Today’s topic is a bit of stretch goal, but I want to try and tie down some points and data for future blogs on this topic. I am approaching this problem from the scientific standpoint so I’m going to start with data everyone accepts and then move into the more heated areas. First of all, we all have racist tendencies. We all descended from tribal peoples if you look far enough back and we all thought our tribe was superior to neighboring tribes. The problem is that over the past few hundred years we have institutionalized racism and made it part of our society. Again, this is pretty much a worldwide phenomenon with blacks and native Americans in the USA, Christians in Muslim countries, Muslims in China, Muslims and untouchables in India, non-natives in Japan, etc.
I think we can all agree that the collective we have a problem. The issue of this paper is what is causing it and is there anything we can do to fix it. Here, I am going to focus on the problems faced by the United States. Any solution applicable to the U.S. is probably somewhat applicable to the rest of the world.
After scouring the web and numerous opinion pieces I come to the conclusion that the number one problem is the lawlessness and drug problems of the young blacks and native Americans caused by failure of their family structure. 66% of black children and 53% of native American children grow up in single parent homes. This compares to 40% of Hispanic children, 24 % of white children, and only 16% of Asian or Pacific Islander children. There are numerous studies that show that without good parental support, children are draw into gangs and other activities that give them structure and meaning, but unfortunately into a life of crime.
This problem adds fuel to the institutional racism I mentioned earlier. It is relatively easy to look down on members of your community who are constantly breaking the law and spending time in prison for it. As of 2010, the National incarceration rate was 450/100,000 for whites, 831/100,000 for Hispanics, 1291/100,000 for native Americans, and 2306/100,000 for blacks.
There are some who blame these differences on the court systems, but I have spent enough time on juries and jury pools to recognize that you have to be beyond help to get sent to prison. The data shown probably accurately reflects the problem, we need to do a better job on parenting!
If we could fix the problems with single parent families would that automatically fix racism? No, but it might make a huge difference. At the start of the twentieth century Irishmen and Chinamen were blatantly discriminated against (they were undercutting existing wages). This changed over a few decades and now both races are held in high esteem. If we could fix black and native American families so that their offspring were universally competitive for middle class jobs, I think institutional racism could be reduced or eliminated.
I have ignored the terrible schools in inner cities and redlining home loans in city centers. Those are political problems which I will address in the next blog.