The notorious Boohab slams racist thinking right and left.
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raucus and racial

Men talk of the Negro problem. There is no Negro problem. The problem is whether the American people have honesty enough, loyalty enough, honor enough, patriotism enough to live up to their own Constitution

-- Frederick Douglass, August 1893

boo what?
interview with the boohab

test your racism
black hell
cyberspace my black ass
race man's home companion

race man's home companion

operating theories
why are you white?
what is racist?
affirmative action
race man's debunker
technical references
case law


Saturday, April 12, 2003

Domain has been moved.
6:57:03 PM    comment []

Monday, March 03, 2003

Finally grumpy and sleepy, I lob a shell over to my good man John.

i find it interesting that we remain so focused on the travails of several thousand graduate students in this blessed nation.

as fascinating as it is, i wonder if you might do us a favor and cast your searchlight over to the caseload of the EEOC, which handles those discriminations which might be deemed criminal.

it's late and i'm thinking somewhat fuzzily, but it occurs to me that we are so fortunate to have precise regimes like the U of M to quantify exactly how much racial discrimination is going on. it's like legalized marijuana in the hands of brilliant marketers like philip morris.

if we are just saying no to racial discrimination as a blanket zero-tolerance policy, is it a better thing or a worse thing that it is managed with such efficiency at our nations' finest universities? because from where i stand the mote of university affirmative action has distracted us from the many beams of racism in american society, most significantly those outlined by glenn loury.

i understand the rationale for making the case against university affirmative action, what i don't understand is the lack of proportionality evident in this relentless struggle on behalf of students so close to the top of the food chain.

have you never heard of redlining?

12:33:14 AM    comment []

Monday, February 24, 2003

(from the archives - April 2001)

10 Reasons

1. "Assuming there is actually a debt, it is not at all clear who owes it. "

Slavery constitutes several affronts to humanity. Let us first talk about theft. Slavery requires the theft of wages. The theif is the individual or organization directing and commanding the labor whom, in a free society, would be responsible for payment of those wages. Simple.

The government is also responsible for allowing such a system of theft to exist. It is a conspirator in this theft through the maintenance of laws which denied property ownership to the slave or even the standing to defend his claims in court.

There is also an industry responsible for this theft. Just as the fortunes of American high tech depend on the exploitation of the technologies in microchips, the fortunes of American agriculture depended on the exploitation of the slave. Just as the fortunes of American high tech's new economy drives and effects the national and international economy, so did the fortunes of America's slave economy.

"It was not whites but black Africans who first enslaved their brothers and sisters."

So it was. A supply of African slaves was created due to the demand of the American appetite for slaves. There was not some great surplus inventory of slaves in Africa held by African slave traders just waiting for buyers. There were no African sales representatives running offices in Charleston, New Orleans and Savanna trying to drum up business. In fact, the unique nature of American chattel slavery (in which slaves are bred to produce more slaves) was a response to the fact that Africa was unable to export enough slaves who could survive the deadly conditions of the Middle Passage.

"There were also 3,000 black slave owners in the antebellum United States. Are reparations to be paid by their descendants too?"

A simple principle to follow is this: If you descended from slaves, you get reparations. If you did not, you don't. We could add a dizzying array of moral qualifications on that, but it complicates something that can be kept simple and obscures the fact of the original theft.

Reparations will represent an effort to collect on a debt, only a fraction of which can be expected to be recovered. Each part of the industry of slavery has some margin of responsibility. Each part will have some ability to pay. All these are calculations which can be assessed.

2. "The idea that only whites benefited from slavery is factually wrong and attitudinally racist."

"If slave labor created wealth for all Americans, then obviously it created wealth for black Americans as well, including the descendants of slaves. Free blacks in the antebellum United States surely benefited from the free labor of slaves, along with whites. Are they to be exempted from payment of the debt just because they are black?"

America benefitted from slavery through the profits of the slave industry and supporting industries. Just as there are some blacks today who do benefit from profits in the stock market, certainly there had to be some then who were clever enough to profit from the theft of labor.

"The GNP of black America is so large that it makes the African-American community the 10th most prosperous "nation" in the world. To translate this into individual realities, American blacks on average enjoy per capita incomes in the range of 20 to 50 times those of blacks living in any of the African nations from which they were kidnapped."

Their tax dollars will contribute a significant amount to any payment recieved from the Federal Government and/or the States.

3. "In terms of lineal responsibility for slavery, only a tiny minority of Americans ever owned slaves. This is true even for those who lived in the antebellum South, where only one white in five was a slaveholder. Why should the descendants of non-slaveholding whites owe a debt? What about the descendants of the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves? They gave their lives. What possible morality would ask them to pay (through their descendants) again?"

Again? The matter of reparations has not been tried by the Supreme Court or decided with any finality. The case by Ogletree and company has not even been made, much less heard by the American government and people. If indeed it had every American would be able to point to *the* reparations case as readily as they point to Roe v. Wade or Brown v. Board of Education.

We would appeal, having finally made the case to America, to the same morality we ask of all citizens to pay taxes despite the fact that they may disagree with government policy. In general, we can call it patriotism. The truest America abhors slavery and owns up to its responsibility. The truest Americans will support that principle. Beyond that, there is a case to be made on the world stage. Humanity responds to appeals for justice.

4. "Most Americans living today (white and otherwise) are the descendants of post-Civil War immigrants, who have no lineal connection to slavery at all. The two great waves of American immigration occurred after 1880 and after 1960. Is there an argument worth considering that would, for example, make Jews (who were cowering in the ghettos of Europe at the time) or Mexicans and Cubans (who were suffering under the heel of Spain) responsible for this crime? What reason could there be that Vietnamese boat people, Russian refuseniks, Iranian refugees, Armenian victims of the Turks or Greek, Polish, Hungarian and Korean victims of communism should pay reparations to American blacks? "

Most Americans living today are American citizens. Anyone who accepts American citizenship inherits America's fight for freedom. We don't ask new immigrants to rewrite the Bill of Rights, nor do we require them to re-fight the War of 1812. Yet they are beneficiaries of that history. New immigrants also inherit the bad with the good. They inherit all the responsibilities of every American citizen no matter how long they have been here, no matter where they came from or why, without regard to their race, creed, color, religion, gender, sexual preference or other distinction.

5. "The historical precedents generally invoked to justify the reparations claim-that Jews and Japanese-Americans received reparations from Germany and the United States, respectively-are spurious. The circumstances involved bear no resemblance to the situation of American blacks, and are not really precedents at all. The Jews and Japanese who received reparations were individuals who actually suffered the hurt."

Either you believe in inheritance or you don't. If you choose not to, that doesn't absolve you from the fiscal responsibility inherent in estates. Kin can inherit wealth or debt from their forebears. Money laundering itself is a crime. The original theft of labor and the conspiracy to deny property rights from African Americans has never been resolved to the satisfaction of the plaintiffs.

America may owe blacks a great number of things that will not and cannot be corrected or even addressed by reparations suit. Respect is certainly one of them. It is true that one cannot compare internment with genocide with slavery. And so one cannot judge the merits of one case only by looking at the procedures carried out in the resolution of another. However, where there are similarities and the laws and principles are applicable, then they should be applied in proper consideration of precedents.

6. "Behind the reparations arguments lies the unfounded claim that all blacks in America suffer economically from the consequences of slavery and discrimination. It would seem a hard case to prove over a 150-year (or even 50-year) gap, and the only evidence really offered by the claimants is the existence of contemporary "income disparities" and "inequalities" between the races. No actual connection (as far as they're concerned) need be made. On the other hand, African-American success stories that contradict the conclusion are abruptly dismissed."

If we pursue the simplest qualification for a beneficiary class - "The descendents of slaves should get reparations, others should not" - then this question has no standing. If, on the other hand, we decide to divide the beneficiary class into segments then it stands to reason that the plaintiffs themselves should organize that matter.

Aside from that, there is overwhelming evidence that unlike any other ethnic minority, the significant majority of African Americans live in geographically segregated areas. Institutional racism can be described in terms of 'redlined' black neighborhoods all across the country. These neighborhoods, without question, are economically and otherwise disadvantaged. One could easily allocate reparations on the basis of geographic isolation in the major cities of America and cover an average of 73% of blacks in the North and 76% of blacks in the South.

7. "The renewed sense of grievance-which is what the claim for reparations will inevitably create-is neither a constructive nor a helpful message for black leaders to be sending to their communities. Virtually every group that has sought refuge in America has grievances to remember. For millions of recent immigrants the suffering is only years behind them, and can be as serious as ethnic cleansing or genocide."

Whatever messages so-called 'black leaders' send to their constituency is a matter of free speech. Whatever claims recent immigrants have in their home countries is not the subject of debate, but it is preposterous to suggest that they would not recognize the impulse of African Americans to have their grievances addressed. 

"How are these people going to receive the payment claims from African-Americans whose comparable suffering lies in the distant past? Won't they see this demand as just another claim for special treatment, for a rather extravagant new handout that is only necessary because some blacks can't seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others, many of whom are even less privileged than they are?"

Only if they buy this partisan argument.

"To focus the social passions of African-Americans on what some Americans did to their ancestors 50 or 150 years ago is to burden this community with a crippling sense of victimhood. It is also to create a new source of conflict with other communities."

If conflict exists, it is because resolution has not taken place. Avoidance of conflict is denial of the possibility for justice.

8. "This raises a point that has previously remained off the radar screen, but will surely be part of the debate to come: What about the "reparations" to blacks that have already been paid? Since the passage of the Civil Rights Acts and the advent of the Great Society in 1965, trillions of dollars in transfer payments have been made to African-Americans, in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences (in contracts, job placements and educational admissions) -- all under the rationale of redressing historical racial grievances."

One can glibly misstate the merits of the Civil Rights Acts and of the Great Society, but I would challenge anyone to find language in any of that legislation which refers specifically to repayment and compensation for slavery's theft of labor.

9. And this raises another question that black leaders might do well to reflect on: What about the debt blacks owe to America-to white Americans-for liberating them from slavery?

This is a simple-minded question with an obvious answer. African Americans owe their allegiance to the American struggle for freedom. In short, they should remain in and of this nation and continue the never ending fight to make it live up to its promise. In general, we can call it patriotism. The truest America abhors slavery and owns up to its responsibility. The truest Americans will support that principle.

10. The final and summary reason for rejecting any reparations claim is recognition of the enormous privileges black Americans enjoy as Americans, and therefore of their own stake in America's history, slavery and all.

Black Americans also have the privilege, and responsibility to reject drivel, and pursue the best interests of American freedom. Repairing the theft of African American labor, and removing the stain of government conspiracy to systematically and continually deny property rights to its own people is our collective duty to this nation and those principles upon which it was founded which enjoy worldwide recognition today.

7:05:17 AM    comment []

Sunday, February 23, 2003

I posted the following at Discrminations a few weeks ago, and then the site died. Since that time, a large number of significant institutions have showed support for the University of Michigan in the Bollinger case, and our friends at Discrminations have been scrambling frantically. It wasn't me, of course

my parents were sociologists, but i learned to program computers when i was 13 years old in 1974. i could explain nuclear fusion and fission in the 7th grade and independently figured out negative numbers when i was 9.

as a national achievement finalist (and national merit semifinalist) i was invited to the mite program. i regularly scored in the high 80th percentiles on all standardized tests.
but i was a junior in highschool before i ever even *heard* of MIT.

the mite program had an extension at georgia tech (which i also never heard of) which was handled through the atlanta university center, and it was into that specific program i was invited.

my college advisor had essentially no advice.

i declined the program. i never met any engineers or scientists. my jesuit prep school had a lousy math program, and my math education essentially stopped. although i applied and was accepted to usc on early decision for their electrical engineering program, my interest was solely in computing, and software at that (i took early classes, the full curriculum and directed study in computers). there were only 5 kids in the student body of 1200 who understood anything about computers.

at the age of 17 i took a summer job after highschool graduation running all the scientific computing programs for a chemical reprocessing facility. evidently, i had a knack for thermodynamics programming. my boss said that i had great potential to be a chemical engineer. but by this time it was obviously too late in my highschool career (i had already graduated) to take honors chemistry, which this practicing chemical engineer said i would have passed with flying colors.

if i would have taken the mite invitation, i would have learned from real engineers at the university level which way my talent could have taken me. instead i muddled through highschool, uninspired and told in no uncertain terms that there are no such things as black engineers (or partners in accounting firms). since there were no computer engineers that i could have contact with, the entire area was a complete mystery.

i have no doubt that such a program would have shown me exactly what i needed to know, as i have subsequently met many mite graduates, including one of my best friends who is now a research professor at georgia tech. despite the fact that by any standard, i have landed on my feet and have a rewarding career, there is no question that i could have done better had i taken advantage of that opportunity.

most people who don't make it their business have little idea of what it takes to discover and nurture the talent and hunger of kids who have racist and other presumptions against their undernourished ambitions. i've been that kid, and i've helped others who are that kid.

the broad net cast by programs like the mite program is appropriate, and yet there are many fish, like me, that still get away.

i can assure you that there is institutional patronage in programs like mite and that many black and latino folks who have come up through the system the hard way will continue to fight for it.

i can also assure you that organizations like nsbe (of which i was a national officer) will continue their unique missions, and i can further assure you that despite the complete lack of racial restrictions or preferences in membership, whitefolks will continue to ignore them.

i could argue for years that there is something very different about being black or latino and persuing arguably the most difficult of all undergraduate programs. it is a story that doesn't translate well, especially in light of the tabula rasa of context-free colorblindness. what doesn't go away, however is the sense of duty and purpose of those deeply involved in such programs.

the fact remains that america wants engineers, scientists and technologists. furthermore it is undeniable that programs like mite and groups like nsbe and shpe have been very successful in their missions to recruit, retain and graduate black and latino engineers.

i say more power to them.

11:13:58 PM    comment []

If you don't understand a word, look to the dictionary. If you don't understand blackfolks, look to science.

This is evidently the regime in place as folks tiptoe through the minefield of heritable intelligence. I'm not going into a long expository thing here because this kind of thing is best worked through interactively, like a game of 20 questions. There is entirely too much ground to cover.

Since this matter involves The Bell Curve, I suppose it doesn't help in my distinction that I'm against it. But my primary argument against the Bell Curve is that it was a shoddy attempt to undermine the political process with weak science. In any case what I'm going to suggest is that there is a philosophical framework we should keep in mind which reigns in our scientific inquiry and directs it. Racism has no place in our republic, whether or not there are ultimately scientific findings which support certain axioms of racial supremacy. Free inquiry isn't automatically valuable.

To the subject at hand, I have no problem with the idea of heritable intelligence. It makes perfect sense that some brains are physically more well adopted to performing certain computational tasks, just as some eyes see better than others. But as you map such things onto race, it's like saying categorically that blue eyes see better than brown eyes. The external morphology we can recognize has nothing to do with the qualities of the eye's ability to see. In a society such as ours, which is predisposed to seeing things in racial terms (which have no consistent correlation to genetics) it's not surprising that things get twisted.

The question arises as to what social significance we attribute to scientific discoveries. What I cannot seem to fathom is how seemingly intelligent people have completely lost their understanding of the lessons of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. If the lessons of the corruption of a eugenically enhanced society were not made plain enough in that book, there are surely other examples. But I think this is a matter we can solve with a tiny bit of reasoning and common sense.

The reason racism is odious is because to controverts the premises of civil equality, the entire point of the French and American revolutions. But to understand this we must go a bit deeper than the common understanding of racism. I'll use the following terms. Racialism, Extrinsic Racism, Intrinsic Racism.

The belief that there are differences between human beings which are inherited such that they can be ordered into separate races in such a way that each race shares traits and tendencies which are not shared by members of any other race. Each race has an 'essence'.

All forms of racism build from the premise of racialism. Notice that racialism is not saying anything 'good' or 'bad' about races just that mutually exclusive races absolutely exist and divide the species. The racialist would argue that you could trace the bloodlines of jews throughout history and that you can definitely determine the 'jewness' of any human being according to his racial 'essence'.

A racialist does not necessarily believe that the races, as we understand them in America are complete. He may say that there are, in actuality, 37 races. We just don't know what they are yet. The racialist's point however is that race, whatever it turns out to be, is deterministic of human behavior and that we need to know.

extrinsic racism:
The extrinsic racist says that there is a moral component to the 'essence' of a race which warrants differential treatment. These differences are, to the extrinsic racist, not particularly controversial. The extrinsic racist, while maintaining the belief for example that Jews are greedy, might not feel anything wrong with befriending a Jew. The extrinsic racist might very well applaud the Jew who proves himself not greedy and call him a credit to his race.
intrinsic racism:
The intrinsic racist says that the moral 'essence' of a race establishes an incontrovertible status for the race. no matter what an individual member of a race does he should be treated just like the rest of his race. the extrinsic racist would argue that the Jew is so greedy that he would hide his greed in order to gain other's confidence or that this generous person is simply not a Jew.

(I specifically use jews in this definition because I understand that jews are not a racial group per se)

If one can quantify a particular type of intelligence which is inheritable then one is clearly saying that it is distinct and mutually exclusive. If it weren't, why bother with genetic research? As far as I know, nobody has figured out which brain shape helps one multiply numbers without the use of paper, or which gene governs the ability to speak multiple languages but that's the aim of the science. Find the definitive link. In short, the logic of genetic inheritance of intelligence works exactly as racialism does. There are genes, intelligence is expressed through the genes. You either have the gene or you don't. It's a hardware question. Ultimately the science will map the various intelligences into mutually exclusive genetic groups. These will be the races of intelligence.

I'm not going to get bogged down in questions of how much difference environment makes because it doesn't mitigate the intent of the genetic science. Analagously speaking, it doesn't matter that eyesight can be corrected, the search goes on for the gene for perfect eyesight.

In America, we are infatuated with the idea that we are a meritocratic society. That's hardly as well-wrapped a concept in reality as in theory, ask any investment counselor who deals with heirs. Nevertheless much of America operates in persuit of that principle. It is this infatuation with meritocracy which pushes the morally neutral racialism of those I'll call 'genetic expressionists' into questionable territory, into racism, and this is exactly where the Bell Curve begins.

If intelligence is meritorious, then those who are intelligent *should* have enhanced standing in our society if our society *should* be meritocratic. This is the morally provocative statement. Any way you assert it, either as a plan for a future elitism or as an apology for the present inequality, it is an express appeal for that singular value to have weight in an individual's standing. What's particularly galling about this is that of all human attributes, intelligence is probably the most amoral. Rewarding people for being smarter than their neighbor is a quick road to hell. Should the energy traders who outsmarted the State of California deserve those profits? Should the terrorists who outsmarted the entire American intelligence community be commended? Of course not. There are other things that are clearly more important to the well being of our nation than the collective intelligence of its population, or the standing of its more intelligent people within it. To suggest otherwise is to present an America which stands outside of the fold of human history.

Let's look at some practical scenarios in a future of gene mapped races of intelligences. Say that 10 years from today we have a scientifically vetted equivalent of four intelligence types. These work rather like Meyers-Briggs, and people know that they are ESTJ as well as they know their SAT scores. If the American Bar Association polls its membership and finds that it is objectively lacking in genetic intellectual diversity, should it give affirmative action points for INST intelligence types? If the Southern Pacific Railway hired an ERFX should they be indemnified at a lower rate for train collisions? If my wife divorces me when she finds out that I'm an RDES, can I sue the lab that tested me for alimony damages?

Speculation is fun. That doesn't change the fact that this country is ripe for overselling intellectual determinism, and has centuries of experience in segregating its people into neat, false, destructive higherarchies. If some genetic science makes a new class of hierarchies true, is that progress?

Swinging back around to the top. Blackfolks provide a neat if poorly understood example in all of this wishful thinking about brains and meritocracy. So the supposed gap between average black intelligence and average white intelligence bears more weight than it deserves. People seem genuinely surprised to find that whites own on average 8 times as much property than blacks. If I could, by increasing my IQ score by 15 points, gain 800% value of my assets, then I'd focus on this debate as if it really mattered. But I know it's just dancing around the same primitive fire.

10:39:18 PM    comment []

(from the archives april 2001)

white supremacy defines what white is, just like black consciousness defines what black is. if you give people a choice to question the underpinning philosophies of their racial/cultural identities, then they will be willing to improve. it's just human nature that people want to be on the right and winning side of things. and as mlk said, the arc of history bends towards justice.

so in a post-racist society, black changes AND white changes. to what, i don't know, but i am willing to let everyone who wants to move forward do so. i am working towards getting whitefolks (average americans with an average amount of white racial consciousness) to walk away from the same white as white supremacy. i believe most of them are willing to do so. while i know that most of them benefit from white supremacy, i also know that few of them are consciously invested in it. most whitefolks are very offended and disturbed to find that they might be racist and they want a way out. most hard afrocentrists refuse to let them out. (hell, even that dead white male shakespeare knew enough to see iago was conniving racist asshole who deserved a serious beatdown for his schemes on a righteous black man)

i say let them out. liberate whitefolks from whiteness. it's easier to do today than it was just 5 years ago, witness the tim wise memo on columbine and the stupidity of mcveigh apologists. the census is letting them out. and young people today don't want to be a part of their parents' hypocrisy.

i'm saying the Struggle can now be open source. its never going to take away from the greatness of malcolm x, or cinque or sojourner truth or stephen biko or subhas bose or cesar chavez or chief seattle. but it has the potential of kicking down some doors that have always been in white control. i submit that if you wait for every colin powell, then you are waiting too long.

i don't have the patience to wait for 10 million blackfolks to get up the power to make america righteous. and i'm not stupid nor prideful enough to forgo the opportunity to make 10 million whitefolks my partners in the struggle. i don't expect a huge majority of whitefolks to take up the struggle. frankly a lot of them ain't up to it, mentally, spiritually or otherwise.

but i do believe that 10 million whitefolks under a new banner would be willing, on any given day to do better than what we know 'white liberals' have been perpetrating for the past 30 years. and it's time we all step up and move towards that end.

7:21:54 PM    comment []

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Drum fumbles:

Although the origins and effects of racism are long and complex, there's little question that lower average intelligence is one of the big reasons that blacks do poorly in American society. The fact is that the black-white gap does exist, and it's not merely a cultural artifact or the result of bias on standardized tests. It's a very real thing and it needs to be attacked head on.

This is the reason that I feel so strongly about primary education: it's our best hope for erasing the test score difference and truly bringing an end to racism. It's also the reason that I believe these efforts should be primarily aimed at blacks, not at poor people in general: while better education helps everyone, that 15-point gap indicates that it's blacks as a group who suffer the most and need the most help.

Blacks do poorly in American society because whites don't respect the intelligence blackfolks have.  Standardized tests are beside the point. Let me try to help you understand so that you won't insult my intelligence again.

The largest investment anybody (in the middle and lower classes) makes is that of housing. America is segregated in housing, and it follows that schools, hospitals and business in inferior neighborhoods are inferior. So if you measure education, health care and employment in ghettos it should be no surprise that on average those people from those places will be, hmmm shall we say 15 points inferior?

Liberals, humanists and anybody with half a heart who understands constitutional principles and the one human, one soul theory should know and say that such things should not affect how we deal with an individual. This is the meaning of equality. But the entire American system is against leveling the playing field because it means a transfer of wealth and a forced modification of the market. This is the meaning of equity.

So here's a secret. We don't care about equality so much as we care about equity.  So long as legal systems do not, in practice, undermine our ability to go about life equally, such liberals have nothing to do or say. So they feed on the excresences of the system and blow their significance way out of proportion, while still doing nothing to deal with the real hard cold facts of who has inherited what wealth in this society and how. White America has been stealing from blacks for generations, and the legal system said OK. Now the legal system says, not OK, but the money is long gone. So what's the bottom line. Unless you are willing to talk seriously about reparations, there isn't much left to talk about. It's all about the benjamins.

Everyone should understand that there are plenty of racists in America, and there probably always will be. There are plenty of racist abuses in the system and it simply takes powerful enemies of racism, who are usually not white, to slash and burn that tangly forest. So understand that we are not interested in well meaning gardeners and their weed whackers. There will be plenty of work to do, but it's not about standardized tests.

The problem with the Bell Curve is not that it insults the intelligence of blackfolks. It's that its policy prescriptions are all about taking money away from them. Yet Drum mumbles that we all need Education. It's not about book learnin' boy! It's about them houses and property values in Orange County.

7:20:15 AM    comment []

Thursday, February 20, 2003

LKS forwarded me a cost estimate for the reparations movement. The author is Dalton Conley.

Extending the reparations argument this broadly frees one to move beyond the issue of lost wages and seek out other factors on which to base a formula. If there were one statistic that captured the persistence of racial inequality, it would be net worth.

The typical white family enjoys a net worth that is more than eight times that of its black counterpart, according to the economist Edward Wolff. Even at equivalent income levels, gaps remain large. Among families earning less than $15,000 a year, the median African-American family has a net worth of zero, while the corresponding white family has $10,000 in equity. The typical white family earning $40,000 annually has a nest egg of around $80,000. Its black counterpart has about half that amount.

This equity inequity is partly the result of the head start whites enjoy in accumulating and passing on assets. Some economists estimate that up to 80 percent of lifetime wealth accumulation results from gifts from earlier generations, ranging from the down payment on a home to a bequest by a parent. If the government used such net-worth inequality as a basis, and then factored in measures like population size, it could address reparations by transferring about 13 percent of white household wealth to blacks. A two-adult black family would receive an average reparation of about $35,000.

What would be the effect of wealth redistribution on such a vast scale? My own research - using national data to follow black and white adolescents into adulthood - shows that when we compare families with the same net worth, blacks are more likely to finish high school than whites and are equally likely to complete a bachelor's degree. Racial differences in welfare rates disappear. Thus, one generation after reparations were paid, racial gaps in education should close - eliminating the need for affirmative action.

It's good to see that people haven't fallen completely asleep on this one before some of the practical issues get airing. I still think that the Cost of Not is not high enough. But let's see where the Supreme Court goes on U of M.

11:24:22 PM    comment []

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Interesting stuff passed without comment:

Race doesn't exist, the mantra went. The DNA inside people with different complexions and hair textures is 99.9 percent alike, so the notion of race had no meaning in science. At a National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) meeting five years ago, geneticists were all nodding in agreement. Then sociologist Troy Duster pulled a forensics paper out of his briefcase. It claimed that criminologists could find out whether a suspect was Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean or Asian Indian merely by analyzing three sections of DNA.

"It was chilling," recalls Francis S. Collins, director of the institute. He had not been aware of DNA sequences that could identify race, and it shocked him that the information can be used to investigate crimes. "It stopped the conversation in its tracks."

Commentary in sci.anthropology


4:58:52 PM    comment []


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