In preparation and research for my upcoming book "The Black Man's Guide Out of Poverty" I knew full well that even though I knew enough about economics, poverty, finance, and investing, I did not have the sociological, psychological, political or philosophical experiences of your average black man. To that end I enlisted the help various Black Agents in the Field of the Capposphere, but also purchased a book that was recommended by an individual I can't remember, "The Uncivil War" written by Taleeb Starkes.
I was looking forward to reading it because it had what seemed to be the combination of what I need. A black author, who grew up in the ghetto, who saw the light, and could convey to me not just the black male perspective, but the path of his thinking that led him out of poverty. This would then allow me to write some of the "transitional chapters" of my book from an educated standpoint, making a compelling argument that was relateable to my intended audience.
There was just one minor problem - it is the harshest thing I've ever read, making it overly harsh even for my extreme tastes.
The author makes no bones about it and purposely wrote it as such. "Nigger" (and nearly a score of permutations of the word) is by FAR the most common word in the book (and even in the subtitle). He mocks, berates, yells at, ridicules, and antagonize the segment of the black population he considers not blacks, but "niggers," and continues on for another 240 screeding and screaming pages. There were certainly segments and sections that were helpful for my purposes, but it quickly became obvious he doesn't care to solve the problems through an olive branch, but by identifying, villainizing and shaming the "nigger" subsegment of the black community out of existence. In other words, it is a damning testament and outright attack against ghetto or thug culture, indifferent if they actually listen, turn themselves around, or improve (he even has a letter at the end of the book dedicated as a "Memorandum to Niggers" where he explicitly says so).
While this may not have terribly helped in my research, it did provide some interesting ancillary benefits. One, you really do realize just what a show or a farce the ghetto/thug culture is. From believing your "independent" while collecting government checks, to buying designer clothes with money you don't have, to spending a prerequisite time in jail to earn "street cred" and "keep it real," it isn't anything to be glorified or envied. It's just a parasitic culture living off of the rest of the community. And the great lengths these delusional people go to convince themselves would be funny, if it were not so pathetic. Two, you realize the helplessness of it all. People are consciously choosing this life and not only choosing it, but protecting it even if it hurts them. Mr. Starkes cites multiple news articles in his book where a shooting, a beating, or some other such crime SPECIFICALLY WITHIN AND AGAINST the black community occurs, but "magically" there are no witnesses. Alas just as there are no "public witnesses" that corroborated the officer's account of the Marcus Brown killing, and thus many good people get to fear lawlessness living in the likes of Ferguson. But, three, even though many aspects of the book were depressing, hearteningly, there were some optimistic insights into the book. For example there IS definitely a group of people (simply referred to as "blacks" by Mr. Starkes) who are law abiding citizens. They want a better life, they do not hate whites or males, they are willing to work, and they LOATHE the costs they pay in terms of "black on black crime" or the "The Black Tax." Another example is how despite all their bravado and puffing of chests, thugs are indeed afraid of well armed, law abiding citizens in safe neighborhoods simply because such citizens WILL call the cops and WILL defend their territory. And yet another example was how thug culture is not "misunderstood" or "disadvantaged", but is indeed evil, deserving of hate, giving rise to the hope the rest of society might shame it like we do cancer or any other scourge of society. It was insights like these that made the book worth reading.
Still, these observations and insights aside, the book falls short if there was any underlying attempt to win over blacks who are sitting on the fence, and will certainly win no converts from Starkes' "nigger" category. It will simply enrage them. But, again, Starkes writing indicates he'd rather exterminate the thug culture than convert it and that's where his and my aims differ. Perhaps "The Black Man's Guide Out of Poverty" may win a few more converts than his book...perhaps even some converts that are merely younger versions of him. For Mr. Starkes admits that he too was once part of that ghetto culture.
You can find his book here at Amazon.