"The Shield" aka Thomas Sowell new phrase "Black Rednecks"
Thomas Sowell has a new book due to hit book stores this weekend; the book is entitled “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”. Thomas Sowell is described as a brilliant economist who apparently can not find work discussing economic issues in a country that is in dire need of the intellectual power of economists to help gain control of the growing debt and trade deficit the U.S. face in the new global economy. Thomas Sowell is loved by white folk, particularly the Conservative ones, based on his ability and willingness to use his blackness as a shield for their racism, meaning he say and write the things they dare not say or write less they be called out as the racist they are.
In his new book “Black Rednecks and White Liberal” Sowell continue his life work as “the shield” for white racism. I must say, I have not read the book as it is not available yet but I have read countless articles about the book and what it will offer, plus one of Sowell's most recent articles that covers what his book is about ; and this is what I am speaking to in this piece.
I would like to first deal with the term “Black Redneck”, in my assessment this phrase is equal to phrases like “White Nigger” and “Sand Nigger” which ascribes the behavior as described or represented by the ladder word to the group that the first word represents. Hence, a “White Nigger” would be a white person that engages in nigger behavior, but what is nigger behavior? We know the word Nigger does not have a history as being a word that describe a particular behavior; it was and still remains a disparaging word that describes Black people regardless of behavior or background. So what accounts for phrases like "Sand Nigger"? A word commonly used to describe Arabs. If we were to compare these two phrases; "Sand Nigger" and "White Nigger" what we will find is that the one thing those who are called these words have in common with those who were first referred to as plain old Niggers is that good ole white folk dislike them, thus a "Nigger" becomes a word ascribed to anything or anyone white folk find objectionable.
Such is the case with the word Redneck; Rednecks are considered to be “white trash” ignorant and backwards, in the past they were considered, lawless, lazy and sexually immoral. The most famous of all Rednecks is Jeff Foxworthy, who has made millions from describing what and who is a Redneck and if any of you have seen his show, you know most of the things he says that makes one a Redneck does not describe things that represent Black folk in thought or behavior which means the term Redneck as used in the term “Black Rednecks” is Thomas way of calling Black folk a disparaging name that will not easily offend us but ensures that white folk who love his work and find Rednecks objectionable understand that he share their resentment towards us and also think of Black folk as trash, ignorant, backwards, lazy, lawless and sexually immoral. I wonder how those white folk who are proud to be Rednecks will feel about him using a word they self identify as to describe Black people in a negative light.
Thomas Sowell is engaging in myth making, He is using his newly coined phrase “Black Rednecks” that describes a stereotypical Black person as a means of connecting with white folk and I am sure he hopes this word become part of the American Lexicon much like other mythical argument framing words like “Democratic Plantation” and “Welfare Queens”. Black men and women are not new to racial mythology that is perpetuated by the likes of Sowell and those he serve, how do we address such mythology is important. The Black Commentator answered this question by stating;
“The most important question to consider when debunking racial mythology is not whether it is true. If a myth is to stand the test of time it has to contain at least some truth, but just throwing inconsistent facts at it doesn’t make it go away, either. The most important questions to ask in order to debunk powerful racial myths are what values do they transmit and whose interests do they serve?”
Thus we come to the question whose interest does Thomas Sowell writings serve? Who values do they transmit? Who are the champions of his work? and what does the answer to these questions say to Black folk?
In his new book, Sowell will tackle race and racism to ensure that white folk are not thought of as racist and he will fight rigorously the idea that the present is the end result of actions of the past. Sowell will provide us with evidence;
“that black pioneers and leaders of the early twentieth century were not just "the cream of the crop" but emerged from a culture very different from that in which most blacks were raised and educated”
Which means our best and brightest were anomalies, more than likely he includes himself in this group.
He will tell us;
“How racial barriers erected by "black rednecks" prevented black cultural elites from separating themselves as much as they would have liked from lower-class blacks”
I guess here he will tell us how poor Blacks keep rich Blacks down.
And this one I love, he will provide us with;
“Proof: contrary to liberal myth, for most of history, slavery was not based on racism -- and most slaves did not differ racially from their masters”
Your guess is as good as mine how he will do this beyond repeating the white defensive argument that there were white slaves, none owned by Black folk of course and that slavery was about economics and this is proven because Black folk were enslaved all over the western hemisphere by whites who thought black folk were inferior to them, but hey it was not about race.
It is easy to see who values are being transmitted through Sowell work and it is as easy to see who interest his work serve, it is no wonder that white conservatives Champion his work, after all it is they who’s values is being transmitted and whom interest is being served. One irony about "Rednecks" is they are historically recognized as confederate flag waving racist which probably describe those whom Sowell serve which ultimately means he is the real "Black Redneck".