More From Black Reagan

obama preaches Zerobama, addressing graduation at an historically black college, says:

By any number of different yardsticks, African-Americans are being outperformed by their white classmates, as are Hispanic-Americans.  Students in well-off areas are outperforming students in poorer rural or urban communities, no matter what skin color.

In the real world, the second sentence completely explains the facts described in the first.  Thanks to white supremacy’s long-standing centrality in the nation’s affairs, whites are disproportionately represented in the higher strata of the class pyramid.  Racial outcomes are class outcomes, in things like education, for the all-too obvious reasons, cardinal among which is our system of unequal school funding.

Zerobama, of course, merely tacks on the second sentence, however, in order to divert attention from the racial mystification conveyed by his first statement.

And the answer to the supposedly racial “achievement gap”?  Nationalize and equalize school funding?  Radical redistribution of economic wealth?  Universal public pre-school?  Doubling education spending?

Nope.  Turns out black people with college degrees have to be such shining examples that all social structure and history and poverty will become irrelevant:

[A]ll of you have a separate responsibility — to be role models for your brothers and sisters, to be mentors in your communities and, when the time comes, to pass that sense of an education’s value down to your children.

Let them eat values!

4 Replies to “More From Black Reagan”

  1. Okay, agreed to all of your perspicacious posts, but –
    Where’s your nihilism meter?
    Mine has always stood proudly quivering at the near 100% level. Obama is a fascist clown, the dems are republican-lite, but the left is a spiritualist joke – yet the band of oppositionists seem to want to cling to some group affiliation or traditional cause or who knows what.
    I read and skim, say at counterpunch, and fine nothing but confirmation for an essential nihilism – witness the great snapshots of our economic supersystem’s workings this weekend at the global-warming denier’s site. Those soundings still leave each of us with some measure of bounty and purpose and good times – but c’mon, whhat flag (a spelling homage to parson McKibben’s absurd “Eaarth”) are you trying to fly?

  2. Bill McKibben is a trust-funded joke, that’s for sure. Rebellion emanating from Middlebury College. Hah!

    As to my own self, I’m not joking or exaggerating when I say this is a market totalitarian society. So optimism isn’t really appropriate.

    Nevertheless, market totalitarianism is a mile wide but only an inch deep. Also, the Civil Rights Movement and then the 1960s happened and were huge advances.

    Will there be another chance for mass movement? I don’t rule it out. I don’t even rule out that staying informed in the meantime as to the nature and logic of power is irrelevant.

    Gramsci is almost as over-rated as McKibben, but “optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect” isn’t a terrible aphorism.

    My flag? Decent survival for my kid and his kids. It won’t happen without a fight. And the fight won’t happen if people surrender.

  3. I guess we’ll all stick with our fundamental approaches, but it still seems evident to me that we need greater nihilism to orient the collective understanding of our predicament.
    “Optimism of the will”? “Will” in what sense? We enjoy the obligaion to live and breathe, but “will,” as in the term “fight,” implies some greater social cause. Where is that “will” supposed to be directed? There is no movement that stands above a micrometer. Where did Gramsci’s “will” get him?
    Towards “decent survival”? That state of being is gravely threatened by the social order that we are as ants before. Market totalitarianism is not “an inch thick” – and the civil rights 60s and civil rights of today are not threats against market totalitarianism in the slightest – witness the 1/9th wealth of black versus white of today, witness B. Obama.
    As individuals, we are not capable of “surrender,” since there is no flag that we march under. What would count as a military victory?
    We know that the pursuits of money, power, advantage, and wealth are eternal human inclinations, and that we have a miserable track record as humans of supervising, organizing, taming them. Whatever small, minor, “decent” positive adaptation strategies we as oppositionists may come up within this order, they are nothing against the broad sweep of the supersystemic forces you masterfully depict on this essential site.
    No one likes a negativist – granted. But it will be the only “liberation” that will be left. Nihilism is fun, cheap, and correct – but it is an adult awareness, to be hidden from the kids, and spouses may well get tired of it, too. Yet they’ll get there.

  4. Strategic nihilism, right? True nihilism would have you abandoning non-fiction altogether, would it not?

    Meanwhile, Gramsci’s formula got him nowhere. At best, it kept him writing in jail. But one could also rephrase it as “Remember that very low is not zero.”

    And there’s the rub. Do you give humanity any chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, to summon collective intelligence once the eco-tastrophe really starts to bite? Or are we unquestionably doomed?

    I take things like what’s happening in South America, limited and embattled as those efforts are, as evidence that it isn’t warranted to conclude the odds are zero. I would even say the effectiveness of Zerobama’s salesmanship in 2008 is some evidence for Gramscian optimism of the will. I also teach working-class college students. They are far more thoughtful and open to radical realism than one would know from afar. None of it justifies true optimism. But very low is not zero.

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