What’s Going On? – Part IX Black Lives Do Matter, BLM Misdiagnosis — Police Are The Problem

As discussed in Parts I – VII,[i] most of the Democrats’ well-intended attempts to address the legitimate and serious obstacles facing Blacks in America failed because Democrats misdiagnosed the causes of those obstacles. In many instances, Democrat policies created new obstacles or exacerbated old obstacles. BLM has incorporated those misdiagnoses and added some of their own. Let’s start with BLM’s complaint that gets the lion’s share of attention: The police are the problem.

Disproportion. BLM was founded in 2013 after George Zimmerman, a non-policeman, was acquitted in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin.  At this point, the impetus for BLM outrage was about injustice in the judicial system, not with the police. Nevertheless, BLM soon focused much attention on policing. As I noted in Nike’ Mistake—Supporting a Counterproductive Cause Against Police, by 2018, BLM’s Black Lives Matter’s Platform included “END THE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE.”[ii] In July 2020, BLM’s website said, “Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.”[iii] Sadly, the percentage of America’s Black population killed by police is higher than the percentage of the White population. That fact, however, would validate a “War On Black People” only if the percentage the Blacks who commit violent crimes were comparable to the percentage of Whites who commit crimes. Vastly more Blacks commit such crimes. [See more on this point below

Rather than intentionally targeting Blacks for demise, crime statistics tell us the following:

  • Police kill more Whites per encounter than Blacks.[iv]
  • Armed or unarmed Blacks who resist arrest are less likely to be killed than armed or unarmed whites who resist arrest.[v]
  • According to the Washington Post database (which uses an expansive definition of “unarmed”), police officers in the US in 2019 killed nine “unarmed” black men.[vi]

Every life matters, but nine out of 47.8 million is not exactly an epidemic. 

As to disproportion, police in the US fatally shoot about 1,000 people per year. Just under 50% of the killings are of Whites, and about 25% are of Blacks.[vii] Given that Whites are 63% of the population and Blacks are 13%, Blacks are disproportionately killed based on population. Population, however, would be a relevant metric only if the incidence of interaction between police and resisting suspects were the same for both Whites and Blacks. They are not. Interactions between cops and suspects are a function of crimes, not population. Blacks ages 10 – 43 die of homicides at 13 times the rates of whites, and those homicides are overwhelmingly committed by Blacks.[viii] In the 75 largest counties, Blacks commit roughly 60% of all murders and robberies, while Blacks represent 15% of those counties’ population.[ix] As long as Blacks commit disproportionately more crimes, and given that cops are dispatched to where 911 callers report crimes taking place, there will naturally be disproportionately more interactions between Blacks and the police. (Unless, of course, the police are abolished. In that case, criminals of all skin hues will do a lot more violence. There is no reason, however, to believe that would reduce the disproportionate victimization of Black people.[x])

By intensely reporting on a national level every police killing of a Black person and reporting police killings of Whites only locally with little fanfare, the media creates a wildly false narrative in the minds of Americans.[xi] Whereas throughout most of America’s history there has been a robust anti-Black bias, that is no longer the case. As Coleman Hughes put it, “America only cares when the victim [of police killings] is Black now.”[xii] Contrary to BLM’s diagnosis of the current state of affairs, Black lives do matter to the vast majority of Americans today — especially American police.

Police Brutality. Following the invidious video of George Floyd dying, BLM amped up its emphasis on “police brutality and all racially motivated violence against Black people.”[xiii]

Let’s first observe that, though terrible and real, police brutality is neither a racial issue nor the relevant issue. Consider this hypothetical: A court issues a murder warrant to arrest a Black ex-con rapist; a cop finds the suspect attempting to drag a Black trans woman into his car and orders him to stop. The suspect ignores the order and continues to push the woman into his vehicle. The cop uses a stun gun on the suspect, but the suspect is unfazed, and the suspect grabs a baseball bat from the car and threatens to beat the cop with it. The cop has only two options:  Let the suspect (prey in toe) go or use sufficient force to stop him. Something short of brutality might not be significant. If the Black trans woman was the daughter of a BLM activist, surely even BLM activists would agree that brutality is permissible if there is no other way to stop the brutality that the ex-con would likely inflict on the trans woman.

The relevant issue is whether a cop has used excessive force. BLM could legitimately protest excessive (more than necessary) force by police against a Black person. BLM, however, typically labels any force used by police that harms the suspect as “brutality,” even when the force used was necessary to detain the suspect. That labeling is almost always illegitimate and deceptive. Sadly, however, such labeling is politically useful. Talking about “excessive force” instead of “brutality” would implicitly concede that some force was appropriate. Making that concession would lead to a conversation about the suspect’s conduct. That conversation won’t fit on a placard and cannot be chanted. Even in instances in which excessive force was a possibility, having to talk about the conduct of the person under arrest detracts from the more compelling “What do we want? Dead Cops! When do we want them? Now!”[xiv] and “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon”[xv] messaging. Also, if the suspect resisted arrest, the amount of force that would be necessary to subdue the suspect is unknowable and, therefore, debatable. BLM discards these ambiguities because a  grassroots movement that is propelled by emotions will die absent simple messages.

The George Floyd Narrative. The incident that triggered the current BLM-lead uprising arose from the video of “the two faces, Officer Chauvin on top, George Floyd on the bottom, having Officer Chauvin’s knee on his neck. And the image of face — the expression on Officer Chauvin’s anger, dominating position, just in total control of the situation,”[xvi] as Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart (Ret.) described it. That description of the event and others like it underlie BLM’s outrage over the death of George Floyd. The characterization projected on Officer Chauvin (an angry dominator) may be accurate, but only Chauvin knows which of the many attitudes cast on him is correct. A projected attitude that cannot be disproven is that Officer Chauvin was calmly and professionally following his department’s protocol for dealing with a detainee suffering from positional asphyxia, i.e., Chauvin was not angry or domineering, but attempting to save the life “suffering the effects of a self-administered toxic overdose of fentanyl, a dangerously powerful synthetic painkiller signs of which ‘include severe respiratory depression, seizures, hypotension, coma and death.’ According to his toxicology report, Floyd had over three times the potentially lethal amount of fentanyl in his blood when he expired.”[xvii] The latest BLM uprising appears to have been predicated on a misdiagnosis of what happened when George Floyd died.

[i] What’s Going On? – Part I The Mess, What’s Going On? – Part II Black Lives Do Matter, Problems Aplenty, What’s Going On? – Part III Black Lives Do Matter, The “Do-Gooders’” Slate, What’s Going On? – Part IV Black Lives Do Matter, Do-Gooders’ War On Poverty, What’s Going On? – Part V Black Lives Do Matter, Unfair Discriminatory Structures, What’s Going On? – Part VI Black Lives Do Matter, The Stereotyping Problem, and What’s Going On? – Part VII Black Lives Do Matter, Dashed Hopes

[ii] Black Lives Matter Releases Policy Agenda (Like so many other BLM webpages, the page that included that claim is no longer available.)

[iii]  What is BLM?

[iv] Heather Mac Donald: The Truth About Crime, Race, and Policing in America and Radio host Larry Elder contrasts numbers on white and black Americans ‘killed by cops’ last year “How many unarmed blacks were killed by cops last year? 9. How many unarmed whites were killed by cops last year? 19,” [Larry Elder] tweeted Tuesday. “More officers are killed every year than are unarmed blacks…”

[v] ‘America is not racist’ Heather Mac Donald breaks down BLM, cancel culture & wokeness – BQ #29 @1:20

[vi] Id. @13:00

[vii] Heather Mac Donald: The Truth About Crime, Race, and Policing in America @7:45 and

[viii] Id. @9:00

[ix] Id. @9:45 and Police Go Where the Crime Is

[x]  Heather Mac Donald calls Black Lives Matter movement ‘extraordinarily reckless,’ based on ‘utter hypocrisy’

[xi] How Many Unarmed Black Americans Are Killed By Police?

[xii] Coleman Hughes: The moral case against Black Lives Matter @21:55

[xiii] ‘Black Lives Matter’ Is Not Helping Blacks

[xiv] FLASHBACK: Al Sharpton’s Marchers in New York City Chant “What Do We Want? Dead Cops!”

[xv] “Pigs in a blanket fry em like bacon!” This was July 2016 before last election!

[xvi] “Please, Take Your Knee Off Our Necks So We Can Breathe”

[xvii] Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Thao: The George Floyd Fall Guys

What’s Going On? – Part VIII Black Lives Do Matter, BLM Misdirection

Because Black lives do matter so much, a movement to deal with Blacks’ many valid grievances is necessary and overdue. Let’s sort out why BLM is not that movement.

BLM focuses its attention, time, resources, and efforts on (1) a wide array of issues that are not unique to Blacks,[i] and (2) the grievances of “marginalized” people, the majority of whom are not Black,[ii] e.g., LGBTQIA+. Regardless of those other grievances’ merit, such focus will likely improve the lives of non-Blacks more than the lives of Blacks.

BLM once listed those extraneous grievances on its “What We Believe” webpage. While the page was sweepingly revised, the information is still findable.[iii]) Perhaps it dawned on BLM that publicizing its support of extraneous movements revealed how much of BLM’s agenda is not about Blacks. However, all the off-topic groups are still part of the movement and integral to BLM.

Directing BLM resources to non-Black matters leaves fewer resources to address Black matters, i.e., Black lives will improve less than BLM’s power, reach, and resources could produce if BLM focused on issues that mostly affect Blacks. Worse, many of BLM’s initiatives harm Blacks.

According to Wikipedia, “Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against Black people… an organization known simply as Black Lives Matter exists as a decentralized network with about 16 chapters in the United States and Canada.” So, BLM does not speak with one voice. Some things about BLM, however, are certain.

BLM’s current “What Matters” webpage says, “BLM’s #WhatMatters2020 will focus on issues concerning racial injustice, police brutality, criminal justice reform, Black immigration, economic injustice, LGBTQIA+ and human rights, environmental injustice, access to healthcare, access to quality education, and voting rights and suppression.” Also, “to continue to pressure ICE, and to draw attention to the need for immigration reform.”

Many of the issues on the list disproportionately help non-Blacks:

Liberals, Conservatives,[iv] and Libertarians[v] support some BLM criminal justice reforms, e.g., reducting unnecessary police brutality, independent investigations of officer-involved shootings, police body cameras, hiring more minority officers, and more mental-healthcare funding.[vi] BLM, Conservatives, and Libertarians support attenuating the power of police unions to protect bad cops.

On the other hand, BLM supports criminal reform that would cause Black crime to be less risky and more profitable.[vii] Crime already pays so much that too many people (disproportionately Black people) find it worthwhile. Reducing the costs of crime and reducing the likelihood of getting arrested will increase the number of criminals on the streets. Because the streets of poor Black communities are where a disproportion of criminals hang out, Black people will disproportionately bear the brunt of more criminals on the street.

“Police Brutality” that is unnecessary to prevent harm to innocent Blacks is opposed by almost everyone. BLM, however, condemns all police brutality, which includes brutality that is required to arrest someone who is committing or has committed a violent crime. When a person brutally resists arrest, brutality on the part of the police may be required to get the violent criminal to stop or get off the streets. Stopping violent crimes and keeping violent criminals out of Black communities is best for the vast majority of Blacks.

The “Black immigration” initiative includes the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).[viii] “Abolish ICE” would benefit far more Hispanics than Blacks. While lawful immigration benefits Americans, most people entering the country without authorization (ICE’s primary focus) disproportionately drive down low- and middle-income wages, which disproportionately hurts the earnings and job opportunities of impoverished Blacks. Also, the inevitable disproportionate increases in Hispanic voters will decrease Blacks’ political power.

BLM places a high priority on LGBTQIA+ matters.[ix] However, a higher percentage of Hispanics claim to be LGBT than Blacks, and the rate of LGBT growth by Blacks has been slower than the rate of LGBT growth by Hispanics, Asians, and Whites.[x]

BLM is anti-religion.[xi] Blacks are more religious than Whites, Hispanics, and most “Others.”

Destroying institutions that Blacks disproportionately value and rely on to improve their lives would not be part of an organization whose primary goal was to improve Black lives.

BLM proposes “defunding the police”[xii] or “abolition of the police.”[xiii] However, 80% of Blacks want the same or more policing, and “Black respondents were more likely to want more police presence than white, Asian, and all adults overall… The overwhelming support for current levels of policing even holds among black respondents who say they see the police often or very often. Two in three of those say they would like to see the police the same amount or more…”[xiv] Why? Because violent criminality disproportionately torments Black neighborhoods.

As I sorted out in “Slowing the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”—At What Cost?,” BLM’s ban[xv] on “zero tolerance” discipline in schools[xvi] has been devastating for Blacks. Making those policies more widespread would make things worse for Blacks.

BLM supports ending[xvii] and circumventing[xviii] cash bail. Michel Foucault fulminations[xix] to the contrary notwithstanding, societies must have a reasonably functional justice system. At a minimum, just and civil societies must convict and punish criminals to an extent sufficient to keep criminality at reasonable levels. Fair convictions of criminals require the presence of the accused. Jailing everyone charged with a crime to ensure attendance would be infeasible and unjust to the innocent people.

To strike a balance between jailing the innocent and ensuring attendance at trial, courts often “release on bail” defendants who are too dangerous or likely to flee. Bail is the primary means by which courts allow defendants to avoid languishing in jail before trial. (It is the worst possible system, except for all the others conceived ones.) Without the bail system, far more criminals would be on the streets disproportionately hurting or killing innocent people in poor Black communities.

Lawlessness is exceptionally harmful in Black communities. The problems caused by violent crimes are apparent. The issues with non-violent criminality are less obvious, but might be more problematic. Living where one can trust neighbors is vastly nicer than the alternative. People who live with rampant lawlessness rarely thrive. Running a business in lawless communities is much more hazardous, risky, and expensive than elsewhere — all of which raise the cost of doing business. Higher costs result in higher prices to customers and fewer businesses — thereby inflicting on neighbors higher costs and the inconvenience and expense of traveling farther to shop or work. Many of the businesses in black neighborhoods are Black-owned and employ Blacks. Kids having nearby job opportunities and seeing neighbors succeed in business provide positive role models and instills the morals and work habits necessary to thrive. With too much shoplifting, looting, rioting, or arson, businesses cannot survive, and Black kids are more likely to believe that trying to succeed is a sucker’s game after all.

If Black lives matter to BLM as much as BLM would have us believe, BLM would care more about the Blacks that will be harmed by subverting or eliminating cash bail. An organization that believes Black lives matter would work to fix[xx] the problems with cash bail, not add its elimination to the long list of BLM proposals that would incentivize criminality in Black neighborhoods.

While much of BLM’s agenda concerns criminal justice, nothing in BLM’s agenda aims to close the disproportionately high rate of crimes committed by Blacks.[xxi] On the contrary, BLM’s rhetoric causes more Blacks to believe the police are “hunting them down.”[xxii] Whether or not BLM’s claims about police targeting Blacks are true, the message increases the indignation of Blacks when they are detained by police. As a consequence of that message, Blacks disproportionately become understandingly indignant when detained by police and resist arrests.[xxiii] That conduct results in the rate of Black arrests for resisting arrest being many multiples of the rate for Whites.[xxiv] The resulting disproportionate confrontations far too often wind up with Blacks being killed by police.   Dismantle patriarchal practices? How could doing that disproportionately help Blacks? There are plenty of “studies” and articles that tout the benefits to women of having the freedom to scrap men from their family life (and plenty about the resulting harm to children). I am aware of only one compelling argument that jettisoning men from families disproportionately benefits Black families. That argument is that Black men are more violent or otherwise problematic for Black families than men of other races. If that is true, it is likely because government welfare programs have disproportionately made the presence of Black men in the home an economic burden on the family — the opposite of the situation in Black families before the War on Poverty type programs began — which BLM supports.

Disrupt Western culture? It was Western culture that brought about the end of slavery being acceptable in the world. People who adhere to Western cultural norms fare better than people who do not.

In par, Whites fare better in American than most other races because they accept Western Values and the cultural aspects and assumptions that go with them. Is there something about Blacks that would prevent them from adopting those advantageous aspects and assumptions? I certainly think and hope not. BLM claims that Blacks are disadvantaged. There is some truth to that. One of their disadvantages is being encouraged to reject Western culture.

None of the above excuses systemic or police wrongdoing against Blacks. I condemn those.  Nor does it suggest that reform is unneeded. It is. However, projects/movements to reduce mistreatments and deaths of Blacks that do the opposite are perverse.[xxv] Yet, that is what BLM’s proposals do. Perhaps reducing mistreatments and deaths of Black is not BLM agenda.

All of the above could cause one to suspect that BLM is primarily about things other than fixing what matters to Blacks. Let’s sort out what those other things might be in the next post in this series.

[i] Zuby – The Problem with Black Lives Matter, and The Complex Funding and Ideology of Black Lives Matter, BLM Leaders in Their Own Words,

[ii] 24 Ways to Donate in Support of the Black Lives Matter Movement Right Now

[iii] After being unmasked BLM removes ‘What We Believe’ from website

  Examples from BLM’s What We Believe page:

  • “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
  • We make space for transgender brothers and sisters to participate and lead.
  • We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
  • We dismantle the patriarchal practice…
  • We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure
  • We foster a queer‐affirming network…”

[iv] Criminal justice reform on display at GOP convention, in panel with Ohioans

[v] The Libertarian: Law, Policing, And Criminal Justice Reform

[vi] A House Committee Should Stand Up for Mental Health and CAMPAIGN ZERO

[vii] Top 10 Reasons I Won’t Support the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

[viii] Black Lives Matter Founder: DNC Platform Must Call for Defunding Police, Abolishing ICE

[ix] From the start, Black Lives Matter has been about LGBTQ lives

[x] In U.S., Estimate of LGBT Population Rises to 4.5%

[xi] Why Supporting Black Lives Matter Is Anti-Christian And Anti-Life

[xii] #DefundThePolice

[xiii] Black Lives Matter Philadelphia organizer proposes five-year plan to abolish police

[xiv] Gallup: 80 Percent of Black Americans Want the Same or More Police in Their Neighborhoods, The Left Wants to Abolish the Police. Does the Black Community?, Tyler Perry: “I think we need more police” 


[xvi] Zero tolerance

[xvii] Black Lives Matter Recruiting Court Watchers For Bailout Program, Bail reform laws let alleged criminals back on the streets within hours, threatening public security

[xviii] The Best Places to Donate to Help Black Lives Matter Protestors

[xix] Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison

[xx] How Cash Bail Works “The cash bail system is unfair to low-income people and people of color, but there are ways to fix it.”

[xxi] Heather Mac Donald And Glenn Loury On Policing, Race, And Ideological Conformity

[xxii] LeBron James on Ahmaud Arbery shooting: ‘We’re literally hunted everyday’

[xxiii] African-Americans Arrested for Resisting Arrest at a Larger Rate in San Diego

[xxiv] Id.

[xxv] BLM Has No Interest in Helping Black People , ‘Black Lives Matter’ Is Not Helping Blacks

The Truth Is Still Hard For The New York Times.

The New York Times published another crock of fear this morning. It came on the heels of Trump leaving the hospital with COVID-19 and several comorbidities, climbing a tall flight of stairs, and his urging Americans not to live in fear of COVID-19. The “Rational Fear” story was at the top of NYTs morning email feed.

The piece said, “Most other rich countries have been much more successful in fighting the virus than the U.S,” and presented a chart which was allegedly the “simplest way to see this.” The chart allegedly illustrates the deaths per million for Europe, Canada, and the U.S. (It did not present the numbers for Africa, a continent where hydroxychloroquine is an over-the-counter drug and taken by almost everyone because it is cheap and reduces the risk of malaria.) The U.S. allegedly has just over 600 deaths per million (0.06% of the population), while Europe and Canada have just over 300 and 200, respectively (while Africa has about 30).

Those numbers would be both shocking and damning of America’s handling of the pandemic if the numbers were comparable. The numbers are gibberish if they are not comparable.

Dr. Birx announced during a task force meeting that the U.S. numbers are not comparable to the numbers reported by other countries. (See linked video.) Moreover, the CDC guidance on COVID-19 reporting says, “In cases where a definite diagnosis of COVID–19 cannot be made, but it is suspected or likely (e.g., the circumstances are compelling within a reasonable degree of certainty), it is acceptable to report COVID–19 on a death certificate as ‘probable’ or ‘presumed’.” A confirming test for COVID-19 is not required. Surely, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Fins, Danes… would neither contaminate their scientific data as the U.S. has nor want to put their county in a bad light with overstated COVID-19 death.

Whether or not you believe Democrat politicians have fear mongered to defeat Trump, many people, including doctors and nurses who report COVID-19 deaths, believe that putting Trump’s handling of the pandemic in as bad a light as possible helps achieve what is best for the country. Some of those reporters erred on the side of reporting COVID-19 or lied about their “presumptions.”

In short, the New York Times used incomparable data to produce fake news.

Biden, who knows what jubilates his base, went so far as to blame all 200,000+ deaths on Trump’s handling of the pandemic. (If he believes that, his mental condition is worse than many fear.) Biden must believe that absurdity works on Democrats as much as Democrats think absurdity works on Republicans.

This is another example of how “The Truth Is Hard For the New York Times.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkbc7eO2T94

What’s Going On? – Part VII Black Lives Do Matter, Dashed Hopes

Parts I – VI[i] of this series described mostly well-intended policies that harmed Blacks and produced valid grievances. Let’s now sort out perhaps the single most debilitating and confounding consequence of the serial failures of multiple attempts to address problems unique to Blacks in America. Before the War on Poverty, Blacks were making great strides legally, politically, socially, and economically (closing the income gap with Whites[ii]). A primary reason for that progress was that Blacks had vastly higher hopes then than now.[iii] Let’s sort out how the combination of serial broken policy promises and accompanying messaging has made addressing Black problems so hard to alleviate.

Humans are “loss averse.”[iv] Loss aversion causes the sadness from a broken promise to be more impactful than the happiness and hopes the promise induced. Hope is essential to setting and achieving goals, e.g., escaping generational poverty. Dashed hopes also increase pessimism. Pessimism saps motivation to pursue goals, and it takes “a toll on [people’s] mental health, their physical health may take a beating, too. While it may be useful in isolation or moderation, pessimism is associated with anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, hostility, high blood pressure, and heart disease”[v] — thereby physically reducing one’s ability to pursue goals.

The serial dashing of Black hopes and happiness created tragic results in inner-city communities. Without hope that progress is possible, many Blacks to believe that education is for suckers.[vi] (Fortunately, there are extraordinary exceptions, but the norm is clear.) Sadly, that hopelessness is not baseless.[vii] Far too many inner-city kids do not desire to learn, and the schools available to them are not conducive to learning.

Black leaders know how debilitating those beliefs are.[viii] Sadly, most Black leaders try to address problems by doubling down on the policies that cause debilitating thoughts. Perhaps the most momentous dashed hope suffered by Blacks was President Obama’s failure to deliver on his promises to Blacks.[ix] So, the cycle continues and convincing inner-city Black students to work hard at school becomes progressively harder.

Part of “What’s Going On” is that Americans are reaping the whirlwind of decades of dashed dreams produced by flawed analyses, terrible messaging, and repeated doubling down on policies that dashed dreams.[x] Describing what is awful about the messaging reveals why doubling down will make matters worse.

“Racism Stacks the Deck Against Blacks

Continually reminding Blacks that the deck is stacked against them is demotivating. Directing attention to racism rather than what stacked the deck keeps Blacks ill-informed and supporting policies that hurt them. That messaging also creates a worse problem.

Consider the following messages:

  1. Nice people, who wished nothing but the best for Blacks, built structures that unintentionally disadvantaged Blacks. Those people now want to fix those structures; or
  2. Anti-Black racists built structures that intentionally disadvantage Blacks. As long as those racists are around, a democratic process will not fix the problems.

Despite Message A being closer to the truth,[xi] Blacks hear messages similar to the false and hope-killing Message B.

Let’s expand on how Message B. hurts Blacks:

  • Students hearing Message A. will likely believe the people who built the structures will fix them. Students hearing Message B. are more likely to think that the structures will remain — absent major change.  Many believe that justice requires burning down the structures. (Sound familiar?[xii])
  • Message B. causes many Blacks to feel education is for suckers. Peer pressure not to “act white” is high and often violent.[xiii] Kids who do not want to learn won’t. No amount of money poured into schools can make kids willing to be a bullying victim.[xiv]
  • Thankfully, there are paths out of generational poverty for highly talented Blacks without a good education and a typical black person. About half of Black American households are in the middle to upper classes.[xv] The other half, however, need an education to succeed anywhere in the modern world.
  • Jobs that do not require an education, e.g., robbery, theft, drug trafficking, pimping, prostitution, are dangerous, unhealthy, and high-stress paths to dead-ends, prison, or death. Maintaining a wholesome family life or gaining the dignity[xvi] of providing income and security for one’s family with a dead-end job is unlikely. As if that were not bad enough, being unhealthy causes Blacks to be more susceptible to diseases, e.g., COVID-19.
  • Convincing Blacks that racism is causing their problems ignites outrage based on falsehoods[xvii] (e.g., a Black cop killing a Black man = racism). Baseless anger and falsely blaming others helps no one and prevents focus on what would help.

Everyone has troubles and blessings. No matter one’s grievances/blessings ratio, one can choose to count blessings or woes. Counting one’s blessings is essential to living a good life.[xviii] It’s no wonder that counting one’s blessings is emphasized in at least five of the six primary religions. Consequently, urging Blacks to focus on the things stacked against them typically dooms them to unhappiness, perpetual grievances, and misbehavior. Misbehavior spawns even more troubles.[xix]

“Systemic Racism Is Holding Blacks Back”

The messaging that “systemic racism” holds Blacks back has the same flaws as “Racism Stacks the Deck Against Blacks,” and more:

Disproportion Does Not Equal Racism.  Some non-racist[xx] government “structures” heavily subsidize things Whites care more about, e.g., ballet, symphony, and opera, and lightly subsidize art forms of other cultures. Unlike the unconstitutional laws of seventy years ago, anti-Black preferential structures are virtually non-existent today.[xxi] (Those remaining should go.) Conversely, many more pro-Black “structures” exist today.[xxii]

Evidence that structural racism is insignificant is that the ACLU and others have been suing and eliminating racist laws and practices for over seventy years. Courts have struck down consistently struck down structural racism. If BLM or anyone else could list anti-Black structures, the list would be used for political purposes. Those lists do not exist.

Nevertheless, in terms of wealth, income, and other metrics under existing structures, Whites and Asians fare far better than Blacks.[xxiii] While lingering effects of past racist systems remain, contrary to what many leftists would have us believe, those disproportional effects are hardly evidence of racism now. [Sorting out all the problems created by conflating the effects of past racism with imagined racism today is critical but beyond the scope of this post.]

As an example, consider infrastructure. Roads are structures essential to the economy. Whites might disproportionately use or generate income from roads. But everyone is free to use them as much as they like — despite Whites paying disproportionately more of the taxes that fund their construction and maintenance.

Everything would be more expensive without maintained roads — which would disproportionately hurt poor people (and Whites are not disproportionately poor). Ambulances use roads to rush people of all colors to hospitals, and roads are required to stock stores patronized by everyone. Infrastructure cannot be legitimately be characterized as a “racist structure.” Yet Blacks hear otherwise and are understandably inflamed.

Illusory Enemy. Political strategists in countries that despise racism know that characterizing a project as a fight against racism helps the cause. In those countries, however, finding significant racism is nearly impossible.[xxiv]

So, strategists attempt to redefine[xxv] “racism” so that actual racism is optional. Disproportion will do.[xxvi] For a growing number of people, the resulting definition is functionally equivalent to “anything that non-Whites believe doesn’t help them.” Things Blacks believe don’t help them are not just bad; they are evil. This strategy instills unjustified and counterproductive outrage among Blacks. Worse, it stretches “racism” to include things mildly bad or even benign.[xxvii] “Racist” becomes so ambiguous that it is nearly meaningless.[xxviii] To be socially useful, being called a racist must sting when it hits the mark. Being called a racist when the target merely believes that a BLM proposal will hurt Blacks has no sting. If the target’s analysis is correct, being a “racist” could be a badge of bravery and honor. Taking the sting out of being called a “racist” harms Blacks.

To encourage Blacks to add imaginary troubles to their counts of woes is perhaps the saddest of the left’s messaging.

If the BLM’s goals were to alleviate legitimate Black grievances, it would live up to its name. Let’s sort out what BLM is up to in the next post in this series.

[i] What’s Going On? – Part I The Mess, What’s Going On? – Part II Black Lives Do Matter, Problems Aplenty, What’s Going On? – Part III Black Lives Do Matter, The “Do-Gooders’” Slate, What’s Going On? – Part IV Black Lives Do Matter, Do-Gooders’ War On Poverty, What’s Going On? – Part V Black Lives Do Matter, Unfair Discriminatory Structures, and What’s Going On? – Part VI Black Lives Do Matter, The Stereotyping Problem

[ii] What’s Going On? – Part IV Black Lives Do Matter, Do-Gooders’ War On Poverty

[iii] Condoleezza Rice: Director of the Hoover Institution | Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson @37:14

[iv] Loss aversion

[v] Pessimism

[vi] If Beale Street Could Talk; Would There Be Any Black Men Around To Listen My Friend?

[vii] Miss Virginia


[ix] After the Obama disappointment, black voters want more than empty symbolism

[x][x]  Wealth, Poverty, and Politics @ 23:07 “Those who have promoted the prevailling social vision, in which lags, gaps or disparities to the deteriment of black people are the fault of white people are trapped in the corrollary that these lags, gaps or disparities should disapear, once those other people are constrtined by civil rights laws and policies. But nothing of the sort has happened.”

[xi] What’s Holding Blacks Back? “[False claim:] Most black people are poor (and middle-class blacks are statistical noise). Almost half of the blacks surveyed in a Gallup poll supposed that three out of four black people live in inner cities. Yet in 2001 most black people are neither poor nor even close to it: by any estimation, middle-class blacks outnumber poor ones. And at last count, only one in five blacks lived in the inner city.

[xii] BLM leader: If change doesn’t happen, then ‘we will burn down this system’ and UNHINGED: CNN’s Don Lemon: “We’re Going To Have To Blow Up The Entire System”

[xiii] Miss Virginia

[xiv]  AN ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF ‘ACTING WHITE’  “Gaining a better understanding of peer e§ects which contribute to black underachievement is of paramount importance in forming public policy and the subject of this paper… Individuals exposed to these social interactions have disincentives to invest in particular behaviors (i.e. education, ballet, proper speech) due to the fact that they may be rejected by their social peer group.”

In America; A Nation of Nitwits “Some African-American students, unable to extricate themselves from the quicksand of self-defeat, have adopted the incredibly stupid tactic of harassing fellow blacks who have the temerity to take their studies seriously. According to the poisonous logic of the harassers, any attempt at acquiring knowledge is a form of “acting white,” and that, of course, is to be shunned at all costs.”

[xv] African-American middle class

[xvi] The Benefits of Work to the Worker—A Timeless Issue

[xvii] What’s Going On? – Part VI Black Lives Do Matter, The Stereotyping Problem, What’s Going On? – Part V Black Lives Do Matter, Unfair Discriminatory Structures, and 7 Statistics That Show That ‘Systemic Racism’ Doesn’t Exist In Policing:

[xviii] Gratitude and the Good Life and 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude

[xix]  African Americans cited for resisting arrest at high rate in S.F. “African Americans in San Francisco are cited for resisting arrest at a rate eight times greater than whites even when serious crimes are not involved, according to statistics drawn from court records.”

[xx] What’s Going On? – Part V Black Lives Do Matter, Unfair Discriminatory Structures


[xxii] See endnote i.

[xxiii] One Does Not Know Where an Insight Will Come From” | People I (Mostly) Admire: Kerwin Charles

[xxiv] From the Left: Bret and Heather 47th DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: Butler Did It @56:30 and from the Right:  Ben Shapiro DEBUNKS Viral ‘Systemic Racism Explained’ Video

[xxv] ‘Racism has been redefined’ Bret Weinstein on woke science & how humans succeed – BQ #31, The problem with the left’s attempts to redefine racism, and Stop redefining racism: “Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not.”

[xxvi] The Myth of Systemic Racism

[xxvii] Wanting to secure the border is labeled “racist.” Most unauthorized crossings are by low-skilled workers who flood that labor market, which drives down the job opportunities and pay the labor market in which low-skilled Blacks compete. See endnote xx and DEAR LIBERALS: NO, THERE’S NOTHING RACIST ABOUT SECURING BORDERS…

[xxviii] Thomas Sowell: Claims of ‘Systemic Racism’ Have ‘No Meaning,’ Resemble Nazi Propaganda

/The Social Dilemma – A Review

Netflix’s /The Social Dilemma, an exposé on social media, is informative and important. [It does not, however, absolve Netflix of its public disservice entitled “Cuties” (which I have not watched).] It describes the magnitude of a serious dilemma: Social media bestows unfathomable benefits on humanity/society, but humans are gravely harmed by it, and societies cannot survive social media its current incarnation.

About a year ago, I wrote a six-part blog series on “Free Speech and Big Tech.” The third installment discussed “Free Speech and Big Tech – The Conundrum.” The gist was that we couldn’t live with or without social media. /The Social Dilemma’s riff on the subject adds observations, explanations, and insights by mostly former executives and key developers of the big social media platforms, many of whom were very impressive.

The flick convincingly explained just how addictive and effective social media has become at manipulating users. With fascinating details, they also explain how and why social platforms (1) became so dominant and influential, (2) are addictive, and (3) are harmful, especially for kids under 16.

While quite a bit of time was devoted to pointing out that users are not Big Tech’s customers, the information users give to Big Tech is the product. (The adage, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” comes to mind.) While true, dwelling on this relatively insignificant point added little to the thesis. Perhaps it was necessary to stir emotions.

The cast absolved the social media company founders of intentions to build a human-consuming monster, i.e., none believed that Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, etc. intended or expected the problems their platforms have created. (I do not doubt that.)

However well-intended the founders were, they built a human-consuming, tyrannical monster that is growing more powerful by the nanosecond. If anyone doubts that action is required to mitigate the harm and retain the benefits of social media, that there is no doubt should be evident to everyone, except possibly those who have not learned history’s lessons about tyranny.

The movie’s riff on Big Tech’s “fact-checking” being a farse (Big Tech cannot know or find out what is and is true) is a public service. However, it would have been better had they beefed this segment up a bit. For example, they could have added that the expertise of social media companies’ experts concerns social media platform development and operation. Those people cannot also be the top experts in art, science, law, medicine, philosophy, history, current events… So, they cannot have the expertise to determine the validity of a fact they want “fact-checked.” Facts needing a check typically concern matters about which there is controversy. That the platform needs to outsource the fact-checking means the platform lacks the expertise to declare a winner in debates between qualified scientists, economists, political philosophers, etc.

But the situation is worse than that. Everyone is biased, especially people involved in “fact-checking.” The impact of bias starts with the decision to check a fact. To check or not to check depends on whether the reviewing employee suspects a claim to be sufficiently false and harmful to warrant an intervention. Unavoidably, the decision to “fact-check” depends on the employee’s values, political persuasions, the interests of the company, and the employee’s self-interest. A highly biased or politically motivated employee is less likely to suspect a false claim that confirms her biases and more likely to doubt a valid claim contrary to her prejudices. Bias also affects which biased “fact-checker” will “fact-check.” That process has no chance of consistently finding the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. See also, “The Truth Is Hard For The New York Times.”

Back to the review: Social media’s power to manipulate the user’s actions and beliefs is tremendous, and As noted above, A.I. is increasing that power every nanosecond. A social media platform’s profit is a function of how much it can cause users to believe and do what the platform’s customers (advertisers and tyrants) want them to believe or do. The more time a user spends on a social media platform, the more power the platform has to manipulate the user. So, Big Tech developers make their platforms as addictive as possible. With the help of A.I., they have gotten very good at it (as their trillions in revenue attest). The data presented about the manipulative power of platforms and the resulting negative consequences on humans, especially those under 16, are shocking.

I take exception to a few of the pictures’ points, but only one was egregious enough to discuss. Sadly, the egregious point was its conclusion.

The conclusion argued that the solution to the dilemma (heaving the bathwater without the baby might be impossible) is to cede the power to regulate social media to the government. All that preceded the conclusion lays bare the danger of the proposed solution.

Before the conclusion, the flick advanced the sound proposition that social media is too powerful. Although not in the movie, a good case can be made that the handful of executives at the top of the top social media companies have greater power to influence politicians and bureaucrats than the country’s many million voters.

In general, those with power have the means to arrogate more power. The Constitution mitigated those means with a system of limited powers and “checks and balances.” While the Constitution was more respected and defended than it has been for the last 120 years, it was reasonably able to impede the aggregation of power by checking the power of the powerful.  Sadly, politicians who whittle on the Constitution’s checks and balances have been repeatedly elected and reelected. The resulting undermining of the Constitution is a large contributor to the mess we are in today.

The current arrangement between politicians/the Deep State and Big Tech (You don’t tread on me, and I’ll not tread on you) enables each side to check the other to some degree. Unfortunately, they are checking each other to advance their interests at the expense of the public. While the corrupt and destructive arrangement is deplorable, having some checks it better than having no checks. Therein lies the flaw of the film’s conclusory policy prescription.

If the power to regulate Big Tech were ceded to politicians, politicians could dictate to Big Tech what it must be banned and what the public will to see. As is being demonstrated in China, a government with that much power will use its political and technological monopolies for its benefit, with little regard for human rights or the public interest. To its credit, Google shut down its cites in China to protest China’s tyrannical censorship of its people,[i] but that was after it had greatly expanded China’s ability to manipulate, control, and oppress its citizens. It has used that power to harass and influence its neighbors as well. Not all Big Tech companies similarly put ethics ahead of profits. For example, “Microsoft-owned properties such as Xbox, Bing, Outlook, and LinkedIn have generally been allowed to operate in China…”[ii]

For more on how bad ceding that much power to the government would be, see “Free Speech and Big Tech – The Problem,” “Free Speech and Big Tech – The Most Negative Consequence,” “Free Speech and Big Tech – How To Make Things Worse,” and “Free Speech and Big Tech – The Legislative Betrayal.”

Allowing the government to regulate Big Tech would (1) remove checks on U.S. politicians, and (2) grant politicians far more power than was imaginable by the founders.  Checks on government power need to be re-established and fortified. Some checks on Big Tech are needed as well. Combining the powers of both in the hands of politicians would be a disaster. Regulation is not the only way to check power. For example, the content of news outlets is barely regulated. However, it is mightily checked by court-enforced violations of other people’s rights. Such is not the case with Big Tech.

As discussed in more detail in Free Speech and Big Tech – What To Do, 47 U.S. Code § 230 granted to “interactive computer services,” e.g., social media platforms, an exemption from being sued liable, slander, and other torts for which newspapers, magazines, and other publishers are liable.[iii]  The exemption was predicated on the following finding:

(3) The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.

The rationale for exemption was that the forums (“platforms”) should not be treated as publishers because the platforms would be places where users posted “truly diverse” political discourse.

Now that interactive computer services are curating content and stifling true diversity and selectively “fact-checking.” They are selectively taking down any opinions adverse to platform’s preferred memes. Consequently, the justification for the exemption has no longer exists.

I described what should be done about Big Tech’s abuse of power in Free Speech and Big Tech – What To Do. In light of the cases made by /The Social Dilemma, I am now more open to the possibility that imposing some limited and carefully crafted limitations on what interactive computer services can do with personal data collected from users could do more good than harm.

[i] Google Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship

[ii] A short history of Microsoft in China

[iii] Nick Sandmann’s lawyer targets 5 media giants in new round of lawsuits, Nicholas Sandmann announces settlement with Washington Post in defamation lawsuit, and CNN settlement with Covington student Nick Sandmann a win for the ‘little guy,’ expert says

What’s Going On? – Part VI Black Lives Do Matter, The Stereotyping Problem

In Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V of this series, we sorted out many of the grievances Blacks can legitimately lodge against US governments and Democrats for having created many of the injustices underlying their grievances. A cruel and confounding injustice experienced by the vast majority of Blacks that is not attributable to governments or Democrat policies is negative “stereotyping” (a.k.a., “racial profiling”). How it can be cruel and unjust is obvious. Why the problem is so confounding is less obvious. Alleviating a problem requires a correct understanding of the problem. A misunderstanding of negative stereotyping is why so many attempts to address it have failed. Let’s sort the confounding nature of negative stereotyping.

First and foremost, any stereotyping to advance or implement the notion that “race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race” [Merriam-Webster’s definition of “Racism”] is contemptible. The way to address it is to stamp it out. While there are a few, mostly powerless miscreants who stereotype for racist reasons, virtually all laws of that sort have repealed or declared unconstitutional long ago. The focus of this post is on stereotyping that creates negative results despite the good intentions of the stereotyper.

According to Dictionary.com, a stereotype is “a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common by members of a group.” In and of itself, accurate stereotypes are benign and possibly useful. For example, believing mountain climbers are more likely to be killed from their sport than runners could be fair and useful to life insurance companies — despite the possibility of exceptions. Some people claim that Blacks are better at music than any other race.[i] Whether or not that stereotype is valid, unless the claimant is suggesting that because of their musical superiority, Blacks are, in general, superior humans or that they deserve rights or privileges not afforded to other races, the claim is not racist.

Not all negative stereotypes about Blacks are racist either. As discussed in Part IV, affirmative action creates the negative presumption (stereotype) that Black college graduates were likely not to have been held to as high a standard as non-Blacks. At a minimum, because holding Blacks to lower standards (which in my opinion is bigotry[ii]) is a feature of affirmative action, the presumption is rational. The idea is not racist because it concerns how Blacks have been treated, not their character, or the rights that should be denied to Blacks.  

BLM’s response to George Floyd’s invidious death has brought an intense focus on a particular and particularly troubling Black stereotype. It is as heartbreaking as it is valid. That stereotype is that Blacks are more likely to be violent than non-Blacks. [Arguments are also advanced that Blacks are justified in being more violent.[iii] I am not disputing that claim here.] I am pointing out that the stereotype is based on reality, and attempting to sort out the consequences and cures for that reality.

Jesse Jackson once said, “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jackson’s reaction to that situation is common among people of all skin hues. Claiming that Jackson, a Black, is racist because he is relieved when he turns and sees a White would be absurd. The same would be true concernin an Asian or a person of any other race had the same reaction.

So, why the reaction? Human nature and crime statistics shed light on why Jackson stereotypes Blacks and Whites concerning dangerousness.

Humans must continuously distinguish between potentially harmful and harmless things. Stereotyping is an evolved aspect of humans’ innate survival mechanisms that enables them to make rapid decisions in the presence of potential danger and with little information. Humans who erred too much on the side of dangerousness did not make the evolutionary cut. Curing people of their irrational fears is often possible. “Curing” people of their rational fears is nearly impossible and is an oxymoron. Consequently, policies based on the idea that humans can or will turn off rational stereotyping are doomed to fail and typically make things worse.

Sadly, Jesse Jackson’s stereotype is rational. When he saw the White, he rationally determined that he was in less danger than he had feared.

Blacks ages 10 – 43 die of homicides at 13 times the rates of whites, and Blacks commit almost all of those homicides.[iv] In the 75 largest counties, Blacks commit roughly 60% of all murder and robberies, but Blacks comprise only 15% of that population.[v] The FBI reports that in 2016 Blacks, who are 13% of the US population, constituted 37.5%[vi] of arrests for US violent crimes and 31.4% of “other assaults,” while Whites (which includes most Hispanics), who are 73.3% of the population, constituted 59%[vii] of arrests for violent crimes and 66.2% of other assaults. Using violent crime arrests as a proxy for crimes,[1] these numbers reveal that, although Jackson may have been relieved, he was at some risk of becoming the victim of a violent crime when he turned around and saw a White. However, had he turned around and seen a Black person, the risk would have been over 3.5 times greater.

3.5 times a minimal risk is a small risk. However, as we have seen with the tiny risk of harm that COVID-19 presented to most people, when the stakes are high (e.g., death or severe injury), tiny increases in minimal risks can make huge differences — for good reasons.[viii]

These realities have severely adversely and unfairly[ix] affected Blacks. In 2016, Blacks were arrested for violent crimes 153,341 times, and some of them were arrested more than once, i.e., the number of violent Black criminals is fewer than their number of arrests. That means that less than 0.38% of the country’s Blacks population were arrested for violent crimes, i.e., all but a tiny fraction of Blacks are not violent criminals. Yet, the “more violent” stereotype unavoidably applies to the average Black because, on average, Blacks are more violent. Why is it unavoidable? For the same reason that even though fruits are safe on average, some fruits will kill you.[x] Humans who are wise enough not to gobble a whole fruit on their first encounter with an unfamiliar fruit tree are the ones who survived the evolutionary cut.

Note that 153,341 violent crimes are somewhat comparable to the country’s COVID-19 deaths in 2020. This is another example of how the fallout, including massive fear from small risks, can be monumental. Huge responses to personally catastrophic risks is a part of human nature that is here to stay.

Consequently, after the (1) warranted wailing and gnashing of teeth, (2) needed reforms to police forces, and (3) the current civil unrest based on to false or irrelevant narratives have fizzled out (or the revolution is accomplished), the rational stereotypes described above and their attendant problems will persist until the prevalence of Black violent crimes is roughly comparable to that of non-Blacks.

Ridding police forces of racists cops would only make a dent in the problem. Ridding police forces of cops with human nature is impossible.

The harms these stereotypes inflict on Blacks are many. Perhaps the most pernicious and tragic consequence of the stereotyping is the most topical. It is that when stopped by police, many Blacks presume that they would not have been stopped had they not been Black. Indeed, cops pull over Blacks disproportionately more than Whites. While Blacks’ disproportionate propensity to violate traffics laws accounts for some of the disparity,[xi] much of it is due to the stereotype that Blacks are more likely to be engaged in serious criminal conduct (stereotyping). [xii] As if that wasn’t problematic enough, because such stereotyping is so unfair to the vast majority of Blacks (exacerbated by the despicable practice of declaring the cause of the disparity to be racism — which is very rarely applicable), the stereotyping plus the false belief that racism is the cause for the police encounter induces indignation in detained Blacks. All too often, that indignation turns into anger, then disobedience of police orders, chaos, and then tragedy.

Many will claim that the above line of thinking is racist. It is not. Jessie Jackson’s rational stereotypes are not racist. His relief at seeing White people when he turns around was not because he believed that Blacks are inferior to others or that Blacks deserved fewer rights. Quite the contrary, over his long life in the public eye, Jackson has argued Blacks are capable of success, and they deserve more rights than those to which others are entitled.[xiii] The fact that those stereotypes are harmful to Blacks is horrible, but the stereotyping is a result of racism.

While Jackson’s stereotypes are natural, rational, and not racist, the existence of those stereotypes is terribly and heartbreakingly unfair and harmful to Blacks, especially the 99+% of Blacks who are law-abiding. That 99+% of Blacks have to live with the negative consequences of a tiny fraction of Blacks being disproportionately dangerous is astoundingly sad and in great need of redress.

To address this astoundingly sad problem, the public must not continue to be confounded by the multiple misdiagnoses of the nature of the problem. Hopefully, this post will help us turn away from the false characterization of the problem — there enabling us to eschew policies that have no chance of working to ones that might have a chance.

[1] Take this analysis based on arrests with several grains of salt. Because no racial demographics are available concerning the likelihood that an arrest will result from a crime, a ratio based on arrests could be far from the mark. Moreover, because no universally accepted metric exists to determine the multiple with any precision, a precise multiple is unknowable and would vary significantly from place to place. The following analysis is offered to show that the multiple is much higher than 1.0, and the stereotype is rational. The fact that the stereotype exists among all races also lends credence to its validity.

[i] Coleman Hughes Reacts To African-American Stereotypes Portrayed In Hollywood | Your Take

[ii] See “Biden’s Bigotry

[iii] They’ve been saying it [advocating or condoning violence] all along…

[iv] Id. @9:00

[v] Id. @9:45 and Police Go Where the Crime Is

[vi] FBI 2016 Crime in the United States

[vii] Uniform Crime Report – Crime in the United States, 2016

[viii] The Logic of Risk Taking

[ix] Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) on Race Relations – FULL SPEECH (C-SPAN) [While I disagree with Sen. Scott’s assertion that the problem is the justice system (because even the law cannot overturn human nature), he eloquently describes the unfairness of reality human nature creates and why the wounds will not heal until the nature of the problem is understood.]

[x] The most dangerous fruits in the world

[xi] 7 Statistics That Show That ‘Systemic Racism’ Doesn’t Exist In Policing: “black drivers studied in 2001 sped at twice the rate of white drivers (with speeding defined as traveling at 15 mph or more above the posted limit) and traveled at the most reckless levels of speed even more disproportionately.”

[xii] e.g., stealing vehicles, firing guns from cars, and fleeing in cars from crime scenes.

[xiii] Jesse Jackson visits The City defending affirmative action

What’s Going On? – Part V Black Lives Do Matter, Unfair Discriminatory Structures

Part III and Part IV” of this series reviewed 1) the tremendous progress that blacks in America were making before the War On Poverty (“WOP”) began — despite very high levels of racism and racist laws that intentionally impeded black progress, and 2) how the WOP brought the pace of black progress nearly to a halt and tore asunder family and neighborhood cohesion, which had facilitated the progress that had been achieved before the WOP. The long overdue and extremely positive civil rights laws and court cases to rid the country of Jim Crow laws and other racist barriers to blacks’ progress (clear examples of “structural racism,” “institutional racism,” or “systemic racism”) were insufficient to counteract the harmful effects of the War on Poverty.

Because the WOP laws inured to the disadvantage of blacks over the long run, one might be tempted to claim that it was an example of “structural racism.” That would be a mistake (although President Johnson, who ushered it in, was undisputedly racist). “Racism” (“[A] belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others”) is reviled by the vast majority of Americans. Such revulsion serves multicultural societies well and may be necessary for multicultural societies to thrive or, possibly, survive. Watering down “racist” to mean anything to which people of color happen to object takes the sting out of being called a racist. If being called does not sting, it’s power to cause people of all hues to act civilly toward each other will sapped.

While President Johnson and some congresspeople who voted for the War On Poverty were racist, there is no reason to believe that the voting public that supported the war had animosity toward blacks. Moreover, blacks supported WOP policies.[i]

Because the WOP inflicted great net harm on blacks,[ii] it was unfair to blacks. It wasn’t, however, “racism,” structural or otherwise, because most people believed that the WOP would help blacks. Sadly, Democrats still support discriminatory, but not racist, policies that disproportionately harm blacks.

The most debilitating unfair structures imposed on blacks by Democrats are inexcusable and deserve immediate attention. The following are two of the more critical examples:

EDUCATION. To thrive in a modern industrialized society without a good education, both intellectual and moral, is exceedingly difficult, if for the vast majority of people. Yet Democrat ideas about education have failed the vast majority of poor blacks.


The crony compacts between Democrat politicians and teachers’ labor unions[iii] crush effective education in virtually all inner-city schools, which are mostly populated by non-whites. Because teacher’s unions’ effects are not limited to Democrat-run cities, the Union/Democrat Compact prevents black children from escaping the clutches of almost all big-city public schools. Those schools fail to teach all but a small percentage of black students.[iv] Not only do they fail to teach the skills to enable most black students to compete for and keep jobs, but they also fail by teaching black students that they should not have to work to have a good life because they are owed a good life because of their grievances. As valid or invalid as those beliefs are, holding those beliefs induces most of those students to live unthriving lives of dependency and to vote for the politicians who are politically advantaged by the grievances of those students and the dependence and poverty those grievances cause. Consequentially, the last thing those politicians can politically afford to support are policies that would enable those black students to thrive. The result is that as few students will be able to escape generational poverty and the perpetual exploitation by Democrats and labor unions.

An example of the corruption: “School expenditures in high-poverty districts are typically well above the national average,”[v] but “In the last 20 years, the number of K-12 administrators has increased 2.3 times faster than the number of students in school…”[vi] Significant reasons for spending money on expanding administrative staff instead of teacher pay increases or student education is that adding administrators increases the number of dues-paying union members. Why? 1) Some of those dues will find their way into campaign coffers our outright gifts; 2) More union members increase the size of armies of people willing to pound the pavement when Democrats run for office; and 3) educated students are more likely to be prosperous and no longer dependent on Democrats, all of which would be devastating to the Unions/Democrat Compact.

Neither those politicians nor people who vote for them are necessarily racist. Indeed, many of them wish that they did not have to exploit black students to keep their office. It’s not racism; it’s corruption.


In his book, “Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison,” Michel Foucault chronicled the atrocious history of government and industry using punishment and discipline to cause people to serve the state and the economy. I thought the history he recounted was fair, although not completely accurate, and agreed that, although the brutality of punishment diminished over time and, where practicable morphed into discipline, the modes of discipline and punishment evolved to achieve the same ends as has always been the case. Whether he intended it or not, his highly influential book so discredited both discipline and punishment that ever more people have concluded that neither discipline nor punishment is necessary to civil society. The eternal questions about discipline and punishment are how much and how it is applied is optimal. The only question leftists are willing to countenance is: “How much less and how much milder can discipline and punishment be (unless civility can be maintained with trophies alone).”

As I have discussed HERE, HERE, and HERE, the fallacy that discipline and punishment are dispensable has done untold damage to black students. In “Nike’ Mistake—Supporting a Counterproductive Cause Against Police,” I described how Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick’s protest against all police (which have been generally supported by Democrats, will cause there to be a higher percentage of bad cops is police forces over time — which will disproportionately hurt blacks.

[i]Black Past: WAR ON POVERTY”: When the Office of Economic Opportunity was not funded to Martin Luther King’s satisfaction, he “expressed the sentiments of many civil rights and anti-poverty activists when he argued that the War on Poverty was being ‘shot down on the battlefields of Vietnam,’” (connecting the underfunding was a consequence of spending on the war).

[ii]What’s Going On? – Part IV

[iii]Teachers Unions Don’t Really Strike for ‘the Kids’

[iv]Stagnant City Schools Are Failing Minorities

[v]Teachers Unions Don’t Really Strike for ‘the Kids’

[vi]Study: School administrative bloat increased 700 percent since 1950

Another California Bust

Last year, California passed a law[i] that went into effect in January that deemed ride-hailing drivers to be employees (as opposed to independent contractors, as they had been in California and are still in most places). Unable to get a court to strike down the law, Uber and Lyft are suspending operations in CA starting next Friday. The suspension will put 220,000[ii] formerly independent drivers out of work and income at least until November 3 (when a vote will be taken on a ballot proposition to classify ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors. The law requires Uber and Lyft to classify their formerly independent drivers as employees, which triggers payroll taxes and employee benefits. If the proposition fails, those 220,000 drivers and other California ride-hailing drivers (e.g., DoorDash drivers) will permanently lose their ride-hailing source of income. Ride-hailing companies will exit California.

At least until November, Californians will suffer:

  • The convenience of no ride-hailing services (DoorDash will be sorely missed by people staying at home during an epidemic),
  • More drunk driving,
  • Downward pressure on low skilled wages (due to hundreds of thousands more people looking for work), and
  • Retail outlets having fewer sales because hundreds of thousands of people will have less money to spend (which will reduce the sales and income taxes those retailers pay),

to name but a few of the negative consequences of the law.

The sweet nothing legislators cooed into the ears of voters to justify the legislation was that it would raise wages and benefits for ride-sharing drivers and taxes for the state, which, they said, would be for the benefit of all, especially the disadvantaged, downtrodden, marginalized, poor, and oppressed people of the state.  (As if Californian Democrats had previously shown a willingness to direct a sufficient percentage of its $50+ billion annual tax revenue in a way that would relieve those people of their hardships and dependency.)

The reality, however, is not as Democrat politicians depicted it. Everyone who understood the effect of the legislation would have known that the law would end the viability of ride-hailing companies operating in the state. An ignored critical reality is that no ride-hailing driver drove involuntarily. Consequently, ride-hailing drivers only drove when they believed the advantages of driving outweighed the disadvantages of driving, i.e., when they thought they were better off by driving. Having a right to higher pay and employee benefits is only helpful to people if such jobs are available. The legislation denied over 220,000 drivers erstwhile opportunities to improve their situation and become less dependent on others (which not only cost them livelihood and dignity, it burdened the people on whom they must now depend).

Because legislators hold hearings to gain expert counsel concerning the consequences of their legislation, the likelihood that the yea-voting politicians were ignorant of the likely adverse effects of their law is vanishingly small. One must either believe that California’s Democrat legislators and governor were too stupid to know that their policy would cause ride-hailing companies to leave the state, or that those Democrats were smart enough to know the consequences of the law and that the law benefits them personally and costs the public. In light of the advantages to the politicians of the legislation, the second possibility is a near certainty.

Taxi company owners routinely buy protection of their businesses by making it worth politicians’ while to protect taxi companies from competition and other disadvantages. Compared to unprotected companies, protected companies can charge higher prices, make more money (even after they make campaign contributions to “helpful” politicians), and pay more taxes. With more campaign contributions, politicians can more easily retain power. With higher taxes, politicians can wield and gain more power by:

  • Subsidizing friendly companies and hamstringing their competitors,
  • Trickling extra money to the disadvantaged, downtrodden, marginalized, poor, and oppressed people of the state — while making sure to never trickle enough to enable those people to no longer be poor (being independent would eliminate their political usefulness to Democrat politicians).
  • Fund organizations that provide things Democrat politicians and their contributors enjoy, e.g., ballet, orchestras, opera, sports stadiums, universities that teach students to love social justice (as opposed to actual justice).

Perhaps saddest of all negative consequences is that by passing economically unsound but politically advantageous legislation, which purports to help people who will become the law’s victims, politicians can gain the adoration of economically illiterate people who irrationally believe laws that purport to do something will actually do that something.

The way out of this corrupt and destructive cycle is for voters to be better educated. Sadly, politicians are making it worth educators’ while not to improve economic literacy.


[ii]Why Uber and Lyft Are about to Shut Down All Operations in California

What’s Going On? – Part IV Black Lives Do Matter, Do-Gooders’ War On Poverty

This post adds yet another extreme example to the list of posts in this blog[i] that discuss well-intended, insufficiently informed people (“Do-Gooders”) advancing policies and ideas that do more harm than good for the people the Do-Gooders want to help. In Part III of this series, we identified the slate of positive trends that Do-Gooders could mess up. This post and the next few sort out how Do-Gooder’s ideas and policies both messed up the positive trends blacks were achieving and caused many of the problems that are fueling what is going on in the country.  Sadly, most of the policy prescriptions of today’s Do-Gooders are merely doubling down on the failed Do-Gooder policies of the past.

This sub-series focuses on the unintended negative consequences inflicted on blacks by Do-Gooders’ ideas and policies. The reason for the focus on blacks is not that those ideas and policies did not negatively affect people of other skin hues (they did). That focus is on black grievances because Black Lives Matters, a leading player in what is going on, is exploiting the failures of Do-Gooders’ ideas and policies.

The seminal Do-Gooders’ legislation that sent the country down the path that has resulted in the current black grievances and civil unrest is known as the “War On Poverty” (“WOP”) (not to be confused with Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 or the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which produced net positive results). The WOP opened a pandora’s box of calamities that beset blacks and were so consequential that it deserves a separate post.

While LBJ’s motivation for advancing the WOP[ii] was, in part, if not mostly for political advantage (to get blacks “voting Democratic for 200 years”[iii]), most voters who supported the WOP believed that its net effects would be positive for blacks. Indeed, it did bestow some benefits. However, as I have described in prior posts, [iv] its adverse impacts on blacks have vastly exceeded its benefits to blacks. Here is a summary of a few negative consequences inflicted on blacks by the WOP:

  • Stopped Robust Black Progress. Blacks were making tremendous progress socially, politically, and economically (closing the black/white income gap) until the WOP got up and running, at which point much of that progress stopped.[v]
  • Tore Black Families Asunder. Before the WOP, black babies were more likely to be born into two-parent families than white babies.[vi] The WOP turned poor fathers who wanted to live with their children into economic burdens on their families (stripping too many black men of a great source of meaning in life, denying their children the benefits of a two-parent family, and more). The negative impact on children of single parents can be grim.[vii]
  • Caused Poor Black Neighborhoods To Be Less Nice and More Dangerous.[viii] In the 1950s, “The interest in education [in black neighborhoods] was just profound… The moral standards and ethical standards for those people living in [black] communities was extremely high.”[ix] According to Trends in Homicide Among African Americans: “The phenomenon of extremely high homicide rates in the nonwhite population is not new. Since 1914, when national mortality data were tabulated for the first time by cause of death and race, death rates from homicide among nonwhite males have exceeded those for white males by factors as great as 13 to 1. However, this ratio steadily diminished in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s; and the ratio held fairly steady in the 1980s as the homicide death rates from each race-sex group declined after sharp increases in the 1960s and 1970s. [As the effects of the WOP set in.]” [Emphasis added.]  “As for ghetto riots, these were never as numerous, nor of such magnitudes of violence, in the 1940s and 1950s, as they became in the 1960s…”[x]
  • Raised Minimum Wages. The WOP ushered in a constant stream of raises in minimum wages,[xi] thereby disproportionately hurting the most unskilled laborers the most[xii] (by raising the bottom rung on the latter of success so high that the most unskilled could not get on the job training/get a start[xiii]).
  • Inflicted Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action (“AA”) inflicted the following disadvantages on blacks:
    • In the mid-60s, America’s top universities desired higher enrollment of black students. The most capable black students did not need AA to gain admission. AA, however, caused black students of every ability level to wind up in universities in which they were, on average, the least qualified to grapple with the curricula and required pace of learning.[xiv] Anyone finding themselves so outmatched is discouraging and debilitating and causes far too many highly-skilled blacks to drop out.[xv] Had those students been admitted according to the same standards as applied to all other students, they would have been admitted to universities in which they would have been much more likely to excel. On average, AA denied black students the inspiring the encouraging positive feedback of success and replaced it with the debilitating feelings of unworthiness. All of this led to disproportionately high dropout rates — not because they could not succeed, but because they could not succeed at the school that admitted them. That the admission of AA students advanced the interests of the school at the expense of the students adds insult to injury. That they continue to do it after they have witnessed the consequences is disgraceful.
    • Before AA laws, blacks who succeeded by overcoming the disproportionate disadvantages and hardships of being black in America were correctly perceived to be exceptionally capable, hardworking, and had more grit than most of their non-black peers. The ability to gain that status was watered down, if not denied, as a consequence of the presumed unearned advantages that AA implied.
    • AA created resentment, if not animosity among non-beneficiaries of AA who felt unfairly disadvantaged by AA,[xvi]
    • Employers knowing that an applicant or employee was aided by AA admission and, likely had grades boosted by teachers’ empathy or desire to avoid time-wasting hassles with students and the administration[xvii] rather than merit often evokes suspicion that the employee may not be as competent as her peers from the same school with the same scores. Such presumptions can lower the likelihood that the “beneficiary” of AA is hired or, if hired, create wariness and reluctance when critical projects are assigned to employees. Consequently, because effectively handling critical assignments creates the appearance of cream to rising to the top, AA “beneficiaries” who are equal in competence are likely to have fewer opportunities to prove their mettle,[xviii] i.e., rise to the top.
  • Slowed Economic Growth/Cost Jobs. Complying with the laws and regulations the WOP imposed on businesses tremendous costs, inefficiencies, and liabilities — thereby slowing economic growth.[xix] A consequence of the Economic Opportunity Act, capital and effort that could have been invested in activities that created wealth (which would have created faster technological innovation and job creation, and would, other things being equal, drive up the pay for low-income workers) were diverted into unproductive and unprofitable regulatory compliance. Black people are disproportionately poor and slower than necessary economic growth hurts poor people most.
  • Increased Dependency, Bigotry of Low Expectations, Hopelessness, and Grievances and Decreased Incentives, Motivation, and Efforts to Thrive. The massive negative effects of these phenomena will be discussed in a later post.

The WOP proponents touted it as a means to improve conditions, especially economic conditions for blacks. Instead, between 1959 and 1967 (the period immediately before the WOP kicked in) the percentage of blacks in poverty fell 29% (from 51.1% to 39.3%), fell to 34% in 1968, and then flat-lined for 25 years.[xx] Summing it all up in “Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed” (p. 170), Jason Riley says, “…fifty years into the war on poverty the picture isn’t pretty. While gains have been made, significant racial disparities persist in some areas and black retrogression has occurred in others. The black-white poverty gap has widened over the last decade and the poverty rate among blacks is no longer declining.”

That Do-Gooders meant well and feel good about having tried is little consolation for the damage they inflicted.

For more information on the negative effects of the WOP, see: “How We Lost the War on Poverty,” “Poverty in the US Was Plummeting—Until Lyndon Johnson Declared War On It,” “The War on Poverty Wasn’t A Failure — It Was A Catastrophe,” and the citations in the endnotes.

[i] A few examples”

[ii]War on Poverty

[iii]Did LBJ Say, ‘I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for 200 years’?

[iv]Welfare Wreckage,” and “Where is the Empathy?” (See Author’s Note “🙛” for an extensive discussion of the damage done to blacks by the War On Poverty),

[v]What’s Going On? – Part III Black Lives Do Matter, The “Do-Gooders’” Slate,” “The Wage Gap — Thomas Sowell on the Economic Facts of Gendered and Racial Income Inequality” @10:47, and

“In the mid-1950s, black labor force participation rates for 16-year-old and 17-year-old males began falling below that of their white counterparts, and the gap grew wider in succeeding decades. For males aged 18 and 19, the same racial reversal in labor force participation rates occurred a decade later, in the mid-1960s. For males aged 20 to 24, that same racial reversal occurred at the beginning of the next decade, in 1970. The magnitude of the racial difference in labor force participation rates among males, after the racial reversal, followed the same pattern, being greatest for the 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds, less for males aged 18 and 19, and least for males aged 20 to 24.”

Sowell, Thomas. Discrimination and Disparities (p. 54). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

[vi]Thomas Sowell On The Myths Of Economic Inequality” @21:10

“[M]ost black children were being raised in two- parent families in 1960. But thirty years later after the liberal welfare state… the great majority of black children [were] being raised by… single parent[s].”

[vii]What Are The Effects On Children Of Single Parents?”: “The forum concludes that the consequences are a result of more limited social, emotional and financial resources. These findings are reinforced in Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, a book written by Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur. According to McLanahan and Sandefur, children of single-parent households are at increased risk of dropping out of high school. In the book’s findings, boys tended to be idle and teenage girls had a greater risk of pregnancy. Overall, the chances of these children going to college were greatly diminished.”

[viii]Hard Fact about “War on Poverty,” and “Walter Williams: Up From the Projects

[ix]The 1950s Inner-city Black Communities Were Strong” and “PBS Documentary – The 1950s – Segment 2 of 3” @13:58

[x]Facts and Fallacies with Thomas Sowell” @9:03 and “Sowell, Thomas. Discrimination and Disparities” (p. 183). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

[xi]History of Federal Minimum Wage Rates Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 1938 – 2009

[xii]Why the Minimum Wage Is Bad at Reducing Poverty,” “Minimum Wage Hikes Hurt The Poor More Than They Help” and

Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools – Full Video” @15:28 and “In 2008 economists David Neumark and William Wascher published a book that surveyed the minimum-wage literature of the previous three decades. They reviewed more than one hundred academic studies on the impact of [minimum wage] laws and found ‘overwhelming evidence’ that younger, lesser-skilled workers suffer what economists call ‘disemployment effects,’ or loss of employment when the minimum wage goes up.”

[xiii] From Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder For Blacks To Succeed. pg. 127 and “Race, Politics and the Minimum Wage”:

“The Even and Macpherson study finds that among whites males ages 16-24, each 10% increase in a federal or state minimum wage has decreased employment by 2.5%. For Hispanic males, the figure is 1.2%. ‘But among black males in this group, each 10% increase in the minimum wage has decreased employment by 6.5%.’”

[xiv] From Justice Thomas’s dissent in Grutter v. Bollinger, pg. 25

Race and Culture: A World View” 176 – 177 (1994) (“Even if most minority students are able to meet the normal standards at the “average’ range of colleges and universities, the systematic mismatching of minority students begun at the top can mean that such students are generally overmatched throughout all levels of higher education”).” [Some (e.g., Brookings) say things like, “There is very little high-quality evidence supporting the mismatch hypothesis…” Of course, that is the case. Too many professors know better than to even search for, much less publish the high-quality evidence supporting this self-evident fact.]

[xv]The Perversity of Diversity” and “Quotation of the day: Thomas Sowell on academic mismatch



 and “Thomas Sowell: affirmative action creates academic failure & resentment” @2:15 and “The Uncomfortable Truth About Affirmative Action and Asian-Americans.”

[xvii]‘Favors’ to Blacks


CONSEQUENCES FOR PERFORMANCE,” and “An Assessment of Affirmative Action in Business”:

“Moreover, research has suggested that there are several flaws with affirmative action that preclude its success as a practice. These flaws are not only limited to external strains that others impose on it, they also includes internal burdens that negatively affect the same individuals they claimed to assist. The beneficiaries of affirmative action are often stigmatized as incompetent and incapable (Heilman, Block & Stathatos, 1997). Externally, when an organization has an affirmative action plan or program, fellow employees assume that the individual only received the job on the basis of their demographic. The perception that such a beneficiary lacks qualification causes the targets of affirmative to be evaluated negatively, regardless of their actual performance (Leslie, Mayer, & Kravitz, 2014). Such external developments create a cycle that then perpetuates itself to the individual and his or her evaluation of him or herself. The individual then believes that they are not capable of doing their job properly. For one, evaluations of work performance that is completed by supervisors lack clarity (Heilman, Block & Stathatos, 1997). Thus, the individual, upon receiving the evaluation of their performance does not believe that they are able to succeed in the workplace because they are not fulfilling the organization’s performance standards. This further leads the individual to evaluate him or herself negatively. Their self-perception leads to a negative view of oneself and a lack of confidence to thrive in that given corporate environment.”

[xix]The Cumulative Cost of Regulations

[xx]Historical Poverty Tables: People and Families – 1959 to 2018Table 14. Distribution of the Poor by Race and Hispanic Origin   

What’s Going On? – Part III Black Lives Do Matter, The “Do-Gooders’” Slate

People who believe that black lives don’t matters deserve all the condemnation they get from their fellow Americans. Thankfully, however, racist Americans (people who believe black lives don’t matter, that blacks are inferior, or that blacks should not have all the rights afforded to every other American[i]) are few, almost universally scorned, and are mostly powerless.  Those people betray America’s founding principles and are a nuisance at best and horrible at worst.

As bad as racists are, the harm that white racists have done over the last 55 years is insignificant compared to the harm progressive white people (“‘Do-Gooders’’”) have done over that period and propose to do to black people. The motivations of politicians who “Do-Gooders” support are mixed (ignorant, self-serving, evil, or all three).[ii] Generally, “Do-Gooders” appear to be well-intended, mal-informed, and unaware of the harm their policies have and will inflict on blacks, especially poor blacks. Sadly, however, the pavement on the road to hell constructed by the “Do-Gooders’” good intentions is long and thick.[iii]

Sorting out the many ways in which “Do-Gooders” have harmed blacks will be the subject of future posts. First, realize that the “Do-Gooders’” havoc was mostly unleashed by “War on Poverty,”[iv] which was declared in 1964.[v] To see that havoc clearly, understanding the situation and trajectory of blacks in 1964 is very helpful. Let’s sort that out:

According to the Brookings Institution,[vi]

“…in 1944, most blacks lived in the South and on the land as laborers and sharecroppers. (Only one in eight owned the land on which he worked.) A trivial 5 percent of black men nationally were engaged in nonmanual, white-collar work of any kind; the vast majority held ill-paid, insecure, manual jobs—jobs that few whites would take. As already noted, six out of ten African-American women were household servants who, driven by economic desperation, often worked 12-hour days for pathetically low wages.

… with the shortage of workers in northern manufacturing plants following the outbreak of World War II, southern blacks in search of jobs boarded trains and buses in a Great Migration that lasted through the mid-1960s. [Blacks] found what they were looking for: wages so strikingly high that in 1953 the average income for a black family in the North was almost twice that of those who remained in the South. And through much of the 1950s wages rose steadily and unemployment was low.

Thus by 1960 only one out of seven black men still labored on the land, and almost a quarter were in white-collar or skilled manual occupations. Another 24 percent had semiskilled factory jobs that meant membership in the stable working class, while the proportion of black women working as servants had been cut in half. Even those who did not move up into higher-ranking jobs were doing much better.”

In “Discrimination and Disparities,” Thomas Sowell observed:

“[President Johnson’s] claim that only government programs could effectively deal with deep poverty was contradicted by the plain fact that the black poverty rate declined from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent in 1960…” (p. 183) Basic Books. Kindle Edition.

“In “America in Black and White,” authors Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom agree that the black middle class expanded well before “affirmative action.” The Thernstrom’s said, ” . . . The growth of the black middle class long predates the adoption of race-conscious social policies. In some ways, indeed, the black middle class was expanding more rapidly before 1970 than after…  Many of the advances black Americans have made since the Great Depression occurred before anything that can be termed ‘affirmative action’ existed. . . . In the years since affirmative action, (the black middle class) has continued to grow, but not at a more rapid pace than in the preceding three decades, despite a common impression to the contrary.”[vii]

Dean Kalahar, reported:[viii]

• In 1950, 72 percent of all black men and 81 percent of black women had been married.

• Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites.

• Prior to the 1960’s the unemployment rate for black 16 and 17-year olds was under 10 percent.

• Before 1960, the number of teenage pregnancies had been decreasing; both poverty and dependency were declining, and black income was rising in both absolute and relative terms to white income.

• In 1965, 76.4 percent of black children were born to married women…

• Between 1960 and 1964, blacks were rising into professional and other high-level positions at a rate greater than the [following] five years…

Blacks were making tremendous social progress on many fronts, including an explosion in the popularity of black musicians, was achieved by blacks before 1965[ix] and, as Ebony Magazine put it:

“…events of [the 1950s] included U.S. diplomat Ralph Bunche winning the Nobel Peace Prize for successful mediation of Middle East Peace Talks between Arab and Israeli leaders. JET magazine, the weekly sister publication of EBONY, was born. The NBA color barrier was broken [having broken the MLB barrier in 1947 and NFL barrier in 1953]. Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till of Chicago (whose story is chronicled in JET magazine) was kidnapped and murdered by White thugs while visiting Mississippi. Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a White man on a city bus, kicking off the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Nat King Cole became the first colored man to host a national TV show in prime time, and Lorraine Hansberry became the first Negro woman to have a stage play, A Raisin in the Sun, produced on Broadway.”[x]

“In addition to addressing social and political issues in the ’60s, EBONY afforded its readers a bird’s-eye view of how “the other half” lived. It offered proof that the Black middle and upper classes not only existed but in some instances were thriving, providing hope of upward mobility to its readers.  The magazine continued to shine a spotlight on Black stars from film, television, stage, politics and sports. EBONY alone boasted covers featuring exclusively Black glitterati. Eartha Kitt, Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Bill Cosby and Muhammad Ali not only graced the covers of EBONY but also shared their lives and their hearts with readers, particularly as both related to the struggle of Black America.”[xi]

Perhaps their greatest accomplishment was that their message that they were not being treated fairly was resonating with a growing number of whites, was gaining traction with politicians and judges, and was producing positive results.[xii]

Those positive things are not to say that, in general, blacks were doing just fine. They weren’t. They were subjected to significantly more racism and discourtesy than today,[xiii] unfair obstacles, unequal justice, difficult living conditions, inadequate schools, insufficient education and job opportunities, exceptionally dangerous neighborhoods, and other disadvantages. Of course, neither a 47% poverty rate is fine nor a growing number of blacks thriving and being recognized for their accomplishments was good enough. Moreover, many of these gains were the result of many other hardships they had to endure, e.g., moving from the South to the North and starting over and little capital.

Improving the living conditions, education, and opportunities for blacks was necessary, important, and required by justice. So, encouraged by well-intended voters, intellectuals and politicians leaped into action. Sadly, they did not anticipate the multiple and compounding negative consequences of their policies. What they wrought made matters worse for blacks. For example, the chart below depicts how effective the “Do-Gooders’” War on Poverty was at reducing poverty.

Data Source

First, note that the opening act of the War on Poverty, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, was signed into law on August 20th.  It took years to get it organized and fully up and running. So, the continuation of the decline in poverty that was well underway when the act was passed was a continuation of the progress that was underway when the war began. Second, note that the War on Poverty put a halt to progress against poverty for 25 years. Giving people false hope and then dashing those hopes leaves people more hopeless and demoralized than had nothing been tried.

Data Source. Pg. 26

As bad as the flattening of progress looks, it hides the fact that blacks fared worse than the composite number reflects (and non-blacks fared better than the composite number.):

Over the twenty-five years following 1968, on average, the percentage of whites in poverty fell while the rate of decline of blacks in poverty flat-lined. We’ll sort out why that was in future posts.

[i] “Racist,” as used herein, refers to Merriam Webster’s definition. The more currently popular “definition” (read: erroneous application) of the word is something like “anything to which people of color object.” Such watering down of the word renders it largely meaningless. Worse, it unhelpfully takes the sting out of being called a racists.

[ii]Did LBJ Say, ‘I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for 200 years’?

[iii] “‘Good Intentions’ with Walter E. Williams

[iv]The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964,” “Food Stamp Act of 1964,” “Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” and the following programs: VISTAJob CorpsHead StartLegal Services and the Community Action Program

[v]Walter Williams: Suffer No Fools – Full Video” @8:20 & @41:13

[vi]Black Progress: How far we’ve come, and how far we have to go

[vii]The Progress of American Blacks

[viii]The Decline of the African-American family

[ix]African-American History Timeline: 1960 to 1964

[x]The Colored People of the 1950s: Black History from the Pages of EBONY

[xi]The Blacks of the 1960s: Black History from the Pages of EBONY

[xii]Brown v. Board of Education,” “Gayle v. Browder,” “Civil Rights Act of 1957,” “Federal troops are sent to Little Rock, Ark by Dwight Eisenhower to enforce the desegregation of Central High School,” “Civil Rights Act of 1960,”  “The Civil Rights Act of 1964,” and “Voting Rights Act of 1965

[xiii]Racism in 1950s, ’60s was normal, accepted, insidious