- IntroductionThe Black Life Matters (BLM) movement demands equal rights for African-Americans. Proponents of this movement do not point to any specific legislation which does not give equal rights to African-Americans, because there is no specific, institutionalised racist legislation that discriminate against them. None, period. But there are social and cultural problems including poverty and the breaking down of the family unit, which disadvantage many African- Americans. Some of these issues also prevail in whitecommunities and POC communities as well.
These problems are not new. Some of these issues have been highlighted as early as 1965 in the Moynihan Report, which has been both praised and criticised by some academics and politicians. Whatever position one may take on the issues raised in the report, virtue signalling like ‘taking the knee’ or ‘giving the black power salute”, like Lewis Hamilton the F1 driver just did(https://www.bbc.com/sport/formula1/53383522,,) are not the solution. These problems are also not easily solvable. If they were, President Obama during his eight years of presidency would have addressed them and solved them, but he did not do anything about them.
The contention of this blog is that the solution lies in people taking charge of their own lives, rather than destroying liberal societies which provide opportunities to all.
2. There is no institutional racism only institutional help for all minorities in Western Societies
Obviously, all western societies have an institutionalised social security system, which aims to help the disadvantaged in society regardless of their race and religion. That is a given. But there is even more help for the disadvantaged and minorities.
At the corporate level, many companies have affirmative action for minorities. For example, one of the largest US banks in the world just a few years ago mandated that a predetermined percentage of newly appointed graduates and newly promoted managers has to be female and/or from minority groups including African-Americans. Such an action clearly disadvantages white, male college graduates regardless of their talent. That is of course a classical example of social engineering without Mao’s infamous little red book. So, the opportunities are there for African-Americans just like for anybody else.
Universities all around the world offer special scholarships for minorities. Some of them in the USA are specifically aimed at African-Americans(https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/minority-scholarships/african-american-scholarships/). For example, Harvard University proudly notes that 20 % of their students pay zero tuition fees due to the fact that their tuition fees are based on the combined family income(https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/why-harvard/affordability). So, the opportunities are these for African-Americans just like for anybody else.
If the corporate and higher educational opportunities are there for African-Americans, the question remains, what is holding them back?
3.Some of the cultural and social issues holding back some African-Americans
There are many issues that are holding back some African-Americans including poverty and the break down of their family unit.
In the US, the statistics show that 65-67% African-American children were brought up in single parent family during the period of 2009-2018(https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/107-children-in-single-parent-families-by-race#detailed/1/any/false/37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38/10,11,9,12,1,185,13/432,431). During the same period, only 15-17% of Asian children and 24-25 % of white children were brought up in single families. My contention is that single parent families, working mothers, missing fathers and lack of family role models all have an impact on early childhood education and subsequent aspirations of these youngsters. Furthermore, the fact that almost 75% of African-American mothers are the breadwinners does not help (https://iwpr.org/publications/breadwinner-mothers-by-race-ethnicity/).The single parent culture is passed from generation to generation and in some communities living on welfare is the accepted norm. This cultural issue is directly linked to poverty, which in turn may very well lead to poor academic achievements during the early school years by African-American children. So even if opportunities later in life are being made available for them for may of them it may be too late. This contention has been supported and criticised by numerous academic studies and social commentators, and at the end of the day we have to draw our own conclusions. I am sticking by mine as the raw data is on myside.
4.So what is the solution to this cultural/social issue for African-Americans and other minorities in other countries?
The honest answer is that there is not a single magic policy which would solve this problem.
But what is obvious, that virtue signalling by taking the knee and adopting the destructive cancel culture by the politically correct black, white, POCs is NOT the solution. These actions are just empty symbolism. It is also obvious that destroying liberal capitalism and returning to socialism is not the solution. We have just had the socialist experiment in the USSR and in eastern Europe at the end of last century. And today, people and young dreamers are not trying to migrate to socialist countries like Venezuela, China or North Korea. It is also obvious that the wealth of a nation cannot be increased through increased taxation only through increased productivity.
However not all is lost. There are many building blocks which may help to change the fortunes of African-Americans in the long run. First, Government can provide opportunities for those who want to prevail, regardless of their cultural background. For example, President Trump’s policies led to the lowest level of African-American unemployment of 5.5%m for decades(https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/04/black-and-hispanic-unemployment-is-at-a-record-low.html). A job is the best ‘welfare’ payment a government can give. Second, States have increased the minimum wage in their States due to President Trump’s economic policies, which has enriched the states and brought back jobs to the USA(https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/workers-in-majority-of-us-states-to-see-an-increase-in-minimum-wage-in-2020-300979588.html). Third, companies explicitly provide guidelines how stand by and support black communities(https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2020/06/stand-with-black-community.html).
But at the end of the day, the most important thing that anybody, including African-Americans, can do is take charge of their own life. Each and every one of us has an intellectual and human capital with different abilities. Everybody makes an investment into his/her human own human capital and reaps the benefits (or lack of) of that investment. In a liberal society, on the average, the returns are consistent with the investments one has made. President Obama came from a broken family, but he invested into his intellect, went to Harvard and became the President of the United States. Michael Jordan invested into his physical capital by tirelessly training (some says that his brother was a better player in their youth) and became the world’s most famous basketballer. The evidence is clearly supportive of this argument. There are six African-American billionaires and 8% of the 18.6 millionaires (or 1.48 million people) in the USA are African-Americans or Asians (https://spendmenot.com/what-percentage-of-americans-are-millionaires/).
Clearly this represents an inequality of outcome, but NOT inequity or racial discrimination. Equal outcome is just a utopian dream, but the fact that there are so many African-American millionaires is a testament to the ‘American dream’ being available to all.
There is no institutionalised discrimination against African-Americans.
There are cultural and social issues which impede African-Americans’ advancement.
Single parenting, poverty and fatherless upbringing do not provide role models for many young African-Americans.
Destroying the wealth of a nation by destroying liberal capitalism and turn it into socialism does not help anybody.
Governments, corporates and Universities have many specific policies to help all minority groups.
At the end of the day, all youngsters have to take charge of their life and make an investment into their human capital. If they do, they will get return on that investment just like so many African-Americans have already done so.