This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures
Riots all over the country because of the murder of one black man in Minneapolis. It was murder. I am empathetic to the anger. I am angry too for a lot of reasons. I get it. I even agree to a point. If there was a peaceable march I’d listen more intently. But, the destruction of private property crosses a line with me.
Conservatives are unfairly maligned as racists. Interestingly many conservatives see the policies put forth by the liberals as racist.
The other thing that crosses a line with me is allowing people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others to swoop in and “lead” and “speak” for the people. They have their own agenda and it’s putting money in their pockets. When it gets messy, just call Jesse. As soon as he speaks, any shred of credibility is lost with most of America anymore.
By the way, in Chicago, we call him the “King of Beers” because the Daley’s paid him off by giving him a Budweiser beer distributorship. Notice, he never went after King Richie.
I would agree with anyone that there are all kinds of racism in our country but I do not believe it’s institutionalized. I don’t think it’s automatic. I don’t think that just because someone didn’t get something it was race that was the cause. We can all point to different anecdotes of racism. But, not everyone is racist. Because if everyone is racist it would be a lot worse….for everyone. My personal life would be a lot worse off if I was a racist. Gary Becker proved it empirically.
When I played hoops on playground in Maywood, I was always the last guy picked. I understood. I had to prove myself. I can still hear Clint Hakes voice, “He ain’t got that disease.” ringing in my ears. When I played on my college team, I had to prove myself. Even after my freshman year when a new crop of people came in, I had to fight and prove myself again. It was because I was white. But, my experience there really helped my life. I learned that I could have relationships with people that were a lot different than me and it wasn’t just skin color.
Whenever I see one of my old teammates, and it is a rare occurrence, we always hug each other. I saw Rico one day after a black tie and saw Rodney just walking down Michigan Avenue one day. It’s tougher to recognize one another now since I don’t have hair and they might not either.
When I read the Ron Chernow biography on President/General Ulysses S. Grant one of the most enlightening, dreadful, and upsetting things I read was what happened after Lincoln was assassinated. America would be a far different country today if Lincoln had finished his term and Grant succeeded him. The roots of Jim Crow, the KKK, and all the other bad racist stuff that became entrenched in America came out of that one act. Andrew Johnson has to be one of the five worst Presidents in American history.
In recent years, we have seen other sorts of things that could be described as racism. How about the higher admission standards at elite institutions for Asians? How about the fact that if you are a white male and apply for a spot in an elite academic institution, you go to the back of the line? How about the way Democrats treat Republicans and Republicans treat Democrats?
I am a huge proponent of school choice precisely because I think the way government allocates money to schools is gerrymandered against the poor kids. They don’t get the resources and they never will.
Funny story: When I was working for 3M ($MMM) I was working a big show at McCormick Place in Chicago. A black guy walked up. He wasn’t in a suit, and he started looking around at the stuff we had displayed. I saw him, walked over and engaged him. Turns out, he was in Chicago and he wanted to have a 3M rep call on him. It was in my territory, so I said I’d be there next week.
The next week, I drove down to his place of business. It was on the far Southside of Chicago. Not exactly the greatest neighborhood then and I suppose it hasn’t changed much. I pulled into his garage. There was a gigantic white Caddy painted with glitter chicken feathers with a huge rooster tail coming out of it. They were working on it.
I walked past the car and up some stairs. There was a Doberman of course which was restrained, barked, but for sure was set loose in the shop at night. A lot of shops I called on had some pretty mean Dobermans all over the city.
I knocked on the door to his office. Sat down and we started to chat. Toward the beginning of our conversation, he asked, “Are you the guy I spoke with at the show?”. I said, “Yes”. He mumbled under his breath, “They all look alike.” I burst out laughing. He didn’t think I heard him. He started laughing. I said, “Hey, that’s what we say about you.” We started laughing again. I pulled out my order book and went to work.
He became a good customer. He had a detail shop and a body shop. He owned a business.
The point is, why was his neighborhood so run down and other neighborhoods not run down? I don’t think race is the silver bullet answer. I do think that public policy is a huge part of the problem. It’s not that we don’t spend enough on poverty or things like that. It’s that when the government spends money on things like that it doesn’t wind up in the spot it is supposed to. It winds up in the pockets of people like Jesse Jackson or career politicians and their cadre of patronage workers.
When you delve into data, the answers seem somewhat clearer but certainly not cut and dried. A simple blog post can’t even start to scratch the surface.