What's wrong with "mainstream" America is always wrong with black America by a factor of fifty.
I'm not surprised the white kids found resonance there. Life is tough all over. Economics have forced all manner of ugly breaks into American society that didn't used to exist. What difference does that make? the point is he wasn't talking about them. Muhammad's argument is facile and, while well worded, not much more than the normal emotional fluff presented by hucksters like Dyson.
Here are some actual facts.
1) Black America spends billions of dollars every year on various consumer products not limited to food and shelter. More than most nations.
2) Legally discrimination based upon skin color is over. yes, it still happens but, when it does, you can take a lot of people to the cleaners over the slightest hint of discrimination. We won that.
3) Colleges are open to those who qualify with particular emphasis on bringing in "diverse" students and providing grants and loans SPECIFICALLY for that purpose (much to the chagrin of many whites)
4) The black subculture used to be nearly distinct from and independent of the white over-culture in all the ways that actually matter. Yeah, it was because they didn't want us in the pool, but, even with that ugly imbalance, there used to be black institutions that mirrored and, in some cases surpassed, their white counterparts in every field from sports to medicine.
5) nobody ever gave "us" anything that we didn't fight for. never. not one time in this country has anyone ever done more than the MINIMUM to put things right in terms of race. not then and not now.
6) in SPITE of all that, we excel in EVERY FEILD in which we compete and ALWAYS HAVE. Those of us who do what's necessary to get into a given field tend to do fairly well within it.
What holds the rest of "us" back? Several factors. Generational poverty and social dysphoria based upon racial exclusion are factors, yes. Massive, ugly, not-our-fault factors.
But that doesn't mean there are not also OTHER factors holding us down that are entirely up to us to correct. You can have avian flu and AIDS at the same time.
People like to give me crap because, for the most part, I have not gotten anywhere in life by getting handouts and I say so. They like to think that most gains are due to somebody giving me something I haven't actually earned, like some kind of lottery win. Like it was Luck. No. It was work. Everything worth getting requires WORK.
My parents kicked my ass to keep my head in the game when all I could think about was sex and fun. When I needed money, I went and got a JOB. Not a fun job. Not a glamorous job. Not even a job that paid a hell of a whole lot. But it was MINE and the money i made from it was MINE too. And I didn't have to shoot anybody or sell drugs or anything. Amazing. Who would have thought it?
The cold had fact is, White America has done all it's going to do in terms of finding parity between us. They are, in many areas, working to undo what has already been achieved. So, who else are we going to look to to correct what ails but ourselves? Who? Who is supposed to care more about your future and your well being than YOU? Not me, brothers and sisters and certainly not them.
Nobody cares about that. And if you think they should, you're dreaming, kid. You are dreaming.
Money is power. We have LOTS of it between us. Hell we spend more than we generate (still not sure how that works). Every other ethnic group in this country uses its ethnicity as a point of cohesion. They shame their kids into perpetual uplift by pointing out the sacrifices of their parents and grand parents. They create banks and foundations and lobby groups and all manner of stuff designed exclusively to ensure they get their piece of the American pie.
What to we do? Argue about who's a "real" black person or whether ghetto fabulous is an oxymoron.
If people would stop woofing at Cosby for telling them to step the hell up, they might realize their power and actually DO IT.
But, no, it's much easier to whine and hold out a hand for scraps.
Sorry. I just wasn't built that way.
So Dr. Muhammad can stick it.
The world is bigger and better than his description and so are all of us.