Disparities throughout history have been the norm, not the exception. Even in regions of the world where most people are of the same race, disparities exist. One example is the per capita income gap between people in Eastern Europe and Western Europe, reports Jason Riley in the WSJ. That gap is wider than the gap between blacks and whites in the U.S.
Racial disparities have both grown and narrowed over time. What has remained constant is racism. If Joe Biden wants to change the government’s approach to racial inequality, Mr. Riley outlines a quick history that “ought to inform” Biden’s actions.
The greatest success of the civil-rights movement wasn’t a new government program but getting government off the backs of blacks by defeating Jim Crow.
Nothing the government has done since then in the name of advancing blacks has been more effective than simply ending government-sponsored discrimination. Black poverty fell by 40 percentage points between 1940 and 1960. It continued to decline in the wake of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society interventions, but at a much slower pace.
Under President Donald Trump, blacks and Hispanics experienced record low poverty and unemployment rates (before COVID hit).
Mr. Riley turns to history as a guide on how to help blacks.
Number 1: Get government out of the way.
- Stop forcing poor black children to attend failing schools by denying them school choice.
- Stop increasing the minimum wage and pricing black young adults out of jobs.
- Stop implementing occupational licensing regulations that prevent black entrepreneurs from starting a business.
- Stop pretending that policing is a bigger problem than violent crime in poor black neighborhoods. In 2019 there were 492 homicides in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times, and only three of them involved police.
The Democratic Party is full of people who want revenge for four years of Donald Trump, continues Mr. Riley.
Joe Biden has to decide whether he wants to implement a racial spoils system on steroids to accommodate them, or whether he’d rather focus on racial unity. He can’t do both.