"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, November 20, 2006

Problems not solved

"Black Progress" Through Politics,” by Walter Williams opens with this:

Blacks and Hispanics, especially blacks, are the most politically loyal people in the nation. It's often preached and taken as gospel that the only way black people can progress is through racial politics and government programs, but how true is that? Let's look at it.

He goes on to inspect conventional wisdom that may have special meaning for Oak Park, where block-by-block westbound Chicago segregation stopped in the late ‘60s and race relations are never far away. He notes startling economic gains by blacks before politics went their way.

In 1940, poverty among black families was 87 percent and fell to 47 percent by 1960. . . . [I]n various skilled trades, the incomes of blacks relative to whites more than doubled between 1936 and 1959. . . . [T]he rise of blacks in professional and other high-level occupations was greater during the five years preceding the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than the five years afterward.

In 1940 a mere 15% of black children were born outside of marriage, in contrast to today's 70%. By the mid-'60s, when sociologist, later UN ambassador and senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan sounded the alarm about breakup of the black family, the rate had risen to 26%.

Crime has become a horrendous problem, having reached "a level . . . unimaginable to most Americans and unimaginable to blacks of yesteryear."

In 2005 “blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims, and 94 percent of black victims were murdered by blacks,” so that "the overwhelmingly law-abiding residents of [black] neighborhoods [live] . . . in fear of assault and battery, rape, robbery and various forms of intimidation."

The neighborhoods have become "economic wastelands." Their "most stable" residents leave. From political leaders comes no relief.  Instead come government programs, cementing blacks' dependency on them, as Democratic candidates did at the Oak Park Library last spring. Republicans at an earlier meeting -- not as well organized -- talked policies to help small business.

In Oak Park, school discipline and achievement come to mind as what angers blacks. Many a step has been taken to alleviate this anger. Focus has been on school programs. But how much difference have programs made? Not much. We would have heard about it. Rather than eliminating the problems, we have lulls between storms of protest and heightened political activity, such as the recent pressuring of state legislators to order up a study followed by a report finding no evidence of unfair discrimination, followed by another lull.

There must be a better way.

2 comments:

Devang said...

I saw a very interesting interview on C-Span recently with the author of Whistling Past Dixie. Republicans can call the book What's the matter with Kansas? part deux, I'm sure. Well, it turns out negative attitudes on race are still strongly correlated with southern white male southern voters who turn out to vote overwhelmingly Republican, and the party keeps wondering why they keep losing black voters by a large marging every election cycle. Turns out defense of voting rights and equality (including issues like affirmative action) is more important that other issues. The 2004 ANES, and the data.

Here is the C-Span interview with the author. The interesting parts are at the 13th, 25th and the last 4 minutes.

As for the rest of the post, Fox News had an hour long special on Thomas Sowell a while ago, which I gave up on even trying to argue with because of far too much revisionism.

Evanston said...

Devang, you state that the original post had "far too much revisionism." How about giving one example?