Would any reasonable person deny that there are racists among us? Or that racial discrimination retards upward mobility? So what is the cause of the current social disparities in the U.S?
Jason L. Riley in the WSJ writes, “Evidence of racial bias in the past or the present, does not prove that racism is responsible for current social disparities.” Those who argue that racial discrimination is largely responsible for the black-white wealth gap are ignoring other plausible explanations, adds Mr. Riley.
Black Unemployment Rates at Generational Lows
Black poverty and employment today, for example, seem to be more a function of family formation than of white racism. For more than 20 years, black married couples have had poverty rates in the single digits, and black married men have had a higher labor-force participation rate than white men who never married. According to The Wall Street Journal, last year the labor-force participation gap between blacks and whites virtually vanished, the first time that’s happened since 1972. Systemic racism may be “in the air we breathe,” but black unemployment rates are at generational lows.
Mr. Riley cites Kay Hymowitz’s writings in City Journal, “Family instability and fatherlessness collide with racial and economic disadvantage to create a negative feedback loop in black communities, hampering children’s potential and perpetuating racial inequality.”
Family Structure Is Key
Ms. Hymowitz references new research from John Iceland, a demographer at Penn State University: “Differences in family structure are the most significant variable in explaining the black-white affluence gap. In fact, its importance has grown over time relative to other explanations, including discrimination. Unable to pool earnings with a spouse, to take advantage of economies of scale, and to share child care, black single parents have a tougher time than their married counterparts building a nest egg.”
This Isn’t 1950
“Attitudes have changed. Behaviors have changed,” continues Mr. Riley.
American neighborhoods and schools and marriages are more integrated. We elected a black president twice, and he won several of the nation’s whitest states both times. Racism has probably never been less significant in America, and blacks have never had more opportunities to seize.
Liberals are pushing a narrative that many white voters don’t recognize and that many black voters know is false.
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