Liberty Fund Roundtable on Systemic Racism
> Sociologist John Sibley Butler offers the most strident, multifaceted criticism of systemic race theory. Systemic racism, he suggests, conflicts with the successes of ... Nigerian Americans
I think this is one of the strongest points in the entire article. Recent African immigrants to America by and large don't experience the same societal problems as "traditional" African-Americans (ie. the descendants of slaves) experience. This strongly suggests that something other than race is responsible for the problems. Correlation may not imply causation, but non-correlation absolutely does imply non-causation.
The article mentions Thomas Sowell. His book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" takes a good look at a more likely cause: the violent and dysfunctional Antebellum South "redneck" culture that the slaves inherited from their masters bears a disturbing resemblance to the worst parts of black American "ghetto" culture today. Southern white rednecks have since moved on with the passage of the better part of two centuries, but with Jim Crow keeping black Americans culturally isolated to a large degree, the descendants of slaves all too often remain stuck with this toxic cultural heritage.
To the point about the success of Nigerian Americans, I'll add that Professor John Obgu, Nigerian by birth, was a sociology professor at Berkeley. (Sadly, he died some 20 years ago.) In a remarkable paper on the impact of affirmative action on black students from well-to-do families in the Cleveland area, he found that it greatly reduced their drive to succeed in high school, since they knew that racial preferences would enable them to get into top colleges even without noteworthy achievements. What a contrast from earlier times when black kids were taught that they needed to work especially hard to overcome any bigotry against them. Scholars like Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams grew up in that environment.
How is it that issues of accountability and effects of Black culture do not come up in the review? For a discussion, from a Centrist point of view, see The Last Lonely Traveler - From the Extremes, published 2023. Gary Baker, Esq., MT
To this layman, we’ve had 3 generations of liberal solutions to race; affirmative action, welfare, liberal run school systems, behavioral standard degradation, etc. Yet for native born US blacks I am told things have gotten worse.
We all know the definition of insanity yet the only solutions being proposed are the same things that have failed so far. Only we are now supposed to do more of them?
I liked Pat Moniyhan’s benign neglect. He looks prescient now.
Poverty is not an excuse. See above. Consider also that by any measure, the geniuses who came before us lived in poverty relative to almost everyone alive in the US today.
While the genetic basis of intelligence and the traits that seem to predict success in life (respect for authority; future-orientation; strong impulse control) is a sensitive issue, I don't think we can ignore it. I believe Charles Murray lays out compelling arguments (see Human Diversity) for at least a significant effect of genetic determinants across demographic cohorts.
If a non-trivial portion of the achievement gap is due to genetics, we do no group any favors by ignoring it. What can't be fixed, can't be fixed. If a group's median intelligence is a standard deviation lower than another's--and the basis is genetic--that group will be less successful.
I get aggravated by the (to me) wishful thinking that everyone can go to college, work in the information economy, etc. Some people are not very smart. They need jobs, too.
Similarly, I get aggravated by the systemic racism argument. Black Americans' food choices are not dictated by Jim Crow. (And aren't much different from much of white, rural America!).
Redlining was abhorrent--but much of the continuing racial segregation in housing patterns is driven by the criminal behavior of the black underclass. Jim Crow and slavery are not the reason Oakland became unlivable for me. There is a book I am meaning to read if my failing memory will bring the title to mind--about why ethnic whites fled the cities of NJ in the 60s. Blacks who have the means also flee.
I am not arguing that racism doesn't exist, that sometimes it is an overlooked element in institutions, etc. I think it is way overblown, and focusing on it will drain energy from the hard questions we need to ask about group differences and how we can offer meaningful life choices to those (of every race) who are not able to "learn to code."