“Institutional racism,” as left-wing academics define it, does exist, but not in the way they would like you to believe.
Since the May 25 death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died sometime after a police officer had knelt on his neck for nearly 8 minutes, the radical Black Lives Matter movement has gained national support along with its demands for systemic change to many of America’s institutions.
But the vast majority of American institutions are not the problem.
According to BLM and the mainstream left, “institutional racism” is found when institutional policies and practices create varying outcomes for different racial groups.
Using that definition, several progressive policies almost certainly meet the classification of institutional racism. Here are four examples.
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Welfare: There Is No Better Example of Institutional Racism
Progressives argue that current disparities in economic outcomes between black and white people in America are due to the leftover effects of slavery and Jim Crow laws.
Inheriting generational poverty may have an effect, but the evidence suggests there are other, more powerful impediments to black America’s positive economic mobility.
Famed economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell explained as much in a 2o14 column.
Sowell argued that while President John F. Kennedy, who originally launched the “war on poverty,” wanted to make “dependent people independent,” the welfare state didn’t come close to achieving that goal.
“Ironically, dependency on government to raise people above the poverty line had been going down for years before the ‘war on poverty’ began,” Sowell wrote. “The hard facts showed that the number of people who lived below the official poverty line had been declining since 1960, and was only half of what it had been in 1950.
“On the more fundamental question of dependency, the facts were even clearer. The proportion of people whose earnings put them below the poverty level — without counting government benefits — declined by about one-third from 1950 to 1965.”
The logic is pretty simple: If you subsidize unwanted behavior, you are likely to get more of that behavior. Why would someone work hard at a job for little pay if he knew he could collect just as much through welfare instead?
Affirmative Action Creates Institutional Racism
Liberals argue that affirmative action is necessary to give disadvantaged minorities a leg up. In reality, the policy makes it harder for them to succeed.
In academia, affirmative action essentially gives black and Hispanic students inflated test scores in order to increase their chances of being admitted to more-prestigious universities.
Because of this, those in affirmative action programs enter schools with a huge disadvantage. Testing is meant to tell if students will be capable of handling the material they will receive in any given college’s classrooms. If you artificially inflate those test scores, students who are less capable of handling the course material will be admitted.
Richard Sander, a UCLA law professor and economist, wrote about the faults of affirmative action in a 2012 article for The Atlantic alongside Stuart Taylor Jr., a contributing editor for National Journal.
“Large preferences often place students in environments where they can neither learn nor compete effectively — even though these same students would thrive had they gone to less competitive but still quite good schools,” they explained.
“The student who is underprepared relative to others in that class falls behind from the start and becomes increasingly lost as the professor and his classmates race ahead. His grades on his first exams or papers put him at the bottom of the class. Worse, the experience may well induce panic and self-doubt, making learning even harder.”
Affirmative action is a policy that singles out black and Hispanic students and impedes their success. If that doesn’t meet the criteria for institutional racism, nothing does.
Minimum-Wage Laws Limit Opportunity
Another idea that sounds good on its face, the minimum wage, actually prevents many lower-income (disproportionately black) citizens from entering the workforce and gaining skills necessary for economic advancement.
Some jobs are worth less than whatever the government decides the minimum wage is.
Therefore, when a minimum wage is introduced, businesses often don’t start paying those low-skill workers more money; their jobs aren’t bringing that much value to the company.
Instead, businesses choose to fire many of those workers rather than pay the extra government-imposed cost.
In 2019, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania proposed raising the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour. In an Op-Ed for The Western Journal, Mark Hendrickson, an economist, adjunct faculty member and fellow with the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, explained how such a policy would have unintended consequences.
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“Wolf is proposing to reduce the income of some workers and push others into the unemployment line so that others may benefit. What is so fair or just about that? And where this insidious process really gets ugly is that raising the legal minimum wage hurts black Americans a lot more than white ones. This disparate impact is a gross injustice that mocks our civil rights laws and indeed the Constitution itself,” Hendrickson wrote.
“I am all in favor of higher wages. However, ill-conceived, counterproductive, and ultimately unfair government intervention like Wolf’s proposal is not the way to accomplish that desirable goal. The economic way — the only way to achieve sustainable increases in earnings and standards of living — is to allow markets to work. Purchasing power increases as two market forces come into play: higher productivity of labor and increased demand for labor, both of which are driven by market competition.”
Some jobs require very few skills. For groups who are disproportionately impoverished, taking on a low-skill job might not make them instantly rich, but it can give them work experience and an opportunity to learn important market skills.
A job that pays very little is better than no job at all.
By ensuring the unemployment of many black Americans, minimum-wage laws qualify as institutional racism.
Dem Opposition to School Choice Hurts Children
One of the biggest hurdles preventing lower-income children, many of whom are black, from succeeding is the failing education system.
Despite the fact public school funding per student has increased $10,000 over the past 60 years, students’ test scores have remained the same.
Public schools have no incentive for getting better because they have a monopoly over the children within their districts.
Therefore, black parents stuck in neighborhoods with failing public schools are left with no choice but to settle for their children receiving a subpar education.
School choice could fix all of this.
Essentially, school choice policies redirect education funding away from government schools and straight to the students. If parents want to send their child to a private school, a charter school or even a better public school outside of their area, the funding would follow the child, giving parents the opportunity to find the best education for their kids.
Because of their strong ties to teachers unions, the majority of Democratic politicians strongly oppose school choice. Unions hate the policy for one simple reason: If failing public schools are forced to compete with better schools, bad teachers will be fired and bad schools might even close down.
Modern-day leftists supposedly champion the fight against institutional racism. A closer look at their policies reveals they stand for exactly the opposite.
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