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America is not a Racist Country

Out of the outpouring of justified rage at the murder of George Floyd there is a growing claim that our country is systemically racist. That is not true. The numbers do not support the claim. The country has unanimously reacted in horror to what happened to Floyd. But, as the numbers show, this is a rare case. Unfortunately, murder happens every day which means we have some bad people in our country, and they need to be brought to justice regardless of the race of the victim or the perpetrator.

Do we still have racism in America? Yes. And we probably always will because in a country of 300 million people there will always be outliers. It has been a long time coming, but we have reduced racism to a few individuals and pockets. We must work together to be sure that racists are prevented from turning their perverted beliefs into violent or illegal actions. I think we need to help disadvantaged minorities to get the education and training to move into the middle class.

Maybe one pocket of systemic racism we should look at first is Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered. From what I read this was not the first time these police officers abused their powers. Minneapolis is a very liberal, progressive city and is completely controlled by the Democratic Party, so how could this have happened? It also has among the highest racial disparities in poverty, education quality, and employment in the country. It seems to me the progressivism there is only good intentions, not good actions.

The leaders in Minneapolis proposed solution to the problem is to abolish the police department. Once again a policy that might appeal to an angry mob in the heat of the moment. But one that every sane person knows would lead to even bigger disasters.

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I Hate Racism

Racism is a terrible emotion and a prime topic of discussion these days. White racism against black Americans is the focus. This is an important issue because it has been a core defect of our democracy. Racism is an ugly but natural human trait. We evolved as tribal animals where we hated those outside our group. We also evolved as intelligent, cooperative animals capable of cooperating. This enabled us to enlarge our tribes – eventually to nations, alliances, and hopefully eventually to a peaceful world. But we have been Homo Sapiens for only about 200,000 years which is microseconds in evolutionary time. The old instincts are still in us.

Racism will continue to exist for all our lifetimes. We can’t disinfect it from people’s brains, but we can work to make it a disfavored point of view and make any physical or economic implementation of it illegal. All racism is evil, but for Americans rasism against blacks is the worst because of our history. For the first hundred plus years they were slaves. We fought a great war to free them, but after a brief period of Reconstruction, a long period of Jim Crow (blatant in the South, subtle in the North) began. The civil rights movement started in the 1950’s and accomplished much in confirming and protecting legal rights for blacks. Paralell cultural changes brought blacks more into the mainstream of American life.

So are we done? No. I think claims that there is still wide spread sociatal and system bias are wrong. But there are still pockets of it that need to be cleaned up. There is still inertia from the old days. One example I notice is that police forces in many major cities are still overwelmingly white despite growing black populations. Even years after desegregation I noticed in my home town of Houston there are still schools that are 99% black.

While I think we need to continue work on the mindset work, our main focus should be bringing blacks into mainstream society economically. Part of our success has been bringing many blacks into the middle class, but so many are still left behind. Poverty tends to beget poverty so braking the train is difficult. Now might be a good time to get to work. Changes in society and technology are changing what work is and will require retraining for everyone. Let’s make sure plenty of that training gets to the black community. This will need to be supported by improved school education as much of the new work will involve technical and math skills.

When it comes to employment, the best solution is more jobs. In fact, the job growth just before the COVID19 was slowly diminishing the discrepancy between whites and blacks. The new opportunity zones now being introduced in distressed areas will help bring jobs.

Bringing blacks into the American manstream has taken to long. The Irish, Italians, Germans, and other immigrats came after the blacks. They had their struggles but integrated much faster. Let’s finish this job.