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Book Review: Untenable by Jack Cashill

Book Review: Untenable by Jack Cashill

The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities

Back in 2020, I had a chance to review an exceptional book, ‘Unmasking Obama’ by Jack Cashill. The work was a timely and engrossing review of the Obama era, when “a ‘right wing attack’ was an unwitting code for journalism.”

Cashill has written another excellent analysis that ties personal history into current events, “Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities.”

The book is a fascinating amalgam of biography and interviews that chronicles how Cashill, his family, and childhood friends were fully invested and working to hard to thrive in Newark, New Jersey communities, only to be driven out by crime and the rapid deterioration in quality of life.

I asked one lifelong friend, a loyal Democrat, why he and his widowed mother finally left our block in the early 1970s, twenty years after the first African American families moved in. He searched a minute for the right set of words and then simply said, “It became untenable.”

When I asked what “untenable” meant,” he answered, “When your mother gets mugged for the second time, that’s untenable. When your home gets broken into for the second time, that’s untenable.”

Consider this book a “victim impact statement” from the families who fled the cities for the suburbs beginning in the late 1950’s. While academia touts “experts” who promote the “white flight” narrative, Cashill notes these opinion-makers were quick to forget their roots as they enhanced their careers.

Cashill presents case after case of personal stories from people who were working hard and following the American Dream, many of them coming from extreme poverty and in families that were struggling with alcoholism and addiction. Absolutely no “white privilege” was evident in any of these case histories.

Perhaps one of the most poignant examples was among the last and focused on Cashill’s mother’s first cousin. The relative, Mick, had a troubled youth and was jailed as a teenager.

He turned his life around after getting married and starting a family.

To support Rose and his young son, Michael, Mick took whatever job he could get. He did not need a college degree to wield a sledge hammer and dismantle boilers.

This he did for as many hours as they let him. He saved his
money and, in time, bought his own truck, then a second truck, then his own scrap metal yard, then another truck, and so on and so on. And with Rose handling the paperwork, they bought a shore house, then a second, and so on and so on.

. . . . In speaking to Mick, I realized that all the explanations I had read for the fall of Newark—the fall of much of urban America—missed the mark. The family, it seemed clear, was the foundation of any community; the stronger the family, the stronger the community.

The most overlooked variable in assessing community strength was the percentage of families headed by a married father. By 1982, that percentage was approaching zero in many Newark neighborhoods.

The book concludes with a very touching homage to Cashill’s mother, which was truly heartwarming.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5. This is the perfect counter to all the “white flight”/”white privilege” rubbish offered by American media and academics.


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Morning Sunshine | July 16, 2023 at 4:38 pm

interesting. I will have to look at this.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 16, 2023 at 6:57 pm

    Same here.

    CellarDoor in reply to Morning Sunshine. | July 17, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Colin Flaherty’s books touch on this subject as well. Colin’s books on the color of crime were praised by a number of blacks, including Thomas Sowell and Allen West. Larry Elder interviewed him, most recently on March 15, 2021. The Huffington Post, of course, called his reporting “race-baiting,” He was a Catholic Democrat. won a California Regents’ Scholarship to UC San Diego. He worked in political consulting and business trouble-shooting, but was also a passionate investigative journalist, who loved tracking down facts and interviewing people. He won many journalism prizes and was best known for a 1992 article for the San Diego Reader that uncovered so many facts that it won the release of a black man, Kelvin Wiley, who had been unjustly imprisoned for beating his white ex-girlfriend.

    Later in the 2000s, Colin became interested in the very high levels of black crime, which he found were ignored and downplayed in the media. He was not robbed or assaulted, nor were his family or friends; his reporter’s instinct simply drew him to a story that was being smothered. It was at this point that the larger world began to hear of Colin Flaherty. His books were Amazon best-sellers — until Amazon pulled them. I recommend reading them. The facts don’t lie and he was an excellent investigative journalist

Perhaps the whites who fled the inner cities should be paid reparations for the destruction of their homes and neighborhoods?

I’ve just ordered a copy.

Subotai Bahadur | July 16, 2023 at 6:21 pm

The difference is not race, it is family. And it is duty up and down the family tree. On my father’s side, I am Chinese, and I so identify because; well, my birth mother’s side is English, Welsh, Cornish, German, and probably the rest of northern Europe. None of which have epicanthic folds on the eyes like I do.

I was fortunate enough that when my parents divorced in the very early 1950’s the racist judge gave custody of me to my father, as unheard of as that was then. Because the idea of a white woman raising a Chinese was heresy back then. I am eternally grateful.

Granting that we have a complex family history between the two countries [I’m writing a book for the family about it], but there was never any doubt at all that my father would do anything to help me in my future life. That included working multiple jobs, teaching me a work ethic and how to care for myself, and that I was where I was because of the sacrifices and work of those who came before me. And yes, even though I never met my Chinese grandparents or my aunts and uncles [all killed in the Japanese attack on China and during the Chinese revolution] it was through their work and efforts that my father was able to come here alone, at age 12, just before the Depression, and have a chance at a life better than a Chinese peasant. I’ve always realized what I owed them and my dad, and there was no way I was going to do anything to shame them, but rather I wanted to bring honor to them.

I tried to raise my children the way my dad raised me, and I seem to have succeeded. And I am watching them, and how they raise their children; and there seems to be a continuity there that is a great comfort as I approach the end of my life.

It is both the parent or parents having a sense of family and being willing to sacrifice for the children; and the children having a sense of obligation in return for those sacrifices, that create the community strength and society that is stable and “tenable” regardless of race, color, or national origin.

Subotai Bahadur

    Whitewall in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | July 16, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    A very fine comment!

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | July 17, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Thank you for your story. It is a privelege to e-know you.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | July 17, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    “…a sense of obligation in return for those sacrifices, that create the community strength and society that is stable and “tenable” regardless of race, color, or national origin.”

    Or perhaps a sense of self-respect, to make use of the life and world you’ve been given, with the immeasurable gift of the opportunity to co-create both your life and world, a little. What will you do, or not? What kind of self, life, and world will you work to co-create, as you can?

    Perhaps the “whys” ground out in the same thing, said either way.The target certainly does “…the community strength (individuals — ed), and society that is tenable, regardless of race, color, or national origin.

    As a society, I think I’d like to see the option of some decoupling of individuals to families, communities, or the mostly specious indicators of race, color, national origin (sexual identity, sexual preference, religion with some boundaries, and yes, even food preferences — it isn’t strictly relevant if someone’s a vegan, just if they’re a jerk about it.) I don’t know a precise form for these impulses. School vouchers, perhaps, breaking connection to failing communities, or bad choices by damaged families.

    Meanwhile, law and our legal system should support more of the better stuff; it’s not doing so well lately.

Having delivered babies and caring for families for over 30 years Subotai’s comments are spot on. It drove my liberal academia colleagues crazy when I quoted medical literature that the biggest determinants of outcome for a child was a father, a strong work ethic, and attention to education

The issues of the black “community”* are known, known, known = the absence of an involved dad.

When your “community’s” out-of-wedlock rate is at 70-80%, your “community” is in a tailspin. Point out this solution ’til you blue in the face and you’ll be called a racist for the rest of your days (in fact, the left will see to it that “racist” is etched into your tombstone).

Eric Holder, calling us a “nation of cowards,” never wanted to have that conversation about race because he and the left do not want this issue solved. It’s a plantation thing. Now that he lives up in the “big house” and possesses black privilege, he and his D ilk want to keep other blacks exploitable by Democrats. Why these other blacks don’t have 20/20 vision on this is simply inexplicable.

*While that word is deplorable to this deplorable commentator it’s used because we all know what it means

JackinSilverSpring | July 16, 2023 at 10:34 pm

And when people get chased out by crime and taxes, how do they when they get to their new place?

Has any American city ever become more prosperous, safer and ultimately more desirable once its black population increased? Asking for a friend.

Steven Brizel | July 17, 2023 at 9:05 am

During the summer of 2020 we spent many a Sunday c;leaning out an apartment of my dear aunt who passed away as a result of her ambulance being blocked during the riots from taking her to the hospital of choice-We saw moving vans on every Sunday moving young people out of the Upper West Side-because of the riots, crime and taxes

It’s the Impoverishment-Industrial Complex at work

The systematic destruction of segments of a society

Carried by the somehow-empowered Leaders

For the specific, premeditated, Machiavellian goal of forcing the people to need assistance from wealthy do-gooding donors/charities/etc.

See other examples — Lebanon, Yemen, every democrat-run city in America.

They create the poverty , (see, for example, BLM riots or 1960s “race riots”) ,then they demand $$ in order to fix the poverty and blight. But nothing gets fixed.



Essentially, they hold their “own people” hostage, and demand ransom payments from others.

And people fall for it over and over and over again.

So why would they stop the Game

E Howard Hunt | July 17, 2023 at 1:10 pm

In the new America if you’re not in the top 1 tenth of the 1 percent you are trash. That’s the bottom line. Patriotism, nation, heritage, religion, ancestors- it all counts as nothing. You may think you’ve got it made if you have a 3,200 sf house and three cars and a 401k, but to the elite you are as impressive as a Harlem junkie.

BierceAmbrose | July 17, 2023 at 9:47 pm

The Relentless Progs will be dusting off their Charles Murray playbook in 3 … 2 … 1 …