An Honest Discussion of Race, Can We Handle It?


“What a Truly Honest Discussion of Race Would Look Like” and which Obama and the Left would like to avoid

On Thursday, July 14, Barack Obama held a nationally televised “town hall” meeting on American race relations—and, unsurprisingly, punted on that “honest” discussion of race that he and his ilk accuse the rest of us of deferring.

A truly honest discussion of race, you see, threatens the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) or, alternately, Big Racism.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that for virtually every kind of crime, blacks are perpetrators in numbers wildly out of proportion to their number in the national population.  For instance, young black males constitute no more than one to three percent of all Americans, yet they are responsible for over 50 percent of all murders.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that police officers generally are more likely to shoot unarmed white suspects than blacks, while black and Hispanic officers are more likely than their white counterparts to shoot unarmed black suspects.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that blacks shoot police officers at an astronomically higher rate than that at which officers have shot black suspects.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that while black-on-black crime is indeed epic, the rate of black-on-white crime is nearly as high: Of the 560, 600 crimes of violence involving blacks and whites, blacks were perpetrators 84.9% of the time.  Whites, in glaring contrast, targeted blacks only 3.6 % of the time.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that, contrary to the conventional wisdom on display at Obama’s town hall, blacks are both the greatest racial victimizers and those least victimized by other races.  Not only do they target the members of the white majority exponentially more frequently than the latter target them; so too do blacks target Hispanics at a rate rivaling that at which they select whites for acts of violence: Of the 256, 074 violent crimes involving blacks and Hispanics, the former attacked the latter 82.5% of the time, while blacks comprise only 4.7% of those targeted by Hispanics.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that for all of the fashionable cant about “white privilege,” the median household income for white Americans in 2014 ($60, 256) was the 16th highest in the nation.  That’s right: White households earned less than those of Americans of various other racial backgrounds. Indians, coming in at $101, 591, earned more than anyone (and substantially more than whites).  Yet so too do Taiwanese ($85,566), Filipinos ($82,389), Japanese ($70,261), Chinese ($69,586), Lebanese ($69,514), Iranians ($66,186), Turks ($64,617), Portuguese ($64,002), Palestinians ($63,864), Pakistanis ($62,848), Indonesians ($61,943), Nigerians ($61,289), Syrians ($61,151), and Egyptians ($60,543) in America out-earn whites.

To repeat, in an historically white country, a country that remains (much to the chagrin of the left) predominantly white, a country that is supposedly rife with “white privilege,” many peoples of color—yellows (Asians); browns (Middle Easterners); and, yes, blacks (Nigerians)—are economically more “privileged” than allegedly “privileged” white Americans.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that to this white “racist” society that the merchants of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) have been calling “AmeriKKKa” for decades, more African blacks have voluntarily migrated within a mere 15 years (1990-2005) than all of the blacks who were brought here during the whole time that America was involved in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that while whites were by no means unique insofar as they participated in slavery, they were indeed unique inasmuch as they were the first Earthlings in all of human history to spearhead a revolt against, not their own enslavement, but the enslavement of others:

This perennial practice of slavery was brought to an end courtesy of just those people—whites—who the titans of Big Racism and their minions continue to demonize as uniquely evil today.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that the British empire, the most powerful in the world up until this time in the 18th century, wielded its military and economic might to—horror of horrors!—force Africans, Asians, and Arabs to stop trading in human flesh. And a truly honest discussion of race would mention that the British did this at considerable cost to their own well-being, and with little in the way of material gain.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that the peoples of color upon whom the British visited their “imperialism” would frequently resist attempts to abolish slavery, and sometimes resist through arms.

A truly honest discussion of race would mention that statistical comparisons of “blacks” and “whites” are, at best, misleading, for when white and black Americans of similar demographic descriptions are compared, whatever economic and other “inequalities” initially appeared evaporate.  In his The Vision of the Anointed, the black American thinker Thomas Sowell shares some examples:

(a)As long ago as 1969, black males that came from homes with reading materials had the same incomes as did whites who hailed from the same kind of background and with the same amount of schooling.

(b)Thirty-five years ago, in 1981, black married couples that were college educated and working earned slightly more than their white counterparts.

(c)The poverty rate among households headed by single white females is twice the rate as that found among households headed by black married couples.

(d)Black married women with only a high school education have lower infant mortality rates than white single women with college degrees.

Sowell rightly concludes:  “Many of the ‘racial’ differences based on gross statistics are shown by a finer breakdown to be differences between people with different values and lifestyles, who are differing proportions of differing racial populations.”

When Barack Obama and his ilk are ready to face these (and more) challenges to Big Racism’s monopoly on the public’s collective consciousness, then perhaps we have a truly honest discussion of race.

Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1 Comment

  1. I appreciate your assertion that a truly honest discussion on race should not keep out statistics that seem to contradict the idea that racism is still prevalent in our society. However, such a conversation might also include statistics that do suggest that racism is still prevalent in our society, such as the wealth gap between blacks and whites and the difference in incarceration rates, even for similar offenses, between blacks and whites. Have you considered these?

    When you write that blacks are “the least victimized by other races,” do you think you are not giving enough weight to the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and segregated housing and education opportunities?

    I also find your assignment of significant credit to the white race for ending slavery quite misses the mark. If I (who am white) begin choking a black man to death and then another white person stops me, should that person be lauded as a hero and by extension credit given to his white race for being magnanimous? I would say that he fulfilled the minimum of what could be expected out of human decency. Similarly, whites helping stop slavery were acting morally, but only in stopping the literal enslavement of other humans, something that I would hope we would expect from any moral being.

    In the interest of having an honest discussion about race, have you considered sharing the statistics you mention here with some people who are working in what you call the RIC? You would probably encounter some people who would shout you down and not want to participate, but my guess is that many people would be interested in hearing your perspective, as long as you are willing to hear theirs. I’m one. I’d be very interested in trying to look at any area of statistical analysis that you mention (crime, etc.) and talk together about what might be the underlying causes for the figures.

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