Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
SPOTLIGHT: Sensible voices are joining the conversation.
BIG PICTURE: Quillette has just published an impressive analysis titled “The Racism Treadmill.” Written by Coleman Hughes, a philosophy undergraduate at Columbia University, it calmly demolishes the dominant race narrative.
Over the past 60 years, the percentage of Americans who approve of marriage between blacks and whites has risen from 4 to 87 percent. Despite this massive shift in attitudes, the ‘progressive’ political perspective still insists that racism is widespread.
Wherever blacks are underrepresented, everyone’s quick to blame racism. But culture has a huge influence on our lives. As Hughes explains, “in black culture, basketball is more popular than baseball.” Only 8 percent of professional baseball players are black – even though blacks comprise 14% of the US population. But an astonishing 75% of professional basketball players are black. If a tenaciously racist society is to blame for the first situation, how do we explain the second?
Simple-minded racial comparisons look even more absurd when we consider the bigger picture. Writes Hughes:
it is rare to find any two ethnic groups achieving identical outcomes, even when they belong to the same race. A cursory glance at the mean incomes of census-tracked ethnic groups shows Americans of Russian descent out-earning those of Swiss descent…who out-earn those of French descent in turn…one never hears progressives say, “French-Americans make 79 cents for every Russian-American dollar,” although the facts could easily be framed that way.
Refusing to acknowledge that culture shapes people, and that some aspects of black culture may be harming rather than helping black youth, dooms everyone to what Hughes calls the ‘racism treadmill.’ Incessantly demanding improvement from the wrong quarters, we’ll exhaust ourselves chasing a “disparity-free world” that’s impossible to achieve in any event. In his words:
Staying on the Racism Treadmill means denying progress and stoking ethnic tensions. It means, as Thomas Sowell once warned, moving towards a society in which “a newborn baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day.” Worse still, it means shutting down the one conversation that stands the greatest chance of improving outcomes for blacks: the conversation about culture.
TOP TAKEAWAY: We regularly urge young people to think outside the box. Hughes is doing just that.
|Intellectuals and Race
> read Coleman Hughes’ entire essay
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