April 15, 2006

The Candor of Cynthia Tucker

Cynthia Tucker, editorialist at the Atlanta Journal Constitution demonstrates some startling candor in her ew opinion column, "Idle black men, tragically, aren't just a stereotype":

My younger sister, an architect, appointed her Mexican-born father-in-law, an experienced carpenter (and American citizen), the new general contractor. I was to find men willing to help him paint, lift, scrape, fill, dig. The pay was hardly exorbitant — $6 an hour. But it seemed reasonable for unskilled labor. So I looked among unemployed high school classmates, members of my mother's church and men standing on nearby street corners.

The experience brought me face to face with every unappealing behavior that I'd heard attributed to idle black men but dismissed as stereotype. One man worked a couple of days and never came back. One young man worked 30 minutes before he deserted. Others promised to come to work but never did.

This story is hardly an academic overview. The evidence is anecdotal. But it jibes with the treatises I've read that portray a permanent underclass of black men with criminal records and low educational attainment, with multiple children and little cash.

It is admirable that she would confront these stereotypes head on and honestly report them. I suspect this piece might invite some small tremors in some liberal circles who saw none of what she did but will try try to dispute everything she observed. Those who don't question her observational skills will explain away with soft science claptrap. Some will reach back and make slavery and lynchings the culprit.

Anyhow, Ms. Tucker, thank you for the frank words. I hope you follow up with some honest examination.


Blogger Craig H said...

If you continue reading, she starts using the "they've been marginalized" excuse.

"....How did this happen? I cannot remember seeing such large numbers of idle black men when I was growing up. (Indeed, the unemployment rate in my hometown is higher than it used to be.) Is this the consequence of a dying manufacturing base that has stranded men who otherwise would have had jobs with decent wages and good benefits? And does the wave of illegal immigrants further marginalize uneducated black men?"

That sounds suspiciously close to "victim" to me.

Sun Apr 16, 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Myra Langerhas said...

Yes, I read that. It just seemed like the whole tenor of the article was surprisingly candid. I thought it was refreshing. Baby steps, I guess. Maybe if she picks uip a Charles Murray tiome we can bring her into the fold. NOI.

Sun Apr 16, 12:29:00 PM  

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