The Sowell Digest

Sowell Warned Tucker Carlson About This Problem: 10 Years Later, Biden Made It Even Worse


Few figures in conservativism are more revered than Thomas Sowell. A free-market economist, social theorist and philosopher, Sowell’s work has spanned decades and influenced generations.

Sowell wrote a nationally syndicated column, authored dozens of books and dazzled television audiences time and time again with his common sense, anti-intellectual approach to political and cultural issues.

The following story is part of The Western Journal’s exclusive series “The Sowell Digest.” Each issue will break down and summarize one of Sowell’s many influential works.

Ten years ago, things were a lot different a Fox News. Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelley were still major stars on the network. The Roger Ailes scandal had yet to come to light. Tucker Carlson was still with the outlet; little did he know, a decade later he would be ousted after becoming far and away the biggest cable news host in history.

It was during that time, in 2013 when Carlson had the privilege to interview the great Thomas Sowell. Filling in for Sean Hannity on the latter’s show, Carlson spoke to Sowell about the dangers of multiculturalism.

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Sowell proceeded to explain exactly how multiculturalism is destroying American culture and education. Looking back years later, Sowell’s words are perhaps even more relevant today given how multiculturalism — under the guise of “diversity, equity and inclusion” — is wreaking more havoc today than ever before thanks to the Biden administration.

“[Multiculturalism] starts from a false premise… that all cultures are equal in some undefinable sense which has never been the case,” Sowell said.

“Some cultures are better at some things, worse at other things… but what you never see is what they see as a norm, namely all groups performing pretty much the same in all kinds of fields across the world.”

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“You can go through centuries of history without finding a single example of that.”

What this sort of misguided premise leads to, per Sowell, essentially operates as a caste system, holding certain communities back by refusing to hold all groups to a universal, high standard. Instead, each person is held to a different standard based merely on the color of their skin.

In practice, though, what does this look like? For one, liberal teachers who prioritize “multiculturalism” don’t expect black students to learn proper English (if you want to learn more about how liberal’s low expectations have hindered black students’ success, check out Sowell’s thoughts in parts one and two of “The Sowell Digest”).

“When the multiculturalists say, for example, that the school should not try to make black students speak standard English, the difference between speaking standard English and not speaking standard English can be huge in terms of your job, your careers and all sorts of other things,” Sowell said.

Throughout the interview, Carlson and Sowell both seemed well aware that this nonsense was happening in schools across the country.

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What they were both likely unaware of, however, was the fact that things would continue to get much worse over the next 10 years, to the point that the president of the United States would fully endorse and encourage such counterproductive attitudes towards students.

After all, the Biden administration promotes “equitable education,” or, in other words, the idea that equality can only be achieved if different groups are held to different standards. The Biden administration fully explained how this “equitable” approach to education would help America bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic in a 2021 press release.

“Consistent with the President’s Executive Order, the Administration is committed to advancing educational equity for every child — so that schools and students not only recover from the pandemic, but Build Back Better,” the press release read.

The rest of the press release discusses how black and brown communities were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and, in order to fix that problem, how the American people must spend more tax dollars creating unique programs and educational opportunities for those groups.

“Schools play vital roles in bringing communities together. But, too many of the nation’s schools are still largely segregated by race and class, mirroring their communities. The discretionary request includes $100 million for a new voluntary grant program to help communities develop and implement strategies to build more diverse student bodies,” the release read.

“Applicants would have flexibility to develop and implement school diversity plans that reflect their individual needs and circumstances, and improve educational opportunities and outcomes for students.”

In essence, the Biden administration has been pushing the idea that catering to each of these cultures rather than holding them to the same standards is the way to go.

But, no amount of money is going to fix the problem.

This is because, as Sowell explained to Carlson all those years ago, the problem is not that these cultures aren’t catered to, but rather that they aren’t being held to the same standard.

What makes this notion — that blacks and other minorities need to be catered to in order to succeed — particularly odd is the fact that, in Sowell’s day, blacks from the same area of Harlem he grew up in succeeded precisely because they were held to the same standards as whites.

“Tell me how [education] has changed,” Carlson asked Sowell. “You’ve had a remarkable academic career, you’ve written 35 books, and you’ve taught at the most prestigious universities in the world. I don’t think you grew up in a family where that was expected… how was your education different than the education kids are receiving now.”

Sowell’s response was short yet poignant.

“It was better,” Sowell responded before elaborating further.

“I went to school in Harlem, but even if you went to school in Harlem in the 1940s and you were in one of the better classes… you got a very good education that would enable you to go anywhere,” Sowell said.

Sowell graduated and went on to reach incredible success thanks to his education, but, as he notes, that was not unusual in his neighborhood. Sowell was by no means a lone success. According to Sowell, in one tenement of Harlem, there was a college professor, priest, doctor and lawyer.

“Now, those avenues upward are simply not there,” Sowell said.”They taught us the English language, they taught us the standard academic subjects.”

“They were not teaching us tree-hugging, they were not teaching us how to use condoms, they were not teaching us to be victims and they held us to the same standards they held other kids to.”

“Now, those of us that came from homes where there were no truly educated people, it was a little harder on us. But that’s nothing compared to how hard it was going to be if they had made allowances that lowered the standards for us.”

And yet, in today’s America, that is exactly what Joe Biden is encouraging and incentivizing our schools to do: lower the standards for lower-performing students based purely on skin color.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics, Education, Entertainment