Paul wrote earlier today about “bogus” allegations of racism based on surveys about whether whites or blacks are “hardworking,” “intelligent” or “violent.” Many liberals have seized on poll data put out by groups like American National Election Studies to argue that Donald Trump’s supporters are largely racists. As a typical example, let’s take Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post.
Milbank argues that Hillary Clinton was right when she said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are racists, only she undershot the mark:
If anything, when it comes to Trump’s racist support, she might have low-balled the number. …
The American National Election Studies, the long-running, extensive poll of American voters, asked voters in 2012 a basic test of prejudice: to rank black and white people on a scale from hardworking to lazy and from intelligent to unintelligent. The researchers found that 62 percent of white people gave black people a lower score in at least one of the attributes.
All of these people, supposedly, are racists.
This question is a good indicator of how one votes: Republican Mitt Romney won 61 percent of those who expressed negative stereotypes.
Romney won 59 percent of the entire white vote, so a response to the questions about being intelligent or hardworking were not a “good indicator of how one votes.” Milbank (who, in my experience, is not overburdened with intelligence) just made that up.
But pity the poor white person who had to answer the ANES questions! When I was in school, if a classmate performed poorly we considered it axiomatic that he either 1) lacked ability, or 2) wasn’t working hard enough. Those possibilities seemed to cover the waterfront. Is it really “racist” for people to apply the same assumptions when asked about an ethnic group’s chronic underperformance? I don’t think so.
How did members of other ethnic groups, including African-Americans, answer those same questions? We don’t know. As far as I have been able to determine, only white people were asked why African-Americans are, on the average, low achievers. If ANES asked the same questions of Asians, or Hispanics, or Native Americans, or African-Americans, I can find no record of it. Liberals look for “racism” in only one place.
In fact, liberals can maintain their white racism narrative only by averting their eyes from America’s diversity. In the liberal world, we have a binary system: whites and blacks. But America is nothing like that, as those who get out occasionally know. The white/black model is pitifully inadequate to understand the real America.
Thus: Asian-Americans earn, on the average, much more money than white Americans. The gap is growing, and one of these days, the disparity between Asian-American and white incomes may be greater than the disparity between white and African-American incomes. So, we must ask: Why is that? Is it due to discrimination against non-Asians? Hardly a plausible suggestion. So, then, are Asians smarter than whites, African-Americans and other groups, or are they more hard-working than whites, African-Americans and other groups? Do the liberals have an answer to that question? Not that I have heard. Is it racist to think that Asians must be either smarter or more hard-working than the rest of us, on the average? Crickets.
When my youngest daughter graduated from high school a little over a year ago, around 50% of her classmates who graduated with highest honors had Asian names. This is remarkable, since Asian-Americans can’t number more than two or three percent of the inhabitants of our school district. So: are Asians exceptionally smart? That could be true; they score higher on IQ tests, on the average, than whites, Hispanics or blacks. So do IQ tests mean something after all?
Or are Asian-Americans amazingly hard-working? Most people think the answer to that question is Yes, but is it racist to say so? If not, why not? If Asians can be unusually hard-working, why can’t blacks be unusually not-hardworking? If this proves to be a fact, is it “racist” to say so?
Last time I saw the numbers, the gap between the incomes of Jews and gentiles was wider than that between whites and blacks. What does that tell us? Are gentiles’ incomes being suppressed by some sort of prejudice? Presumably not. Are gentiles, on the average, less intelligent or less hardworking than Jews? They must be one or the other; otherwise, what could account for the discrepancy? Is that conclusion racist? If not, why not?
The highest-earning ethnic groups in America are Japanese-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Jews and–at the very top, in at least one study I have seen–Iranian-Americans. How can this be? Isn’t the U.S. constantly apologizing for being an Islamophobic country? Aren’t Muslims–above all, Iranians!–being discriminated against at every turn? Apparently not. Iranian-Americans, based on the numbers I have seen, are battling it out with Jewish Americans for the top income spot. Are Iranian-Americans smarter than the rest of us? Harder working? Aren’t the most plausible answers, Yes and Yes? How would liberals answer all of these questions? Well, they don’t have to answer, because they never ask them. When it comes to race, their inquiries have only one target.
Like Paul, I tend to favor cultural over genetic explanations. Let’s be clear: while Iranian-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Korean-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Norwegian-Americans and many other ethnic groups are doing very well, African-Americans are doing relatively poorly. But, to be fair, that generalization obscures lots of differences. Several recent African immigrant groups are doing well. This seems to depend mostly on whether they were doing well in the countries from which they came.
Since blacks are our second-largest minority, their below-average performance is of interest. So, what’s the problem? I think Charles Barkley is on the right tracK:
While appearing on “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis,” Barkley was asked about a rumor that Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was getting criticism from his black teammates for not being, quote, “black enough.”
Barkley went on a long monologue on the subject: “Unfortunately, as I tell my white friends, we as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you’re black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people. It’s a dirty, dark secret; I’m glad it’s coming out.”
Barkley said that young black men who do well in school are accused of “acting white” by their peers. “One of the reasons we’re never going to be successful as a whole, is because of other black people. And for some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. And it’s a dirty, dark secret.”
“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success,” he continued. “It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful…”
“We’re the only ethnic group who say, ‘Hey, if you go to jail, it gives you street cred.’ It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”
I think that sums it up very well. If being able to read and speak properly is a badge of dishonor, progress is impossible. If going to jail gives you a gold star, progress is impossible.
I think of my own Norwegian-American grandparents, and wonder how they would have reacted to the suggestion that doing well in school is a bad thing; that being intelligent is foreign and discreditable; that achievement is a joke; that going to jail is something to brag about. That, thankfully for me, is a world that never existed.
African-Americans aren’t being held back by Donald Trump’s supposedly “racist” voters, most of whom are at least willing to engage with reality. African-Americans are being held back by the Democratic Party, which wants them to fail so that they will be dependent on government. Forever. That is where the real racism in America lies.