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Black Rednecks and White Liberals

Black Rednecks and White Liberals is a collection of six essays by Thomas Sowell. The collection, published in 2005, explores various aspects of race and culture, both in the United States and abroad. The first essay, the book's namesake, traces the origins of the "Ghetto" African American culture to the culture of Scotch-Irish Americans in the Antebellum South. The second essay, "Are Jews Generic?", discusses middleman minorities; while "The Real History of Slavery" discusses the timeline of abolition of slavery and serfdom. The last three essays discuss the history of Germany, African-American education, and criticism of multiculturalism.

Black Rednecks and White Liberals
Black rednecks and white liberals bookcover.jpg
Hardcover edition
Author Thomas Sowell
Subjects African American culture, Multiculturalism
Publisher Encounter Books
Publication date
June 25, 2005
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 360 pp.
ISBN 978-1-59403-086-4
OCLC 57579375



Black Rednecks and White LiberalsEdit

The title essay is based on Sowell's thesis about the origins of the "black ghetto" culture.

Sowell argues that the black ghetto culture, which is claimed to be "authentic black culture", is actually a highly dysfunctional white southern redneck culture which existed during the antebellum South. This culture came, in turn, from the "Cracker culture" of the North Britons and Scots-Irish who migrated from the generally lawless border regions of Britain.

Sowell gives a number of examples that he regards as supporting the lineage, e.g.,

… and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery.[1]

Are Jews Generic?Edit

In the collection's second essay, Sowell explores the origins of antisemitism among those harboring jealousy toward Jews for their financial and entrepreneurial successes.

Among other historically persecuted "middlemen minorities" were Lebanese and Chinese immigrant merchants. The resentment is due to a perceived "lack of added value" that these middlemen provide, as it is not easily observable.

The Real History of SlaveryEdit

In the collection's third essay, Sowell discusses slavery. Contrary to popular discussion, which focuses on Western society and whites as the main culprits behind slavery, Sowell argues that slavery was a nearly universal institution accepted and embraced by all races. According to Sowell, the greatest peculiarity of Western Europeans as to slavery is having initiated and empowered slavery's global abolition, rather.

Germans and HistoryEdit

The fourth essay features Sowell's argument that Germany should not be defined solely by the 12-year period of Adolf Hitler's régime from 1933–45. Sowell further argues that Hitler was highly inconsistent in his views toward a unified Germany – while he strenuously argued for annexation of the German-dominated Sudetenland, German-dominated portions of Italy such as Tyrol were ignored as Hitler preferred his alliance with Benito Mussolini.

Black Education: Achievements, Myths, and TragediesEdit

The fifth essay features Sowell's discussion of the early days of Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and its eventual deterioration from its place of prominence in early Black education, which Sowell argues was a direct consequence of the famed Brown v. Board of Education United States Supreme Court decision.

Additionally Sowell argues that, though W. E. B. Du Bois was more activist in his attempts to end Jim Crow laws and other forms of legal discrimination while Booker T. Washington held a more accommodating position, Washington did at times secretly fund and support efforts to end Jim Crow laws.

History Versus VisionsEdit

The final essay features Sowell's criticism of the advantages that multiculturalism is supposed to confer to the society in which it is present.


  1. ^ Sowell, Thomas (July 9, 2005). "Black Rednecks and White Liberals: Who's a Redneck?". Capitalism Magazine. Retrieved 2011-02-18.

External linksEdit