July 6, 2013

TRYING TO TEACH in an underclass culture. “What happened to large numbers of American blacks between the beginning of WW2 and 1970? Before WW2, blacks, mainly in the South at the time, led aspiring, family-oriented, church-going, bourgeois lives (despite social segregation). How and why did this subcultural transformation happen?”

Well, it’s happened to a lot of people over that era, not just blacks — we live, after all, in an era where open espousal of bourgeois values is transgressive. But the more marginal the community’s socioeconomic status, the more valuable bourgeois virtues are, and the more damaging their loss. If you want particular outcomes, you should emulate the behavior of those who achieve them. But all too often, people reject it instead. That rejection may be ego-soothing, but it’s damaging nonetheless.