After Basketball, Barton and I were having an intense debate about culturism and censorship when he cut in with what seemed to be a total non sequitur, "That means that I and all black people's culture should not be allowed?"
Since he is black and I'm white and we never really discuss race, I felt I needed to tread delicately. "What does that mean? I'm not sure how you got there."
"Well black culture says that studying in school is acting white, that’s a big part of black culture, does that mean that black people are bad?" My reply got nodding and an acceptance of my side in a way that usually only happens in fantasy conversations.
"That is a very new kind of thinking."
“For most of history black people in this country have greatly esteemed education. The Little Rock Nine were those kids that got into the white school by the National Guard.”
“Yeah I know about them, fighting segregation.” “
“You think they didn’t want education? Slaves like Frederick Douglas especially prized education. Emancipation through education has traditionally been a black value. The whites in the South didn’t want them to have education, but they overcame and got access.”
“Yeah,” he said obviously thinking to himself. Then he asked the money question, “What happened to make the ideas change?”
It changes with leftist 1960s education historians like Michael Katz and David Tyack. These guys painted educational systems as rigged. They wrote books saying that mobility did not come from schools. Saying, it was all one big scam set up by rich people to make poor people think they had a chance and that their poverty was their own fault.”
“It all starts with them?” Barton was a little incredulous.
“Well the whole society was in turmoil then. But that was when they wrote and that’s when black people got attitude towards school. But a lot of that generation went from being on the left to being leftist.”
“What is the difference?”
“A person on the left still has hope that the system is benevolent overall and notices the improvement over time. They see things like ending slavery and integration as good proof of our nation getting better. Leftists think the system is rotten and oppressive and needs to be overthrown. They preach despair and revolution. And a lot of these people teach in education schools. That message gets passed along to students, sometimes subtlety, sometimes not.”
“You’re right, I was confused.” Then Barton laid out a beautiful conclusion, “We’ve got to teach that basic idea that black people have traditionally struggled for and wanted education again.”
“Damn straight. Got to get people into their greatest hope around.”
“That’s what I was trying to say. That’s culturism.”