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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, October 16, 2017

More Reaction To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' 

Following up on my previous coverage of the op-ed by Amy Wax (Pennsylvania) and Larry Alexander (San Diego), Paying the Price for Breakdown of the Country's Bourgeois Culture:

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Black Americans Need Bourgeois Norms: Frederick Douglass Would Have Agreed With Amy Wax, by Robert L. Woodson:

This summer, law professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander caused a stir with an op-ed lamenting the decline of what they called “bourgeois norms.” “All cultures are not equal,” they rightly observed. Those that encourage self-restraint, delayed gratification, marriage and a strong work ethic tend to thrive. Those that tolerate or excuse substance abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and dropping out tend to break down.

Ms. Wax and Mr. Alexander were instantly accused of racism by the growing army of angry academics who police the prevailing narrative of black victimhood. According to this narrative, black progress is determined not by personal choices and individual behavior, but by white supremacy, America’s history of slavery and discrimination, and institutional racism. Touting “bourgeois values” is interpreted as an offense against authentic black culture. ...

A better life has always been available to those who reject undisciplined and irresponsible behavior, and embrace self-determination and personal responsibility. So-called bourgeois values have always empowered blacks to persevere and overcome bitter oppression. They provided the moral “glue” that held the black community together during the hardest of times.

The life-affirming values that enabled [Frederick] Douglass and others to survive retain their potency in the 21st century. ...

Above the Law:  Black People Do Have Bourgeois Values: That’s Why So Many White People Are Still Alive, by Elie Mystal:

We have spent a lot of time making fun of law professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander for suggesting that white culture is superior to all other cultures. Humor is, of course, a classic bourgeois way to handle some stupid ass scholarship.

But Wax and Alexander’s culturally imperialist argument received a more overtly racist surfacing by Robert L. Woodson in the Wall Street Journal. Woodson is black, and the premise of his article is that bourgeois slaves were doing things right and … other … slaves were doing the whole “slavery” thing all wrong. ...

How do you know a black guy like me has totally bought into bourgeois culture? Because I spend more time trying to make money than I do plotting how I’m going to kill you. I’m not going to lie, some days IT’S A CLOSE THING. Some days, I only spend 51 percent of my time trying to advance myself and my family economically and socially, while 49 percent of my time is dedicated to drinking in the dark and praying for God to grant me SUPERPOWERS so I can free my people by decimating white society. I was raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition, after all.

But at the end of the day, I’m a docile, weak, slavishly bourgeois domesticated Negro. I’m not going to do anything but make money and complain.

Y’all better HOPE I stay that way.

Heterodox Academy, Amy Wax on Dissent and Disagreement at Penn Law:

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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So, common sense observations of what works and what does not are "controversial." How did so many uneducated people become educators?

Posted by: Jack Lifton | Oct 16, 2017 7:54:49 AM

The white good will that allowed the Civil Rights movement to win its struggle in the 60s is wearing thin. They still don't understand that they are 12% of the population.

Posted by: Mike K | Oct 16, 2017 10:05:32 AM