Thoughts On Racism. (For White People Only). Part 2

Serving up racist stereotypes

Why for white people only? Because we’re told it’s time for white people to listen to black voices.

Plus I don’t want to be guilty of “white-splaining,” or “man-splaining,” or worst of all, “white-man-splaining.”

So maybe if I talk to white people, I’m not splaining. I’m just sharing my thoughts and concerns about things that matter to me. Racial justice and reconciliation happen to matter to me very much.

In my opinion, in the torrent of words on the topic of racism since George Floyd’s death, a lot of ideas are being wrongly strung together on the same string.

Let’s see if we can get some clarity on the issue in one brief blog post. Once again I assert that liberals and conservatives have legitimate points and concerns. Again, I challenge you to see if you can agree with both sides as I present them below. If you can’t agree, I’d love to hear why in the combox.

What Is Racism?
As a white person, you may be questioning your own standing as a non-racist or anti-racist. You’ve been told you may not be able to see your own racist attitudes. I have white friends who are now calling themselves racists because they have uncovered “racist” attitudes within themselves. Could you be unconsciously participating in, and even benefiting from, white supremacy?

In processing the allegedly mysterious issue of racism, I think a look at the dictionary definition of racism is as helpful as anything I’ve heard. Imagine that. Take a look and see if you can agree:


RACISM: 1) a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others. (Dictionary. com)

Think about that definition. Notice it has 3 components. It’s pretty specific, and ultimately has to do with a belief in racial superiority.

Take My Racism Test. It’s 2 Questions Long:

TEST QUESTION 1: Do you believe that your race is inherently superior to other races? Yes  –  No

If you answered “yes,” then you are a racist. If you answered “yes” and you’re white, you’re a white supremacist, because that’s what white supremacists believe. Holding a positive belief about racial superiority is a conscious decision. If you think one can unconsciously believe that whites are inherently superior to blacks, I would be interested in hearing your explanation as to how that is possible.

But wait…if you answered “no,” you’re not off the hook. There are two more dictionary definitions for racism:

RACISM: 3) hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

It’s possible to hate “people of color” (POC) without holding to a belief in racial superiority. Maybe you hate black people for some other reason. So…

TEST QUESTION 2: Do you hate black people, or others of differing races?” Yes  –  No

If you answered “yes”,  then you are a racist.

To summarize these two definitions: White supremacy is a belief. Racial hatred is an attitude.

To clarify, if you don’t hold a positive belief in white superiority, or harbor racially hateful attitudes, then, strictly speaking, you are not a racist. It doesn’t help POC to call yourself one.

To clarify further: Can one commit acts of racial bias, prejudice, “microaggression”, or even hold beliefs harmful to other races and not be a racist? Yes, it’s possible (but not ideal, of course). You could be insensitive. You could be ignorant. You could be apathetic. You could be a generally reckless, uncaring asshole. You could be well meaning but mistaken. You could be misunderstood. These things should not be strung on the same string as racism, as defined above.

How is this helpful? Am I simply trying to help white people feel better about themselves?
Not exclusively. I’m trying to help people of all skin tones see their way out of a false narrative. I would hope it would be encouraging, for black people especially, to know that the vast majority of whites are not white supremacists after all. My lifelong experience as a white guy has been that most white people want to see black people succeed. Even if they don’t personally know any black people, I think most whites at least like the idea of liking black people.

The notion that white America somehow wants and needs a black underclass in order to advance is a Marxist idea. It’s not true. White people do not benefit from “keeping black people down.” If you disagree, then please explain how a black underclass benefits whites in today’s supposedly white supremacist economy. It’s obvious how white supremacist slaveholders benefited from a black underclass 170 years ago. But I need someone to explain how this is true today.

But…Systemic Racism
Okay, so if overt racism isn’t nearly as common as liberals want us to believe, then why do such huge racial disparities still exist today?

I believe the answer is frustratingly complex. For starters, there is yet a third dictionary definition of racism; that of systemic, or structural, racism. It has to do with neither beliefs nor attitudes, but with entrenched practices, and participation can indeed be unconscious. Systemic racism does belong on the racist string:

RACISM: 2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine [referring the first definition of racism above]; discrimination.

Despite what I hear many conservative commentators saying, I don’t think there is any denying the reality of systemic racism. I don’t think there’s any denying that it stems (or stemmed) from white supremacy in America in that systemic racist practices were originally established with the specific aim of disadvantaging black people.

It’s true that most, if not all, systemic racism has been corrected on paper, and I believe that is the point that conservatives are making. The US has enacted many legal policy changes to correct systemic racism, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act (1968), and the Equal Opportunity Act (1972). Yet huge racial disparities continue to exist, and that is what the current upheaval is about.

I’m contending here that the troubling disparities we see today are the result of past systemic policies and practices, more so than current racial hatred. Institutional racism has done its nasty work, and despite policy corrections having been made at the governmental level, America is living with the aftermath.

It is worth watching this brief summary by Phil Vischer, creator of Veggie Tales. Among other points, he argues that home ownership is a critical measurement of individual wealth where an enormous racial disparity remains.

So-called “systemic racism” is a tangled hairball. Establishing racial parity and justice cannot be a simple matter of passing laws. Because no matter how good the system, we will continue to contend with fallen human nature.

Let us consider 3 significant examples that illustrate what we’re up against.

Example #1 – Paved with Good Intentions
Since the civil rights era, in many cases, policies were established with the intent of helping the black community, and these policies ended up hurting the black community. The now infamous Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 is one such example. For sentencing purposes this law made 1 gram of crack cocaine equivalent to100 grams of powder cocaine, which ended up disproportionately punishing blacks. At the time of its passage, black leaders and most of the Congressional Black Caucus supported the act, as a crack epidemic was ravaging black America.

Were these black leaders white supremacists? Of course not. But unfortunately this policy contributed to a dramatic increase in the US incarceration rate, from 319,598 in 1980 to 1,505,400 in 2016. The “tough on crime” United States now has the largest incarceration rate in the world. Today, “woke” people cite the 1986 drug law as a horrific example of systemic racism. But the law was intended to protect black communities.

Example #2 – If You Don’t Have Your Health…
Perhaps more maddening than good intentions gone wrong, the word “systemic” does not refer only to government. It may even be inaccurate to think in terms of “racism.” It could be that any systemic practice that disadvantages the poor will disproportionately affect POC, due to racial disparities in income and wealth accumulation. It’s more complicated than “white supremacy,” despite continual assertions from the Left that racism is the problem.

During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic the nation was dismayed to learn that infected blacks were dying at a rate 2 or 3 times that of infected whites. Every news report I read blamed this on lack of access to insurance and quality health care, and perhaps the types of occupations in which POC tend to work. Most also mentioned the higher incidence of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and lung disease among blacks, putting them at greater risk.

As tragic as that is, if you’re a conservative, you may be thinking: What about personal responsibility? What about lifestyle choices? To a large extent, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes are preventable through a healthy diet, exercise, keeping weight under control, and not smoking.

But again, it’s just not that simple.

While it may be true that whites are not holding down black people and making them drink Sprite, it is also true that soft drink, sugary drink, and snack and candy companies market disproportionately to POC. Do a Google search. In the soft drink industry alone, Blacks and Hispanics together make up about 21% of the US population, but account for 50% of the fruit flavored soft drink market. White greed may or may not be behind that, but POC are also making consumer choices based on what they like. Is this systemic racism?

Good food benefits black and brown bodies as much as it benefits white bodies, but how do you turn that ship around? Due to residential segregation, many black communities exist in “food deserts,” where, in the absence of good grocery stores, people resort to buying junk food at convenience stores or gas stations. Low incomes and unsafe neighborhoods figure in as well. But even if given the option of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, most Americans will bypass those and go for soda and processed food.

So both systemic and personal responsibility issues are at play.

Example #3 – The Humongous, Defecating Elephant in the Room, That Nobody Wants to Talk About
Finally, in my experience the most counterproductive dynamic in any discussion on racism is an unwillingness to face the most crucial factor affecting racial inequality: family breakdown.

I assume the topic is off the table for “woke” people for political reasons, since the abundant research on outcomes for kids living with their married parents is now generally accepted. But it doesn’t fit the left wing narrative very well. It feels like victim blaming. It feels anti-feminist, anti-gay, and it flagrantly contradicts the tenets of their ongoing sexual revolution. Therefore it is more intuitive for the Left to focus on fixing the system.

Put simply, the conservative argument is that the breakdown of the family is at the root of virtually every racial disparity in America; in regard to crime, poverty, low education, illegal drug use, incarceration, and out of wedlock pregnancy. Kids who grow up with their married, biological parents are at significantly lower risk of experiencing these outcomes. The data is in, and it holds true across racial lines.

The out of wedlock birthrate for black American babies is now around 70%, even with a black abortion rate 5 times that of white women. No subculture of any race can successfully withstand that kind of marriage and family breakdown. But how do you turn that ship around?

Is the breakdown of the Black family due to systemic racism? This also, is not an either/or question. The factors are many. Conservatives are correct to emphasize character and personal responsibility, and liberals are correct in blaming the effects of systemic racism. Some research (Belinda Tucker) indicates that the problem is not an aversion to marriage on the part of women of color, but a lack of marriageable Black men. If that shortage is due to higher mortality rates, incarceration rates, and unemployment rates for Black men, then yes, it is in part a systemic problem.

Love Your Neighbor
White people do need to listen to the Black experience. There are now many Black voices insisting that it is not primarily racism that is holding Black America down, but that it is 1) family breakdown, and 2) blacks believing the left wing victim narrative. I agree with them. Let us not forget to listen to those black voices as well. But please, let no one conclude that if contemporary racism is not the real problem, then disadvantaged blacks are to blame for their own plight. Black America is still suffering the consequences of systemic racism, particularly in the criminal justice system.

Surely the will now exists on all sides to root out systemic racism wherever it remains. Doing so can only help Black Americans. And yet, if all systemic racism were to disappear overnight, kids growing up without both married biological parents will remain statistically disadvantaged.

Clearly, change will have to come from within the black community as well, but now would be a good time for white conservatives to commit to living less segregated lives for the sake of building community. Ask yourself if you’ve ever been inside of a black person’s home. Has a “person of color” ever shared a meal around your table? Maybe being a friend and ally to our black and brown neighbors and co-workers would be a good place to begin the healing process in your corner of America.

33 comments on “Thoughts On Racism. (For White People Only). Part 2

  1. When are you going to be invited to speak on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox?

  2. Lisa Claire Rabold says:

    Hi Scott, thanks for your thoughtful, well researched writings. Always a pleasure to read and consider.
    Obviously anyone who is paying attention and cares even a little about the tension we live in currently is doing some sole searching. Jim and I are getting ready to make a move to a community in the south east where, unlike Larimer County, Colorado there is a long, painful history of real live racism. There, we can actually apply your challenge to reach out in tangible ways like a dinner invitation! I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Cheers!
    Lisa

    • What? The south east? You mean south east Colorado? I didn’t even know there were Black people there!
      Do keep us posted – we would love to keep in touch

    • Greg says:

      Much more involved comment on the way, but my main question: why should I believe that the residual effects of racism are the main , or even important, driver in explaining any of the disparities you mention. Clearly there are many disparities among the races. What best explains these numbers ??
      I will venture some of my best guesses soon, so far I don’t see where it’s been established that the effects of racism from…fill in a year… is responsible.

  3. As always, I apologize for the length of my comment, but you’ve provided plenty to address. My comments on this issue will be limited to the USA and not to the institutionalized racism of other countries.

    Some thoughts on appealing to the dictionary for our understanding of ‘racism’.
    1. Merriam-Webster is redefining “racism” to accommodate BLM ideology; not because of any scientific or academic reasons, but because of political pressure. Therefore, if one must appeal to a dictionary, one would be advised to only appeal to older printed dictionaries to avoid Johnny-come-lately redefinitions that are mere political machinations to redefine culture.
    2. More importantly, dictionaries only define how people use a term de dicto (how the word itself is used, even if used incorrectly), not de re (an understanding of a thing in itself, regardless of what terms are used to describe it). Hence, an appeal to the dictionary really doesn’t tell us anything about “racism” itself.

    Perhaps before addressing “racism”, it would help to clarify one’s use of “race”. I suspect most will define it as a skin color and/or national origin (and in the case of the Left, ideology seems to play a role, given their belief that if you don’t tow their ideological line, “you ain’t black”). For example, light skinned black/hispanic/middle-eastern people are often bigoted against their darker-skinned brethren, while those with darker skin are often bigoted against those with lighter skin (and both are often bigoted against whites). Many people hate their own countrymen/country. Are all these examples of “racism”? The ideological Left doesn’t believe so, though we’re never given a reason why other than a question-begging reassertion of their narrative.

    Regarding “systemic racism: While it’s obvious there was, in the past, systemic racism against blacks with respect to slavery or Jim Crow laws, there’s no such thing oppressing black people today (except for one, which I’ll mention momentarily). And, in fact, systemic racism today exists mainly against whites (or males if we’re talking about systemic bigotry), by way of affirmative action policies. When asked to point out any systemic racism policies against blacks today, no one can point to a single policy, and examples of disparities only serves to beg the question, i.e., if “systemic racism” is a way to explain disparities, then disparities themselves cannot serve as evidence of “systemic racism”, which would be a circular argument. So where is the single example of systemic racism against blacks to this day? It’s in the one disparity stat that we know was born out of racism against blacks and continues to target them today, and it’s the number one killer of blacks today, and that’s abortion. If anyone claims to believe that “black lives matter,” then such people ought to be leading the war against abortion, yet the loudest proponents of BLM actually do the exact opposite. They claim that black lives matter all the while defending the extermination of black lives. Hypocrisy at its zenith.

    Regarding disparities:
    The examples you offered wherein you concluded with, “So both systemic and personal responsibility issues are at play,” offered no actual examples of “systemic” where policy plays any role. In other words, if we’re going to take “systemic” seriously in the context of this issue, it can only mean something deliberate and by design. Otherwise, all you’re doing is offering us something descriptive, what Thomas Sowell would call a ‘cosmic injustice’, which means that you’re simply stating affairs as they stand, but which do not arise out of any nefarious purpose (and even suggesting that corporate marketing strategies could in any way be driven by “white greed” is itself both presumptive and prejudice; “presumptive” because there’s no way of knowing that all such company decisions are made by white men, and “prejudice” because it pre-judges the motives of those marketing execs). It seems then that disparities are mostly ground in personal choices. Were that not so, then the disparity between men and women with regard to incarceration numbers would mean that there’s a nefarious plot to oppress men since more men than women are in jail. But we all know that disparity is caused by the different behavioral choices men and women make, and there’s no reason to look for a different reason where racial disparities exist.

    Regarding the statement, “liberals are correct in blaming the effects of systemic racism.”
    In what way are problems today the “effects” of systemic racism? I ask because unless one is claiming there are residual laws/policies that still exist from the past, then how do past laws impose any obligatory duty on personal decisions today? Humans are volitional creatures. ‘Things’ are acted upon, but ‘persons’ act out of free choices. If there are no systemically racist laws, then one cannot blame current behavioral choices (and/or their consequences) on anything but the persons making those bad choices.

    With respect to “a lack of marriageable Black men”, you wrote, “If that shortage is due to higher mortality rates, incarceration rates, and unemployment rates for Black men, then yes, it is in part a systemic problem.”
    Well, no, it’s not. Unless one can first demonstrate that mortality rates, incarceration rates, and unemployment rates are due to “systemic racism” (an entity that has still not been demonstrated), then the lack of “marriageable men” (whatever arbitrary criteria is assigned to that locution) is due either to poor life choices among black men, picky black women who don’t want the available men, or the lack of black men due to black women aborting their babies, many of which would have been marriageable men had they been allowed to live (again, if we want to assign systemic racism to the abortion industry targeting blacks, I would acquiesce to that as a partial cause of the lack of “marriageable” black men, but it’s certainly not the only cause).

    You suggested, “But please, let no one conclude that if contemporary racism is not the real problem, then disadvantaged blacks are to blame for their own plight. Black America is still suffering the consequences of systemic racism, particularly in the criminal justice system.”
    Again, this amounts to question-begging for the reason formerly mentioned. While certainly many people (black, white, or otherwise) have problems into which they were born (one cannot choose the family, country, or circumstances of his birth), most such circumstances do not determine the course of one’s life because we have the volitional power to determine our course. We are not biologically determined robots. One can list all the reasons upon which a person predicates his bad choices, but in the end, those reasons do not nor can they cause one’s choices (a forced choice is an oxymoron). Thankfully, there’s redemption and one can make changes to correct his course if he started out in error, but the choices and their consequences are still his to own. In the end, while we ought to have compassion and help others correct their course when they’re on a bad path, excusing their present course by assigning blame to something outside their decisions does them little good and only serves to reinforce a victimhood mentality. And please note, I’m not suggesting that “all” of a person’s problems (regardless of skin color) are a result of his choices. Obviously there are things in life that are absolutely no one’s fault (e.g. birth defects, etc), and sometimes it only takes a single bad choice to have life-lasting consequences that cannot be undone. However, those latter situations cannot be attributed to “systemic racism”.

    Finally, I don’t want to be misunderstood where racism is concerned. Clearly racism and/or bigotry is alive and well in the USA, but from my finite observation, it’s mostly perpetrated by non-whites; or, at least, living in SoCal where whites ARE the minority, I see racism (or bigotry) mostly among the non-white people I encounter when I see it at all (sometimes it’s aimed at whites and sometimes it’s aimed at other minorities and sometimes it’s aimed at one’s own ethnicity simply for having a darker or lighter skin tone, and sometimes it’s ideological, as if a “race” is supposed to subscribe to a particular ideology). My black neighbor once made a disparaging remark and used a pejorative against whites, and it only reinforced the fact that in America today, you can be openly racist/bigoted against white people TO THEIR FACE and do so with impunity with no consequences whatsoever and no one will lift an eyebrow (and many pathetic white people will just laugh and nod their head in self-flagellation as if they deserve the animosity), while even the slightest “microaggresion” (a stupid term/concept if I ever heard one) against a non-white will render you unemployed and socially ostracized. So, yes, racism against blacks still exists on an individual level, but racism (especially “systemic racism”) is disproportionally aimed against whites, and that’s the REAL elephant in the room that few seem willing to address.

    • Frank, Thanks for engaging!
      I think several of your objections to what I’ve written come down to the same issue, I’ll get to that in a minute, but first I want to address your complaint of my use of the dictionary definition.

      You say that Merriam-Webster is “redefining racism to accommodate BLM ideology.” We shall see. They’ve stated they’re going to revise the wording to be more clear; “systemic racism” is already part of their definition of the word, as it was in the definition I presented. I don’t see a problem with M-W’s response. Furthermore, I thought the dictionary definition(s) I presented was spot on – that’s why I used it. If I shouldn’t appeal to a respected English dictionary to settle a dispute on the definition of an English word, then to what objective source should I appeal? Imo it is a primary tactic of the Left to subjectively redefine words in order to manipulate public opinion. Recent examples include “sex,” “gender,” “reproductive rights.” Using an older edition may be necessary at times, but I think it’s incorrect to say “an appeal to the dictionary really doesn’t tell us anything about “racism” itself.” In this case it tells us precisely what racism is.

      Regarding my post, I understand your main objection to be that you don’t feel I’ve shown that systemic racism exists; that I’ve merely assumed its existence because racial disparities exist; that I haven’t given any examples. I think you’ve misunderstood my argument.

      I summarized it with this statement (caps for emphasis): “I’m contending here that the troubling disparities we see today are the result of PAST systemic policies and practices, more so than CURRENT racial hatred. Institutional racism has done its nasty work, and despite policy corrections having been made at the governmental level, America is living with the aftermath.”

      You may or may not be correct in saying that systemic racism no longer exists today, but that is irrelevant to my point. I’m arguing that blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of past systemic racism. If that is the case then it is correct to say the blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism. It’s somewhat of a nuanced point, and it’s not the argument that “progressives” are making, but it is still true.

      Regarding this point you ask, “In what way are problems today the ‘effects’ of systemic racism? I ask because unless one is claiming there are residual laws/policies that still exist from the past, then how do past laws impose any obligatory duty on personal decisions today? Humans are volitional creatures. ‘Things’ are acted upon, but ‘persons’ act out of free choices. If there are no systemically racist laws, then one cannot blame current behavioral choices (and/or their consequences) on anything but the persons making those bad choices.”

      I find at least 3 things wrong with your objection:
      1) Systemic racism is not just about “Laws/policies.” It includes entrenched >practices< as well. Wrongs were often corrected on a public policy level, but continued on institutionally, sometimes for decades. All white juries in southern states would be an example.
      2) It’s not that past laws “impose an obligatory duty on personal decisions today.” It’s that past laws and practices have done damage that extends into the present day, and that continue to shape options that are available to Blacks; or how they people see the world – beliefs dictate behavior.
      3) I flatly disagree with your assertion: “one cannot blame current behavioral choices (and/or their consequences) on anything but the persons making those bad choices.” Bad decision-making can be influenced by many factors, including incorrect information, ignorance, relational pressure, cultural pressure, lack of vision, bad advice, deep-seated unmet needs, etc. I guess you can argue that the individual is still to blame for their bad decisions, but that doesn’t negate the truth that the negative effects of systemic racism influence those decisions.

      Another example: “The original GI Bill ended in July 1956. By that time, nearly 8 million World War II veterans had received education or training, and 4.3 million home loans worth $33 billion had been handed out. But most Black veterans had been left behind” (history.com)

      Let’s say a Black WW2 vet failed to receive promised GI Bill benefits. Therefore, he remained in the ghetto with a crappy job. Let’s say he marries and has a couple of kids, but suffers depression and PTSD. Proper medical help is unavailable to him, and his wife divorces him. He self medicates with alcohol and ends up with a long term prison sentence. His kids are now “fatherless,” being raised by a single mom who works 2 jobs to make ends meet. Her mom tries to help out. “Normal” for the little girl is no married dad in the home, and a lack of healthy male affirmation in her life. Mom’s occasional boyfriends in and out of the house. She ends up pregnant herself and doesn’t finish high school, repeating the cycle. For the boy, his normal is no healthy male affirmation in his life, and his male role models are on the street. The ones with money are the ones engaged in illegal “business”…etc.

      Sure, the kids with no dad who grew up in the ghetto in poverty in a lame school are technically “free” to make good choices. I’m not arguing they can’t, but the odds are stacked against them. I maintain that family breakdown is at the root of the problem. And broken families tend to perpetuate themselves over generations.

      I would make a similar argument for our Native American demographic. Reservation life is rife with poverty, alcoholism, sexual abuse, dysfunctional or non-existent families, and crime. Today NAs are “free,” to achieve whatever they want, and most of white America would bend over backwards to accommodate them. But they’ve been so beaten down over time that it is very difficult for them to improve their situation. There is even some evidence that effects of trauma can be passed down epigenetically.

      If you haven’t watched the Phil Vischer video I linked I would encourage you to do so. It’s about 18 minutes long, but gives several examples of systemic practices, many of which I would argue have had a lasting effect.

      • As always, I beg forgiveness for being lengthy, and if you choose not to read to the end, well, I can’t blame you. It’s too lengthy even for me to reread.

        With respect to definitions, my dictionary (published around 1975) has only one definition for racism, which is ‘the belief that one’s ethnic stock is superior to others’. That other definitions have been added over the years simply demonstrates revisionist uses of the term. But let’s allow the dictionary to be what it in fact is, i.e., a text to tell us how people subjectively choose to use terms (and where there’s a consistent novel use of a term, it eventually results in new ‘definitions’ added to dictionaries). What’s important to note is that telling us how a word is used may or may not not tell us something about the nature of things in themselves (which is why reliance on a dictionary alone doesn’t serve to settle disputes over philosophical questions), hence the de dicto / de re distinction I made previously.

        It’s also worth noting that it’s ambiguous to include “systemic racism” as part of the definition of “racism”, because doing so raises the problem of self-reference. If I ask, “what is ‘blark’?” and another responds with, “A ‘blark’ is ‘systemic blark’, that doesn’t tell me what “blark” means. It’s far more clear to simply define one’s use of “blark” and then add a qualifier later when discussing systemic examples of ‘blark’.

        You wrote:
        “disparities we see today are the result of PAST systemic policies and practices, more so than CURRENT racial hatred”:

        I think I understand your point, however, some support has to be given to establish a causal connection, and it simply hasn’t been done. And note that it isn’t sufficient to simply recite a sequence of events. A series of events in and of itself does not demonstrate links in a causal chain (this raises a much more complex metaphysical issue about the nature of causality and any epistemic justification/warrant for rational inference to causality which, while I’ll spare readers, is still very relevant to this issue). Suffice it to say that free will and event causation/determinism are not inconsequential factors, the former being inviolable no matter what circumstances or external pressures are brought into play in a person’s life.

        You noted:
        “I’m arguing that blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of past systemic racism. If that is the case then it is correct to say the blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism.”

        Those two statements are substantively identical, such that the former doesn’t serve to rationally ground the latter. What’s important is whether they can be supported.

        You wrote:
        “Systemic racism is not just about “Laws/policies.” It includes entrenched >practices< as well. Wrongs were often corrected on a public policy level, but continued on institutionally,”

        This understanding of “systemic” simply kicks the can down the road to my now having to ask what is meant by “entrenched” and “institutionally”? The former may be describing some widely occurring phenomena, though we’d need to know what that is (since you already stated that your hypothesis isn’t referring to “CURRENT racial hatred”). As far as “institutionally”, that term implies connection to an institution, though it’s not clear again what institution one has in mind (an all white jury in the south can certainly have had a lasting effect on a black person in the past, but it doesn’t explain how it has any causal efficacy on persons' decisions today).

        You wrote:
        “It’s that past laws and practices have done damage that extends into the present day, and that continue to shape options that are available to Blacks; or how they people see the world – beliefs dictate behavior.”

        I don’t doubt that past events can and have shaped options for some blacks today just like they have shaped options for non-blacks today. Two things to note: 1. Bad past events are not in any way unique to blacks, so it’s not clear why there’s any focus on just blacks in this regard. The Chinese were very much abused in this country (short of being outright slaves), but it’s not held them back at all, nor have they gained their better lot by politically agitating like blacks and some other minorities who, despite their constant political agitating, still have problematic communities. 2. Everyone in life has limited options (even children from wealthy families are limited by their own abilities, talents, intelligence, family relationships, health, etc). What matters is how we play the hand we’re dealt. Many rich white kids overdose on drugs and die. Money and the alleged “white privilege” didn’t prove to be any advantage for them.

        You wrote:
        “Bad decision-making can be influenced by many factors, including incorrect information, ignorance, relational pressure, cultural pressure, lack of vision, bad advice, deep-seated unmet needs, etc.”

        We do take many things into consideration when we make choices, including the many things you mentioned. However, not a single one of those things determines our choices, precisely because we’re volitional beings and not biologically or environmentally determined robots. Moreover, from a Biblical point of view, we all have a divinely endowed knowledge of basic good and evil, so there’s little excuse for many of the poor decisions that we make. C.S. Lewis once well noted that we’re prone to make excuses for our bad choices, but none of us attempts to explains away his good choices. We’re more than happy to own those. More importantly, in attempting to explain away people’s current state of being, there’s an implicit assumption that an inequality of circumstances is an artifice of society’s making. But earthquakes, famines, a failing stockmarket, disease and car accidents, pandemics, and any number of events can help shape the disparities with which we begin life and not necessarily be the result of past injustices of any kind. Moreover, when speaking about the American black community, it’s rarely mentioned the extreme advantage American blacks have for starting out in the most advantaged country in the world (even WITH all its past injustices) verses having been born in Africa. When one considers that many people come here illegally, work and live under the radar, not knowing the language, having very little, they still work hard and manage to build a life. If an illegal can accomplish all that, one has to ask why a person who doesn’t have to fear being deported to another land, can speak the language, has all the available social programs and policies that advantage them over others, why they still have any excuses for, for what? For poverty? Broken families? Drug addiction? Prison? For being shot by a cop while stealing his taser and attempting to fire it at him? I realize there are circumstances in life that may be out of one’s control (no one faults the person who is unemployed due to the lockdown), but clearly many other situations are our own making.

        Regarding the WWII GI Bill and mortgages (a historical situation I don’t dispute), how does that explain away the situation for today’s blacks (the scenario you imagined is, as I earlier noted, simply a series of events which, sans argument or evidence, do not constitute a causal chain)? I have a friend whose Japanese parents lost their home, business, and everything they owned and were held in an internment camp. And yet, after WWII, they still managed to build a life all over again by working hard (as did many other Japanese Americans). They could have used the excuse that they lost everything and were dealt an injustice much worse than the Jim Crow laws under which blacks lived. Instead, they picked themselves up (in the midst of an America that was still angry and intolerant toward Japanese because of Pearl Harbor), worked hard, and have achieved more than many other minority communities. The point again is that using past injustices as an excuse for one’s current lot in life is just that, an excuse. And I’m not referring to where one starts life (since, as I stated last time, we can’t choose our family, place of birth, financial circumstances in which we’re born, etc.), I’m referring to what one does with his life.

        Speaking of which, you observed:
        “I maintain that family breakdown is at the root of the problem. And broken families tend to perpetuate themselves over generations.”

        I agree. But while I understand the earlier appeal to ignorance, it’s hardly a legitimate excuse when every attempt to inform the black community (or communities of any color for that matter) of the consequences of having children out of wedlock is met with apathy and simply dismissed. Who exactly is to blame for this? How did slavery, Jim Crow laws, or the GI Bill scenario cause anyone to have children out of wedlock? I agree that this is certainly one of the biggest factors plaguing the black community, but whose fault is it if not those engaging in that behavior?

        Regarding Native Americans, you wrote:
        “But they’ve been so beaten down over time that it is very difficult for them to improve their situation. There is even some evidence that effects of trauma can be passed down epigenetically.”

        While the Native American situation is off-topic, I would extend the same argument and criticism to their situation. I’d be interested in seeing how trauma (however that’s cashed out) is passed down in any way that it violates anyone’s free choice (I’m aware that a mentally ill person can be so impaired as to essentially not be responsible for their actions, but barring insanity or some serious brain damage, free choices are still person-caused, not event-caused).

        While I’m maintaining that people make free choices, I’m not suggesting that all good choices entail a person will be healthy, wealthy and, well, maybe wise, but not the other two. There are many factors that contribute to where we are in life and we can’t control most of them. But if one makes good choices, one can have a roof over his head, a reasonably content family, and the dignity of working to provide for his family. It doesn’t mean he’ll be rich, but riches are not a necessity for peace or joy. Good choices can provide a simple and reasonably happy life. Sure, problems will come, but that’s par for the course for every single person. But I would submit that a big part of happiness is dependent on one’s gratitude for what he has. Most of the agitating, victimhood mentality, and complaining about what one does not have is a reflection of the selfishness and ingratitude for what one does have. In the end, the Bible is still correct: we reap what we sow. Unfortunately, many have sown to the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.

        I took the time to watch the Phil Fischer video, which was the exact same content as the one by another group that went viral (I’m not sure why Phil Fischer felt the need to recreate the exact same video, but Ben Shapiro did a far better job rebutting it than I could). One thing that’s important to note in Phil Vischer’s video: It starts out with what everyone would agree are hidstorcally racist policies. The legerdemain, however, comes when the reporting of the genuinely systemic racist policies trail off but the video seamlessly continues by describing ‘systemically’ bad behavior as if the entire narration were a seamless chain of events where we arrive at our current situation. This bit of sophistry would strike me as nefarious if it wasn’t Phil Fischer, but I’m hoping he simply parroted the original video out of ignorance. The fact is, I’m not credulous enough to be led from a series of clearly unjust policies to, ‘therefore all the current bad behavior is somehow a consequent of those past policies’. What Vischer’s video did was presume his hypothesis in the form of a historical sequence of events without ever connecting the causal dots.

        Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting there are not some bad polices like no-knock entry raids or criminal penalties that are more extreme than the crime deserves. However, stating these facts in a video about race is a red herring, because no matter how disproportionate incarcerations or drug raids are, none of those laws target race. If crimes are perpetrated disproportionately, that’s sufficient to explain disproportionate incarcerations, just like disproportionate incarcerations between men and women can be explained by disproportionate behavior as well.

        Now, I realize the video stated that more black men were convicted as second time drug dealers in Georgia, but that may either have to do with white men being wealthier and having an ability to hire a better lawyer (which eliminates racism as a factor), or it may be due to the past criminal records of those black individuals about which we’re never told (someone with a repeated or extreme criminal history is more likely to end up in prison than someone who just sells drugs a few times). In fact, here’s the problem with stats; like computer models, they can be misrepresented to elicit a desired reaction (Joel Best’s book, “Damed Lies and Statistics” is worth a good read if you’re interested in the subject). In any case, we’d need to examine more than just the arrest stats of blacks verse whites in that state. We’d need to examine all the extenuating circumstances and all the facts in order to have a correct picture of the situation. That said, I’m quite certain there’s a racist judge or DA out there, some racist against blacks, and some racist against whites, some man-haters, and some misogynists. Sin abounds, of that I’m certain. But the very real racism of a few individuals does not a systemically racist nation make.

        Here’s the link to Ben Shapiro’s rebuttal if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBDfMQ27Asw

        • No need to apologize for the length. I appreciate your investment of time, and I always enjoy watching your brain at work, (even when you’re wrong!)

          Regarding the dictionary thing, I’ll just say that my question to you wasn’t rhetorical: “If I shouldn’t appeal to a respected English dictionary to settle a dispute on the definition of an English word, then to what objective source should I appeal?”
          I don’t see how meaningful conversation is possible if words don’t have meanings that can be agreed upon. There’s nothing wrong with referencing an old dictionary, but it is also a fact that language does change over time. I think the prioritizing of definitions within an entry helps to maintain clarity in that case. There’s no point in insisting on the 19c definition of the word “slut” because no one uses the word that way anymore. However, it is still listed under the “archaic” meaning.

          Regarding your point that including “systemic racism” as a definition of racism is self-referencing, again, I see no problem in the definition I gave. First, racism is clearly and correctly defined. Then when it gets to systemic racism it says:

          “RACISM: 2) a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine [referring the first definition of racism above]; discrimination.

          I even included brackets to make sure the reader would know to refer to the first definition. It’s saying systemic racism is a system that fosters what was described in the first definition. Nothing ambiguous about it. Oddly, I think we’re in agreement, since you wrote, “It’s far more clear to simply define one’s use of “blark” and then add a qualifier later when discussing systemic examples of ‘blark’.” That’s exactly what my dictionary definition did.

          [MISSING CONTENT SHOULD BEGIN HERE…v ]
          Also, since you raise the objection:
          “Those two statements are substantively identical, such that the former doesn’t serve to rationally ground the latter.”

          No, they’re not identical: I wrote, “…blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of >PAST…centuries<. Not surprisingly, all immigrant groups of which I’m aware eventually advanced by working hard, saving and making their children’s lives better – in other words, an intact marriage and family was the critical piece. Whereas both Black and NA family structures have been ravaged. Ironically, regarding Blacks, a more recent but significant factor was not racism so much as it was white liberal “support” in the form of the gov replacing husbands as provider.
          [MISSING CONTENT SHOULD END HERE ^]

          You write, “How did slavery, Jim Crow laws, or the GI Bill scenario cause anyone to have children out of wedlock?”…Regarding NAs, “I’d be interested in seeing how trauma…is passed down in any way that it violates anyone’s free choice”… “And I’m not referring to where one starts life…I’m referring to what one does with his life.”

          Again, I’m not arguing that people’s lives are determined by their environment or past experiences. (Obama grew up without a dad and became president of the US). But these things certainly influence the choices people make. A couple close to me is currently trying to adopt a baby whose (unmarried) parents are heroin addicts. The mother’s mother was also an addict. If this baby is adopted by my friends, her life will be entirely different than it would otherwise be. For others in less extreme circumstances, not having had the love and acceptance of a parent, having been emotionally wounded, being physically unhealthy, and a host of other issues bend people toward unhealthy decision making.

          Finally, who is to say what is healthy? You and I have a very specific spiritual, worldview orientation that guides us. But why would a young man work his butt off to purchase a house in a crappy neighborhood when he has no prospects or vision of getting married or raising a family? Why would a single woman who wants children, but who has never seen a good marriage, not have a baby or two or three? The robot metaphor cuts both ways in this debate: You are correct in that our actions are not pre-determined by our external situation. However, it’s also true imo that people RARELY make decisions for purely logical reasons. We have emotional reasons, hormonal reasons, peer approval reasons, self-centered reasons, poorly reasoned reasons, defensive reasons, cultural identity reasons, health reasons, unfounded belief reasons, and on and on.

          That’s not to say we’re not ultimately responsible. I’m just describing what people do. I agree that the victimhood narrative is bad for Black America (or anyone else), and I said so in my post. I just think it’s important to concede that there is such a thing as (consequences of) systemic racism in America today. Furthermore, it's reasonable to conclude that Black America as a whole is farther behind than it otherwise would have been without it. However, I agree with Black conservatives that racism (of either sort) is not the primary factor holding Blacks back today. But in the national conversation, it's not helpful (or true) to deny that it is a factor, imo.

          • Scott, thanks for your patience with me. It’s much appreciated.

            Regarding an appeal to the dictionary, I’m not suggesting one can’t use a dictionary to discover how terms are commonly used, but that’s all it’s good for because, again, they can’t tell us anything about a thing in itself. If, for example, a homosexual appeals to a modern dictionary which suggests that “marriage” can mean a union between two men, that doesn’t really tell us that marriage can, in fact, be between two men (of course the term can be used figuratively, like saying the “marriage” of two companies, but homosexuals don’t use the term figuratively when referring to same-sex marriage, which is why it’s an illegitimate use of the term). The dictionary can only tell us that some people use the term that way. But the dictionary can’t tell us if that use of the term is correct, and so it can’t settle any dispute over the legitimacy of addressing same-sex contracts as a “marriage.” There is, after all, a reason political activists agitate to get definitions changed. They know that bending the academy to their will provides them with some legal power, which they then use to beat down their critics (e.g., the psychiatric profession legitimized homosexual behavior because of political pressure, not because of any scientific evidence, and after they did so, any reference to homosexual behavior as abnormal or deviant was condemned as “unscientific” not to mention “intolerant”).

            Be that as it may, you’re entirely correct to say that a conversation can only be productive when all parties agree on how they’re using terms because it helps avoid speaking past one another. However, it’s not at all clear why a dictionary is necessary. Why can’t all sides simply say, when we say “blark”, we’ll use it to mean thus and so. It’s not really necessary that all parties agree on or argue about the dictionary meaning of the term so long as everyone is clear what is meant by the language being used in the present conversation. Of course, there’s always the problem of being caught in an infinite regression if we spend our time seeking definitions (“What does ‘blark’ mean?” “‘Blark’ means a big blurg.” “Well, what does ‘blurg’ mean?” … life is short and this can go on ad infinitum, but I trust you see the problem. Try explaining the definition of “time” without using self-referential temporal language and it can get pretty confusing).

            With respect to ‘systemic racism’ being included as a definition under “racism”, I wasn’t suggesting that we define the term and then add a qualifier as a subsequent dictionary definition entree. I meant to say we can add a qualifier when simply having a discussion. However, adding a qualifier and then including that as a dictionary entree under “racism” is untenable. Does the dictionary entree under “people” include multiple entrees that include “tall people”, “short people”, “fat people”, “dead people”, “incarcerated people”, “drunk people”, “African people”, “space people”, “lizard people”, ad infinitum? It’s absurdly impractical to add as an entree every possible qualifier of a term, and it’s entirely arbitrary and politically motivated to include systemic racism as an entree under “racism” while not also using multiple qualified entrees for every other word in the dictionary.

            With respect to your previous statements which I said were identical, let’s review them to see what I meant:

            “I’m arguing that blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of past systemic racism. If that is the case then it is correct to say the blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism.”

            The first sentence tells us that the blacks (the subject) are being disadvantaged by effects of past systemic racism (the predicate). And then you go on to suggest that if that first sentence is true, then blacks (the subject) are still suffering the effects of systemic racism (the predicate). You didn’t include “consequences” the second time, but it was unnecessary to do so since it’s the equivalent to “effects”, and you didn’t include “past” in the second sentence, but it’s assumed because “effects” are a logical consequent of “past” causes. In effect, those two sentences are identical, which is why neither can support the other. They’re just affirming the same hypothesis.

            You then went on to explain those two previous sentences by stating:
            “all immigrant groups of which I’m aware eventually advanced by working hard, saving and making their children’s lives better – in other words an intact marriage and family was the critical piece. Whereas both Black and NA family structure has been ravaged. Ironically, regarding Blacks, a more recent but significant factor was not racism so much as it was white liberal “support” in the form of the gov replacing husbands as provider.”

            It’s not at all clear how observing the failure of black or NA families or the Democrats ‘great society’ support the hypothesis. I would agree that the ‘great society’ itself created incentives which led to family problems in the black community. And I realize that people largely base their free choices on incentives provided them, so I do criticize the welfare state. But even so, while the welfare state needs to be abolished so as not to be providing incentives to destructive behavior, such incentives force no one to make the choices they do. Moreover, while the welfare state is a nefarious and deliberate manipulative tool, I’m not certain if one can say it represents ‘systemic racism’. Perhaps one can make an argument to that effect (and I’d probably agree with it), but proponents of the ‘systemic racism’ narrative like BLM certainly wouldn’t agree.

            You wrote:
            “Again, I’m not arguing that people’s lives are determined by their environment or past experiences. (Obama grew up without a dad and became president of the US). But these things certainly influence the choices people make.”

            I’d agree it’s possible that such things ‘could’ provide reasons upon which a person might base his free decisions. But such a possibility is a far cry from the hypothesis that the current plight of black Americans is the consequence of past systemic racism, a hypothesis for which we’ve not seen any evidence, nor does the heroine-addict-baby anecdote provide an example (well, it does provide an example of a cause-and-effect situation, because clearly a mother’s drug habit may have a physical affect on her unborn baby. But that situation lends no support to the hypothesis in question).

            You asked:
            “But why would a young man work his butt off to purchase a house in a crappy neighborhood when he has no prospects or vision of getting married or raising a family?”

            He would purchase that house in the crappy neighborhood to build some equity over time so that he can move out of that crappy neighborhood and into a safe neighborhood, which is precisely what many people who work to build a better life do. It’s not really clear how the lack of prospect for marriage/family is in any way related to the purchase of property (or why such a lack of prospects exist in the first place), but I trust you’ll clarify that in your response.

            You asked:
            “Why would a single woman who wants children, but who has never seen a good marriage, not have a baby or two or three?”

            My wife wanted children, never saw a good marriage (all the women in her family are divorced), and we’re happily married with four children. There’s no logical connection between never seeing a good marriage and an inability to have a good marriage. However, my suggestion is that this woman who never saw a good marriage go meet up with that guy who just bought a house in the crappy neighborhood (thus providing him with a prospect for marriage), and perhaps the two of them can build a happy family together.

            You noted:
            “it’s also true imo that people RARELY make decisions for purely logical reasons.”

            Yes, you’re quite right. However, whatever illogical reasons people consider when making a free choice, the free choice is still their’s to make, and that’s the point. More importantly, no amount of sloppy thinking erases the internal conscience that comes with bearing the Imago Dei, and people know better when making poor basic moral choices.

            You noted:
            “I’m just describing what people do.”

            Yes, and I agree. The present plight of the black community is, in fact, about what they do. It’s not about what white people did 75 years ago.

            You ended with:
            “I just think it’s important to concede that there is such a thing as (consequences of) systemic racism in America today, in part so that the national conversation can move forward.”

            It’s only important to concede a truth. However, conceding a false or dubious point merely to ‘get along’ or appease someone is no different than a parent who gives in to the spoiled child. Eventually, the spoiled child will take his spoiled ways into the world in his adulthood and the result will be societal ills, which is what we see today. Remember, ‘love’ is not expressed by giving someone what he wants. True love is giving someone what he needs, even if it hurts.

            • Greg says:

              To Scott: The specific falsehood, as I see it is that the consequences of systemic racism is a major part of what we see happening in the black community. This is the poison pill in “conceding the point”. Yes, SOME amount of influence. But the meme made into a T-shirt: “change begins at the polls” is just flat not true . “Polls” being representative of changing a systemic problem. . Change begins when you make better choices, and/or develop better beliefs that drive those choices, no matter what happened in the past. Isn’t this true for US as well, and always has been ??
              The discussion, as I see it, is not likey “to go forward”, because many of the things you have pointed to , and we agree on, hinge on NOW WHAT, what are we going to do with the cards we are dealt, today. Choices made more difficult by the application, or lack of application, of the the GI bill, and the decisions of all white juries, but each one of us will have to figure out how to climb those mountains (with help wherever we may find it)

            • Greg says:

              I know of no one, of any color, who is facing “no (job) prospects” here in the greater Kansas City area. Some areas are better than others, but there are entry level jobs to be had, and if you can get the transportation, loading type jobs [UPS, USPS, Fedex] are there. The problem is not jobs, the problem is that lots of people would prefer…x, y, z over working those jobs. Back to choices.

  4. Julie Beth Rhodes Mauk says:

    Did you say “a brief blog?”🤣

    I’ll have to finish later. But I appreciate the clear vocabulary. I always say, win the vocabulary, win the debate, although it’s not about winning an argument, but winning hearts and minds. Words that need to be defined: privilege, advantage, prejudice, ignorance. Btw, I have read a very good book recently, “The Dream King.” Fascinating and instructive. Two authors, one black, two perspectives, one goal and a story that can’t be explained by coincidence. Urge you to read it.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks for driving into these icy,turbulent waters, Scott. You are like those “different” dudes that wait till the middle of the winter, walk out on the ice and jump in… I guys ” dudes” is not fair to the frosty fair ladies.
      I might need to check for misogyny.
      The church, historically, has been the standard bearer and protector of family. Not sure which is chicken, which is egg, but it seems that the primary role of those churches that are visible via media do NOT have family keeping/ building on their radar. Not saying they don’t preach on it, but when they are loudest, most vocal, out comes the social, political agenda. The only prominent blacks I know pushing for family are from the conservative ” neighborhood”. I could be wrong about that. My point: black churches, at least the ones we see or know through the media, have not picked this family thing up as a cause to champion.
      More later, this blog is helpful to me

    • Hi Julie,
      Ha! – Whoops…I think I meant to delete the word “brief” when editing. ‘Sorry, I couldn’t figure out what to cut.

      Thanks, for the recommendation – I actually have read ‘The Dream King’! (Technically I guess I’m still reading it as I didn’t get all the way through. It’s sitting on my desk right now.)

      For those who haven’t read it, the co-authors – one white, one black, – discovered that their family histories go all the way back to slave time, and that their friendship is an answer to the prayers of an earlier generation of enslaved believers. Pretty amazing.

  5. Jeff Eagan says:

    This was really good, thanks for your thoughts

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  6. Greg says:

    Much more involved comment on the way, but my main question: why should I believe that the residual effects of racism are the main , or even important, driver in explaining any of the disparities you mention. Clearly there are many disparities among the races. What best explains these numbers ??
    I will venture some of my best guesses soon, so far I don’t see where it’s been established that the effects of racism from…fill in a year… is responsible.

    • Greg says:

      My phone has been a little glitchy, hence the duplicate comments, sorry. I appreciate your work in this difficult, but necessary discussion, Scott.
      This analogy is personal, and anecdotal, so I realize it doesn’t” prove” much, but here goes
      All 4 of my grandparents were deeply fractured people. Both grandfather’s were functioning alcoholics, i.e. they held jobs and raised families. Their kids, my parents, felt and lived the effects of that trauma. Some of that they handed down to me. I am not dismissive of that, but if I were to make a list of what has determined my financial,social, and marital success ( or lack), that trauma would not be top 5… Maybe not top10….
      Scott , you wisely noted that beliefs drive behavior. I 100% agree with that. So what drives our beliefs ??
      Certainly trauma can fit in there… But I will argue it’s not trauma per se… Otherwise there would be similar responses in groups and families to that trauma. We both know that’s not how it works.
      Frank mentioned the Chinese, and we could add many others ( Japanese as recently as the 40’s. Internment camps) whose trauma had been severe, yet the disparities mentioned between blacks/ whites aren’t there…. Something else is at work here

      • I know the response is a bit lengthy, but I addressed this in my last response to Frank. I consider the plight of Blacks and Native Americans to be uniquely sucky.

        I certainly don’t have the answers. And I’m not convinced that having the answer would be much help, ’cause generally speaking, people are broken, myself included, and we are inclined to act out of our brokenness. I find the entire racial/political dilemma to be very frustrating. If it weren’t for the fact that our Creator has invited us into spiritual birth through His Messiah, i would be one hopeless pilgrim.

    • Greg says:

      Is there any law or policy, currently, that resembles the GI Bill situation ?? Just curious.

      • Not that I’m aware of. My understanding is that such gross discrimination has been corrected, at least on a policy level. Also, I’m only recently learning more about this but I think any systemic racial inequities remaining probably exist in the criminal justice system. Last year Trump signed a bi-partisan, criminal justice reform bill called the First Step Act which sought to make corrections. But it only applied to the Federal prison system, and Trump expressed hope that states would follow suit. Don’t know if any have.

        Here is a link from a hostile source:
        https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/12/18/18140973/state-of-the-union-trump-first-step-act-criminal-justice-reform

        Also, I would highly recommend reading “Just Mercy” by a black lawyer named Bryan Stevenson, or at least see the movie by the same name, about his story. (Currently at Redbox). He started an organization, The Egual Justice Initiative, which exists in part to get guys wrongly convicted off of death row. He has pretty much changed my view of capitol punishment.

  7. So, Frank…
    This is annoying, but I was going over our conversation and I noticed that a big chunk of my last response was cut off. (I tried to re-insert it in edit, and then also tried to add it as a separate, response, but there must be a word limit? So I gotta add it down here.) If you’re interested in continuing the dialogue, the missing chunk is important bc it refers to the Shapiro video, and also gives an example of systemic racism that is, imo, irrefutable.

    My next response was going to be to repeat your argument back to you to see if I’m understanding it correctly, but for now, here is the missing part. (I went back to my last response and noted where the insertation is supposed to go.)

    Greg Rice: the bit about Blacks and Native Americans to which I referred is also in this missing chunk. ‘Sorry bout that, y’all.

    [MISSING CONTENT STARTS…]
    No, they’re not identical: I wrote, “…blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of >PAST< systemic racism. If that is the case then it is correct to say the blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism.”

    The BLM narrative being propagated is that current systemic racism is oppressing blacks today. I’m explaining how one can say “blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism” without agreeing with the BLM narrative.

    Regarding Shapiro's video:
    Yes, I have seen Ben Shapiro’s rebuttal and I agree with it! In fact I think nothing I’ve said here contradicts his rebuttal. (Quotes forthcoming). But I should also say that Vischer’s video is NOT the exact same content. It is far better, more detailed, more comprehensive, and less political than the Jamal video, and furthermore, I much prefer Vischer’s more honest ending.

    I’ll use Shapiro’s video to address a couple of things, though. Please note that his opening rebuttal does not argue that systemic racism has not affected America’s schools. He goes around the point by advocating school vouchers so that Jamal can go to Kevin’s school. I agree with him, but the fact remains that American schools are still largely segregated, and much of this segregation is obviously the lingering effects of racism/systemic racism.

    I happen to know this firsthand because a few years ago, I took a week-long mission trip to a small town in Louisiana, once labeled by Time magazine as the most segregated town in America. There is a white side and a black side of town; an all white school and an all black school. While there I met an older (white) gentleman who had lived through the Jim Crow era. In response to my questions he explained that after forced integration, white families pulled their kids out of the public school system and started their own private school. (Vischer’s video makes reference to this movement.)

    Even though, at least while I was there, I sensed no racial animosity and saw many overtures toward racial reconciliation, the school situation persists. It seemed to me this was more out of inertia than racism. Nonetheless, the situation exists today because of past racism.

    Shapiro’s summary practically constitutes a summary of my post (My caps):
    “It is certainly plausible that slavery and Jim Crow have affected how people’s paths have gone in life, and the circumstances of their birth. But the question is ‘How Much?’ If we are going to change policy, and if we are going to effectuate change, shouldn’t we be focused more on ‘what are the bad policies today that specifically are keeping people down?’ [SYSTEMIC RACISM] and ‘what behaviors can we change today to make our opportunities better?’ [PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY] rather than focusing in on slavery and Jim Crow.”

    Perhaps I could clarify one more thing. I have contended throughout my post that both (past) systemic racism and personal responsibility are at play. Both. I am attempting to appeal to readers on both sides of the debate; liberals and conservatives. I am attempting to get readers from both sides to admit hard truths that they may rather not admit. Even if you don’t think there is ANY systemic racism left in America, I think you should be able to get on board with eliminating systemic racism should you turn out to be wrong. Just last year, the president signed a criminal justice reform bill called The First Step Act, to correct inequities that were disproportionately harming Blacks. I doubt if The First Step Act was the last step needed.

    Comparing other races/cultural groups may be helpful. My bringing up Native Americans is no more off-topic than your bringing up Japanese and Chinese Americans. In my opinion, Blacks and NAs have been uniquely disadvantaged in comparison to other people groups. I haven’t studied this out in detail, but I’m not aware of another group that was intentionally, systematically kept down over a period of centuries. [MISSING CONTENT ENDS HERE.] Not surprisingly, all immigrant groups of which I’m aware eventually advanced by working hard, saving and making their children’s lives better – in other words an intact marriage and family was the critical piece. Whereas both Black and NA family structure has been ravaged. Ironically, regarding Blacks, a more recent but significant factor was not racism so much as it was white liberal “support” in the form of the gov replacing husbands as provider.

    • I’m game and always happy to continue a dialogue…

      You wrote:
      “I’m explaining how one can say ‘blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism’ without agreeing with the BLM narrative.”

      Yes, I recognized the distinction you’re making and that’s what I’m attempting to address.

      You wrote:
      “the fact remains that American schools are still largely segregated, and much of this segregation is obviously the lingering effects of racism/systemic racism.”

      Current examples of people segregating into their own enclaves doesn’t demonstrate anything more than people wanting to assemble with those with whom they relate (by the way, I’ll grant that some people may make these choices for current, not past, racist reasons. My neighbor whom I mentioned previously made the derogatory comment about whites in relation to not wanting to live where there is nothing but whites, and it was clear from what he said that it had nothing to do with any notion of white racist attitudes or the fault of any whites beyond them having white skin. To be fair to him, I don’t know if I’d really say he’s in any way racist, but if a white person had said the same thing he said about blacks, they’d be labeled as something akin to a klansman).

      When you gave an example of an all white school and an all black school, unless there was a current law requiring segregation by color, that example can be explained by simple demographics. A school in an all black (or all white) neighborhood will be attended by the children of that neighborhood, and there’s no other causal factor beyond that when asking why the student body is all black or all white. And while I acknowledge past events like the white parents who moved their children to private schools after segregation, that again is a past event that hasn’t been shown to have any causal effect on our current situation. Remember, an event doesn’t constitute a “cause” merely because it precedes another event, and the latter doesn’t constitute an “effect” merely because it follows. Some causal connection has to be established between the two events, and that’s something we haven’t seen.

      Now one may attempt to argue that the town in question has remained entirely segregated since the Jim Crow era as an “effect” of past systemic racism. But to establish a causal connection, one must demonstrate that the ‘persistence’ of the situation itself is the result of past systemic racism, i.e., that the choices of all the people who came and went over several generations were compelled to maintain segregation due to past systemic racism. Such compulsion, however, would seem to require the force of law or policy to produce that effect.

      You quoted Shapiro:
      ““It is certainly plausible that slavery and Jim Crow have affected how people’s paths have gone in life, and the circumstances of their birth. But the question is ‘How Much?’”

      The issue is not whether it’s plausible, but ‘Is it true?’, and there’s no point in asking “how much” until the factual question is answered.

      You noted:
      “I am attempting to appeal to readers on both sides of the debate”

      While finding common ground is certainly a way to appeal to one’s audience, such an appeal shouldn’t come by way of appeasement. Rather than conceding a false or dubious premiss, perhaps a better common ground would be, as Phil Vischer suggested, that we simply “care”. That’s a common ground that everyone can get behind because it seeks to address present solutions to help the black community rather than fomenting divisions and animosity which leads to policies that seek to harm the white community (e.g., systemically racist/misandrist affirmative action policies).

      You wrote:
      “Even if you don’t think there is ANY systemic racism left in America, I think you should be able to get on board with eliminating systemic racism should you turn out to be wrong.”

      I never suggested there’s absolutely no systemic racism today. I do think there’s systemic racism in America and, as I just noted above, it’s all directed at white people, and I’m completely on board with eliminating it. The problem is that it’s the white (no pun intended) elephant in the room that few want to acknowledge.

      Regarding the First Step act:
      While that’s a good way to address prison reform (and it will certainly help many black men), it has nothing to do with our topic. There are no crime laws that target black people, which is why the First Step Act applies to everyone, not just blacks.

      You noted:
      “In my opinion, Blacks and NAs have been uniquely disadvantaged in comparison to other people groups.”

      I would beg to differ and suggest it’s a demonstrable fact that the Jews have been far more persecuted and been the target of bigotry for far longer than either blacks or NAs have, and that still hasn’t prevented them from making good choices to lift themselves up in whatever circumstances they found themselves in (sure, they’ve made bad choices on occasion which led to God punishing them, but in general, they’ve always tried to maintain a decent community).

      You wrote:
      “Ironically, regarding Blacks, a more recent but significant factor was not racism so much as it was white liberal “support” in the form of the gov replacing husbands as provider.”

      Yes, I had mentioned this in a previous comment. Given that it was LBJ that promoted the Great Society, it’s likely that the “200 years” quote attributed to him is probably true and that the welfare state was a means to keep blacks dependent on the Democrat party and not promoted for any altruistic reasons.

      • Frank,
        I’m a little puzzled as to what you’re arguing for here, exactly. Since we both agree that people are ultimately responsible for the choices they make, where is the problem? You seem to want to be sure that I’m not attempting to make racism responsible for people’s bad choices (which I’m not). You want to be clear that people must own their “free choices” even if made for lame or illogical reasons, (I can agree with that). I don’t see how my arguing that Black America is negatively influenced by the consequences of racism negates any of that. I don’t see how acknowledging that Black America is farther behind due to racism than it otherwise would have been betrays the notion of personal responsibility.

        Regarding my “identical statements,” you write, “Yes, I recognized the distinction you’re making and that’s what I’m attempting to address.”

        I don’t think you’ve recognized the distinction. In your initial response you wrote,
        “While it’s obvious there was, in the past, systemic racism against blacks with respect to slavery or Jim Crow laws, there’s no such thing oppressing black people today… When asked to point out any systemic racism policies against blacks today, no one can point to a single policy, and examples of disparities only serves to beg the question,..”

        My “identical statements” were in response to that. I’ve added a parenthetical clarifier at the end:
        “I’m arguing that blacks are still being disadvantaged by the consequences/effects of PAST systemic racism. If that is the case then it is correct to say that blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism” (even though CURRENT policies are no longer racist).

        Your critique stated, “…you didn’t include “past” in the second sentence, but it’s assumed because “effects” are a logical consequent of “past” causes.”

        But no, it is not assumed in the national debate. I stated it the way I did because when a liberal says, “blacks are still suffering the effects of systemic racism,“ he/she is understood to be saying the system is currently racist. Conservatives tend to disagree. I’m saying it’s not either/or but that rather, past overtly racist policies are still disadvantaging Blacks, so the statement holds true either way. So we should move on.

        Similarly, if I have a 55-year-old friend who has a chipped front tooth and suffers emotional ill health from being constantly bullied throughout Jr. high school, I could correctly say “my friend is still suffering the effects of bullying,” even though he hasn’t been bullied for decades.

        Having said that, 1) systemic racism is not “policies” only, and 2) I’m not sure that all racist policies have been eliminated, and I’m sure not all practices have been either. In defense of my 2 examples:

        1) Segregated schools: Private segregation academies sprung up in the south in the 50s due to white racism. Therefore, the fact that they still exist today is a consequence of past racism. Black children today who are too poor to attend these schools today must attend the local public school (or a homeschool). Therefore, the experience of poor Black school children in those communities today is different than it otherwise would have been if not for the creation of segregation academies.

        You argue that, “Current examples of people segregating into their own enclaves doesn’t demonstrate anything more than people wanting to assemble with those with whom they relate…When you gave an example of an all white school and an all black school, unless there was a current law requiring segregation by color, that example can be explained by simple demographics. A school in an all black (or all white) neighborhood will be attended by the children of that neighborhood, and there’s no other causal factor beyond that when asking why the student body is all black or all white…”

        I think that’s wildly simplistic. The small town I cited is not large enough to need 2 high schools, so all children would attend the same school if not for the existence of the private school. One causal factor explaining why such southern private schools are still largely segregated is that more whites can afford the private schools than can blacks. Another is that, even though parents, whether black or white, may wish to break rank, they may have concerns of putting their child in a situation where they will be a minority in a situation that could be hostile to their child.

        2) Criminal Justice Reform: The First Step Act signed by Trump last year was designed to correct systemic issues in the legal justice system that were disproportionately hurting Blacks; (harm caused by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.) You assert that the First Step Act “has nothing to do with our topic.” But the fact that legislators saw the need to adjust laws that were unfairly harming Blacks suggests otherwise. The crack vs powder cocaine disparity I mentioned earlier is an example. The increased mandatory sentencing laws for drug possession that Vischer mentions is another.

        You say “There are no crime laws that target black people,” which may be technically true, but there are laws, such as those I mentioned, that disproportionately harm Black and poor people.
        The fact that the First Step Act only directly impacts the federal prison population indicates that there is still much systemic injustice that needs to be corrected in many state prison and justice systems.

        I don’t think it is appeasement to admit these things; I think it is admitting the truth. Doing so does not necessitate agreeing with the astonishingly misguided goals of the BLM movement.

        Regarding Blacks and Native Americans being uniquely disadvantaged, I maintain that this is the case. I think the Jewish example is a better argument than the others you have mentioned because of the centuries long Oppression that Jewish people have endured. Even so, I can think of a couple of significant differences – not to minimize at all the suffering that Jewish people have endured, of course).

        It’s true that Jews have been chased around the world for 2000 years without a homeland, and have often ended up in Jewish ghettos, whether thru force or thru their own strategy. However, I’m not aware that Jewish people as a group 1) were stripped of their culture (religion, language, literacy, dress, traditions, and identity). In fact they seemed to have had a pattern of fleeing to places where they thought they could retain these things. 2) I’m not aware that the Jewish family was ever systematically decimated on a large scale. (Except during the Nazi slaughter, but in that case usually the entire family perished). 3) In most of the countries where Jews have lived in exile, including Muslim countries, my understanding is that Jews were usually given agency and basic rights, (until outright persecution would sporadically flare up again).

        Those are significant differences. Nonetheless, I think Jews also live with the aftereffects of centuries of oppression, though it looks different for them. The point remains that Blacks and NAs in America (and NAs in Canada) have been uniquely disadvantaged, and still suffer as a result. Most Blacks are not poor, and for those that are, I agree that racism is not the primary obstacle facing them, as I’ve said all along. And again, I think change is going to have to come from within the Black community; and by change I mean that Black conservatives are going to have to gain influence and speak the truth to their own community. It would be nice if they didn’t have to contend with the Left and the media continually fanning the flames, offering more “help” that won’t help, and preaching a false narrative, but that’s where we are.

        • Scott,

          First, thanks again for the dialogue.

          To answer your question, I’m merely arguing that the hypothesis, i.e., that blacks are currently disadvantaged due to past systemic racism, hasn’t been supported.

          You asked:
          “Since we both agree that people are ultimately responsible for the choices they make, where is the problem?”

          Given that concession, we don’t differ at all. But then, it’s not clear what’s meant by a subsequent statement:

          “I don’t see how my arguing that Black America is negatively influenced by the consequences of racism negates any of that”

          In what way are the ills of the black community today “influenced” by past systemic racism? Nobody denies past examples of systemic racism, and no one denies that there are (and will continue to be) an individual here or there who engages in racist behavior. What is not clear is how the black community today is disadvantaged by past systemic racism.

          I don’t want to beat the proverbial dead horse regarding your “identical statements”, because I don’t seem to be capable of explaining myself clearly, which is entirely my fault. It’s also not important enough to the dialogue to matter in any substantive way.

          You argued:
          “if I have a 55-year-old friend who has a chipped front tooth and suffers emotional ill health from being constantly bullied throughout Jr. high school, I could correctly say ‘my friend is still suffering the effects of bullying,’ even though he hasn’t been bullied for decades.”

          The problem with that argument is that, in your example, the same person who suffered the bullying is suffering an ongoing emotional issue due to that bullying. However, black people today haven’t suffered under any systemic racism with which to be be burdened emotionally, so you’re comparing apples to oranges.

          You wrote:
          “1) systemic racism is not ‘policies’ only, and 2) I’m not sure that all racist policies have been eliminated, and I’m sure not all practices have been either.”

          (1)It’s not at all clear how “systemic” is being used if not referring to policies. If there are no policies to be corrected, then it’s not clear how the problem is to be understood. We can correct bad policy. We cannot correct the fallen human condition, which essentially requires a spiritual solution, which we all know isn’t going to be addressed by legislation. (2) We should first endeavor to determine whether any racist polices/practices exist, and only then discuss solutions.

          Regarding private segregated schools:
          Private schools can do whatever they want, even if they do so for bad reasons. Moreover, their racist motives notwithstanding, it doesn’t do others harm to create a private institution, nor does the inability of others to join constitute any social harm. My inability to purchase a Ferrari doesn’t entail any harm done to me, even if Enzo himself hated me and didn’t want me to own one of his cars. I can still drive my clunker. The fact is, if public schools were available to black kids (which is what is important), then whether or not white parents chose to send their kids there has no bearing on how well a black child will do on his math test, those test results having more bearing on that black child’s future than whether or not a white child was sitting next to him when he took that test. Moreover, if those private schools were created by racists, it’s not at all clear why a black family would even want to send their kid there any more than they would want to send their child to a Klan meeting. It seems to me like getting the racists out of the public school is a clear advantage, not a disadvantage. Finally, simply having a disadvantage doesn’t constitute some kind of social injustice. I’m not tall enough to be an NBA player, such that I may have to mow lawns for a living instead of getting paid millions to play a game, but is my disadvantage of being too short to slam dunk a basketball a social injustice that needs correction of some kind?

          You concluded with:
          “Therefore, the experience of poor Black school children in those communities today is different than it otherwise would have been if not for the creation of segregation academies.”

          Now that’s a leap in logic that simply isn’t warranted. How did the creation of private schools in those communities 50 years ago create an unjust disadvantage to a black child today? — And I have to qualify “disadvantage” with “unjust” to be clear that disadvantages are not in and of themselves injustices that require rectifying.

          You noted:
          “One causal factor explaining why such southern private schools are still largely segregated is that more whites can afford the private schools than can blacks.”

          That’s not an example of systemic racism or effects of systemic racism. That’s an example of economic realities that exist even where communities are homogenous. It’s a fact that people who send their kids to private school do so because they find a way to afford it (not all are wealthy. Some lower to middle-class people work hard and sacrifice for their kids to attend private school), regardless of skin color. Others who can’t afford it or don’t find a way to do so or have no interest in doing so continue to send their kids to public school or homeschool. Be that as it may, this is an economic issue that has nothing to do with racism today.

          Regarding the First Step Act, you wrote:
          “the fact that legislators saw the need to adjust laws that were unfairly harming Blacks suggests otherwise.”

          I don’t dispute that there wasn’t some motive in the mind of legislators to help blacks that were disproportionally affected by anti-drug laws. The problem is that neither the First Step Act nor the laws they were attempting to correct addressed skin color. So what we have is a community that disproportionally committed crimes and consequently were affected by legal penalties. How does that support the hypothesis that past systemic racism disadvantages blacks today?

          You concluded:
          “The fact that the First Step Act only directly impacts the federal prison population indicates that there is still much systemic injustice that needs to be corrected in many state prison and justice systems.”

          This again is simply a non sequitur. If heathens disproportionately fill hell, does that make God’s system of punishment a “systemic injustice”? The disproportion of prison populations only demonstrates the disproportion of crimes committed by that population. Again, is the justice system systemically misandrist simply because more men are in prison than women?

          You wrote:
          “I don’t think it is appeasement to admit these things; I think it is admitting the truth.”

          The problem is, we have no reason to believe it’s true. And unless it’s true, then it is, in fact, appeasement.

          You wrote:
          “I’m not aware that Jewish people as a group 1) were stripped of their culture (religion, language, literacy, dress, traditions, and identity).”

          No one can be stripped of their religion, which is primarily internal. Even when the Jews lost the ark and the temple and were no longer able to perform their rituals, they maintained their faith, because that’s something no one can take away. In fact, when they were taken captive to Babylon, they were stripped of everything you listed except for the faith they maintained in their hearts. Nor is it likely that they had much of anything under Egyptian slavery either. The fact is, slavery in America was in no way comparable to the slavery, persecution, slaughter, and loss of homeland suffered by the Jews over thousands of years, and yet they persevere and thrive. In fact, if anything, slavery in America benefitted the descendants of those slaves to be born in the most free, most wealthy, most opportune land on the planet. If anything, American blacks ought to be grateful that the evil perpetrated on their ancestors turned out to be a blessing for them. What they ought to do is, like Joseph, say that others meant it for harm, but God meant it for their good. A little gratitude goes a long way to improve one’s outlook on life.

          You noted:
          “I think Jews also live with the aftereffects of centuries of oppression, though it looks different for them.”

          I think anti-Semitism is alive and well today, though it’s not in any way enshrined in law, except where they might be harmed by affirmative action polices that also harm non-Jewish whites.

          You wrote:
          “The point remains that Blacks and NAs in America (and NAs in Canada) have been uniquely disadvantaged, and still suffer as a result.”

          That’s the hypothesis, but it’s still not clear why we ought to take it to be true.

  8. Greg says:

    Scott: thanks for taking the time to add those thoughts. Some residual thoughts here, probably most of it a repeat of some sort.
    Regarding Vischers video: caring is, of course , a big deal, but caring (like that slippery word LOVE) seems to mean different things to different people. Or is applied different ways by different people. I’m fairly unconvinced, though I’ve never met him, that Phil would be OK with the way Frank, Candace Owens, Prof. Sowell, or myself express our “caring”. I know BLM would call it something far less. Notable in Vischer’s video , to me, is not what is there , but what is NOT there. I need to rewatch in order to make sure it didn’t slip by me: but it seems that he points to some real examples of past racism, then to current disparities (again, quite real and severe) , waves his hands and says…..”Voila…. this is how we got here….” I dont’ remember him giving much (if any) bandwidth to other factors, which you have broached, or at least some of them. Nothing about the modern black family, and how it might have gotten there. Nothing about the role and importance of gangs and gang culture (not at all just a black thing, of course), nothing about the ills of the “Great Society” and it’s derivatives. I can and will concede that segregated schools and egregious application of the GI bill, and sundowner laws have had their toll, but it’s dishonest, and foolish, for anyone to point to current disparities and lay them in total at the feet of these blatant injustices. I know you, Scott, are not doing that, but it seems Phil has stumbled into that.
    Not only do you have to explain how the Jewish people navigated their long and terrible road, what about black Africans that come here to the states ?? I need to fact check the stats, but I’m willing to bet they do NOT experience nearly the disparities in wealth, or educational prowess, or judiciary misfortune. They are just as black: why is that ?? I’m not (now) siting a study or stat, so this sounds like an ad hominum, but I’d be glad to check that out. Does this ring true ??
    Again, while conceding the existence of the effects of racism, I”m still very unconvinced that it’s the major player in these situations. So far, there are other elephants in the room that have my attention, usually “invisible” if not for blogs like this one.

    • Thanks Greg,
      In defense of Vischer’s video, he pretty much said he doesn’t know the answer. He is explaining why people are upset. I think he did a good job of doing that. I think it is probably puzzling to a lot of whites who felt this latest racial unrest came “from out of nowhere,” since, one could argue, nothing new happened to kick it off. Except that we had an exceptionally graphic video this time, making it hard to ignore. People are frustrated and angry that this continues to happen so long after the civil rights era, and that cops, until now at least, are not held accountable.

      It would be more productive for Blacks if they would not let themselves be continually manipulated by the Left, but maybe things are beginning to change.

      Your point about immigrant blacks – African, French, or whatever – has for decades been an argument by conservatives, proving that racial disparities in America are not about skin color per se, but about character, values, and worldview. I have always maintained that racism is not the primary factor keeping Blacks down. I’m simply trying to get conservatives to acknowledge that it is a factor, in the interest of promoting productive dialogue with friends and neighbors across the aisle. I see many conservative friends, especially those who have lived segregated lives, swinging way over and doubling down in reaction to the BLM/media/progressive woke-fest. Which of course is very tempting.

  9. Greg says:

    Regarding recent immigrants from Africa:

    The success of these first- and second-generation immigrant blacks can be attributed to several factors, including where many of them choose to live as they raise families in America. In his seminal study, “Voluntary and Involuntary Minorities: A Cultural-Ecological Theory of School Performance with Some Implications for Education,” John Ogbu, then a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, contended that immigrant black Americans live in more racially diverse communities and aren’t burdened by perceived black underachievement on standardized tests.

    This is largely because they lack a connection to predominantly U.S.-born black communities and they trust white institutions more than non-immigrant blacks. This leads them them to make housing choices based on the potential for greatest opportunity in education and employment, which tend to be in more diverse communities. END OF QUOTE.

    Granted, SOME of these immigrants come over already educated, and with more income than many US born blacks, but I find the differences in culture and beliefs telling.

  10. Greg says:

    My thought is that this group of immigrants make an entire laundry list of choices based on what they believe will give them the greatest chance of success. Housing and education , of course, play a large role in that. They seem to prioritize education, an attribute shared by many other groups, and perhaps all groups that are in the higher economic demographics.

    • Yep. I agree with all of that. I would be surprised if they come here with the victim mentality promoted by the American Left.

      Also, I haven’t had this conversation with a Black immigrant, but I’d like to ask what they they think about “identity.” For example, I do think I benefit from “white privilege,” but not in the way that people usually mean it. I think the fact that I never think in terms of “my white identity” is an advantage. I never wonder, “uh-oh,..is this a white thing to do?” “Am I compromising my white identity here?”

      Whereas it is definitely a thing in Black America that Blacks who speak proper English will get made fun of for “sounding white,” or Black students will feel pressure from peers to not be too book smart. I have heard some Blacks say marriage is a “white thing.” If that notion becomes widespread, then I’m afraid the outlook for Black America is hopeless.

      • Greg says:

        Reading and contributing here have pushed me to stop, think, and listen. Your thoughts, and Frank’s, have been like exercise partners doing the extra reps next to me.
        I appreciate your tenacity in really hearing the other side ( or ” sides”), Scott. That is a rare trait, the white tiger of FB, do to speak.
        More later, but a parting thought about Phil. Yes, this is a hairball of an issue, but I think some reference to Jesus as the way out of this is called for by someone who has publicly put himself out there as a teacher of the Christian way. Yes, not very pluralistic of me, but his public role calls for a public nod to Jesus, imo.
        Glad to hear your view on that.
        Remember also that EVERYONE has there story, even poc that are cops. Just ask.

  11. […] to repent of your ancestors’ sins. Repentance is not the point for you today if you do not hold racist beliefs or attitudes, imo. What I think is in order is that we grieve with, feel with, and empathize with, our Black […]

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