Americans to get up on their feet, regardless of what White Americans say or want or do. But I admit, things would be a LOT easier if even such a small minority as White Christian Reconstructionists held out a hand to help them, rather than push them away or push them down!

1. No More Bling

No element of culture harms black wealth accrual more directly than spending patterns. Nielsen, one of the world’s leading market research firms, keeps extensive data on American consumer behavior, broken down demographically. A 2017 Nielsen report found that, compared to white women, black women were 14 percent more likely to own a luxury vehicle, 16 percent more likely to purchase costume jewelry, and 9 percent more likely to purchase fine jewelry. A similar Nielsen report from 2013 found that, while only 62 percent of all Americans owned a smartphone, 71 percent of blacks owned one. Moreover, all of these spending differences were unconditional on wealth and income.

[…]

The upshot: the fact that blacks spent more on cars, jewelry, and clothes explained fully 20 percent of the total racial wealth gap.

To make matters worse, spending patterns are just one part of a larger set of financial skills on which blacks lag behind. […]

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

You gotta get rid of the bling, man!

Many find it hard to confront such data. People worry that discussing behaviors that blacks disproportionately engage in represents a backslide into white supremacy and racist stereotyping. Ibram X. Kendi expresses this concern in his New York Times bestseller Stamped from the Beginning: “When you truly believe that racial groups are equal, then you also believe that racial disparities must be the result of racial discrimination.”15

But this makes no sense. Is it racist to observe that whites are more likely to drive drunk than blacks are? Is it racist to assert that black immigrants in the UK outscore comparable white Britons on standardized tests? Is it racist to observe that black American culture has produced a higher number of musical icons than Asian-American culture has? And if it’s not racist to mention these facts, then why is it racist to mention the same kinds of facts when they run in the opposite direction? Moreover, cultural differences can even cause disparities between groups that belong to the same race, as with the aforementioned wealth disparities between black Americans and black Caribbeans living in Boston, or the nearly 4-to-1 income ratio between Taiwanese-Americans and Hmong-Americans. Discussing the different patterns of behavior that underlie such intra-racial disparities cannot be racist, by definition. Race and culture, though often correlated, are entirely different concepts.

Just like no person is born knowing how to brew beer or play basketball, no person is born knowing how to build wealth. These skills must be taught.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

So why isn’t the Church — especially victory-oriented Reconstructionists — teaching these skills to believing Blacks?

  1. Because Satan told us not to teach Black people: it’s far more pleasing to watch them trash around in their failures.
  2. Because we prefer to fear and cringe before Black Christians, instead of fearing God and His Judgement.
    1. This is rank blasphemy, by the way, since we all know “you worship what you fear.” God’s men are only to fear GOD!

The salient question should never have been who to blame for blacks’ predicament, but who is able to fix it. If the problem were simply a lack of cash, then the government would be the ideal candidate. But if we learned anything from the explosion of violent crime and single motherhood following welfare expansion in the late 1960s, it was that cash transfers cannot solve a problem that the absence of cash didn’t cause. Herein lies one of the many issues with reparations: it would not address the root causes of black underachievement. Fans of the concept should ask themselves: what will happen the day after reparations are paid, when black students still spend less time on homework than their white peers, blacks are still making poor financial decisions, and two out of every three black kids are still living in single-parent homes? On that day, I’d hope to see progressive scholars acknowledge that they had been asking the wrong question for 50 years. But I would not be shocked to hear them insist that, if only the reparations checks had been a bit larger, black America’s problems would have been solved.

Those who agree that top-down cultural reform is naïve might still object that bottom-up reform is equally quixotic. How, exactly, does one go about changing something as complex and distributed as culture? On this point, the history of formerly lagging ethnic groups is instructive. Whether measured by rates of alcoholism, high school graduation, or income, Irish-Americans used to lag far behind other American ethnic groups.23 As one point of reference, the incarceration rate for Irish-Americans was five times higher than for German-Americans in 1904. The response? While some Irish leaders blamed society, others, notably those in the Catholic Church, launched an inward-looking campaign to change behavioral patterns within the Irish community.24 Similar efforts were made by acculturated German-American Jews, whose stern programs of assimilation for their less-cultured Eastern European co-religionists included giving them “pointed lessons on the use of soap and water,” according to Sowell.25

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

If Christian Reconstructionists — regardless of race — won’t point out to Black Americans the new mental framework they need, in a respectful, humble way Blacks won’t reject out-of-hand, then I recommend that they turn to the Jews. Or the East Indians. Or even the (increasingly Christian) Chinese!

But in any case, looking up with longing to the dying Welfare State isn’t going to cut it.

On the racial wealth gap and similar issues, we seem to have reached a political stalemate. The Left, which has the power to start an intelligent conversation about culture, refuses to admit that culture accounts for many of the racial gaps typically ascribed to systemic racism. The Right, which acknowledges the role of culture, is too far from the media channels through which blacks tend to communicate, to have any chance of starting a robust conversation about culture in the black community. On one side we have ignorance, and on the other, impotence. And stuck in the middle we have the next generation of black Americans, who will grow up far more likely than their non-black peers to hold values inimical to wealth-building because the previous generation could not figure out how to speak honestly about black American culture.

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap. by Coleman Hughes

“Those who take responsibility gain authority.”

Helping Black Americans get into the middle class (and a notable number to get rich!) is a surprisingly effective way to gain cultural and political power and authority.

Hint, hint.


CONCLUSION

The free market does not make men good. It does encourage them to serve the consumer. It forces losses on them if they are less efficient in their service than their competitors. The free market society is not a dog-eat-dog world. It is a dog-serve-master world. The consumer is the master.

Scrooge served the market well in both phases of his career. He did not wind up in poverty in phase two. Dickens understood that Fezziwig had the right approach.

In Sim’s version of the story, Fezziwig goes out of business because he cannot compete in the new world of capitalism. Dickens never hinted that this was the outcome of Fezziwig’s good cheer. My guess is that Fezziwig died rich. If he treated his employees well, he was probably in the habit of treating his customers well.

May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

Dining with Scrooge, by Gary North
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