Systemic Racism?

We have seen protests across America claiming that America is a nation guilty of systemic racism. No one seems much interest in presenting evidence of this. After more than 40 years of laws explicitly prohibiting racial discrimination, we continue to see charges of widespread racism. But is this true? What evidence is there for this? What do the statistics say?

To look at this, I have compiled some statistics comparing blacks to whites:

Blacks are:
12 times more likely to die in an occupational injury
2 time more likely to commit suicide
10 times more likely to be incarcerated
3 times more likely to be homeless
2.5 times more likely to be addicted to drugs
50% less likely to attend college
less likely to be given a warning when stopped for a vehicular moving violation
less likely to live to 75 years of age

Are these statistics proof that blacks suffer from systemic racism? If you said “yes”, than you have just agreed that men suffer systemic sexism because these statistics are for men versus women. Across almost all socio-economic statistics, women do better than men. If we account for age, occupation, experience, etc. the so-called gender pay gap even disappears. Despite these statistics, we are told, without evidence, that men are privileged over women.

There is no question that all statistics support the fact that blacks – especially black men – do less well than whites economically. They also do less well than Asians. But how can we use statistics to prove systemic racism towards blacks while ignoring statistical performance for men versus women not be evidence of sexism against men?

My purpose here is not to promote men’s rights. My purpose here is to demonstrate that disparate outcomes are not, by themselves, proof of discrimination. If the Black Lives Matter organization wants to convince us that change needs to happen, it will take more than pointing to the horrible injustice suffered by Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd’s death is evidence that police – like all human beings – are capable of doing horrible things. It is not evidence of systemic racism.

That said, the disparate outcomes of blacks versus white and Asians is not desirable – regardless of the cause. We need creative solutions to overcome these disparities. Telling all white people that the color of their skin makes them guilty and burning down cities are not creative solutions. There is a zero probability that either will lead to improved outcomes for blacks. There is also a zero probability that abolishing police forces will improve economic outcomes for anyone. What it will do is lead to the privatization of the police. The well-to-do will have their own private security and everyone else will have to fend for themselves in a Hobbesean state-of-nature.

Prior to Covid-19, we were seeing large improvements in wages for blacks. Non-progressives have been saying for years that bringing jobs back home, deregulating the economy, and reducing immigration would lead to higher wages. And this is exactly what we saw between 2017 and Q1-2020. Black unemployment fell to an all-time low. Equally important, wages, which had been stagnant for two decades, were rising. Post Covid-19, if we continue to pursue these policies, we will slowly see the income inequalities be reduced. But, so long as blacks continue to have 80% of their children born out of wedlock, and so long as large numbers of black children do not apply themselves in school, there will always be income inequalities. And if you think that last statement is racist, too bad. We see a growing white underclass with the same economic problems we see in some black urban neighbourhoods. We also see high rates of out-of-wedlock births and poor academic performances in those populations as well. Two-parent families and strong academic achievement leads to better socio-economic outcomes regardless of race.

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