Posted on July 6, 2005

Black Rednecks

Thomas Sowell,, July 6


Many of the differences between blacks and whites nationwide today are strikingly similar to the differences between Southern whites and Northern whites in the 19th and early 20th century.

What are those differences?

They include rates of violence, rates of sexual promiscuity, and — most explosive of all — differences in intellectual development. The biggest taboo that people are most afraid to talk about is that blacks do much worse on mental tests or in schools and colleges.


Southern whites did not go to school, buy books, read newspapers, patent inventions, much less supply their share of leading intellectual figures, to anywhere near the extent that their white contemporaries in the North did. Nor was this due simply to poverty.

Books were not common even in the homes of many white Southerners who could have afforded books. That was just not part of the redneck culture.


Blacks have suffered more from the redneck culture than whites have. First of all, only about a third of the white population lived in the South during the 19th century, while 90 percent of blacks did. Moreover, whites in the South had more educational and other opportunities to rise out of the redneck culture.

This is not about “blaming the victim.” Nobody can be blamed for the culture he was born into. But neither should he be kept mired in that culture, in the name of “identity” or with the pretense that all cultures are equal.