My Experience Attending a Conversation on Racial Inequality

My Experience Attending a Conversation on Racial InequalityIn early June 2020, I received an invitation to attend an online “conversation on racism and racial inequality.” This was just a week after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer–a week that saw riots in many major cities across the United States. Cries for racial equality and “black lives matter” were dominating media, news media and social media, as were the stories of much violence, property destruction, and looting.

Like anyone with a heart, I was appalled by the senseless death of George Floyd. His murder was tragic and unjust, and to the extent that things like this happen in our country, they need to be rooted out and eliminated. In the wake of all these events, the invitation to the meeting piqued my curiosity. I wondered if the meeting be a real, open discussion on race relations and the problems facing our society and potential solutions, or if it would be more of the extreme rhetoric and hollow virtue signalling that was dominating the media.

Placating the Mob with Statements that Perpetuate the Guilty Until Innocent Mentality

I had my suspicions of what the meeting might discuss, but I wanted to give the organizers the benefit of the doubt. You see, in the days prior to this meeting, many organizations were making public statements condemning racism against the black community. The organizers of this event were part of one of those statements. And like most of the ones I saw, the statement this organization put out said nothing to condemn the violence, rioting, and looting by the protesters, which was disappointing and indicated their lack of sincerity. A good example of this kind of statement was made by Apple.

It seems that thousands of people causing millions of dollars of damage that destroyed the livelihood of countless people (a great many of which are minorities) deserved as much a mention in a statement like that as the police brutality towards a black man. But the writers either disagree with that, or willfully ignore the criminal behavior of the mob, likely due to fear and a desire to appease the mob. A statement by the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a notable exception. While condemning racism, prejudice, discrimination and hate, their statement also had the courage to “renounce illegal acts such as looting, destruction, and defacement of public or private property.” (see Locking arms for racial harmony in America)

On the one hand, if you are a business owner, I understand the pressure to make a statement in support of racial equality. There seems to be no harm in it–after all, if you are not racist, why not get behind a statement that denounces racism. On the other hand, it seems like making the statement only due to societal pressure feeds the guilty until innocent mentality that is so prevalent in the media and in our country. Meaning, the mob makes you feel like if you, or your company, don’t make a statement condemning racism, then you are guilty of racism. But let’s get back to the “conversation on racial inequality.”

Started Meeting by Declaring White Privilege

While I knew what I was likely in for in this meeting, I was still interested in what would be said. The person who spoke first introduced the topic and in the process, acknowledged their “white privilege” and made other statement like, “to our black colleagues, we see you.” The virtue signalling was thick. When the topic of white guilt came up so quickly, I wanted to throw up, mentally, if not physically. For this person, who has had a very successful career, to attribute their success in life to white skin seemed inaccurate and probably insincere.

Regarding the remark about “seeing” black community, of course we see them, but hopefully not only for their race—because that would be racism. The black civil rights movement was about seeing people for the content of their character, not the color of the skin. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

At some point, I’d like to write more about why I find confessions of “white privilege” problematic, but for the time being I’ll just say that if you feel the need to confess the source of your success, then consider giving credit to God. Thank the Lord for the bounteous blessings and privileges he has given you.

Presentation by Diversity and Inclusion Professional

After the brief intro, the remainder of the hour-long meeting was turned over to a university director of Diversity and Inclusion. The following are some notes on what this person said, along with my thoughts. The presentation had a Q&A at the end, but due to a prior commitment I couldn’t stay for that. So I’ll use my platform here to offer my comments and rebuttals.

  • Racial Profiling: She talked about her husband being pulled over by the police unjustifiably and other instances where he was racially profiled by the police. If true, these sounded like horrible events and I feel truly sorry that anyone would have to go through something like that. I sincerely hope we all can do our part to push for change in our country that will eliminate such injustices. Still, it concerned me when she took anecdotal evidence like that and jumped to the conclusions of systemic racism in the country.
  • The 1619 Project: She endorsed the New York Times series called “The 1619 Project.” I had heard a little about the 1619 Project prior to this meeting. I knew it was written by political extremists with a left-wing ideology, but little more. Since then, I’ve done more homework and found that the 1619 project is riddled with factual errors and presents a very negative view of the American founding. When confronted with the gross factual inaccuracies, the author defended her work by saying “The 1619 Project is not a history.” She said “It is a work of journalism that examines the modern and ongoing legacy of slavery.” Also see this statement by the NYT’s own fact checker of the 1619 project attesting to the many factual misrepresentations. You can reach your own conclusions about the 1619 Project, but it seemed inappropriate for the speaker to use this platform to further this work of opinion.
  • Police Incentivized to Imprison Black Children: She said that “it is in law enforcement’s interest to get black children into the prison.” I was floored by that generalization. She acted as if she had facts to back the statement up, but she never presented the evidence and I couldn’t follow her supposed logic. I thought it was quite unfair to make such a blanket negative statement about the police. In fact, the studies I have read, like this 2019 research by Michigan State University, shows no racial disparities in police officer actions.
  • Blacks Still 3/5ths of a Person: She said, “I would argue that blacks are still seen as 3/5ths of a person” in the United States. Obviously that is her opinion and I’m sorry she feels that way. But it is inconsistent and unfair for her to claim to be fighting against generalizing people based on race (racism), and then she makes huge generalities about the police and the people of our country. Furthermore, by referencing “3/5ths of a person” that way, she shows her own lack of historical context, as the 3/5ths clause was a method employed by the slavery abolitionists to take power away from the slave-holding south.
  • Our Criminal Justice System is the New Jim Crow: She said that “the new Jim Crow is the criminal justice system,” furthering her generalized views that there is institutional racism in our country. Again, her facts supporting this statement were weak. She cited the fact that black men are incarcerated at a much higher rate than whites and she left it at that. That statement is true, but the way she presented it was misleading because she implied that they are incarcerated unfairly. Studies show, however, that black men are incarcerated more because they commit more crimes than their counterparts in other racial groups. Take, for example, the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that black offenders committed 52% of homicides between 1980 and 2008, though they make up only 13% of the country. This is still a problem, but it is not a problem with the criminal justice system.
  • Only the Racial Majority can be Racists: At one point she echoed something I have heard for many years about how only people in the racial majority can be racists. By her definition, a black person cannot be racist against a white person and the problem of racism only exists among white people. This is obviously a perversion of the term racism. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I think racism is any time you base your thoughts or actions solely on the color of a person’s skin–white or black or anything in between. There are obviously white racists and black racists, racists against Asians and against Native Americas. Racism is a human problem, not a white majority problem.

In conclusion, I was disappointed by the “conversation on racial inequality.” The “conversation” aspect was limited, and mostly it seemed like a platform for the speaker to air her grievances associated with her political ideology and to lecture about how unjust and racist our country is, all backed up with little more than anecdotal stories and opinions. Of course, there are pockets of injustice and racism in our country and I pray those will be eliminated soon, but overall, we are not an unjust country with systemic racism. Maybe next time the organizers can put together a “conversation on racial equality” that emphasizes the positive rather than the negative and talk about the progress our country has made in our 250 year history and focus on the steps we can take to continue to make the United States of America the greatest place to live on this planet.

NAACP: History and Agenda

In 1909 William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Mary White Ovington and other like-minded individuals founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The association’s charter delineated its noble mission:

To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.

The Advancement of the Liberal Agenda
At some point after its founding, the NAACP’s objectives changed from advancing colored people to advancing a liberal political agenda. Their current objective, as stated on their Web site, is first an foremost to advance their liberal, socialistic political agenda. “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons.” And secondarily they now add, “and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.” On the same Web page referenced above, the NAACP has a strategic plan posted which outlines their definition of equality, which for some reason almost always includes advancing a liberal agenda. Here are some of their goals; notice how firmly left-wing they are and how many have nothing to do with racial equality:

NAACP’s Goals My Comment
“Goal 3.1: Expand the National Office’s legal work and staff.” Clogging up the courts with more law suits.
“Goal 4.2: Expand the advocacy capacity of the National Office, the Washington Bureau, and state conferences.” More lobbyists to expand the influence of their special interest group.
“Goal 5.1: Raise public awareness about the inequities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.” So are you saying the criminal and juvenile justice systems are not fair?
“Goal 6.1: Develop an initiative to address the recent erosion of government resources.” When it comes to government, the NAACP believes that bigger is better.
“Goal 6.2: Advocate for more equitable distribution of government benefits to African American, other minority, and impoverished communities.” By more equitable, I think they simply mean more benefits.
“Goal 7.1: Advocate increased access of African American and other minority communities to credit, capital, and financial services.” Give blacks more loans regardless of credit-worthiness. (Isn’t giving un-credit-worthy people loans what got us into the financial mess?)
“Goal 7.4: Advocate for the Fair Share and affirmative action efforts of public and private employers.” “Goal 8.3: Promote affirmative action and funding equity in higher education.” I’m sorry, but affirmative action is a condescending, demeaning practice that lowers standards and promotes discrimination and will not help us achieve a color-blind society.
“Goal 9.2: Advocate for universal health insurance.” Socialized health care is not the answer; it will only lead to less choice, longer lines and worse health care.
“Goal 9.4: Increase attention within the Association to the issues of environmental justice.” The NAACP seems to be suffering from Global warming Delusion Syndrome.

The Advancement of Liberal Colored People
If you are not a liberal, then the NAACP has no interest in helping you advance. If the NAACP was really about advancing colored people, they would have endorsed Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice, and been behind Condoleezza Rice as the first African American woman to be Secretary of State. But these were conservative blacks and instead of supporting them, the NAACP actively fought against these individuals because, as I stated from the beginning, their political agenda supersedes race.

NAACP Leaders Past and Present
PAST: Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP, was a friend of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, and shared many of her views on eugenics and birth control. In 1932, he contributed an essay on birth control to Sanger’s Birth Control Review magazine. In the article, he stated that “the more intelligent class” exercised birth control, which meant that “the increase among Negroes, even more than the increase among whites, is from that part of the population least intelligent and fit, and least able to rear their children properly.” He further said that African Americans “must learn that among human races and groups, as among vegetables, quality and not mere quantity really counts.” (from W. E. B. Du Bois, “Black Folk and Birth Control,” Birth Control Review 16 (June 1932): 166-167)

PRESENT: Former Georgia state representative Julian Bond has been the chairman of the NAACP since 1998. As NAACP chairman, Bond has repeatedly denounced the Republican Party and has been a strong critic of the Bush administration since it came to office. In July 2001, Bond said, “[Bush] has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics.” And in 2006 he compared the GOP to Nazis saying, “The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side.” (from WorldNet Daily). Bond has also said the black members of the Bush administration such as Condoleezza Rice have been used “as kinds of human shields against any criticism of their record on civil rights.”

Agree or not with the NAACP’s political views, the point of this article is that you cannot deny that they are a partisan political organization. And despite their name, the NAACP is an organization more interested in advancing its left-wing political agenda than the interests of black people. It’s no wonder that Rush Limbaugh calls them the NAALCP: the National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People.

How Race and Income Affect Cancer Survival: They Don’t

I would like to go back to my previous post about Lance Armstrong and analyze what he said about cancer survival rates being related to race and income. Armstrong said that if someone in Harlem came down with cancer, because of “the color of their skin, where they live and the choice they’ve made” in life, their chances of survival are much lower. He went on to say that is a “moral and ethical failure of the United States.”

Inasmuch as we move away from religious morals, our country does fail in many respects. But the US is one of the most moral and ethical countries on the planet. Transparency International rates the US as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.

But what about race and income affecting cancer survival rates. I wondered if I could find any data to back this claim, particularly the implication that poor black people are more likely to get inferior health care and thus more likely to die than their rich white counterparts. What I found was that there do appear to be differences in cancer survival rate based on race and income level, but it would be a stretch to say that this is due to the failures of a morally and ethically corrupt country.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Blacks are more likely than Whites to get cancer and Blacks are more likely than Whites to die of cancer. Black males have a cancer incident rate about 20% higher than White males, while Black and White women’s cancer incident rates are roughly equal. Black of either gender are about 10% more likely to die of cancer than their White counterparts. Why Blacks have a lower survival rate is inconclusive, but why Blacks have a higher likelihood of contracting cancer appears to be genetic (or you could say God is a racist, which is an accusation that probably wouldn’t be past some people).

Medical News Today confirms that race, as a genetic factor, does appear to greatly influence cancer contraction and treatment. They report that, “Japanese American men respond better to hormonal treatment for prostate cancer and have a much higher survival rate than white American men, according to research published in the latest issue of the UK-based urology journal BJU International.”

As you can see, from 1988 to 1997, cancer survival rates improved for all six racial groups. The National Cancer Institute says that, “differences in access to and utilization of effective cancer screening and treatment services by race or ethnicity might explain some of our findings” but this research did not study such factors, so it would be inappropriate to make that conclusion. The study did find, though, that there was a direct correlation between breast cancer survival and having a mammogram screening every two years. And the 2-year mammography screening rate for different ethnic group directly paralleled the cancer survival rates. Meaning, White women are more likely than Black women to get mammograms and Black women are more likely than Native Americans to get mammograms. White women are in turn, more likely than Black women to survive cancer and Black women are more likely than Native Americans to survive. And seeing how all communities offer free cancer screenings, these survival rates then become more of a factor of individual choice or, perhaps, education.

Notice the group with the highest improvement in cancer survival are Black males. And overall, Blacks have a higher cancer survival rate than Native Americans and Asian Americans.

The statistics above discuss how race or ethnicity affect cancer detection, treatment and survival, but income level is not factored. The American Society for Clinical Oncology in their Journal of Clinical Oncology in 1999 published a study, though, that does discuss how income affects cancer detection and treatment. This study found that higher income brackets in both the United States and Canada (where they have socialized medicine) had higher cancer survival rate. Again, the evidence shows that this is caused, not by a prejudice nation withholding the best treatment from poor people, but a factor of education, screening and racial genetics.

The really interesting thing about this study, though, is that is shows how socialized medicine lowers the quality of health care, rather than raising it. If you notice in the graph below, in Canada survival rates cluster toward the bottom, with only the very rich having a significantly higher cancer survival rate. Whereas in the United States, survival rates cluster toward the top, with only the very poor having a significantly lower cancer survival rate.

In the chart above, the solid line represents the richest fifth and the broadest dashed line represents the poorest fifth of people.

So while Blacks do have a cancer survival rate lower than Whites, Blacks survival rate higher than many other racial groups in the US. And while the survival rates are different by racial groups, genetics and education are much more of a factor than race alone. The only way one can come to the conclusion that Blacks have a lower cancer survival rate due to moral and ethical failures of our country is to 1) ignore the facts above, and 2) have an underlying belief that America is a morally and ethically corrupt country. I choose not to ignore the facts above and I have an underlying belief that America is a morally and ethically good country. I wish Lance Armstrong would do the same.

Eliminating the Income Gap

A very interesting chapter in the book I recently read, Freakonomics, deals with black and white racial differences (in income, education, and culture) in America. I found the chapter very fascinating and this is what the author of stated: The data shows that Whites in America, on average, have higher income Blacks. But, he said, if you control for education (only take examples where Blacks and Whites have the same level of education), the income gap disappears completely. Meaning a black man and a white man in America that achieve the same level of education can expect to earn the same income. The problem is, though, that Blacks, on average, gain less education that Whites, and the biggest factor (according to the data) that determine one’s education level is income. So you see, it is a terrible cycle.

If your parents have high income, you are more likely to achieve a high educational achievement. And with high education, you are more likely to have high income. And the converse is true. If your parents have low income, you are likely to have low educational achievement. And with low education, you are more likely to have low income.

So how do you break the cycle? On an individual basis, the cycle is broken frequently. Take a person, black or white, from a humble background. If he has tremendous passion and works hard he frequently becomes successful, as measured by education or income or both. But in an over-arching community-at-large basis, the cycle is less easily broken. I think it is possible, though, and as my research below shows, the income gap is narrowing, though at a slower pace than desirable.
In 1984, the average white person in America made $6,526 more per year than the average black person. Nearly 20 years later, in 2002, the average white person made $10,902 more per year than the average black person. On the surface, it might appear as though the black/white income gap is worsening, but things are not always as they appear. In fact, the gap is actually shrinking at a steady pace. The $6,526 in 1984 represented a 35% gap between Whites and Blacks, while the $10,902 in 2002 represented a 27% gap. The income gap is shrinking at a pace of about half a percent per year, and using that model, the gap should completely close by the year 2062. But that sure is a long way off.

Using a different model, though, accelerates the closing of the income gap between Black and White America. If you apply a exponential curve to each groups’ income, the model predicts the gap to close by 2050, 12 years sooner. Regardless of which model you choose, the underlying assumption is that race relations in America will continue to progress as they have over the past 20 years. And also regardless of which model you choose, the income gap is not closing fast enough.

So how can we close the income gap faster? I believe the following chart presents an answer. I found some data telling how much people spent on education. I expected it to show that Whites spend more dollars on education that Black, because, as we have establish, their income is higher on average. But what about the percentage of their income spent on education?On average, and consistently over the past 20 years, Whites spend a greater percentage of their income on education that Blacks. The amount one spends on education stems from the value a person, or when speaking of averages, the larger culture, places on education. The data clearly shows that the Black community, on average, places less value on education, as measured by the percentage of their income spent on education. But this is certainly a cultural trend that can change, and must change if the income gap is to be reduced.

As in the example of a poor individual seeking education, getting it and getting the associated higher income, as the larger Black community places greater value on education, the income gap will begin to shrink more rapidly. This truism, of course, does not only apply to the Black community, but any group of any race. As greater value is placed on education, the percentage of income spent on education will raise, the level of education achieved will increase and income will increase. The low education/low income cycle will be broken, and a new tradition of high education/high income will begin.