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Reply #21: Much of this was dealt with in the '90s. [View All]

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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. Much of this was dealt with in the '90s.
Some of Clinton's proposals were based on this research. It hasn't been refuted, just condemned.

If you look at education, crime, family structure, out-of-wedlock births, so on and so forth, you can find other neighborhoods that show nearly all the same evidence of 'racism'. Including all-white neighborhoods, and all-Latino neighborhoods. You find the same pattern of racist oppression and institutional racism, but 'race' isn't there in some cases. The communities are frequently small, but their very existence is a problem for 'racism is the main problem' argument. The reasons for the existence of porportionally many more, and much larger, black communities that are truly dysfunctional lie, ultimately, in the history of racism in the US. But the problem continues to be disproportionately, but not uniquely, a black one; saying this is so because of racism needs evidence. The same solutions tried on some black communities have been tried in white and Latino communities, with the same results: persistent intergenerational poverty, unemployment, crime rates, and all the same accompanying problems. So black and white communities *can* have pretty much the same problems. The black communities are worse in some respects: *that* difference is due to racism. But positing two completely different causations for the overlapping conditions requires evidence, and that evidence just hasn't been forthcoming. And yes, it's been looked for. Extensively. It's not easy for a researcher to say 'remove racism, and you're still going to have most of the same problems.' Everybody likes what appear to be simple solutions. The result is that much of the evidence for a racism-based account has, in fact, been shown to be derivative, dependent on other variables.

When all is said and done, the research is decried as blaming the victim. It's not blaming the victim at all; it merely uses many of the same words. It's basically saying that personal and family traits that we usually assume are volitional interlock in a way that is very hard for the individual to overcome, and are very easy to pass on to the next generation. Individual traits can be easily overcome, but the person usually relapses. The complex of traits *can* (rarely) be overcome without intervention, but that doesn't mean 'overcoming' through sheer force of will can ever be the norm. For blacks, for whites, or for Latinos. So just discussing the problem is seen as racist.

This doesn't mean racism *isn't* a problem. It is. One. It just means that the most egregious examples of racism are simply the imputing of causation to a mere correlation, when analyses of variance have shown that racism isn't the single most crucial factor. Escaping from persistent poverty is complicated by racism, so it's marginally harder for blacks to escape than whites or even Latinos. But the implication is that disposing of racism entirely won't address many of the biggest problems.

It can all be analysed in terms of class, but that analysis requires redefining 'class' in a way most wouldn't accept. It's not 'poor' or 'worker', but a class composed of a bunch of different factors, with income or occupation being just one. It draws lines where classical class-theory says no lines can be drawn, and improperly reverses the dependent/independent relationship between variables.

The usual course of action is to assume that racism is the biggest (independent) variable (that correlation must equal causation); the research must be denied as unacceptable.
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