Civitas just had NPR’s Juan Williams as a guest speaker. In his open forum discussion, he laid out a case against ghetto nihilism similar to this one made by Rod Dreher (whom I usually cannot stomach). Williams’ basic point is that the black community must say "enough" to the adoration of no-account rap stars, pull itself up by the bootstraps, and stop buying into the victimology propogated by people like Al Sharpton, (not to mention so-called "scholars" in our institutions of higher education).
When it comes to all the trouble in the inner cities (gang violence, poverty, etc.) the problem many conservatives like to point to is a bankrupt culture – or set of cultural icons, such as hiphop stars and badboy athletes. But we should ask: are these causes or symptoms?
There are two major factors that could lead to all this death and ghetto nihilism in the black community, of which music and culture are probably just symptoms (albeit reinforcing symptoms):
a) the welfare state, which incentivizes people to live at subsistence poverty and abnegate personal responsibility;
b) drug prohibition, which creates high-profit margins on a black market. Gang wars are the result of protecting those markets and associated turf. Simple economics;
c) guilty white folks in academe who perpetuate the notion of institutionalized racism and the contemporary peddlers of race-baiting who feed upon such narratives;
When one considers all of these factors, it’s a recipe for total failure in any urban community. But there is no political force in the world that will ever fully deny ghetto kids welfare checks. Nor is there a force strong enough to see decriminalization through. So these problems – particularly those in the urban black communities – are going to be with us for a long time to come. (One could say something similar about rural whites dependent on welfare and meth.) We can talk all day about Snoop Dog or lay blame at the feet of black athletes, but role models will never emerge from a community that the government has set up to fail.