We Need a Conversation About Economics Before We Address Race

“We must have a conversation on race!” How many times have we heard it from the pundits, the media, politicians every time something happens elevating racial tensions in the country. The latest has been the shooting death of an black teen in Ferguson, Missouri and resulting protests.“We need a conversation on race!” No, we don’t! The United States does not have a racial problem – the US has an economic problem and race is just one collateral condition dangling off of it. Slavery wasn’t a “racial” issue but an economic one! To look at race only is looking at a tree while ignoring the forest. Attempting to remedy one failing tree in a unhealthy forest and expect the problem to go away just won’t happen.By addressing only race the “conversation” soon falls apart on issues of culture and perceptions — perceptions no one will agree on. “ Why are so many young minority men in prison? Do you think the cops just wait around to arrest them?” “White privilege” is a popular perception among African-Americans and their liberal white allies. Do “they” believe because of their color society just hands everything to white people? Granted scores of studies show employers, landlords, taxi drivers will discriminate against African-Americans much of the time. Except — comes the rejoinder — when unqualified minorities are hired under affirmative-action programs. I have heard both arguments in my own personal and professional experiences. “White privilege” and “Affirmative Action equals incompetence” and are the same interpretation from different inclinations — both non-starters.These perceptual experiences come up and “the conversation” shuts down. Since I am basically European-American I would not presume to interpret from an African-American view point but I know as soon as the term “White privilege” comes up I shut down. My reaction? “I worked damned hard for what I have accomplished and I earned what I have ... I come out of a working-class family and nobody gave me nothin’!” No doubt a similar reaction works in reverse for African-Americans on the other side of “the conversation.”Now I know the world is more complicated than that but the questions that need solving are complex. But wait, I just wrote something above holding the kernel of truth and solution to our so-called race problem – I wrote, “I come out of a working-class family.” Work! A job! Something half of minorities in this country do not have and may — through no fault of their own — never have. And therein is the core of the race problem.Read More.Source: Populist/Bill Johnston