Dear Rebecca Hooker: It’s amazing how you made this argument with almost no evidence or sourcing, nor addressing much of my main thesis. There are so many wrong assumptions about myself, Coleman Hughes and the case we were making overall, I don’t know where to begin.

First off: No, I don’t think people who received affirmative action are “dumb.” However, there’s no denying there’s a stigma that comes from it — just ask Glenn Loury, who’s struggled with the concept and wondered if he “belonged” at Harvard. Second: I barely even indulged the idea of reparations payments, but merely dived into a critique of what we’ve already spent as a nation since LBJ’s The Great Society was launched. I even argued — with charts and figures — what John McWhorter said about reparations already occurring in everything but name. I even dictated his words:

When people say there’s never been a serious addressing of racism, to tell you the truth: That’s a lie. That’s a common canard among the pundits and folks with PhDs, and it’s is a lie. America has acknowledged it in a great many ways, but in a semantic sense it wasn’t called reparations.

Then McWhorter laid them out: #1 — Affirmative Action; #2 — Welfare; and #3 — The Community Reinvestment Act 1977. At least it was an argument.

This is what academia has become with what you call your “fancy degrees”: A bullet-point list of explanations and excuses for behavior with no logical answers for the realities and paradoxes of today. To list two clear paradoxes I’m constantly drawn to:

  • How come when Jim Crow was at its height in the first half of the 20th century, 80% of black babies were born into “two parent” homes? Why are 70–75% black children for the last 25 years — two decades after the expansion of welfare —now born into “single parent” homes? (Source: Data is from the National Vital Statistics SystemReports published by the CDC National Center for Health Statistics.) How can this not be a byproduct of the welfare state that penalizes families for having additional incomes?
  • How come when racism permeated the South and the North in the late 1940s and post-WW2, unemployment gaps between black teens and white teens were non-existent? And how come income gaps overall between blacks and whites have persisted for a half-century, according to The Economist, despite trillions spent on welfare and government programs that disproportionately went towards black Americans? Is the argument that the U.S. didn’t spend enough? (This is a position I used to hold, but it’s waning significantly.)

These aren’t “stereotypes,” as you call them Rebecca Hooker but realities that continue decade after decade.

This is relevant as almost every study or analysis that lack of a father in the home, or the very least two loving parents, can be very damaging to a child’s future socio-economic outcomes. And it’s not like fathers are all placed in jail in the 9 months between conception and birth. Is racism causing this?

Scroll to the charts at the bottom, and see if they make sense alongside the hegemonic view in media and the academy that “racism” and “income inequality” are what’s leading to massively disparate outcomes. Because it doesn’t explain the massive differences between Hispanics and blacks when it comes to two categories: Violent crime and abortion. The only explanation that makes any sense is a cultural one.

Let me be clear: These ideas are the middle ground between traditional conservative “culture of poverty” arguments and liberal “systemic” arguments.

Here’s where I AGREE with you: Let’s make any policies class-based AND evidence-based. Meaning if an idea that the government can implement is proven to lift people out of poverty, then let’s continue it. I’m sure in your list of solutions, there’s some legitimate policy that could come out of it (though, I’m increasingly skeptical that it will change much on the ground; especially as our economy is changing so quickly):

More people will want to work with the meaningful, short-term solutions that will help all of our poor people get out of their situations. What do I mean? Child care, cell phones, transportation, reliable health care, tuition aid for college/trade school/workplace training, and other things of this sort. If people have reliable help like this, then they can find jobs that allow them to earn more money.

Alas, we’ve had so many opportunities from Pell grants to scholarships in the past few decades without much improvement. Hughes, McWhorter, Loury nor myself deny that slavery and Jim Crow have long-lasting effects. We just question that “redlining” and GI Bill explanations from 50–70 years are largely driving inequalities today. Something else — often unsaid — is at play.

Also, I’d argue that few were talking about “redlining” 15 years ago as much as the past few years. It’s almost like a new “magic potion” to come up with a NEW reason as to why inequality persists. This is despite the fact that in the 1970s academics and writers certainly knew about “redlining” as it was fresh in everyone’s minds. As stated before, government even developed the Community Reinvestment Act 1977 to deal with it.

And looking at the data right now, I’m not paranoid about “redlining” being the new trendy sage that everyone’s burning to ward off evil spirits:

The solution isn’t pointing fingers to the past. We must figure out what we need to fix today. And much of that has to do with culture and the policies we know haven’t worked in bridging disparities in the past. Yes, I’m very wary of traditional welfare state solutions, but I’m not against government or private-public solutions.

People come to this country with nothing and are able to build equity — that’s just a fact. Additionally, other groups of people have been stripped of all their property and surpassed the non-Hispanic white population outcomes.

I leave it to Coleman Hughes to say it better as to how a group of people can have everything taken away from them and still flourish: Japanese Americans.

But history tells a different story. Starting with the California Alien Land Law of 1913, fourteen states passed laws preventing Japanese-American peasant farmers from owning land and property. These laws existed until 1952, when the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional. Add to this the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II, and it’s fair to say that the Japanese were given no bootstraps in America. Nevertheless, by 1970 census data showed Japanese-Americans out-earning Anglo-Americans, Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, and Polish-Americans. For Asian-Americans on the whole, an analysis of wealth data from 1989 to 2013 predicted that their “median wealth soon will surpass the white median level.” If wealth differences were largely explained by America’s history of favoring certain groups over others, then it would be hard to explain why Asian-Americans, who were never favored, are on track to become wealthier than whites.

People converted by this blind faith that it’s only racism causing disparities (much like the anti-racism “religious” followers McWhorter writes about) won’t be won over. “Theories” like critical race theory have a way of explaining everything by just painting a picture about how awful and racist the U.S. was (or is) while attacking middle class values. It’s easy to draw the lines, and color them in going backwards in time — like a picture. It’s creative, but it’s not hard science. Few deny the U.S. was wretched in its racism. But without addressing culture that persists today in the black community, that may very well be a hangover from slavery and Jim Crow, we won’t get to the heart of our ongoing problems.

This question is at the heart of my piece: If it’s all about “income” and poverty driving disparities, how come Hispanic income is closer to black income but Hispanic levels of committing violence — in both NCVS (survey data from victims) and FBI data (police data) — are closer to non-Hispanic whites?

That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?

FBI data that has nothing to do with “The War on Drugs” or police racism shows vast disparities between black Americans and other groups. Until we honestly address the root causes if these disparities, communities of color will continue to remain less safe — which I argue IS the untalked about Civil Rights issue of today. SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/topic-pages/tables/table-21

Additionally, I wonder how “racism” has much to do with vast disparities on abortion rates and birth rates? Poverty certainly is part of it, but not all of it. As Coleman Hughes points out often, there are choices that some cultures are doing differently than others.

SOURCE: https://www.guttmacher.org/infographic/2017/abortion-rates-race-and-ethnicity

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes. Also searching for relevant facts and logical arguments above expedient or politial narratives.

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes. Also searching for relevant facts and logical arguments above expedient or politial narratives.