The Left-Wing Agenda and Race Retrogression

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One of the things that turned up, during a long-overdue cleanup of my office, was an old yellowed copy of the New York Times dated July 24, 1992. One of the front-page headlines said: “White-Black Disparity in Income Narrowed in 80’s, Census Shows.”

The 1980s? Wasn’t that the years of the Reagan administration, the “decade of greed,” the era of “neglect” of the poor and minorities, if not “covert racism”?

More recently, during the administration of America’s first black president, a 2011 report from the Pew Research Center has the headline, “Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks and Hispanics.”

While the median net worth of whites was ten times the median net worth of blacks in 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration, the ratio was nineteen to one in 2009, the first year of the Obama administration. With Hispanics, the ratio was eight to one in 1988 and fifteen to one in 2009.

Race is just one of the areas in which the rhetoric and the reality often go in opposite directions. Political rhetoric is intended to do one thing — win votes. Whether the policies that accompany that rhetoric make people better off or worse off is far less of a concern to politicians, if any concern at all.

Democrats receive the overwhelming bulk of the black vote by rhetoric and by presenting what they have done as the big reason that blacks have advanced. So long as most blacks and whites alike mistake rhetoric for reality, this political game can go on.

A Manhattan Institute study last year by Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor showed that, while the residential segregation of blacks has generally been declining from the middle of the 20th century to the present, it was rising during the first half of the 20th century. The net result is that blacks in 2010 were almost as residentially unsegregated as they were back in 1890.

There are complex reasons behind such things, but the bottom line is plain. The many laws, programs and policies designed to integrate residential housing cannot be automatically assumed to translate into residentially integrated housing.

Government is not the sole factor, nor necessarily the biggest factor, no matter what impression political rhetoric gives.

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  • truebearing

    I seriously doubt that the Left really cared about any of the minorities they "championed." It has always been about power and enslaving people to hate. There may have been some true believers in the rank and file who bought the propaganda, but the elites were quickly corrupted by their rapacious quest for power. The ends don't justify the means, but the means do condition the end, which is why Marxism always fails. Power corrupts, and those who seek absolute power are corrupted abslolutely. It's too bad so many people have to be hurt by these evil fools.

  • theleastthreat

    There was something in one book I read about some communities in California and other states which have strict limits on new home construction. One was San Francisco which has a code knicknamed something like open spaces which resulted in a newer and not so obvious segregation.

  • Spider

    I agree with Sowells thesis here: That many if not most of the causes of social ills and the liberal remedies that are supposed to cure them are based on assumptions. This meant In cases where these assumptions were wrong the the liberal fix was at best inefective or at worst a unmitigated disaster. Take education for example the liberals assumption was that minorities did poorly in school because they were in bad schools ( at best hey received Cs and Ds for grades) So after bussing these students to better schools. they still received Cs and Ds while the white and asian kids received As and Bs. So the assumption was wrong. (continued)

    • Dennis X

      Ya think that maybe hours on a bus to and from schools everyday helped? Wow what about all those thousands of HBC grads that enter the job market evey year, wonder what high schools they went to?

  • Spider

    (continued from above)
    The biggest disaster of our lifetime that was created by wrong assumptions is the welfare state. The assumption was that poverty was caused by racism and not other factors ( drugs – breakdown of morals / family – pop culture – rejecting education – sloth) that was actually causing the problem. So the act of handing paychecks for no work was supposed to help them bootstrap their way out of poverty. However it only made the problems worse by further destroying the work ethic and rendering men not responsible for their own kids. This created a disfunctional matriarchial society. So what we now referr to as the Nanny State was really a monster created by liberals making big decisions based on bad assumptions.

  • Zundfolge

    The only conclusion I can come up with is that liberal policies are DESIGNED to harm blacks.

    Its part of Frankfurt School Critical Theory of Marxism. The workers of the world never united and overthrew the capitalist power structure because for the most part (especially in America) the working class are just too happy and wealthy to be angry at the bourgeoisie (plus members of our proletariat have too much in common with their fellow Americans in the bourgeoisie) so leftists have gone out of their way to make the lives of those on the bottom worse so that they will rise up. Divisions based on race make it even easier to divide our society.

    If you really want to see what Democrats have in mind for all of America, just look at the black ghettos in the cities and the Indian Reservations in the southwest.

    • kentatwater

      The only conclusion I can come up with is that liberal policies are DESIGNED to harm blacks.

      In the case of certain "progressive" policies, the intention to harm certain minorities was explicit, and no speculation is necessary.

      One of these "progressive" brainchildren is the minimum wage. Initiation of such wage controls in the USA was motivated by the desire to price certain "undesirables" out of the labor market, by making laborers who were willing to work for less, less attractive to employers.

      Since the history of Planned Parenthood is well known, there's no need to go into detail here, save to mention that it's another fruit of that poison tree.

      Of course, the family wrecking policies of the left, principally those emanating from the feminist wing, affect all colors, but the economic vulnerabilities American blacks suffer, in part due to other "progressive" policies, throws into sharp relief how damaging they are, by hurting blacks disproportionally.

  • Looking4Sanity

    Dr. Sowell,
    Thank you for your continued efforts. You are a shining beacon of sanity and common sense in a universe of benighted media! I'm deeply gratified to have found another outlet that provides access to your work.

  • mrbean

    When Mohamed Ali returned from Zaire, he commented loudly; "Thank god my great great great great grandpappy got put that boat!" Even the poor blacks in America who are ancestors of slaves are infinitely better off than even the middle class blacks in Africa. They have magnitudes of better housing, food, clothing, and medical care than the vast majority of African blacks have. But the most significant thing that is obvious statiscally, but not grasped by the vast majority of blacks, is that had slavery not occurred, not a single black descendant living in the Western Hemisphere today would exist statiscally anywhere in the world at all. Even today, the average life expectancy in the USA is 69 years for black men and 76 years for black women whereas in Africa, it is between 32 years and 42 years of age with only South Africa in the 40's for both black men and black women – and it was lower than that in the 17th and 18th centuries in Africa. So all blacks alive today in the Western thank the white man that they dtatictically exist at all. I know this went right over any liberal's head!

    • trickyblain

      Yes, slavers had the best interest of the future of blacks in mind. The LER was also lower for whites in America in the 17th century, dur.

      You know, Mr. Marine fire team leader/MMA Champ/Physics Prof, they also could have immigrated here without being in chains?

      I do get a kick out of you quoting Ali, though. Is Elijah Mohamed next?

      • mrbean

        No saah, nex beez dah Referend Farrakann cause hay dun tolt meh awl bout dem blue eye debils dat dah ebil scientis' Yacub maked fum dah pigs. An hay dun tolt meh bout him an Elijah Mohamed ridin in dah spaceship dat be circlin dah eart. Yassah, he dun tolt meh bout trickybrain gots dah horny tickal ups his leg fah dah Prez Obama like dah cracka on MNSBC Chrissy Matews.

    • Dennis X

      You could never grasp an Africa without whites. You still rape the continent for its resources. But thats what you people do, steal from others. Thank you , not!!!!!!!!!!!, you can kiss my Black A–!

      • Ghostwriter

        Dennis X,can I say that BOTH you and mrbean are idiots? mrbean for continuing his updated "Amos n' Andy" routine even though it's neither funny or enlightening. And you,Dennis X,for parroting the appalling racism of Louis Farrakhan. In my view,you are both racist idiots and deserve one another.

  • rolf

    Does this article take into account the escalation of black reproduction since the 60's ?
    When the government began paying single women to give birth it ensured population explosions of the undereducated and poor .

    The unemployment ,ghetto,crime and poverty levels rose in synch with the welfare population .

  • Saltire

    This looks like it might be relevant,

  • Whatsinaname

    Thomas Sowell's comments are very important. Too bad no black person will ever read them.

    • Dennis X

      yeah, I guess we won't.

  • kentatwater

    Most liberals … choose Public Administration & J.D.s.

    Nosing into other people's business and money…yeah, that sounds about right.