We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
He says "systemic racism" is a political narrative:
I am left wanting to know just what they are talking about when they say, “systemic racism.” Use of that phrase expresses a disposition. It calls me to solidarity while asking for fealty, for my affirmation of a system of belief. It frames the issue primarily in terms of anti-black bias. It is only one among many possible narratives about racial disparities, and often not the most compelling one.
I wish to offer here an alternative way of telling the story of persistent racial inequality which I call the “development narrative.” This account stresses patterns of behavior within the disadvantaged population that need to be considered. I speak now about African Americans, some 40 million people in the United States. This, of course, is a variegated, differentiated, and heterogeneous population. One size does not fit all. Nevertheless, I am willing to ask: do some behaviors observable in certain communities of color have the consequence of inhibiting the development of human potential among their members? And should such behavioral disparities be borne in mind when confronting and acting against the fact of racial inequality?
It's a lengthy piece so I'm sure he could not include every factoid, but I find it interesting, when considering these things, that the bourgeois black family in the US was stronger in the 1950s than today. I don't think "urban black dysfunction" existed then. Correct me if I am wrong.
Loury - Though either his father or grandfather was named Lowry. I forget which.
The black crime rate has always been higher, and cities had riots, but neither were so pronounced. Drugs have perhaps been the driving issue. It is a brutal choice culturally. When we crack down on drugs, we tend to pick the ones more popular with African-Americans. So we help create the criminal class, at least in part. But if we just turn our heads (as has happened in some jurisdictions) then there is cultural breakdown. What we do to help sometimes makes things worse.
Assistant Village Idiot
Interesting. I think the great society programs, by disincentivizing intact families, played the larger role. Absent fathers, out of wedlock births, etc., are problems that seem intractable for any government program. "What we do to help sometimes makes things worse." We agree on that point.
Something that also seems to get overlooked is that desegregation, in a perverse way, contributed to the decline of the Black Urban Middle Class. As Black populations moved north and urbanized, an economy emerged, largely Black-owned, to provide the goods and services they could not obtain from the segregated "White" economy. So you had the "Black" drug store, and the "Black" grocer, and the "Black" used car lot, and these in turn needed lawyers, and accountants and bookkeepers, and tax preparers, and bankers, and the like. After the Civil Rights era, this parallel economy rather suddenly had to compete head-to-head with the larger and better capitalized mainstream businesses who opened their doors to all.
I'm not saying this as an argument in favor of segregation, only to explain that it caused, like all wars, a lot of collateral damages.
Another Guy named Dan
Progress is always measurable. 'Systemic Racism", "Racial Equity", the very terminology is kept vague and undefined - purposely. If it can't be defined, then how can parameters be established in order to chart how it can it be fixed?
It's a politically-driven industry in this country; there are incentives to keep the status quo cash flow. One can shear the sheep many times, but skin it only once.
Loury deserves praise and commendation for his intellectual courage.
Unfortunately, he thinks of races and species in what biologists call "typology," i. e., that all things with the same label are identical. He does not understand "population" thinking nor biodiversity, so he cannot understand the problem he discusses. Nor can most of his readers and critics.
It is 162 years since Darwin published "The Origin of the Species," and over 80 years since the evolutionary synthesis (natural selection and genetics), and still few educated people get it. Loury doesn't.
Can someone help me find Wakanda or someplace like it ? Does it exist anywhere on the planet. Even 3/4 Wakanda, 3/5 Wakanda, 1/3 Wakanda. I have asked this question to many leftist , no answer yet. The usual response is “you racist “
Thomas Sowell's "A Personal Odyssey" contains a number of observations and insights about the lives of lower income blacks in the 50's and 60's in New York. He shows how blacks were, on the whole, making steady upward progress economically until the "Great Society" debacle and since. In fact, it is hard to imagine any government interventions "on behalf" of blacks that would have been more harmful than what has been done since then.
When it comes human affairs, you can't always make things better, but you can always make them worse.
The promotion of rap music and the lifestyles of the rap singers in the '80s and '90s didn't help one bit. Violence, drug use, misogyny, all promoted and marketed to a certain culture that didn't have guiding male figures in the family, and had 'leadership' that you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference from folks running a long con. Talk about learning toxic masculine ideals...
But hey, it's racist to think that something like popular entertainment might cause problems down the road.... right?
Several commenters mention the Great Society programs as the culprit. That's what Shelby Steele says. See the documentary by filmmaker Eli Steele (his son) and Shelby Steele that was released last fall: What Killed Michael Brown? Then watch Glenn Loury and John McWhorter interview Shelby Steele and Eli Steele about the film: The Glenn Show. Great interview. I just wrote a blog post about all this here.
The Switchel Philosopher