Thomas Sowell Talks Race in Townhall Magazine's June Issue

Posted: May 15, 2013 8:00 AM

Hot questions, timely topics, timeless principles. Welcome to Townhall Magazine’s June 2013 issue! Check out an exclusive sneak peek of a few stories that made our pages, including part of our conversation with Thomas Sowell.

Order Townhall Magazine today for these can't-miss articles:

--*Cover Story*: In an exclusive interview with Townhall Assistant Editor Kate Hicks, Dr. Thomas Sowell breaks down one of the nation's most sensitive topics--race--and his latest new on the issue, titled "Intellectuals and Race." *Scroll down for an exclusive excerpt of the article!*

--“Does Concealed Carry Belong in Churches and Schools?”: A trainer, a schoolteacher and security experts help break down the issue. 

--"Watch Out for the Green Team": Obama seems poised to make his green agenda a top priority in this term. How far will his likely Cabinet go to make that happen?

--"Who's Afraid of Adoption?": Why hasn't adoption been elevated in the national pro-life vs. pro-abortion discussion?Townhall investigates the challenges of talking about adoption to women in crisis pregnancies—and how the pro-life community should be handling it.

--"Have You Met ... ”: Meet a representative who traded in a military uniform and FBI undercover work on Wall Street to serve in Congress.

Remember, our print features are generally 100 percent exclusive ... most won't run in full online!


Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's June cover story, "A Mind for All Seasons," by Kate Hicks:

In "Intellectuals and Race," Sowell defines “intellectuals” as “people whose work begins and ends with ideas.”

Yet he’s quick to point out that this is not a compliment: “[Intellectual] is an occupational designation, rather than an honorific title, and it implies nothing about the mental level of those in the occupation.” Indeed, the intellectuals in question throughout the book have propagated harebrained “theories” about race, ranging from eugenics in the 1930s to today’s affirmative action proponents.

“Intellectuals and Race” traces the history of those ideas, revealing the intelligentsia’s sordid affairs with entirely unscientific—yet eminently racist—concepts. Using actual data, Sowell then refutes the claims these intellectuals have made to justify their repugnant worldviews.

Despite the fact that Sowell’s personal experiences were not the driving force behind his exploration of how intellectuals have engaged race, his own story provides some anecdotal evidence to support his argument that multiculturalism has done more harm than good. Indeed, he is a veritable case study of the phenomena he discusses.

On its face, the world-renowned economist and author’s early life belies the incredible difference in circumstances he faced compared to today’s black youth. Born in North Carolina and raised in Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s, he tells Townhall the Harlem where he grew up looks very little like the Harlem of today.

“At one time years ago, people said that I was urging other blacks to follow in my footsteps, which was utter nonsense, because the things that were available to me are not available to them. In fact, that’s one of the problems,” he says. “I doubt very seriously whether a kid growing up in Harlem in the same place where I grew up will have half the opportunities to get ahead that I had. Just the pure deterioration of the public school system deprives him of that.”

It is partly due to the education system in place in his time that Sowell was able to succeed in ways unimaginable today, despite the fact that he dropped out of high school at 17. As he chronicles in his autobiography, “A Personal Odyssey,” he joined the Marine Corps, serving as a photographer in the Korean War, and eventually made his way to the hallowed Ivy League, graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1958. Master’s and doctorate degrees in economics from Columbia University and University of Chicago, respectively, followed.

Yet while Sowell pursued higher degrees and launched his storied career, multiculturalism was taking hold in his old neighborhood and black neighborhoods nationwide. Sowell points out that the trend did away with ability groupings in school and did more to foster a sense of anger toward any disadvantages kids may have, rather than cultivate the desire to overcome them. As Sowell himself studied for his doctorate, race riots were erupting in the streets. Sowell recounted to Townhall how his brother was present for an episode in Detroit.

“My older brother happened to be out there in those riots in, I think it was, 1968, … I heard he was out there asking the rioters, ‘Where are you going to shop after you burn down this man’s store?’ There’s no sense of what is politick in our family. It must be genetic,” he says.


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