Rejecting Racial Determinism

I recently read The Anatomy of Racial Inequality by Glenn Loury, I am a long-time listener and follower of his. I find Loury to be one of the few Black conservatives honestly interested in helping the Black community. When I say help I don’t mean he has a casual interest. He has had on his show several nonprofits focused on developing the Black community and leveled fair criticism of BLM, and other Black advocacy groups. But his book, The Anatomy Racial Inequality, brought it home for me. The most important parts of the book include his discussion on why racial stigma and stereotypes exist and how to rectify them. I liked the breakdown of self-affirming bias, negative feedback loops, and three possible takes on Black Americans.

The breakdown is as follows #1 External factors (education, income, access) #2 Nonexternal (Culture) #3 Race determinism ( race denoting the inability to develop). I like that framework and the focus on ideas to correct points #1 or #2 but #3 you can’t. Those three should be the core of any conversation around race. I think any debate not framed in that way should think back to them. The extent of #1 or #2 and if one precludes the other is one the Black community has been having but allies should also join in. I wanted to tackle #3 on its own. The idea of racial determinism #3 should not be outside the bounds of debate and honestly needs to be fought. Conservatives take it as a given this must be pressed to advance our cause. It has to be debated and discredited if we are to grow as a society and successfully dispute racial determinism (race denotes ability) as he defines it.

I think showing the lack of equitable investments in minority communities is the key to dispelling the myth of racial determinism. White Schools get 23 billion more in funding and average about 20% more per student than Black schools. Blacks median wage is 15,000 less, and wealth is over 120,000 less than whites. Just in regards to resources, there are fewer investments in Black Americans. Those external factors harm minorities. Poverty not only impacts development in regards to education but also social development. Kids in high-poverty areas have less social interaction in sports, tutoring programs, and other social clubs. Social clubs are important because they not only build character but allow people to gain social capital. Social capital is used to find jobs, and resources that help people develop. So this reinforces issue #2 I don’t think working on culture which isn’t inherent in Black Americans gives any credence to issue #3 that Blacks are inherently inferior. We have to be able to say that. Pointing out these disparities in investments social, economic, and education build the case for racial justice for minorities. We can through social policy change these issues it just requires the will and investment to do so.

Education funding gaps between white and Black schools

Disparities in wealth by race

Poverty and development

Median income by race

Political Activist