Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Culturism: The Culturist Review

In 2007 I, John K. Press, Ph.D., published the first edition of my book, ‘Culturism:  A Word, A Value, Our Future.’  In 2014, Mr. Scott Hampton published, ‘Culturism: The Real Reasons People Dislike African-Americans.’  Upon noticing Mr. Hampton’s book, I wondered how his work would add to, or undermine, the use of the terms ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist’ I had already established and promoted. 

I was glad to find that Hampton, like myself, utilizes the terms ‘culturism’ and ‘culturist’ to sidestep those who would call all criticism of any ethnic group ‘racist.’ Hampton is black.  This means that he, more effectively than I, (being white), can make the argument that criticizing black culture is not racist.  To bolster this claim, he distinguishes between ‘black-trash’ and ‘right-minded’ black people.  He uses the fact that many black people are law-abiding, productive citizens to prove that his attack on black-trash culture is culturist, not racist.

Hampton’s ‘Culturism’ provides an engaging analysis of black-trash pathology via anecdotes.  He skewers a mother who was indignant over a doctor mispronouncing her child’s ebonic name while showing no guilt over having birthed many children, who she could not support, by multiple men.  And, I was shocked to learn black-trash women inject Fix-a-Flat in their buttocks to make them bigger! Such peppered anthropological tidbits kept me glued to the page.   But, in the long run, what is of most value in Hampton’s book is his overall systematic – if impressionistic – analysis.

In the new Culturism we learn that the cause for educational and economic disparities between black-trash and others comes from “rejecting America’s language (bad grammar), educational system (bad grades, high school dropouts), laws (drug, violence), and familial customs (out-of-wedlock children).” (88) The author lists causes, such as horrible role models, short-term thinking, and peer-pressure.  He then attacks excuses black-trash often given for poor behavior: Racism and slavery; unequal schooling; poverty; lack of job prospects, etc.  Finally, he lists solutions: Cessation of the blame game; extracting detrimental aspects of black culture, and more. Overall, Hamilton provides a tight problem / solution organization.

Hampton, however, fails to make some policy connections. He documents that approximately 75% of black households contained a wife and husband in the 1950s. (172) And, while he mentions government assistance five times (by my accounting; there is no index), he never blames the ‘Great Society’ subsidizing of single motherhood, via welfare, for undermining the black family.  He also fails to identify the antagonism between culturism and the values-undermining nature of its opposite, multiculturalism.  His focus on anecdotes keeps him from identifying the systematic forces supporting and justifying black pathology. 

There is a sense in which Hampton’s book should not be called ‘culturism.’ My book’s chapters discuss culturism in history, philosophy, natural sciences, psychology and anthropology, as well as a range of culturist policies.  After page 44, Hampton only uses the words ‘culturism,’ and ‘culturist,’ once (171).  But, rather than focusing on culturist theory, his book provides a concrete example of culturist analysis and solution.  In fact, in some ways, Mr. Hampton’s eschewing academic analysis in favor of real examples makes it a stronger book than mine.

Because he is black, Mr. Hampton’s criticism of black-trash culture might be better received by black people than my book. Furthermore, his book highlights the fact that culturism actually empowers minorities more than does blaming all their ills on whites’ racism.  Hopefully, Mr. Hampton’s work can inspire all of us to frankly discuss the wider cultural pathologies weakening America as a whole.  ‘Culturism: The Real Reasons People Dislike African-Americans - And Race Has Nothing to do With It,’ compliments, rather than detracts from, my work.  It is a welcome addition to the culturist literature.
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