Carol Platt Liebau: The Disgraceful Upturned Middle Finger

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Disgraceful Upturned Middle Finger

The invaluable John McWhorter points out how the Great Society's radical and reflexive anti-authoritarian impulses have yielded a culture that's profoundly pernicious for black youth. Ironically, as he notes, the gains of the civil rights era have likewise contributed to the problem. As McWhorter puts it in one particularly felicitous phrase, "[T]he civil rights movement freed blacks into an America that had just made the upturned middle finger into an icon of higher awareness." How true -- and how profoundly sad.

In fairness, affluent whites are also to blame, either by tolerating (on the part of adults) or aping (on the part of teens themselves) some of the most destructive behaviors. Middle class white adults understand that their teens can indulge a taste for gang-bang culture secure in the knowledge that once the phase has passed, college, a good job and a secure future lie ahead. But underprivileged youth has no such luxury, and when those who should know better simply turn a blind eye, or worse yet, exploit or praise ugly behavior as "authentic blackness," it's shameful.

Finally, McWhorter's article reveals the widespread reluctance among blacks to help police officers even with black-on-black murders. This fact called to mind an interesting exchange on yesterday's Dennis Prager Show. A caller noted LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's initiative to stop gang violence by increasing the police presence in the most dangerous neighborhoods. By the Democrats' reasoning, the caller observed, the police would simply withdraw from the neighborhood and allow the gangs to fight it out among themselves.

Needless to say, that shouldn't happen -- either in Los Angeles, or in Baghdad.

2 Comments:

Blogger HouseOfSin said...

Carol - What article? You linked to Lieberman.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I didn't get to read the article. But let's be careful not to (and I don't think it's your intention to) blame black culture for the widespread use of the upturned middle finger and all that it represents.

Even the quote provided:

"[T]he civil rights movement freed blacks into an America that had just made the upturned middle finger into an icon of higher awareness."

notes that America, in general, made the middle finger a cultural icon.

It would be great if black culture could "just say no" to violent, destructive behavior. But it would also be great if white culture could "just say no" to violent, destructive behavior.

I think you make a great point, however, that turning a blind eye to what should be unacceptable behavior carries a lot of responsibility for the nature of current American culture.

5:59 AM  

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