Monday, January 26, 2009

Thomas Sowell on Race, the Inauguration Speech, & the Future

I've been reading Thomas Sowell's book, Basic Economics (which I think everyone should be required to read before (1) running for office, & (2) being allowed to vote, but I digress). Sowell is a professor of Economics at Stanford University. He recently had an interesting article on the President's Inauguration speech in which he had some very good things to say.
Inevitably, much is being made of the fact that Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States.

He is indeed the first "African American" President, unlike the millions of other black Americans whose ancestors were here longer than millions of white Americans. By the time that there was a United States of America, most black Americans had never seen Africa and neither had their grandparents.

There is no group less eligible to be called hyphenated Americans. Nevertheless, Barack Obama is one of them— symbolically, at least— and race is part of the symbolism of this moment.

Those who doubted that a black man could be elected to the highest office in the land no longer have a leg to stand on. That can be a force for good, when young blacks can no longer be told that there is no point in their trying to get ahead in this society because "the man" is going to stop them.

In another sense, the Obama presidency may not be nearly as big a change in the country as some might think. Colin Powell could probably have been elected eight years ago. But you don't know it can happen until it happens.

No doubt the race-hustling industry will continue, and no doubt their chief victims will be blacks, especially young blacks, who buy the paralyzing picture of victimhood and the counterproductive resentments which sap energies that could be better used to improve their own lives.

Now that we have the first black President of the United States, maybe we can move ahead to the time when we can forget about "the first" whatever to do what. There is too much serious work to do to spend more time on that.
Read it here.


Joshua Butcher said...

I started Sowell's book last semester, but it has been sitting on my night stand unopened for a couple of months (along with Van Til's Apologetic by Bahnsen and Carson's The Gagging of God).

School can be such a pain when one is seeking knowledge.

John said...

Joshua: LOL. That's why when I graduated from seminary, I told my wife that the next exam I plan on taking is before the judgment throne of Christ!

Nan said...

Wow. That's a fabulous article. If only people would pay attention to the people who actually know what they are talking about!