The conservative version eliminates white supremacy as a factor and leaves the question of the culture's origin ominously unanswered....Coates associates the "conservative version" with Paul Ryan and the "liberal version" with Barack Obama. The conservative version isn't even serious, in Coates's view, but he's also critical of the liberal version because it "feebly urg[es] 'positive habits and behavior'":
The liberal version of the cultural argument points to "a tangle of pathologies" haunting black America born of oppression.
There is no evidence that black people are less responsible, less moral, or less upstanding in their dealings with America nor with themselves. But there is overwhelming evidence that America is irresponsible, immoral, and unconscionable in its dealings with black people and with itself. Urging African-Americans to become superhuman is great advice if you are concerned with creating extraordinary individuals. It is terrible advice if you are concerned with creating an equitable society.