How to turn a discussion of "Coming Apart" away from race.
I'm trying to discuss Charles Murray's "Coming Apart" on a largely left-dominated message board, but the leftists seem unable to get away from the subtitle: "The State of White America." They are, as usual, fixated on race. I would love some suggestions on how to turn the discussion away from the "white" part of the book into the more sociological aspects.
I would also like some advice on how present the notion that it's okay to talk about "white people" from a sociological standpoint without being racist. (i.e., it seems that you can talk about the sociological factors of any group at all -- except white people. Why is that?) The leftists seem horrified that the book is about "White America" as if talking about white people automatically makes the book racist. Or that Murray is racist because he's avoiding talking about other races.
Answer by Roberto
Now that is irony. Talk about your message board cohorts completely missing the point. Using "white America" for data was an attempt to sidestep the whole race issue with regards to his thesis:
Focusing on whites to avoid conflating race with class
Answer by DrewInWisconsin
As usual, the conversation has moved on, and I'm loathe to drag it back for the sake of correction. Now the whole How Thick Is Your Bubble quiz is being criticized for focusing too much on the rural American experience. But there's still a mindset of Charles Murray + Bell Curve = RACIST! And some just aren't going to get past that.
Answer by Tom Lindholtz
It is true, as Roberto notes, that Murray used white data only in order to avoid racial issues. But you can make a more important point than that. The general statistics show that Whites are generally better off by sociological measures than are Blacks. So if there is a concern, it ought to be greater for Blacks than for Whites.