Compliments and thanks to R.T. Rybak and Peter Bell for their forthright observations (during a 2007 forum, reprinted recently in an Opinion Exchange article) as to the achievement gap within our African-American community. Predictably, there is liberal blowback — such as the Nov. 9 letter that opined: “How can the solution to closing the achievement gap be to mold the minority into the paradigm of the culturally incompetent majority that created the gap in the first place?”
One is reminded of the observations of Thomas Sowell (a biracial intellectual and prolific author) in his recent book “Intellectuals and Race.”
If heredity was the reigning orthodoxy of the Progressive era, environment became the reigning orthodoxy of the Liberal era. Moreover, “environment” usually meant the external contemporary environment — rather than including the internal cultural environment of minorities themselves.
Although economic and social inequalities among racial and ethnic groups have attracted much attention from intellectuals — seldom today has this attention been directed primarily toward how the less economically successful and less socially prestigious groups might improve themselves by availing themselves of the culture of others around them, so as to become more productive and compete more effectively with other groups in the economy.
GENE DELAUNE, New Brighton