As more of our political elite joins the mobs in the streets to conflate the death of George Floyd with a general indictment of America as a racist and evil nation, black Americans, more than anyone, will suffer.
Former President George W. Bush has now weighed in to falsely accuse our nation of "systemic racism."
President Bush was born to a life of privilege. Yet he fell victim to alcoholism and turned to faith and religion to take back responsibility and control of his life.
Yet he has insufficient respect for black Americans, most of whom are born into circumstances far more daunting than anything he has ever known, to grant them the privilege of truth and personal responsibility that have served him so well.
It is simply delusional to suggest that there has been hardly any change in the gaps in income and wealth between blacks and the rest of the nation over the more than half-century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act because of "systemic racism."
If there is a racism that accounts for these persistent disparities, it is the racism of big-government liberals. Now we see some Republicans, many business leaders and even some black conservative leaders signing on to this. It is a racism that says black Americans cannot adhere to the same eternal truths, to the same law, as everyone else and take personal responsibility for their lives.
Let's recall the observation attributed to George Orwell that says, "In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." All Americans today sorely need to hear the truth amidst the deceit that is now rampant.
Why do racial disparities persist in America today?
Listen to Dr. James Heckman, professor of economics and director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago, and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics.
In a recent interview, Heckman was asked, "What do you think are the main barriers to income or social mobility?"
His answer: "The main barriers to developing effective policies for income and social mobility is fear of honest engagement in the changes in the American family and the consequences it has wrought. It is politically incorrect to express the truth and go to the source of problems. Public discourse, such as it is, cannot speak honestly about matters of culture, race, and gender. Powerful censorship is at play across the entire society. ...
"The family is the source of life and growth. Families build values, encourage (or discourage) their children in school and out. Families — far more than schools — create or inhibit life opportunities."
In 1960, a few years before passage of the Civil Rights Act, 61% of blacks over 18 were married. By 2010, 31% were.
In 2015, per Pew Research, 54% of black children compared with 19% of white children were living in a single-parent home.
If black Americans are victims of anything, it is that they live in a country that has become a wasteland of moral relativism.
What government can do is advance policies to encourage the right behaviors. Allow parental choice in education; advance ownership by replacing the payroll tax with personal retirement accounts; implement housing and health care policy that relies on freedom and choice. And purge ethnicity from existing and future law.
Don't tell me I am indifferent to George Floyd's death. Poor police behavior must be punished. A good start is to diminish the influence of police unions.
But the only systemic racism that poisons and divides our country is the insistence of the powerful to see everyone through the lens of race, placing one's race ahead of one's humanity. The result is the isolation and separation of the "black community" that they claim to care so much about from the community of the nation and the entire community of God.
Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and author of the new book "Necessary Noise: How Donald Trump Inflames the Culture War and Why This is Good News for America." Readers can respond to Star's column by emailing [email protected]
Photo by Mick Haupt