Black pathologies are things like high rates of poverty, crime, rape, imprisonment, unemployment, fatherlessness, out-of-wedlock births, drug use and dropping out of high school. Depending on who you ask, pathologies are rooted in bad genetics, bad upbringing, bad values or some other inner fault of black people.
How come I talk so little about black pathologies?
In an abusive relationship where the husband beats the wife there is much talk about what is wrong with the woman, but almost no talk about what is wrong with the man. His violence is blamed on her: if dinner was on time, if the house was cleaner, etc, then he would not have to hit her.
Is the woman perfect? No. Does she have faults? Yes. Should she do better. Of course.
But it is also besides the point.
Even if she were perfect, her troubles would not go away. Because he would be unchanged.
The white relationship with blacks used to be nakedly abusive: it featured whips and chains and rapes and cutting off body parts and breaking up families. And later, hangings and bombings and never letting blacks forget that they were the lowest of low.
The abusive mindset remains. You can tell because in the American mainstream you hear plenty about black pathologies, but almost nothing about white pathologies. Just googling the phrases shows that it is 93.7% “black pathologies” to 6.3% “white pathologies”.
All our lives over and over again we hear all about what is wrong with black people. We have got so used to it that some expect me to do it too. Well, screw that. It is not the heart of the matter and, given how things are, it only feeds the racism – both white racism and internalized black racism.
Further, most pathologies are driven by white racism itself. (Though not all, such as illegitimacy.)
For example, here is the high school drop out rate (according to the 2000 census, leaving out Hispanics):
- 15.3% white
- 29.1% black
Compare that to Native Americans: 27.4%.
Or the poverty rate:
- 9.4% white
- 24.9% black
Compare that to Native Americans: 25.1%.
Or median personal income:
- $23,600 white
- $16,300 black
Compare that to Native Americans: $14,400.
How odd that Native Americans should have none of the black pathologies and yet have all the bad that goes with it in terms of poverty, low income and high school drop out rates.
How odd that the poverty rate is almost the same as the high school drop out rate for blacks and Native Americans – but, strangely, not for whites.
How odd that it is whites who are the ones with a long and ugly history of racism against blacks and Natives – and they are also the ones who run most of the schools and do most of the hiring.
How odd that whites say they are over racism and yet are uncomfortable talking about it.
How odd that people want me to be more “even handed” and find more fault with blacks and less with whites.
– Abagond, 2011.