I was watching a one-hour episode of “The Glenn Show” the other day titled “Tucker Carlson and the Dysfunction of Black America” (full video now here), when all of a sudden Loury got really exercised about dysfunctionality in the black community and started raising his voice. He even said “fuck!” with great vigor—something I’ve never heard come out of his mouth before. His pal John McWhorter listened patiently, and seemed to agree with Loury, but in a low-key way. (Loury does allude to the fact that he “was a little bit on edge these days”.)
Then, on Loury’s Substack site yesterday, he posted that bit of his rant™, which lasts only about 5 minutes. He put it up because McWhorter told him to (see below). Here’s Loury’s short introduction to his rant™, which you can read by clicking below. You don’t really have to click, though, as I’ve posted the short intro below.
Sometimes, when trying to articulate my views on the show, I go into rant mode. This one, from a discussion of the social dysfunction plaguing black America, got away from me a little. I had to admit in the end: I overdid it a bit.
Still, I stand by the substance of my remarks. I see in the crime statistics and in the rioting and looting perpetrated by black American youth a failure to raise our kids properly. Regardless of the complex historical reasons that led to this failure, we urgently need to do something about it instead of finding new ways to excuse it. History may have gotten us here, but we can no longer afford to let it define us.
My friend John McWhorter has enough patience to listen to me rant, and agrees with me enough to say in conclusion: “To be honest, if a clip of exactly that gets out there and gets re-run over and over, it needs to be.” So be it. I asked my team to make this clip, and I offer it to you here.
And The Rant™. At the end of the tirade, Loury does raise the Big Problem: how can we actually provide equal opportunity for marginalized people? And that question, regardless of “violent and antisocial behaviors”, needs an answer. And this is the question that the DEI initiatives don’t seem to address.
In the second part of his Substack column this week, Andrew Sullivan discusses the reason for one aspect of this dysfunctionality: high homicide rates and quotes Loury’s expletive:
. . . On the most serious violent crime, murder, the stats are also staggering: in 2021, of all murderers in America whose race was known, a full 60.4 percent were black — overwhelmingly male and young. So if you narrow it down to young black men, around 3 percent of the population is responsible for well over half the murders in America. In Minnesota, African-American males make up 3.2 percent of the population and commit 76 percent of the homicides and 87 percent of the burglaries. That’s a ratio that is resilient and persistent.
. . . Biden’s woke Department of Justice actually wants to bar law enforcement from using any of these racially specific crime statistics in “making decisions about where and how to focus their activities.” The aim is deliberately to ignore the 3 percent committing over half the murders in the country, and focus randomly on the 97 percent (including the vast majority of African-Americans) who don’t. It’s insane — the kind of racial equity for criminals that leads to grotesque racial inequity for victims. African-Americans are 13 percent of the population and make up more murder victims than every other race combined. In Chicago, for example, 79 percent of murder victims are black.
Why exactly are young black men uniquely responsible for this level of violence? The whole Twitter debate — and elsewhere, of course — is dedicated to changing the subject. (The old blogosphere was far better at debating such topics.) The answer is obviously, like many social phenomena, multi-determined: class, region, a collapse of religion, a lack of inherited wealth, predatory lenders, a subculture within black culture that celebrates violence and adultery, the glorification of guns in hip-hop, an aversion to “acting white” in school; unstable family structure; absent fathers; some racist cops — and, yes, a horrific history of white supremacy — are all surely implicated. It would take a grueling long national discussion to come to some agreement on this, and then to grapple with some way forward to tackle it.
But we’d rather accuse each other of crude racism, suggest distractions, offer yet more largely irrelevant context, blather about abstractions like “structural racism” 60 years after Jim Crow, blame all cops, or promote denial, than do any of this. “I don’t give a fuck whose fault it is,” Glenn Loury fumes. “We’re going to have to deal with the reality that this is a social dysfunction.”
Just not any time soon.
12 thoughts on “Glenn Loury rants, McWhorter apparently agrees”
‘He even said “fuck!” with great vigor—something I’ve never heard come out of his mouth before.’
How often do you listen to Glenn Loury? Have you ever heard any of his … takes … on Ibram Kendi? 🙂
Whose fault is it? The University of Chicago’s music department has discovered the answer: the fault lies in the “whiteness” of music theory. See:
https://music.uchicago.edu/news/toward-anti-racist-post-tonal-analysis . A sample:
” Disciplines, including music, are beginning to reckon with a history of racism and white supremacy in their fields, and some students and faculty are beginning to explore what anti-racist curricula and research would look like. One example of that in the Department of Music is Associate Professor Steven Rings’s fall 2020 section of MUSI 31300: Analysis of 20th Century Music. …While Rings understands that scholarship and music theory curricula alone won’t change the persistent racism that impacts people on a daily basis, he recognizes that it is an important step in intervening in a culture and history of whiteness, both in musicology and academia, and in society at large.”
Thank you so much for posting this. It presents a good insight into the thinking of a couple of very astute men who are completely in touch with the problems in Black society and are not afraid to name them. How society in general is going to come to terms with all that….. Who knows? But we certainly need to come up with solutions.
Absolutely loved the kittens on the stairs with mom and the meme with the bannister scratching post.
The pity is that the issues raised by Loury and Sullivan are nothing new. As far back as the 1960s and perhaps earlier, the issue of the dysfunction in Black communities were debated. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, future distinguished U.S. senator from New York, wrote “The Negro Family: The Case For National Action”, commonly known as the Moynihan Report. It was quite controversial at the time. Wikipedia describes the report: “The Moynihan Report generated considerable controversy and has had long-lasting and important influence. Writing to Lyndon Johnson, Moynihan argued that without access to jobs and the means to contribute meaningful support to a family, black men would become systematically alienated from their roles as husbands and fathers, which would cause rates of divorce, child abandonment and out-of-wedlock births to skyrocket in the black community (a trend that had already begun by the mid-1960s), leading to vast increases in the numbers of households headed by females.” Wikipedia goes into how the report was attacked and defended.
I suspect that Loury and McWhorter would defend the report. In any case, the problems identified by Moynihan and reiterated by Loury still persist without any consensus on their nature and how to correct them.
Agreed. (I posted similar below, had not seen your post.)
Somewhat embarrassing, but this is what Bill Cosby was saying a decade or more ago. And was roundly excoriated.
MSM, Dems, Progressives, Woke … will never focus on the primary cause, even though one giant intellectual of their own, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, nailed it to the door of the church in 1965, and in his public speeches thereafter.
One nauseating irony from the Democrats/Moynihan report: bemoaning the shocking stat that 25% of black families were broken, with the father missing. (Shocking, even though the stat for other races was worse!) I won’t cite the stat today, or how many black children are born without an intact family. You can ChatGPT it if you so desire, and ask the thing how it happened. However, that thing is 1) biased to the left; and 2) not committed to truth of the facts it cites, so take it with a pillar of salt.
One person who does cite the modern stat, and who focuses on the fatherless family as the cause, is Thomas Sowell. He has been relentless and blunt about it, and the role played by the Democratic Party in causing it.
(20 years ago, things have escalated since.)
Young boys need strong male guidance and authority. Evolution has made them physical, aggressive, and predatory (3 million years as hunters and protectors) and that’s a good thing. But not in civilization. This is true around the world, regardless of race. Take away the wise father, to be compensated in proxy by checks and benefits from the government, and you have no reason to be surprised — or diverse — in finding the “causes.”
Speaking of black conservatives, this is from Thomas Sowell:
“A crucial fact about white liberals must be kept in mind: They are not simply in favor of blacks in general. Their solicitude is poured out for blacks as victims (itals in original), blacks as welfare mothers, criminals, political activists against the larger society, as well as those blacks who serve as general counter-cultural symbols against the larger society.”
And this is from Shleby Steele:
“In the age of white guilt, whites support all manner of silly racial policies without seeing that their true motivation is simply to show themselves innocent of racism.”
I think these quotes speak to the fact that one of the reasons this issue remains so contentious and intractable is that for white liberals (who control just about all our cultural and educational institutions) the Oppression Narrative (that Black pain, poverty and crime etc are only and entirely caused by Amerikkka) is sacred dogma.
Thus, rather than face reality and forsake their sacred beliefs (and worst of all, admit that maybe sometimes conservatives have a point or at least that the issue is multifaceted), they double-down on more and more ridiculous solutions: opening the jails, ending the SAT, mandatory DEI, calling math or science racist, etc…
For most of my life I truly believed white conservatives were the true enemy and impediment to black progress; now I’m inclined to believe the opposite, that it’s white liberals who are holding back black people by treating them as Sacred Cows, above criticism but beneath agency, instead of helping them stand on their own feet.
Oh please. As if black people don’t have agency and the deterioratiion of black American family values (implied by Loury) is the fault of white people. So if not right wing white racists, it must be left wing white guilt-ridden social policy. Other poor and disenfranchised people from around the planet come to America and make a go of it, even blacks from the West Indies and Africa (as Sowell posits) with matched race and economic status.
What about Kendi’s widespread philosophy of antiracism and wokeness (in the perjorative usage) in general and segregation of people by racial identity of their own free choice in addition to the multifactorial causes listed above by PCC? I think I can see where Loury’s legitimate plaint will lead. Other races will forsake black communities primarily for reasons of safety and non-viable business opportunities. Blacks appear to be becoming more insular in some areas which will further squeeze out others. These communities will have to be policed by black cops, as other races will automatically be suspect racist cops and leave, but crime and murder will continue to rise and these pockets will further deteriorate. Ubiquitous firearms will make such communities unpoliceable without extreme violence.
I hope this is not the case but think Lowry’s F-bomb rant was a lament that something like this hypothetical scenario is a predictable outcome. And that black Americans will have to improve their values or risk another generation lost to poverty and misery.
Loury’s rant raises some urgent and pressing issues. Sadly, it will be dismissed by the people who need to hear it.
Young. Urban. Black. Male. Not new. James Q. Wilson, “Thinking About Crime” (1975).
Dunno where you stand with your plan to watch the five seasons of The Wire, boss, but as John McWhorter’s allusions to “Omar” in the above discussion goes to show, one can’t be a completely culturally literate American without having done so.