Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An addendum to: Did White People Build This Country? A False Assertion Gets Corrected

Davey D has posted an excellent piece entitled: Did White People Build This Country? A False Assertion Gets Corrected:

The challenge we have with today’s news media is that far too often it is driven by ‘expert’ punditry. We see this all the time where people holding lofty titles like ‘Professor’, ‘journalist’ and ‘doctor’ are invited onto shows as pundits and are assumed to be the definitive expert in the topics being discussed. As a result anything they say is taken as fact and hence gets repeated and passed along to others as gospel.

I would add that we ought to include the blogosphere in this equation (which is probably implied in the article). And I'll go further and say that many of the people generally excluded from the "mainstream" punditry, themselves suffer from the idea that they have definitive assertions on subjects and that they themselves will act as if they are beyond correction because "it's their blog" and they'll write what they want. How often do you see a blog owner own up to an incorrect assertion and post a retraction?

How many popular black bloggers do you see who actually write long form, researched pieces with either footnotes or inline references on whatever subject they are discussing? What about direct quotes from primary sources? What about direct quotes from primary sources who are neutral? That is a source that is not trying to prove one side or the other is "right"? I don't see it too often. often what I see are bloggers who repost other peoples blog posts or summarize other people's blog posts, and those blog posts are summaries of a summary of some news agency who probably has the wrong story anyway.

Let me take on one issue with Davey's post:
I am still hearing handpicked Black pundits pushing outdated assertions like; Black people from the hood don’t do well in school because they are afraid of appearing to ‘act white’ . Can we please require this myth which first emerged in the late 80s when during an interview with film maker Spike Lee?

I haven't seen the interview in question, but I do know that the idea was researched by a John Ogbu who discussed it in terms of being voluntary outsiders. His assertions have been challenged I discussed this in two places on my blog (1)(2). I believe that both discussion do in fact show that there is some veracity to the concept of "acting white." and that the only real question in regards to the phenomenon is how widespread is it, particularly among low academic achievers.

Again this is an example of what Davey D is discussing. Why is it "outdated" to discuss something that simply isn't settled? Who determines whether something is "outdated" or "wrong"? If it's anything other than the evidence than I'm suspect of the claim.

About a year ago I was talking with a professor who was lamenting about a white student in her class that claimed that black people could dance better than everyone because of their genes. She couldn't figure out how to handle it. I told her that I have a new way of dealing with people who make such claims. It's not for me to disprove it it's for them to prove it. I told her to wager the student your $1000 to his $10. If he could document the genes that black people have that makes them innately superior dancers, he could have $1000. If he could not then he would lose $10. Clearly if the student had proof of this assertion then he had all the incentive to bring it in and collect the money. Failure to take the "certain" prize was indicative that he was full of manure. No need to get into an argument about the subject because his silence was all the "proof" that was needed.

So that's how I think we should approach blogging and punditry. Be so sure of your postings that you'd put up $1000 bucks to back up what you said. If you can't do that then either clearly indicate that what you wrote is non-verifiable or simply don't write or say it.

Let's step up our games. Lets not only be critical of those that we disagree with, but let us also be critical of our own thoughts and assumptions.