You stand for the position that the problems with systemic racism are based upon bigger socioeconomic issues, but in the same breath you oppose both large scale and personal efforts to address these socioeconomic issues (though never at the same time).

Not at all. I am firmly of the belief that the best way to address those socioeconomic disparities is a more robust business environment where good paying jobs are plentiful.

A paycheck is always going to be bigger than a welfare check, after all. And where welfare checks increase incrementally only, the person with a paycheck can compete for better paying jobs, promotions, and raises that exceed that increment. And as I said, if you can level income, things start to fall into place.

You hold that “until educational levels are equal, you can forget about ending systemic racism” but when someone suggests any large scale public and/or governmental efforts to standardize education or government programs specifically aimed at improving the educational opportunities available to poorer minorities, you’re very likely to argue against them on the basis that their proposal represents either government over-reach or public shaming.

Wrong. I would argue against them on the grounds that there is little data that shows governmental programs have been effective in improving educational opportunities. I dislike spending money unless there’s a return on my investment.

Further, in practice, we already have educational standardization, and have had it for decades, due to standardized testing programs such as the Stanfords, PSATs, SATs, and ACTs. Standardized testing, and the school districts vested interest in grading themselves using those tests, plus the way textbooks are sold, has given us a de facto “standard curriculum” of which there are very few serious deviations nationwide.

On the other side, when someone suggests a more personal approach like an individual criticizing an individual for a perceived racial inequality, you’re often against it on the grounds the the person doing the criticizing is being myopic, overly sensitive or that what they’re doing is too personal and doesn’t address the bigger issues of racism.

Several points to be made here:

  • Almost nobody is consciously racist nowadays. So, if they say something that is perceived as racist, it’s not intended to be. So, they fit into a (Refer back to the clip from “Blazing Saddles” in my original post.)
  • Every personal interaction is going to be unique. The person doing the criticizing COULD be myopic, they COULD be overly sensitive, or they COULD be arrogantly virtue-signalling. OTOH, they could be doing it sensitively, appropriately, and properly. I have no problem with the latter, but it’s a bit like threading the needle. You don’t want to be the person who asks a woman “when is your baby due” when the women is just overweight.
  • And…it obviously doesn't address the bigger issues of racism, thinking systemically.

The same seems to be true in how you view the role of corporations in ending systemic racism.

I am not precisely sure what you’re referring to, but it’s pretty clear that corporations, the larger ones in particular, invest quite a bit in recruiting and employing a diverse workforce, and have for decades. Bravo for them. They are heavily hampered by the educational problem, unfortunately.

When there members of the public make an effort to gather public and/or legal pressure against a corporation to increase its diversity, you’re very likely to take the position that this is an over reach, public shaming and doesn’t really address the causes of racism.

Yes, that sounds a bit too much like Nazi Germany for my tastes. YMMV.

On the other side, you also seem very skeptical of individual employees who report racism in their workplace, or campaign for their employers to increase diversity.

See above where I start with “People can criticize….”. Same answer. And you can campaign all you like, but if HR doesn’t have qualified minority applicants, your “campaign” isn’t going to do much good.

It seems as if whenever anyone does anything with the specific stated goal of reducing systemic racism, in the public or private sphere, you’re ready to criticize them for either being too big or too small.

<sighs> I’m 62. Overt racism today, compared to my youth, is virtually eradicated. When I look at polling, probably about 3–4% of the population today is overtly and consciously racist, compared to 25–26% in the 60’s and early 70’s.

Personally, I think that’s rather remarkable progress. But a deep dive into the data shows that racists rarely stop being racists; what we’ve done very well as a nation is raise the Gen X Gen Y and millennial groups to not be racist; the reason we’ve had the drop off from 25% to 4% is that the racists died off; that 4% that’s still left is almost all in their 60’s and older, it seems from the data.

So, when it comes to overt racism…probably time to push away from the table and declare victory.

That brings us to systemic racism. The problem with systemic racism is that it’s systemic. It doesn’t stem from anyone being overtly racist, but exists based on societal conditions that are very difficult to change, if not subject to “Catch-22” types of situations.

Here’s an example. Why do schools in low income minority areas suck, even after facility, funding, and headcount issues are normalized?

Well, kids learn more from great teachers than they do from crappy teachers. With that in mind, here’s the shitty, sucky, systemic truth: If you’re a great teacher, you can pick whatever job you want.

And if you can pick whatever job you want, you pick a job in a school with high-performing kids who don’t make your life difficult; and TODAY, that’s almost always going to be a suburban school with a primarily white/asian demographic.

So, SYSTEMICALLY, the minority kids get shortchanged. Not because anyone in the school system, administration, educators, anyone….is racist. It’s because the teachers want to work close to home and have an nice easy (relatively speaking — teaching is a hard job anywhere) job.

Want to fix that? So do I. So urban districts often pay additional incentives and bonuses for great teachers to come out and teach in problematic environments. But it’s not enough.

Got a solution? I’d love to hear it. But I warn you, I don’t think shaming the great teachers is going to work. I KNOW ordering them to campuses they don’t want to be at isn’t going to work. Be creative.

It seems like you believe systemic racism as a problem, but at the same time also believe that any efforts to end systemic racism cannot be couched in terms of ending racism and cannot ever outweigh any of your other beliefs or values.

If it’s not clear by now, it should be. My view is that unlike overt racism, ending systemic racism is an evolutionary process that takes time. Because it’s rooted in economics and the interfaces between institutions, there’s a lot to unwind. Doesn’t happen overnight. CAN’T happen overnight. And unlike overt racism, there’s no throat to choke.

It seems like you see systemic racism as either one of the least important problems in the United States, or not really a problem in and of itself so much as just a symptom of a another problem that you recognize as a “real problem”.

I certainly view it as less important than a vigorous jobs market and the educational issue, because a vigorous jobs market along with educational equivalency would address it. If I have jobs open and nobody to fill them, I am inclined to do on the job training; and that would be great for young minority adults who are capable but because of systemic issues (see above) did not advance in education as far as they could have; and I have not yet met an HR hiring executive who has all the qualified minority applicants they need.

Hope that helps.

Free markets, free minds. Question all narratives. If you think one political party is right and the other party is evil, the problem with our politics is you.

Free markets, free minds. Question all narratives. If you think one political party is right and the other party is evil, the problem with our politics is you.