Re: Social Engineering (was: Different patriarchy Model)

John McCarthy (jmc@SAIL.Stanford.EDU)
07 Jan 1995 06:52:55 GMT

In article <> (Barbara Saunders) writes:
In article <3eimgb$> (PioneerTom) writes:
>While there may be *some truth to the core of what you say, that American
>black culture has developed along some maladapted lines in some ways,
>your simplification of issues such as three strikes which have
>really easy and obvious confounding factors, shows up your ulterior
>pure racist motivations.
>I had not wished to believe before this, that Gross and Levitt were right
>in saying, in "Higher Superstition", that this sort of thinking had
>permeated Anthropology. I'm beginning to believe that this area of the
>social sciences, which I had thought was still an exception to the
>degeneration they described, Anthropology, is in the thick of it after
>all. While some in this news group have been at least polite, too many
>others slide into this name-calling far too easily.
> Please. May I request that sweeping inferences about a person's personal
>beliefs be withheld from the discussion, since the basis that the above
>example uses, along with so many others, is far too slim to make any such
>conclusion believable, much less firm enough to warrant such a public slur
>of such gravity.

Oh, come on, when a person posts about the "inferiority" of an entire
"culture" based on really problematic "examples" of such, what's a person
supposed to infer?
>Tom Billings


It seems to me that one culture might be inferior to another, and it
should not be tabu to say so if that is one's opinion. However, both
Tom Billings and Barbara Saunders make the common mistake of referring
to black culture, as if the "ghetto" culture were the only authentic
culture for American blacks. Doubtless a black who is integrated into
general American culture, as millions (perhaps a majority) are, is not
of much interest to anthropologists, but culture does not exist solely
as an object of anthropological study.

My opinion is that there is a "ghetto" culture, and it is inferior,
and I know quite a few blacks who consider it inferior and want no
part of it. Anthropologists with the constraint that the shortcomings
of a culture may not be identified are unlikely to reach any kind of
full understanding.

To take a concrete example, is General Colin Powell not an authentic
black? He may be President some day.

John McCarthy, Computer Science Department, Stanford, CA 94305
He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.