He's talking about black people in this Wall Street Journal interview, linked below. But the same principle applies to any one of the identified ethnic groups. What holds them back is their leaders telling them that it's other people holding them back and that they need to stand up and resist their culture.
Here's the relevant part:
Has there been any change for the better? “Oh, yes, yes, yes,” he says. “In fact, for blacks who have education and who have not succumbed to a new lifestyle—the grievances, and the coarseness represented by rap music—it’s gotten tremendously better. What’s disheartening, though, is that when you study ethnic groups around the world, the ones that are lagging behind are those where their leaders always tell the same story: that it’s other people holding you back, and that therefore you need to stand against those other people and resist their culture. But that culture may be the key to success.”
Here Mr. Sowell pivots to 18th-century Scotland and the philosopher David Hume: “Hume urged Scots to learn the English language,” he says. “He didn’t do that because his job was that of an ethnic leader. He did it because he was an intellectual.” Yet it helped bring progress to his homeland. “One of the most miraculous advances of a people occurred in Scotland from the 18th century into the 19th,” Mr. Sowell says. “A wholly disproportionate share of the leading British thinkers was Scottish. I mean Adam Smith in economics, Hume in philosophy, Sir Walter Scott in literature, James Watt in engineering. You can run through the whole list. A people who were really far behind in one century had suddenly come out of nowhere and were on the forefront of human progress.”
Could black Americans one day be like the Scots? “They can be,” says Mr. Sowell, “and for those who haven’t gotten into this corrosive new culture, they’re already doing that. But it’s going to be very hard. Both the media and academia promote the idea that people fall behind because others are holding them back.”
3:22 PM 4/25/2017