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The Underclass

• http://econfaculty.gmu, BY WALTER E. WILLIAMS
  In one essay, “We Don’t Want No Education,” reprinted by City Journal (, Dalrymple says that he cannot recall meeting a 16-year-old from the public housing project near his hospital who could perform simple multiplication operations, such as nine times seven. One 17-year-old told him, "We didn't get that far." This was after 12 years of attending school. One of Dalrymple’s patients took a drug overdose because of constant bullying from classmates. “She was stupid because she was clever.” What her peers meant by that was anyone who worked hard and performed well at school was wasting his time when truancy and wandering downtown were deemed preferable. The underlying threat was: If you don't mend your ways and join us, we'll beat you up.

These weren’t simply idle threats. Dalrymple says he’s often met people in their 20s or 30s in his practice who gave up at school under such duress. Those who attend a school that has very high academic standards risk a beating if they venture into neighborhoods where the underclass live. He recalls treating two boys in the emergency room after they’d been beaten and two others who had taken overdoses for fear of being beaten at the hands of their neighbors.

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