Thomas Sowell Says It So Well, by Andrew Joppa



“When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”


“People who pride themselves on their ‘complexity’ and deride others for being “simplistic” should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.”


“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”


“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

Thomas Sowell


Note: Since this is the theme of this essay’s title, I’ve given you four quotes from one of America’s greatest citizens…Thomas Sowell. Sowell is a calm voice of truth..we have far too few.


Many of the courses I taught during my 25 plus years as a faculty member were in my univerities Bronx and Manhattan campuses. Almost all these classes were racially, ethnically, age and gender diverse. It was an exciting and challenging place to teach.  I was always troubled, however, by one consistent phenomenon. Almost none (perhaps none) of my African American students had ever heard of the great Thomas Sowell.  It wasn’t that they just hadn’t read Sowell; they had never heard of him. To a lesser extent, this also occurred with every prominent Black who could roughly be described as a “Conservative”; perhaps more accurately, not described as a Liberal.


Who is Thomas Sowell?  There is certainly no one, of any race, who could be described as a better human role model.  Sowell is an economist and writer whom playwright David Mamet once called “our greatest contemporary philosopher.” Sowell lived in Harlem, where he was the first in his family to make it past the sixth grade. He left home at 17, served as a Marine in the Korean War, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, earned a master’s degree at Columbia University the next year, followed by a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Chicago.  This man would bring honor to anyone who chose to emulate the patterns of his life.  This is a man that the African American community should rejoice at having as a member…but that isn’t the case.


Sowell has authored some four dozen books and written hundreds of scholarly articles and essays in periodicals and thousands of newspaper columns. In 2015, Forbes magazine said: “It’s a scandal that economist Thomas Sowell has not been awarded the Nobel Prize. No one alive has turned out so many insightful, richly researched books.” Yet, thanks in large part to Ebony Magazine’s shutout of Sowell from the African American Museum, most Blacks have never heard of him.  The exclusion of Sowell says loudly that being a worthy African American is driven more by political ideology than by race and accomplishments; that being an African American, who is respected by that community, is derived from whether they think or behave in a manner that matches with the Liberal ideology. What are the ideas of Thomas Sowell that have created the hostility he often faces in the African American world?


Sowell rejects almost in its entirety the Leftist narrative regarding racism in America.  His deeply researched books create such a thoughtful challenge to the Liberal mythology that he is seen by most African American and Liberal White leaders, as the most profound opponent to their ongoing manipulation of American political and social life.  With racism having become nearly the entire “platform” of the Left, if it is dismissed as being irrelevant to the life outcomes of African Americans, they are left without their primary weapon of manipulation against the body politic of America.


Sowell provides copious research to document that statistical disparities are commonplace among all human groups. He says, “Many historical and cultural reasons underlie the peculiar patterns observed (within group outcomes) …Groups with a demonstrable history of being discriminated against have, in many countries and in many periods of history, had higher incomes, better educational performance, and more ‘representation’ in high-level positions than those doing the discriminating.”


He provides hundreds of pages of objective research to document that, “…two key assumptions behind the civil rights vision do not stand up as general principles. The first is that discrimination leads to poverty and other adverse social consequences, and the second is the converse—that adverse statistical disparities imply discrimination. He adds, “The civil rights vision tends to dichotomize the spectrum of possible reasons for group differences into (1) discrimination and (2) innate inferiority. Rejecting the latter, they are left with the former. Moreover, others who reject the former are regarded as believing the latter.” 


Within these thoughts of Sowell, we have the entire nature of the contrived existence of American racism.  If there is a disparity in Black outcomes, resulting quite naturally from choices that are made, and innate inferiority is rejected, you are left with only a choice of discrimination…that is, racism.  This produces a “can’t lose” position of the racial racketeers. If you claim inferiority of African Americans, you are a racist.  If you reject inferiority, you are also a racist because you then must acknowledge discrimination as the cause.  Any negative outcome in the thousands of life experiences of the aggregate African American population, below their statistical numbers in the population, can be…and will be… used to “document” American racism.


No…America is not racist nation.  Current “racism” is nothing but a

contrivance of the political ideologues of the Left.  There is zero systemic racism and, aside from a few damaged members of our 335-million-person population, there are but minimal examples of individual racism…these being both Black and White.  In addition, there are few life outcomes that are negatively altered by racism.


We are being divided by the racketeers for their own nefarious ends. It is America, both Black and White, that is paying an enormous price.  All of this is unfortunately a burden that America will have to shoulder as long as there is an America.  It can never escape the charge of racism since differences will always exist and those differences will always be defined and exploited as racism.  Too many people gain power and make a living from the “racism industry.” If there was no racism…, do you think anyone would tell you?


Look back at my opening quotes from Thomas Sowell and now add depth to their implications:


“The sad and tragic fact is that the civil rights movement, despite its honorable and courageous past, has over the years degenerated into a demagogic hustle, promoting the mindless racism they once fought against.”

Thomas Sowell


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