Monday, March 27, 2006

A Poverty of the Mind - New York Times

A Poverty of the Mind - New York Times Many of the NY Times' best op-eds aren't available to the public without a cost. But this one is available to anyone without expense and I recommend you give it a read. The article starts out with a fairly aggressive agenda:
"SEVERAL recent studies have garnered wide attention for reconfirming the tragic disconnection of millions of black youths from the American mainstream. But they also highlighted another crisis: the failure of social scientists to adequately explain the problem, and their inability to come up with any effective strategy to deal with it."
For three pages it proceeds to rip apart several urban legends about black men and dismisses the benefit of any further statistical studies:
"..for decades we have been overwhelmed with statistics on black youths, and running more statistical regressions is beginning to approach the point of diminishing returns to knowledge."
One interesting part was a partial dismantling of the supposed problem of young black men succeeding educationally being accused of "acting white":
"The important thing to note about the subculture that ensnares them is that it is not disconnected from the mainstream culture. To the contrary, it has powerful support from some of America's largest corporations. Hip-hop, professional basketball and homeboy fashions are as American as cherry pie. Young white Americans are very much into these things, but selectively; they know when it is time to turn off Fifty Cent and get out the SAT prep book."
This is an interesting read that I'll likely bookmark for future references.

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