Tag Archives: Racial Disparities

Discrimination and Disparities, by Walter E. Williams

I had Thomas Sowell for a labor economics class at UCLA. He was one of the three best professors I had as an undergraduate or in grad school. He’s a very smart man, well worth listening to or reading. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

My longtime friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell has just published a revised and enlarged edition of “Discrimination and Disparities.” It lays waste to myth after myth about the causes of human differences not only in the United States but around the globe. Throughout the book, Sowell shows that socioeconomic outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups and nations in ways that cannot be easily explained by any one factor, whether it’s genetics, sex or race discrimination or a history of gross mistreatment that includes expulsion and genocide.

In his book “The Philadelphia Negro” (1899), W.E.B. Du Bois posed the question as to what would happen if white people lost their prejudices overnight. He said that it would make little difference to most blacks. He said: “Some few would be promoted, some few would get new places — the mass would remain as they are” until the younger generation began to “try harder” and the race “lost the omnipresent excuse for failure: prejudice.”

Sowell points out that if historical injustices and persecution were useful explanations of group disadvantage, Jews would be some of the poorest and least-educated people in the world today. Few groups have been victimized down through history as have the Jews. Despite being historical targets of hostility and lethal violence, no one can argue that as a result Jews are the most disadvantaged people.

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Racial Disparities in School Discipline, by Walter E. Williams

Failing to punish students who misbehave has terrible consequences for the student and his or her teachers and classmates. From Walter E. Williams at townhall.com:

President Barack Obama’s first education secretary, Arne Duncan, gave a speech on the 45th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where, in 1965, state troopers beat and tear-gassed hundreds of peaceful civil rights marchers who were demanding voting rights. Later that year, as a result of widespread support across the nation, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. Secretary Duncan titled his speech “Crossing the Next Bridge.” Duncan told the crowd that black students “are more than three times as likely to be expelled as their white peers,” adding that Martin Luther King would be “dismayed.”

Gail Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and her special assistant and counselor, Alison Somin, have written an important article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, titled “The Department of Education’s Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline” (Spring 2018). The article is about the departments of Education and Justice’s “disparate impact” vision, wherein they see racial discrimination as the factor that explains why black male students face suspension and expulsion more often than other students.

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