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Institutional Racism: The Sasquatch of Political Folklore

A great confusion has arisen out of the clamor of political debate, one which presupposes that any dismissal of the merits of “institutional racism” somehow equates to one’s rejection of personal struggle. 

Whereas the struggle of any individual remains always and everywhere unique and wholly personal, his common bond of complexion with others who have struggled serves inadequately as the basis for any argument which regards this commonality as the cause, or as the reason, for that veritable struggle. 

To condemn the unidentifiable and nebulous abstraction, then, by castigating an unnamed institution which persists beyond our specific capacity to recognize its power, serves only to absolve individuals of their personal responsibility, to shift blame and culpability to a specter which exists only by the creative designs of our imaginations, which exists as the scapegoat for all outcomes popularly maligned as undesirable. 

This unactionable practice, then, swiftly and categorically excuses every individual for failings which all along remained precisely within their control, serving only to distract them from the changes they could reasonably effect to modify their lives and their welfare. 

In fact, a 2013 Brookings Institution study found that 98 percent of American adults who followed these three simple rules were living free of poverty: finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children. The study illustrates that there is clearly no evidence of ubiquitous or institutional racism causing this outcome, as it is rather domestic culture and poor decision-making which is apparently responsible for producing lives mired in long-term poverty.

Instead of confronting these matters or assuming personal responsibility over them, however, it has become far easier and far more fashionable to unify with the many others who’ve academically concocted, or otherwise robotically parroted, a digestible or superficially-relatable excuse for their struggle in a world which is plainly rife with purely distinct forms of it. 

As an infant who shouts into the ether without a coherent message to convey, so too have so many adult-looking persons persisted to engage in this behavior, qualifying their qualms merely on the basis of being backed by people who appear wiser or adult-like, whose chants appear to resemble the ones which are ostensibly certified by history texts, but who manifestly lack the cogency to elucidate a clear-minded point beyond the face value of the anger, frustration and insecurity which surrounds their admittedly-disappointing lives. 

It appears, at last, that the archetypical hero is no longer one who takes the initiative to improve his own life by the merits of his own enterprise and tireless work ethic, but instead this model has devolved into one celebrated for the unrelenting hot air and angry tones he emits from his mouth, the unthinking rallying cries he engenders through his unwitting disciples, and the despicable opponent he’s cast upon the wall of Plato’s cave. 



It is just too bad that so few will conduct the requisite due diligence to expose the fraud, and of those who do, few will actually have the audacity to disclose the truth, for fear of insulting the angry mob, while those who do are systematically relegated to the rank of racist, bigot or Republican, the modern equivalent to Hawthorne’s scarlet letter.

When one actually endeavors into the jarring and lonely abyss of truth, he is invariably confronted with a uniquely distinct tale of statistics which paint an entirely different portrait from the one popularly broadcast through mainstream media, over the airwaves and through social media.

For those up to the task, continue reading.

Of the 2,699 police killings between 2013 and 2015, white suspects constituted fully 45 percent of them. 

According to the same exhaustive study by the Crime Prevention Research Center, black police officers are statistically more likely than white police officers to kill black suspects. 

What’s more, research by the FBI shows that 90.1 percent of black victims of homicide were killed by other blacks. 

According to the Department of Justice, of the 75 largest counties in the United States, blacks constitute 15 percent of the population while accounting for 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults. 

In New York City, blacks account for 23 percent of the population while committing 75 percent of all shootings. 

By contrast, whites constitute 34 percent of the population while accounting for only 2 percent of shootings. 

According to the Census Bureau, fully three-quarters of all black youths in the United States are growing up in broken single-parent households. 

Based on the latest FBI statistics, upon controlling for population, the average black murderer in the United States is 11.5 times more likely to murder a white person than the average white murderer is to murder a black person. What’s more, while black Americans are twice as likely as whites to be killed by police, they are three times as likely to commit murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, or violent crime. Finally, the data indicate that the ethnicity of the police officer involved in any fatal shooting cannot predict the ethnicity of the citizen; indeed, the data show that black police officers are even more likely than their white counterparts to kill black citizens. For this, the data strongly suggest that hiring more black cops will not result in fewer black people getting shot.

None of these outcomes shouts of racism, much less its largely-imagined institutional variety, but rather of poor personal decision-making. 

As it turns out, "institutional racism” serves merely as a masking agent for individuals’ reluctance to assume responsibility for their respective stations in life, or rather their incapacity to recognize the artificial hurdles they’ve effectively placed in their own way.

Oddly enough, the bulk of the evidence reveals an alternative semblance of institutional racism, but not likely where you thought it would originate: government, in the very apparatuses ironically embraced by the people whom it has apparently harmed the most.

I cover this subject in further detail in another article: The Vicious Vortex of Palatably Promoting Poverty.  

Comments

  1. "In fact, a 2013 Brookings Institution study found that 98 percent of American adults who followed these three simple rules were living free of poverty: finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children. The study illustrates that there is clearly no evidence of ubiquitous or institutional racism causing this outcome, as it is rather domestic culture and poor decision-making which is apparently responsible for producing lives mired in long-term poverty."

    For one, correlation does not imply causation, all that study says is that 98 percent of Americans which follow those "3 simple rules" do will not live in poverty. This doesn't mean that simply going around and telling people to not get married before they're 21 is the silver bullet which will end poverty.

    Furthermore, you assert that this "poor decision-making" is what is responsible for poverty. This is technically true; however, if we go one level deeper this subject becomes significantly more interesting.

    Why do these people make worse decisions? Unless you wish to go the race realist route of saying that black people are just genetically inferior, you have to offer up a reasonable answer to this question.

    I propose that many factors, such as Redlining[1] and Lead Paint[2], are still having a lasting impact today. This goes back to something deeper: poor people don't magically become rich, rich people don't magically become poor[3]. With this knowledge taken into account, we can now consider that these policies enacted decades ago can be having a lasting impact on a select subset of the population.

    So, now we're left with the philosophical question: does a society which previously mistreated a group have the moral imperative to give them a "helping hand" to catch up?

    [1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redlining
    [2]: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/black-children-at-risk-for-lead-poisoning_n_7672920
    [3]: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/research/money_matters/report.asp

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  2. You apparently missed this line: "According to the Census Bureau, fully three-quarters of all black youths in the United States are growing up in broken single-parent households." And you're apparently unaware that the modern American has no relation to the "society which previously mistreated [that] group." The average American today can trace his lineage back to the turn of the twentieth century, when his own immigrant predecessors moved to America and faced their own adversity. Ironically, neither you nor anybody else seems too concerned about the treatment of the Asian population in the western frontiers during the nineteenth century, nor their mistreatment through their internment during WWII; despite this and the fact that these events are far more recent than the so-called "original sin" in which the entire world participated, even notably blacks themselves in America, Africa and across the globe, the Asian population tends to financially outperform their contemporaries in America. Additionally, far from the condescending view you appear to hold, African-Americans do pretty well in this world. In fact, if you tallied up the earnings of every African-American, their per-capita income (PPP) would place them in the seventy-ninth percentile of all countries in the world, ahead of all of their African counterparts. Being an American has had its perks. Finally, no person in any free society has any obligation or "imperative" to lend a "helping hand." Any such institution equates to a form of slavery.

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