Are We Becoming More of a Police State, For Americans of Color?

Bob Herbert at the Times has some very revealing statistics on police harassment and malpractice in New York City:

Statistics will be out shortly about the total number of people who were stopped and frisked by the police in 2009. We already have the data for the first three-quarters of the year, and they are staggering. During that period, more than 450,000 people were stopped by the cops, an increase of 13 percent over the same period in 2008.

Likely more than half a million in one year. He adds:

An overwhelming 84 percent of the stops in the first three-quarters of 2009 were of black or Hispanic New Yorkers. It is incredible how few of the stops yielded any law enforcement benefit. Contraband, which usually means drugs, was found in only 1.6 percent of the stops of black New Yorkers. For Hispanics, it was just 1.5 percent. For whites, who are stopped far less frequently, contraband was found 2.2 percent of the time.

Racial discrimination and little open protest or concern with extreme police malpractice. Welcome to lockdown America? And much of this is also a waste of police time:

The percentages of stops that yielded weapons were even smaller. Weapons were found on just 1.1 percent of the blacks stopped, 1.4 percent of the Hispanics, and 1.7 percent of the whites. Only about 6 percent of stops result in an arrest for any reason.

Notice too that whites were the more likely to carry weapons and have drugs. I wonder why that does not get news headlines? Why don’t they stop more whites, as there would be more payoff?

As I have mentioned here before police brutality and other malpractice is a severe problem nationally:

Lest some think that we are ignoring lots of white victims of police brutality here, we might note that one social science study back in the 1990s analyzed 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the country. In that reviews of cases, criminologist Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality, while the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved were white. Police brutality overwhelmingly involves white-on-black or other white-on-minority violence. (See full discussion in Chapter 5 here.)


  1. DJohnson

    Joe, I suspect we agree that the rate at which citizens are stopped and treated as criminals based on the whim of cops is outrageous. However, I will correct you on one point. You state that “whites were the more likely to carry weapons and have drugs.” This is simply incorrect.

    Whites *who were searched* were carrying weapons and drugs at a rate higher than blacks and hispanics *who were searched*. Since blacks and hispanics are searched at a higher rate, we cannot tell from the story who was actually more likely to be carrying drugs or weapons.

    Of course, you know full well that rates of crime — including violent crime — are much higher for blacks and hispanics than for whites, which suggest strongly that the “carrying” rate for blacks and hispanics is higher. Probably MUCH higher.

    Perhaps you just wanted it to be true so much that you failed to do the math correctly. That’s the most charitable explanation I can think of for your mis-statement.

  2. No1KState

    You’re right, Darin, about the stats being limited to people who were searched. So the question then, is what about the people who weren’t searched. If white people who were searched are more likely to be carrying contraband, then not only is it safe to assume that white people in general are more likely to be carrying contraband; it’s also very safe to assume that it would prove more beneficial to stop and frisk more white people.

    Also, you gotta remember that “rate” doesn’t mean, for example, “number of times.” It means “number of times out of number of people.” So for drugs, out of every 1000 black people searched, only 16 had contraband; out of every 1000 Latino people, only 15 had contraband; out of every 1000 white people, 22 had contraband. Now of course, the reasons for choosing to search someone are not “random.” But at the very least, it’s safe to say that seaching anyone is a large waste of time; and if they’re gonna search anyone, they should be search whites.

    Plus, if the “carrying’ rate for black and hispanics were “MUCH” higher, then the rate at which weapons were found, should also be “MUCH” higher.

    That’s the math.

  3. DJohnson

    I was right with you on your second paragraph until the end. It does not follow that whites are more likely to be “carrying.” Since the searches are probably not random, we need to know something about the error rate of the cops’ screening technique before we can say which group “carries” at a higher rate.

    Your third paragraph, then, is incorrect. In fact, the rate at which weapons were found was much higher among NAMs (non-Asian minorities) than whites when you use the population as a denominator. The issue is the intervening event — the decision of whom to search.

    But we don’t have to look at this only through the prism of the information given. For example, we know from other, unrelated sources that the NAMs are more prone to crime than whites (for whatever reason — maybe even racism!), which suggests that the base rate of carrying (i.e., the number of weapons divided by the total population) may be higher for NAMs than for whites. I acknowledge that this is supposition, but it seems pretty reasonable.

    My Bayesian prior, just like the cops’, suggests that the optimal strategy is to search black and Hispanics at a higher rate than whites — if what you want is to maximize the number of successful searches and minimize the unsuccessful ones.

    However, as Joe pointed out, the real problem here is that cops can search people with so little justification. I mean, if something like 2% of searches yield anything at all, you’ve got to wonder whether this intrusion is really worth the cost. Furthermore, I’d be willing to wager than the LARGE majority of successful searches find some small amount of drugs and not weapons. To my mind, searching 100 people to find the two who have a joint in their coat pocket is terrible benefit/cost. I fully agree with Joe’s term: police state — and it seems to be true not just for “people of color.”

    This leads to a meta-point. Why are blacks so in the bag for Democrats? If you’re a put-upon minority, shouldn’t you a libertarian — a classical liberal? The market and the individual are the best ways to combat irrational prejudice. The government and its handmaidens — unions, large corporations, the police — are the worst. In a rational world, blacks would support Ron Paul and Steve Forbes, not Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    Can anyone explain this?

  4. No1KState

    My third paragraph is incorrect?

    This is the comment you made that I was responding to.

    Of course, you know full well that rates of crime — including violent crime — are much higher for blacks and hispanics than for whites, which suggest strongly that the “carrying” rate for blacks and hispanics is higher. Probably MUCH higher.

    So black people are searched at a higher rate, few weapons were found, but it’s still reasonable to think that the “carrying” rate is highter? No. That’s not how statistics works.

    Population is being used as the denominator. And 84% of all stops were of blacks and Latinos. Still, fewer drugs and fewer weapons are found. If any supposition can be made based on the math, it’s that whites in general carry weapons and drugs at a higher rate.

    Why are blacks so in the bag for Democrats?

    Here’s the thing. Throughout history, the market and individuals are the least rational. In a democracy, we can’t control individuals or the market. We can, however, control some aspects of government to protect us from the irrational prejudice of individuals and markets.

    For example, you’re libertarian? A classical liberal? You don’t deny or apologize for your prejudice. You even argue that it’s rational, when it’s not. So no, we won’t be putting our collective trust in the libertarian party.

    And besides, under Democratic policy, government only intervenes when 1 – the people seek help, ie Medicaid/Medicare and 2 – to stop discrimination. What are people talking about when the complain of government intrusion? It’s not as the Obama introduced warrantless wiretapping. That’s government intrusion. And in recent history, the government closest to “the people,” state governments, has been wont to legislate against the lives, liberties, and properties of people of color.

    So sorry. Dems ain’t all I as a person of color want; but they’re much better than conservatives be they mainstream conservatives, tea party conservatives, or libertarian conservatives.

  5. DJohnson

    Well, I’m not going to argue with you about the math anymore.

    What do you mean when you say “throughout history, the market and individuals are the least rational”? That’s provocative. Of course, your comment that government intervenes only when people need help or to stop discrimination is contradicted by your own wiretapping example. It doesn’t exactly pass the laugh test. Education, energy, labor, agriculture, health care, employment, construction, licensure, toilet-tank sizing… These are all examples of government interference where the government’s help is at best wholly un-needed, and the only effect on discrimination is probably to increase it. Why do you give the government the benefit of the doubt? The government has done more to hurt blacks than the Klan could ever dream of.

    I agree that wiretapping is a debatable issue, but why would blacks automatically be expected to be on one side or the other? Is wiretapping a “black thing”?

  6. No1KState

    What I meant to say about the wiretapping is that that was done under a Republican administration. Black people by and large don’t support wiretapping. It’s a denial of 4th amendment rights.

    I completely disagree with you on the examples were government is wholly un-needed. Espeically in terms of education and licensure and construction.

  7. No1KState

    I don’t deny that the government is flawed. Tuskegee, Nicarauguan cocaine in LA, etc. An illegal war; another unquestionable war. But we can exert control over government. We can’t exert control over individuals. The problems with government lie in the fact that other individuals, however (ir)rational or supportive of (in)justice, can exert control over the government as well.

    I guess that’s where I don’t understand some of libertarian philosophy. We live in a democracy. It’s probably more of a plutocracy at this point, but it’s not a totalitarian state. The government isn’t some other entity apart from citizens. We are literally a governmnet of the people. We choose the people we want to represent us.

    Besides, it’s not as though it was the evil government that forced people to buy slaves or lynch black men or rape black women. It’s not as though evil government forced separation that was unequal. Individuals did all that. The “free” market did all that.

  8. DJohnson

    Really? Most black people are opposed to wiretapping? How do you know? Furthermore, how do you know blacks are MORE likely to oppose wiretapping than, say, Irish? And if they are more opposed, why would that be? (By the way, the enlightened and righteous Obama administration seems to be continuing with the same practices as the Bush administration? Did you know that? Do you care?)

    But back to the point of the thread: the state and its arbitrary power — under every political party — does more to harm blacks than the market. The market doesn’t create incentives for black fathers to abandon their families, the state does. The market doesn’t have minimum wage and prevailing wage requirements that make it impossible for blacks to compete for work, the state does. And, the market doesn’t frisk 100 people (most of whom are black or hispanic) to find the two carrying drugs, the state does that, too.

    In a sense, I agree with you that “we” can control the government in ways “we” can’t control individuals. That’s what makes the market so superior to the government, and that’s why minorities in particular should be skeptical of government power. Why is that? Well, if the government can be manipulated, whose interests will it most likely serve – Those of the weak or those of the strong? The question answers itself. Those who have the resources and connections for arm-twisting and rent-seeking put the government’s coercive power to work for them. This is much more difficult in a market setting.

    You think slavery existed in the US without government support? Ha! That’s a laugh. In fact, it was the coercive power of the federal government that foiled the best efforts of those opposed to slavery for many years. How do you feel about the Dred Scott Decision? The Fugitive Slave Act?

    Without the coercive power of the state backing up the slaveholders, it would have been easier to slaves to revolt and claim their freedom by force. I don’t know how you can look at the (shameful) history of slavery in the US and conclude it’s a) an indictment of the free market and b) a vindication of the state.

  9. No1KState

    1 – I’m pretty sure I read a poll that the majority of blacks were against wiretapping. What does that have to do with the Irish or Obama?

    2 – Yes, the government whole heartedly supported slavery. The government also ended slavery and school segregation.

    3 – No, the government doesn’t frisk people. It’s individuals who frisk people. They don’t have to. There’s no law that blacks or anyone should be stopped and searched. In fact, it’s unConstitutional. And there’s not law that proportionally fewer blacks should be hired than whites. And, I don’t understand the argument that the minimum wage prices blacks and hispanics out of the market and that it’s the government’s fault rather than the market. I mean, raising the minimum wage should hurt everyone equally – if the market is rational.

    4 – I don’t argue that the free market is absolute evil or that the government is absolute good. Just that . . . well, at the least, the government isn’t so bad and the free market so good that I’m willing to leave it all to the free market. Yeah, it’s sort of a both/and arguement, but there. Cause, yeah, it’s possible to exert pressure on the market, too.

    5 – You’re right that the strong can manipulate the government to their benefit. In fact, that have manipulated the government to their benefit – mostly by using race to convince middle and working class whites to vote against their interest. But it’s not as though the strong don’t use the markets to do the same.

  10. DJohnson

    3. You really think it’s possible to have a policy of stopping people and frisking them for drugs that doesn’t disparately impact blacks, do you? That’s a fantasy even by your own terms, whereby most of the cops are racist whites who will necessarily stop blacks more often.

    4. I don’t understand what you’re talking about here. Can you elaborate?

    5. Give me a couple examples of people distorting the market to their own interests. Without the help of the government, of course. I’d like to be sure I know what you’re thinking of.

    I’m not sure I agree that race has been the *primary* basis on which the government has been used by the powerful, but it’s certainly one example. I also agree that middle class whites (and especially blacks) often vote against their own long-term interests, at least as I see them. However, I’m almost sure you and I have completely opposite ideas here.

    Meanwhile, I’ll give you one example: the Davis-Bacon Act requires payment of “prevailing wages” on publicly funded projects. Who do you think benefits from this? Existing union construction workers, of course. The government is effectively enforcing a cartel in which price competition is illegal. So, who is harmed? Non-union construction workers, of course. And the public, but nobody cares about them. Younger, lesser-skilled, or otherwise excluded (i.e., black) workers who would like to compete on price are prevented from doing so by this terrible, stupid, and wholly immoral law. What’s worse, the law is defended as if it exists to save the poor worker from exploitation. Ha! That’s a joke. It’s a perfect example of powerful labor unions using the government to do their dirty work at the expense of blacks and others who aren’t part of their union.

    Minimum wage works about the same way. Since blacks are disproportionately under-educated and -skilled, they are hurt far more by minimum wage laws. As evidence note the hugely different unemployment rates between young black men and young white men. Presumably, some of these unemployed men would prefer to work for less than minimum wage than to have no job at all.

  11. No1KState

    3 – No. I said randomly stopping and searching people is unConstitutional.

    4 – I mean we don’t wholly trust government. Just that in the interests of justice, we use whatever influence we can to exert pressure on both the government and the market. So, we don’t choose between one or the other. We’ll use both.

    5 – Wall St derivatives and mortgage-backed securities. Subprime lending. Inflated housing prices. (The whole CRA myth has been debunked.) Over the last several decades, the government has left Wall St to itself – of course, Big Business and big bankers manipulated the government to do so – but in the end, because government regulations were(are?) weak and weakly enforced, Wall St nearly brought down the entire economy. Sure, TARP help them get on their feet without really getting average citizens on our feet; but it’s not as though Big Bankers would have to start immigrating to Mexico for jobs if there had been no bailout. They would’ve just exploited average citizens even more.

    I didn’t say, and don’t believe, “race” is the primary basis by which the government is used by the powerful against the weak.

    I agree that labor unions could be stronger and more integrated. That said, I strongly disagree that “powerful labor unions” use the government to do their “dirty work.” Currently, it’s the “powerful” business interests using the government to do their dirty work. In fact, well less than 25% of the American workforce is unionized and unions have been weakened in the last several decades. When the unions were stronger, middle-class incomes were higher.

    The disparity in employment rates exists even for college educated black men. And, actually, I’m not so sure that unemployed men would prefor to work for less than minimum wage than have no job. They can make as much money illegally and be relatively “self-employed.” In terms of women and female-headed households, much of the reason so many go back on welfare is that being employed doesn’t pay enough for it to make financial sense to get off welfare. We gotta fix that. And “marriage” doesn’t necessarily fix it.

  12. marandaNJ

    DJohnson said:Since blacks are disproportionately under-educated and -skilled, they are hurt far more by minimum wage laws.
    I have to agree here because it reinforces my repeated position that blacks should push education more than they do.Any slight variance of the economy is inevitably going to affect the under-skilled and under-educated more than other people. They are the ones who will be hit the hardest.
    Thus, it’s imperative that the poorer black community embrace education much more assiduously than they have. By labeling education and intellectualism as ‘going against your own kind’ or ‘acting white’ or ‘being uppity’ they do more harm to themselves than they truly understand. The education offered For Free in American public schools [even if you label it contempuously as a white-washed education] is certainly preferable to no education at all.
    Many aspects of education are racist-free such as science, math, and reading comprehension. It’s American history that needs revision.
    Other than that not knowing what a solar eclipse is or how to divide fractions or what the word ‘alternative’ means is just handicapping yourself permanently in a very competitive world. There’s no place on Earth where people who don’t consistently fight to educate themselves can even hope to succeed beyond the poverty line. When I say ‘fight’ I mean a United Family Effort to stress education coupled with determined self-discipline.

  13. DJohnson

    Amen, marandaNJ. Although I’m sure we disagree about direction for revising American history, I be we do agree that an education in history is inconsequential in terms of employment compared with the things you mentioned – literacy, numeracy, etc.

    No1KState, you’re right that unions’ power has waned. Of course the prevailing wage laws I mentioned came about in the 30s and 40s, when union power was at its peak, so my point is still good.

    It’s funny that your example of business exploiting the free market comes from the financial market – the single least free market there is. The most heavily regulated, the most lobbyist friendly, the most politician-tinkered-with of any. Wall Street is a disaster precisely for the reasons I mentioned: the powerful using the force of government to enrich themselves to the detriment of the rest of us. This is not a free market failure any more than the energy market in California was “deregulated.” This is a government failure, plain and simple.

    This is why Joe’s original point about the police state is so important. The police state exists when the state is far-reaching and strong. Although both parties in the US are basically statist, one is worse than the other. And yet blacks, who are most at risk from a police state, support that party. It’s crazy.

    You think middle-class incomes were higher in the past?! Please provide some evidence of that totally outrageous claim. Middle class incomes, along with those of the poor and the rich, rise.

  14. No1KState

    @ both Darin and marandaNJ – If the issue behind employment rate disparity is education, and specifically that poor blacks devalue education, how does that explain the disparity in employment rates even for men with college and graduate degrees?

    @ marandaNJ – Many articles and books have been suggested that disprove your insistance of the “acting white” phenomenon. That myth has been debunked. Also, even considering subjects that are a-racial, like science and math, the attitude of the teacher also matter. For example, studies have shown (and here you’ll have to google yourself, but I’m pretty sure you might be able to find a Time Magazine article) that women/girls (have) respond(ed) negatively in these classes due to the teachers’ sexism.

    @ Darin – Since Reagen, government regulations have weakened. Even in the financial market. You haven’t addressed my point which is that government intervention in the financial markets, and by intervention I mean intervention to help the weak, has decreased and subsequently led to the derivatives and mortgage-backed securities that led to the financial disaster. True, it was government failure that led to the collapse; but failure to prevent bankers for taking far too many risks with money they didn’t have.

    I don’t deny that the government can be used against the weak. I only maintain that blacks vote Dem because we seek to use the government to empower the weak. The problem with the “police-state” is a government that far-reaching and strong; it’s the racism of individual cops and society in general. It’s true that historically blacks suffered at the hands of the state. It’s true that historically blacks have suffered at the hands of the free market. But it wasn’t the free market the forced George Wallace to integrate Alabama schools. It’s not the rational individual the forces employers to give equal consideration to all job applicants. In fact, even though diversity increase profitability, individuals in their irrationality continue to make decisions that keep profits from rising.

    I guess, overall, my point is that individuals are irrational, racist, sexist, etc and so on. Both the government and the free market are made up of these irrational individuals. Neither as voters or investors due blacks care to leave our fate to a collection of irrational individuals acting without our influence.

    As for the alleged outrageous claim, I didn’t say middle class incomes were higher in the past.

  15. DJohnson

    You know, No1KState, you’re a big one for claiming things have been “debunked.” Just because somebody writes a paper arguing against a thing doesn’t mean it’s been disproved. Perhaps you should summarize the main argument against, at least to the point of overcoming the prima facie case that black kids, especially boys, seem pretty uninterested in school.

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You believe that a) “diversity” is profitable, yet b) companies irrationally undervalue non-Asian minorities. Sounds like a profit-making opportunity. Maybe you should venture out into the private sector and put your money where your mouth is. Then you could put this theory to the test. Meanwhile, actual businessmen with actual money at risk seem to disagree with you — they ignore “diversity” and focus on things like intelligence and experience. Do you have any evidence that “diversity” actually is profitable?

    You said, “When unions were stronger, middle-class incomes were higher.” That’s obviously false.

    • No1KState

      Oh? So I didn’t say that middle-class incomes were higher in the past? Huh.

      Here’s some info:

      I wanted to try to find some info that could be easily understood but that you also couldn’t cry foul on on first read. There’re lots of works and articles out there. It’d probably be more effective if you read them yourself.

      As for diversity:

      As for black boys . . . lets say I’ve done enough work for you. I’m not going to rehash a convo for you that I’ve had with marandaNJ. And I’m not going to disprove something you have yet to proven. I’m not going to spend my time doing for you what you could easily do for yourself.

  16. marandaNJ

    Black people have had Many Educational Opportunities in this country that they have Chosen not to take advantage of. I do see your point No1 that racism does indeed still exist in the market place regarding employment.
    However, isn’t a black college grad [even though it might be a little harder to obtain a job for him than a white college grad] still miles ahead of a black kid who drops out of school at age 16, joins the hood gang and ends up in the state pen by age 22?
    There is tremendous pressure in poor black neighborhoods to be ‘one of us’ and sell illegal drugs or commit petty crimes rather than learn to recite Shakespeare. The irony is that there wouldn’t be As Many Poor Black Neighborhoods if more black citizens would take education more seriously.There does exist a culture within the lower SES blacks that college is for white snobby kids and they don’t want any part of it.
    There was a time when college was indeed for white snobby kids, but one minority group proved them wrong: the Asians. Now MIT has almost a 45% Asian student body.Are Asians the model minority? Yup, I think so. I have Asian friends and they don’t take any bull from their kids when it comes to education. That’s from kindergarten on up.
    They myth is that white America does not want blacks to succeed. And why would that be? Why would white America want to keep on paying tax dollars into welfare programs rather then see black kids stay in school and pull their own weight by contributing to our tax base instead of depleting it? Even if they end up in prison, do you know how much it costs to support one inmate for one year? Nobody Wants This. This type of reasoning is absurd.
    The black community has hurt themselves very much in the image they have portrayed to the American public. Rap music, for example, glorifies crime, going against legal systems, basically having mindless fun, and toting guns, instead of studying for the SAT. Unfortunately, black people [mostly children] are the only minority group in America who have made this type of music a sort of mantra and personal philosophy.

    • No1KState

      Without having read the entire post, let me just say this:

      Young white males make up upwards of 80% of rap audience. Rappers themselves talk about having to rap about what the label execs, mostly white, tell them to.

      You couldn’t be more wrong about the educational opportunities granted blacks in this country. In fact, after prop 202 in California, minority enrollment in state colleges and universities went down – but it had nothing to do with merrit.

      Yeah. I supposed an unemployed black guy with a degree has it better than an unemployed black guy who dropped out of high school. Probably, though, because he already had some resources to fall back on, not because of his degree. But “miles ahead” is wholly overstated and “little harder” is wholly understated. Per the article I shared with you the last time we had this conversation, black men with degrees have it twice as hard.

      Yes. Americans would absolutely rather pay millions into prison system than thousands into education. That’s why we’re currently paying millions to imprison people, nearly half on nonviolent charges of drug possession, than relative thousands on education.

  17. marcg

    DJohnson, why is it obviously false that the incomes of workers were higher in periods of stronger unionism? If you look at industries with some unionized workers and compare their wages to workers doing the same jobs at non-union firms take a guess at what you’ll find.

    Or we can take the guesswork out of it.

    From the US Bureau of Labor Stats. There is really no category in which there are unionized and non-unionized workers where those without a union make as much money.

    Collective bargaining creates higher wages than individual bargaining. As far as this elusive middle class (who decides what that even is?), this group used to be called working class before the corporate PR machine thought better of that and created a new term.

    And yes, the working class unequivocally made more money when unionism was stronger in the US.

    • DJohnson

      I’m sure that union employees did (and do) really well. That’s not the question. My point is that a union is an extortion racket, and it’s a typical example of the strong using the force of government to benefit themselves at the expense of the weak — including blacks.

      You can’t just magically make somebody’s wages higher without causing anything else to change. When you pass laws saying union wages are effective minimum wages, you make it harder to compete with unions, you reduce the total amount of work done, you reduce the consumer surplus (the total benefit we all derive from productive enterprise), and you create an artificial surplus of workers — in other words, a shortage of jobs: unemployment.

  18. marcg


    I have some issues with your posting. You said that it is a myth that white America doesn’t want Blacks to succeed. Let’s explore that. I think you’re wrong. And to be clear I don’t believe white America has personal animus with each and every Black American but I do believe white Americans have bought into stereotypes that allow them to be manipulated into supporting policies that function to ensure Black America doesn’t succeed.

    But back to your assertion. I would like to know if you believe that if at any point in US history white America hasn’t wanted Black America to succeed. I hope that you’ll agree that during Jim Crow and before, in the dismantling of Reconstruction and during slavery, that white America clearly did not want Blacks to do well. At what point did white America change it’s mind?

    • marandaNJ

      I totally agree that white America did not want blacks to succeed at all during Jim Crow and during Reconstruction which tried to deny southern planters their free labor.
      However, in the world I was born into, I have not seen white people determined to ‘keep blacks in their place’. Maybe because I was born in 1965.
      I saw black people in all walks of life, if this is what they desired and were willing to work for. Education is not a given. Just because the opportunity is there doesn’t mean you will take advantage of it. Education is a job like any other. It takes Lots of Boring Work to achieve. It’s definitely not about instant gratification. If the desire to acquire an education isn’t intense enough, it ain’t gonna happen.
      Rehashing history will not educate America’s blacks Today. That particular goal must be achieved by..America’s blacks. Am I wrong?

      • DJohnson

        Even if racism exists (and I’m a hardliner on this issue: it does and it will never go away) it’s an empirical question whether that racism is a significant explanation for the apparent lack of progress blacks have made. If I hate you but I don’t or can’t do anything about it, then my hatred is irrelevant except as a moral question.

        As you point out, if racism doesn’t explain it, then you’ve got to look somewhere else. We all expected after the Civil Rights Movement that blacks would quickly close the gaps. It hasn’t happened. Not by a long shot. This isn’t a good thing by any means, but it does seem to be true, so we should start by accepting it.

    • DJohnson

      What the heck is “white America”? Former slave holders in the south? Twentieth century immigrants from Sweden? Abolitionists in New England? Korean grocers in Harlem…

      How can anyone possibly say what “white America” may have wanted at some point in history? And even if we could agree on what “white America” is (or was), how will you define what it wanted? Do fifty percent have to agree? What if it’s only a third, but they really, REALLY want it, while the other two thirds are this-way-that-way?

      It’s kind of a weird question.

  19. No1KState

    At the end of the day – cause I’m not interested in hashing out distractions – Joe’s math was correct.

    Also, I’m correct. Whether it’s whites as racists or blacks as undervaluing education – allegedly – individuals are irrational; and, as a group, blacks would much rather take our chances influences the government rather than solely the “free” market.

    Which reminds me, no one’s proven that individuals and markets absent government intervention are rational; or, that the black community devalues education.

    Oh, and by the way, D Johnson, the data I shared only shows the decline in income for the last decade. But there are tons of other data showing the when unions were stronger, the middle class grew and its income grew. That’s easily googled. Cause I don’t mean that incomes today are less than what they were in 1920. That’s ludicrous. What I mean is that in terms of inflation and share of income/wealth, when unions were stronger, the middle class made more money.

    As for poverty in the black community – as a percentage of black Americans, poverty was a little higher than 12%, like 12.5% or something, until the beginnings of the recent economic recession; which for black America has become a depression. (You can look that up and find the numbers yourself.) Since the 60s and 70s, the increase in black income has been the result of African Americans doing what everybody else does with a lessening impact of racism. The rate of poverty itself is directly related to historical and present racism. We don’t necessarily have to go back to reparations due freedmen and women. We can just go back as far as the earned benefits withheld from black WWII vets – GI Bill-funded educations, VA-backed mortgages – and began accounting for a loss of accumulated wealth. (And by wealth, here I mean anything above debt.) Moreover, black workers lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every month due to racism in the labor market. (That’s something else you can find yourself.)

  20. No1KState

    Wow. I lost track of comment postings. Wow.

    Anywho . . .

    Let me be clear – I’ve spent lots of time reading the research and studies and data. Lots. I’ve read books, online articles, researching findings, etc. When I say something’s been debunked, I’ve read the research that disproves it. I’m not going to take time listing all the data disproving assumptions, and negative and false stereotypes when you could do the same yourself.


  1. “Million Dollar Blocks” : Incarceration as the New Jim Crow ::

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