Word Nerd Wednesday: Unequivocal

The past two weeks found me musing on the lives of people, recently departed, whose lives have affected mine. One of those people is a woman with a small but potent sphere of influence. Her effect on me was profound, but personal.

The other is a person of renown with a much larger sphere of influence, whose writing and commentary began to help shape my cultural and political philosophy when I was only beginning to form them.

In the case of both of these people, one word I would use to describe them is unequivocal. My kind of people. The kind of people with which there is little to no ambiguity. On issues that matter, they are clear about where they stand and leave no room for doubt about it.

Unequivocal: Not ambiguous; not of doubtful signification; not admitting different interpretations; as unequivocal words or expressions.

My friend was a woman who loved without partiality and judgment. With her there was no hypocrisy and no doubt.

The educator and commentator who helped me reconcile that the common sense values of my youth were incongruent with the political traditions I had embraced was unequivocal in his assertions. And he was right.

Because this is a site dedicated to learning, literacy, and the importance of education’s impact on culture, I want to focus on the unequivocal work and words of the recently departed Dr. Walter E. Williams. He was an economist, educator, and prolific author.

Dr. Williams, an economy professor at George Mason University, passed away on December 2, at the age of 84. You can read the Washington Post’s subpar obituary here, and Dr. Thomas Sowell’s tribute to him here.

I have never reviewed one of  Walter Williams’ books in this space. I have only read one, Race and Economics, and it was back before I began this blog. However, in honor of his legacy I intend to read it next month and review it here. I’ll end this post with an excerpt from one of Dr. Williams last columns, Blackshttp://walterewilliams.com/blacks-of-yesteryear-and-today/ of Yesteryear and Today:

At the time of my youth, today’s opportunities for socioeconomic advancement were nonexistent for black people. For all but a few, college attendance was out of the question because of finances and racial discrimination. If you were not admitted to the black colleges of Lincoln University or Cheyney State College, forget about college. I do not know of any student of my 1954 class at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School who attended college. Though the quality of education at Benjamin Franklin is a mere shadow of its past, today roughly 17% of its graduating class has been admitted to college. The true hope for a youngster graduating from high school during the 1950s was a well-paying and steady job. My first well-paying job was as a taxi driver for Yellow Cab Company.

Younger black people today have no idea of and have not experienced the poverty and discrimination of earlier generations. Also, the problems today’s black people face have little or nothing to do with poverty and discrimination. Political hustlers like to blame poverty and racism while ignoring the fact that poverty and racism were much greater yesteryear but there was not nearly the same amount of chaos.

The out-of-wedlock birth rate among blacks in 1940 was about 11%; today, it is 75%. Black female-headed households were just 18% of households in 1950, as opposed to about 68% today. In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black marriage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even during slavery, when marriage was forbidden, most black children lived in biological two-parent families. In New York City, in 1925, 85% of black households were two-parent households. A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia shows that three-quarters of black families were two-parent households.

There’s little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding black people must live. It is not uncommon for 50 black people to be shot over a weekend in Chicago — not by policemen but by other black people. About 7,300 black people are murdered each year, and not by white people or racist cops, but mostly by other black people. These numbers almost make our history of victimization by racist lynching look like child’s play.

The solutions to the many problems that black Americans face must come from within our black communities. They will not come from the political arena. Blacks hold high offices and dominate the politics in cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Yet, these are the very cities with the nation’s worst-performing schools, highest crime rates, high illegitimacy rates, weak family structure and other forms of social pathology.

I am not saying that blacks having political power is the cause of these problems. What I am saying is that the solution to most of the major problems that confront black people will not be found in the political arena or by electing more blacks to high office.

One important step is for black Americans to stop being “useful tools” for the leftist, hate-America agenda. Many black problems are exacerbated by guilt-ridden white people. Often, they accept behavior and standards from black people that they would not begin to accept from white people. In that sense, white liberal guilt is a form of disrespect in their relationships with black Americans. By the same token, black people should stop exploiting the guilt of whites. Let us all keep in mind that history is one of those immutable facts of life.


Rest in Peace, Dr. Williams.

5 thoughts on “Word Nerd Wednesday: Unequivocal

  1. Bike Bubba says:

    I can only imagine the plight of the poor professor who has to complete Dr. Williams’ courses and follow his unique abilities. George Mason has a bunch of good professors, including two Nobel (Sverige Riksbank) winners, but he’d be a hard guy to follow, especially for those like me who are grieving his loss. Williams had the amazing ability to make the “dismal science” hilarious as he walked through Bastiat’s commentaries in real life.

    One sad thing from the WashPo obituary; his daughter has a child, but retains her maiden name. So the maladies that plague the American family did not skip past the Williams door, apparently.

    My condolences to you on the loss of your less famous friend! May her influence be blessed for generations as well.


  2. Elspeth says:

    Actually no. Williams’ daughter is married to her son’s father. She just kept her maiden name for whatever reasons. Not ideal, but also not the worst case scenario.


  3. MK says:

    The past two weeks found me musing on the lives of people, recently departed

    You are in line with the liturgical season (Advent just ended our end-of-the-world-no-man’s-land) when we review our burial plans to start the new liturgical year. A cool book review on this topic: Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body. I plan to build my coffin and sleep on it upside-down, form follows function :-).

    white liberal guilt is a form of disrespect in their relationships with black Americans.

    I know nothing about blacks and always forget this blog has a race angle. But the white-liberal-guilt-thing would inflame me were I black. It’s even got half-blacks like Obama or Tiger trying to or even being politically forced to pass themselves off as fully “black” and leave their Asian or white behind, I guess for some sort of solidarity with white guilt.

    One thing I have noticed from the movies is how US audiences really like unequivocal blacks (The Matrix, Oblivion) and in real life too (Jordan). It works, being a virtue, but blacks seem to play this role very well, much like Asian play the humble role or whites play the conflicted role. Just rambling, I had just thought of this, could be wrong.


  4. Elspeth says:

    I know nothing about blacks and always forget this blog has a race angle.

    You say that as though black people are an alien species that need to be studied for some hidden knowledge rather than human beings made in the image of God and with all the hopes and dreams of other human beings, LOL.

    It’s really no my intention for this blog to have “a race angle” any more than it is my intention for it to have “a female angle” or even and explicitly “Christian angle”.

    I just happen to be a female, Christian, black person with no interest in obscuring those inherent characteristics from what I write and post.

    As a result, I read books and authors relevant to my background and beliefs, as well as Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, and Dostoevsky.

    As to the roles people play:

    One of my dearest friends is a Japanese woman who is a great Christian wife and mother, but the demure Asian flower? she is not.

    I do think being unequivocal is highly valued among black people in general (and the tendency to be straightforward is probably more inherent than a role we play), but it’s far from a universal trait.

    I think it’s one that has often been projected onto us than a role. But I could be wrong about that.

    I have had to learn over the years that sometimes, the scenic route is far more of a productive way to make a point than being the way my dad was. He was a man, he cold afford to cut to the chase. The feminine requires a little more finesse, LOL.

    So see? Right here is a black woman who knows that sometimes the unequivocal “role” does more harm than good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bike Bubba says:

    Thanks for letting me know I’m wrong about the daughter and grandchildren of Dr. Williams!

    The “angle” bit reminds me of the movie “White Christmas”, where Bing’s character nearly blows it with Rosemary Clooney’s character after the sister finagles an interview with Wallace & Davis based on their brother in Alaska. Seriously, I make my mistakes in cultural competence, and I’m grateful for gracious corrections when I get them. Ignorance can be cured, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

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