HIST 4061 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Tawana Brawley Rape Allegations, White Guilt, Chilling Effect

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13 Aug 2016
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Conti and Stetson reading (reserve book)
- Conti and Stetson examine the diversity of opinion present in the African-American community
- The New Black Vanguard focuses on their discussion of black progress, or the lack thereof
- Their common ground of agreement centers in “their valuation of personal responsibility and
self-help” (76)
- They are not a monolithic voice and their “spectrum of opinion includes elements of neo
conservatives, libertarian, populist, and liberal thought.” (21)
- There are coherent themes as follows:
-They reject the deterministic notion that race unavoidably conditions individual thinking;
oNew Black Vanguard argues against the denial that their dissent from civil rights
establishment constitutes a disservice to the black community
oThose who reject the dominant view that black advocacy is monolithic are not seen as
well-intentioned but rather as a threat to the family of race
Ex. The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax—black journalists reported facts
that questioned the authenticity of Brawley’s “nightmare” and were confronted
by angry supporters that called them traitors for not supporting a black woman
oThe black public dissents from its leadership—disagreeing with their own black leaders
on many issues
-They argue that a chilling silence has spread into a ghetto-specific culture by black advocates
who fear that discussions about it will play into the hands of enemies of the black community;
oStarted with Moynihan in 1965 and the rise of single-parent black families
This posed a threat to black progress and closed opportunities opened by the
civil rights victories
oIn 1986, a piece on Moynihan by Loury argues that these chilling effects had been felt in
social sciences for decades, dissuading against black family issues
oOthers argued that Moynihan was prophetic—by avoiding his subjects 20 years were
wasted without experimentation efforts
-They maintain that racism is not a sufficient cause for ghetto poverty and other social
problems experienced by the black poor, though the belief that it is, effectively demotivates
the poor;
oBlack leaders assert that racism is the primary cause of black poverty in America
oThere are disparities between blacks and whites in areas like income, education and
occupation
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