The cult of victimhood

You cannot own your pipes if you are busy blaming external sources for your woes.

From John Ibbitson's America column in the 10/31/2007 issue of Toronto's The Globe and Mail:
Comedian Bill Cosby and Harvard psychiatry professor Alvin Poussaint have co-authored a most controversial new book. Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors argues that many aspects of black culture, from music to language to attitudes toward education, contribute to black poverty and crime.

The authors maintain that more black men and women -- but especially men -- have to start taking responsibility for their own lives.
In my mind, letting yourself fall prey to the cult of victimhood essentially turns over the ownership of you -- hands over the keys to your pipes -- to your supposed oppressor. And that prevents you from ever fully realizing your potential. I'm not saying that there aren't real forces that conspire to keep us down -- and by us, I mean all humans, not just blacks. My point is that letting this victimhood mentality take hold amplifies the already detrimental effects of whatever it is that's blocking our path to true success to begin with.

I'm reminded of a letter that I wrote to the Editor of Black Enterprise that was ultimately printed in their November 2006 issue:
One reader's letter to the editor regarding the tequila ad in the May 2006 issue troubled me. She wrote, "Your advertising department needs to take a better look at the statistics concerning how fast food and alcohol affect the black community." The writer's underlying assumption is that members of the black community are more likely than non-blacks to be helpless victims of an onslaught of predatory fast food and alcohol advertisements, as if they lack the agency and ability to determine for themselves the course of their own lives and the products they decide to consume.

Is the writer's opinion reflective of the majority of black Americans? White Americans? Americans who vote? If so, what, exactly, would be the corrective course of action? To only allow advertising to reach those who have checked the "Yes, mommy, I'm a grown up" box on a federal form?
I'd be interested to hear what other folks out there think on this issue.

And perhaps I should disclose that I am libertarian-ish and of mixed ethnic origin (non-black). Seems that these kinds of data points matter to some folks.

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