Black Rednecks and White Liberals

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Black Rednecks and White Liberals
Black rednecks and white liberals bookcover.jpg
Hardcover edition
AuthorThomas Sowell
SubjectsAfrican American culture, Multiculturalism
PublisherEncounter Books
Publication date
June 25, 2005
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages360 pp.

Black Rednecks and White Liberals is a collection of six essays by Thomas Sowell. The collection, published in 2005, explores various aspects of race and culture, both in the United States and abroad. The first essay, the book's namesake, traces the origins of the "ghetto" African-American culture to the culture of Scotch-Irish Americans in the Antebellum South. The second essay, "Are Jews Generic?", discusses middleman minorities. The third essay, "The Real History of Slavery," discusses the timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom. The last three essays discuss the history of Germany, African-American education, and a criticism of multiculturalism.


Black Rednecks and White Liberals[edit]

The title essay states Sowell's thesis about the origins of the "black ghetto" culture.

Sowell argues that the black ghetto culture originates in the dysfunctional white southern redneck culture which was prominent in the antebellum South. That culture came, in turn, from the "Cracker culture" of "North Britons," border English, Highland Scots, Welsh, and Ulstermen who emigrated from the more lawless border regions of Britain in the eighteenth century.[1]

Are Jews Generic?[edit]

In the collection's second essay, Sowell explores the origins of anti-Semitism among those harboring jealousy toward Jews for their financial and entrepreneurial successes.

Among other historically-persecuted "middlemen minorities" were Lebanese and Chinese immigrant merchants. The resentment is from a perceived "lack of added value" that the middlemen provide, as it is not easily observable.

The Real History of Slavery[edit]

In the collection's third essay, Sowell reviews the history of slavery. Contrary to popular impression, which blames Western society and white people as the culprits, Sowell argues that slavery was a universal institution accepted and embraced by nearly all human societies. The world's trade in slaves and then slavery itself, was abolished by the British in the 19th century, against opposition in Africa and Asia, where it was considered normal. The economic effects of slavery are also misunderstood since slaves were often a luxury item whose upkeep was a drain on the rich, and the availability of cheap slave labor nowhere resulted in wealthy societies.

Germans and History[edit]

The fourth essay features Sowell's argument that Germany should not be defined solely by the 12-year regime of Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. Sowell further argues that Hitler was highly inconsistent in his views toward a unified Germany since he strenuously argued for annexation of the German-dominated Sudetenland, but German-dominated portions of Italy such as Tyrol were ignored in preference for an alliance with Benito Mussolini.

Black Education: Achievements, Myths, and Tragedies[edit]

The fifth essay features Sowell's discussion of the early days of Dunbar High School in Washington, DC,and its eventual deterioration from its place of prominence in early black education, which Sowell argues to be a direct consequence of the famed Brown v. Board of Education decision of the US Supreme Court.

Also Sowell argues that though W. E. B. Du Bois was more activist in his attempts to end Jim Crow laws and other forms of legal discrimination, Booker T. Washington, despite holding a more accommodating position, at times secretly funded and supported efforts to end Jim Crow laws.

History Versus Visions[edit]

The final essay features Sowell's criticism of the advantages that multiculturalism is supposed to confer to the society in which it is present.


  1. ^ Sowell, Thomas (July 9, 2005). "Black Rednecks and White Liberals: Who's a Redneck?". Capitalism Magazine. Retrieved 2011-02-18.

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