The main argument I’ve always heard from African American social justice activists is that I, as a white person, cannot possibly experience or understand life as a minority. While I question that (ask Rachel Dolezal), I can’t really argue with it since creates a barrier of exclusivity.
But to really understand the source of generational poverty, poor choices, and the breakdown of family, people like me have another option, thanks to a book by hillbilly-cum-Yale-trained-lawyer J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis. Disclosure: I haven’t yet read the book, but I have read Rod Dreher’s astonishing review in The American Conservative.
Vance talks about how, in his youth, there was a lot of hardscrabble poverty among his people, but nothing like today, dominated by the devastation of drug addiction. Everything we are accustomed to hearing about black inner city social dysfunction is fully present among these white hillbillies, as Vance documents in great detail. He writes that “hillbillies learn from an early age to deal with uncomfortable truths by avoiding them, or by pretending better truths exist. This tendency might make for psychological resilience, but it also makes it hard for Appalachians to look at themselves honestly.”
From the tenuous and false claims on spirituality, to selfishness and poor choices, here you see the map to failure laid out very clearly.
If you want to understand what drives #BlackLivesMatter, from a white perspective, start here. It will illuminate that the problems facing inner-city African Americans are not totally based on skin color.
Read it right now.