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mean that she is uncritically accepting of American blacks, either.
She is critical of people in terms of their accomplishments, their
achievements. Right now, I have to argue with my mother about her
understanding that crime and deliquency, which one finds disproportionately
among blacks, is not to be understood in the sinful terms
of individual deficiencies as such. I mean, she believes very strongly
that the individual is responsible for his behavior, personal behavior
and achievement and accomplishment. She will absolutely refuse to
accept any extenuating circumstances, including oppression. She thinks
that one of the consequences of oppression can be to fight even harder,
to block the negative reactions to oppression.
As a social scientist, I can't agree with that, you know.
As a social philosopher, I can't agree with her. As someone who has
watched this woman, though, I think it's right for her. And I just
can't get her to see that the set of circumstances which made it right
for her are not necessarily present or available for others. So, we
argue, and we laugh, and I kiss her --
Carrying this question of West Indians and native-born blacks --
how have you seen this, as you grew older? Did you question why it
should exist at all?
Sure. Of course. And there are cultural differences and
historical factors which I think converged to make for some differences.
I don't think that there's any question that, by and large, West Indian
blacks in America are more like Jews in America, in terms of their
motivations and, you know, their -- the kind of pressures that they
put upon their children -- as witness the fact that my mother
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