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Walter Williams
Walter E. Williams
25 Nov 2015
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Honest Examination of Race


One definition given for insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results; it might also be a definition of stupidity. Let's look at some cities where large percentages of black Americans live under poor conditions.

Experiencing a violent crime rate of 2,137 per 100,000 of the population, Detroit is the nation's most dangerous city. Rounding out Forbes magazine's 2012 list of the 10 most dangerous cities are St Louis; Oakland, Calif.; Memphis, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; Atlanta; Baltimore; Stockton, Calif.; Cleveland; and Buffalo, N.Y. The most common characteristic of these predominantly black cities is that for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal administrations. Some cities — such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark, N.J., and Philadelphia — haven't elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century. What's more is that in most of these cities, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals and have dominated city councils.

You might ask, "What's the point, Williams?" Let's be clear about it. I'm not stating that there's a causal relationship between crime, poverty and squalor on the one hand and, on the other, Democratic and black political control over a city. Nor am I saying that blacks ought to vote Republican. What I am saying is that if one is strategizing on how to improve the lives of the poorest black people, he wants to leave off his to-do list election of Democrats and black politicians. Also to be left off the to-do list is a civil rights agenda. Racial discrimination has little to do with major problems confronting black people.

Today 72 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. Being born and finding out that your mother is 17 years old, that your grandmother is 35 and that you don't know who or where your father is is not a good start on life. In fact, it's a near guarantee for school dropout, poverty and crime, but such a start in life has nothing to do with racial discrimination.

Law-abiding poor black people suffer the nation's highest rates of criminal victimization from assaults and homicide.

More than 50 percent of homicide victims are black. Would anyone claim that this victimization is caused by racist groups preying on the black community? In addition to victimization, the level of lawlessness in many black communities has the full effect of a law banning economic growth. That's because the thugs are equal-opportunity thugs who will rip off a black-owned business just as they'd rip off a white-owned business.

Black education is a disaster, but who runs the violent, disruptive big-city schools, where education is all but impossible? For the most part, it's not white people. Go to a city such as Detroit and you'll find that blacks have been superintendents, principals and most of the teachers for years. Most black high-school students, in Detroit and other cities, can't read, write and compute as well as sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade white students, but is it because of racism? What the elite teach is not only futile but counterproductive. For example, speaking standard English in an English-speaking country is critical for self-improvement. But that's not the lesson from the nation's multiculturalists, who call for the celebration of native languages and dialects. Sloppy-minded academics and assorted hustlers have taught that poor English, gangsta rap, men wearing pigtails and thug behavior should not be criticized but become a part of the celebration of diversity.

Black people could benefit from an honest examination of the bill of goods they've been sold. Such an examination would not come from black politicians, civil rights leaders or the black and white liberal elite. Those people have benefited politically and financially from keeping black Americans in a constant state of grievance based on alleged racial discrimination. The long-term solution for the problems that many black Americans face begins with an absolute rejection of the self-serving agenda of hustlers and poverty pimps.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



4 Comments | Post Comment
Honesty is something thats seriously lacking in this subject. So many people play the victim card or demogauge this issue without really understanding it. And they throw out racism without really knowing what the term means, only that it incites emotion and anger. I'd like to hear more authors have honest conversations about race.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Tue May 7, 2013 6:21 AM
Dear Mr. Williams,

I would like to thank you for the truthful writing you contribute time after time. You speak the truth, straight up, with no sugar coating. We have become a society where everything has to be " PC ", and people are afraid to speak the truth, and when they do, they are some times labeled as racist, or whatever is the label of the day.
The article that you wrote regarding large cities being run by blacks, hit home. I happen to be white, and grew up in Detroit. I still call Detroit home, and have a great love for the city. The people of Detroit still like to blame the white minority for a lot of the city's problems, when they should be looking at themself's. A prime example of Detroit's down fall, lies with Detroit's first black mayor, Colman Young. His motto was "moving Detroit forward," when it should have been, "moving Detroiters to the suburbs." Colman Young was probably one of the most racist individuals Detroit politics has ever known.
There is one thing your article failed to point out. I hope that in a future article, you can touch on this. , reverse discrimination. In the larger predominately black cities, you see this far to often. A great case in point, is Washington D.C. Here you had a corrupt mayor, one that was a drug addict, and a subject of an F.B.I sting operation. He went to jail, got out, and was re-elected, is it coincidence that his opponent was white? I think not.
The same thing is happening in Detroit. They loved mayor Fitzpatrick, and why. He did more harm to the black community then in any white mayor in the history of Detroit ever did. Now Detroit is faced with the potential of bankruptcy, and what do we see? Black leadership, and outsiders, such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson, protesting, and blaming the white governor, and other whites for the city's problems. Why should these activist be allowed to come into a city and create a mop mentality, gain notoriety for themself's, and then leave. One question I've always had, is how do these two men crusade for the rights of the blacks, the poor, and the underprivileged and yet have no problem using them as prey, and a way to get rich. If a white man was to do some of these same things, such as make false accusations against others, have the truth be revealed, and fail to acknowledge it, or apologies for the actions, they would be leading the charge of discrimination. Another case in point, is what took place regarding Detroit's Belle Isle. This was a great park, now its been turned into a war zone. The State offered to help, but no, the Detroit's city council voted against it, and why? Because they said that it was Detroit's jewel, and outsiders should not be allowed to take it over. So once again they feel as though a white administration, or white outsiders should not be allowed to make the park safer, and profitable for both blacks, and whites. In a sense what appears to be happening here, is black on black crime.
Again thank you, and I hope that you'll continue to write the truth
Comment: #2
Posted by: david netz
Wed May 8, 2013 11:41 AM
Your article, discussion and argument is similar in the Hispanic community, Professor Williams: We have the same kind of so-called "leaders" who are more like you say self-serving hustlers and poverty pimps. Instead of promoting the real cultural values that instill character, purpose, and virtue--and which come from Church, family and school--these "segregationists" would rather we have entitlements.

Here in Southern California, the city of Bell is a prime example. It was one of the first cities to be run by all Hispanics. What did they ultimately do? They robbed the city of multi-millions by increasing their salaries and giving themselves city contracts...until they were caught and now jailed. The city is now bankrupt. Of course the schools in Bell are all bad, and the city services went to hell. Taxes went up. And all the rest. And what were the qualifications of these persons? Merely well known Hispanics. That's it! The Hispanic people voted them in because they were Hispanic...not because they were qualified.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Rick Martinez
Thu May 9, 2013 12:30 PM

Good job, right on. Keep repeating the truth; hopefully one day it will sink in.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Plato
Tue May 28, 2013 5:00 AM
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