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Black Culture Should Build On Success
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Success; Black culture; Academic achievement
Date: Jan 5, 2001
Start Page: B.1
Section: METRO

The problem, says [John McWhorter], 34, is the "cult of victimology" that encourages black children to scorn school, confuse small annoyances with racism and embrace an anti-intellectual culture.

What black person wants to see that in a periodical read not just by the well-meaning, but also by racists who might delight in the deficiencies it suggests? What thoughtful African American could, as McWhorter seems to, divorce black children's underachievement from the history of a nation that enslaved their ancestors and made their parents fight for every gain?

That isn't all that hurts us, as McWhorter, who was ridiculed as a child for his studiousness, attests. He cites middle-class rapper Lichelle Laws, who romanticizes street life, claiming she was "trying to get to Watts, but I'm stuck in [wealthy] Baldwin Hills." A Jewish artist who sang seriously about trying to achieve poverty while being "stuck" in privilege, McWhorter suggests, would be booed -- and stuck without a record contract.

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