WHAT'S HOLDING THEM BACK NOW? by Allan Callahan

February 1989

Some thirty or forty years ago negrophiles felt that the only thing which kept African blacks from showing astounding creativity was their "white oppressors," and, if they – the "white oppressors" – could be gotten rid off, no telling what the darkies might be capable of. Others, not quite so optimistic, felt that they could at least hold their own, and maintain all the things the White Man had given them.

Events have shown both camps to be wrong. Consider the Uhuru ("freedom") railroad, for instance. It was completed by China in 1975 and blacks were trained to run it, but it is a mess today. The Tazara line from Tanzania to Zambia is to be spruced up with a $46 million gift from Western nations. The original Chinese locomotives have gone to pot because the blacks won't keep them fixed up. They want to buy new diesels from America, even though the Chinese themselves use scads of these old-type locomotives all over their own nation. These engines are good work-horses and will run forever if reasonably cared for, but the Africans have been unwilling or unable to supply that care. A prediction: The new engines will suffer the same fate as the old.

Seventy percent of Africans are farmers, and it was once thought that, if the black man could be shown how to farm a lot more efficiently, he would produce a lot more food, but most of the time it doesn't work out that way. Instead, he simply spends less time working to produce the same amount of food as before, and goofs off the rest of the time. The hoped for "Green Revolution" in Africa has never come about.

Western bankers have been throwing money at Africa for years, and while exports have been increasing in some categories, blacks have the crazy notion that white nations ought to buy everything negroes want to sell, without limits, regardless whether whites need the stuff or not. And if blacks get behind on their loan payments, they resent suggestions of austerity measures to put their houses in order.

Zambia has some of the best farmland in the world, yet it has spent hundreds of millions of mostly borrowed dollars to import the staple food, maize, which has made Zambians one of the most debt-ridden people in the world. Some schools have no books, and the standard of living is below what it was 24 years ago when the country became independent. Some things are available only on the black market. Yet in spite of all the poverty, more than $2 million were spent to purchase 30 Mercedes limousines for top officials of the government. President Kaunda defended the action by saying that the people could not expect their leaders to settle for less.

In Tanzania, children often go naked, not because their parents have no money, but simply because there are no clothes for sale. And vehicles sit with empty gas tanks because there is no fuel. At one time the government thought farmers ought to raise coffee for free, so it was either smuggled out or left to rot. When Englishmen ran the country, there were many fine sisal estates; now they have been taken over by the jungle. At least former President Nyerere was candid when he said, before leaving office, "If I call back the British to look at their old plantations, they will laugh at us because we ruined them." The only thing that has prevented widespread starvation has been huge gifts of grain from America.

In the beginning, starry-eyed Western planners thought that all black Africa needed was power lines, dams, roads, factories, etc. These were provided, but the payoff never came. Next, they decided black Africa needed a "Green Revolution," but the agricultural advisors, tractors, seeds, fertilizer, and other related things didn't get the job done either. Finally, the white planners said that the problem must have been due to the wrong kind of economic policy on the part of the black-run governments. But whether the black countries were under Socialism or Capitalism, they never came up to expectations.

One explanation, however, that the white planners have never entertained is that of genetics; the fact that the black race is different, that it is incapable of maintaining a High Culture. No, this is something they will not consider. It is a frightening concept to them. And although inequality is an iron law of nature, they dare not face racial truths.