B2 High-Intermediate US 11705 Folder Collection
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Is racism still a major problem in America? President Barack Obama certainly thinks so.
He said that racism is “in our DNA.” Really? If racism is in our DNA,
doesn’t that mean it's immutable, unchangeable?
But America has changed -- and dramatically so. In 1960, 60% of Americans said they would
never vote for a black president. Almost 50 years later, the black man who said racism
is in America’s DNA was elected president, and four years later re-elected.
That’s only the most obvious example of racial progress. There are many others.
Take inter-racial marriage. As William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution wrote, “Sociologists
have traditionally viewed multiracial marriage as a benchmark for the ultimate stage of assimilation
of a particular group into society.” Black-white marriages were still illegal in 16 states
until 1967. And a 1958 Gallup poll found that only 4% of Americans approved of black-white
marriages. Today that number is 87%. In 1960, of all marriages by blacks, only 1.7 percent
were black-white. Today, it’s 12 percent and rising.
Now what about “racial profiling” and abuse of blacks by police? Doesn’t that
prove that racism remains a major problem? In the summer of 2014, Ferguson, Missouri
became ground zero for this accusation when a white policeman shot and killed an unarmed
black teenager. While a Department of Justice investigation of the incident cleared the
officer of any wrongdoing, it did accuse the city’s police department of racial bias.
But what was the Justice Department report’s most headline grabbing stat? The gap between
the percentage of blacks living in Ferguson -- 67% -- and the percentage of those stopped
by police for traffic violation who are black -- 85%. An 18 point discrepancy.
Racism, right? Not so fast.
Blacks comprise 25% of New York City, but account for 55% of those stopped for traffic
offenses -- a 30-point discrepancy, far bigger than that of Ferguson. Why isn’t the NYPD,
a department that is now majority minority, considered even more institutionally racist
than the Ferguson PD? The answer is you cannot have an honest discussion about police conduct
without an honest discussion of black crime.
Though blacks are 13% of the population, they commit 50% of the nation’s homicides,
and almost always the victim is another black person, just as most white homicides are against
other whites. In 2012, according to the Center for Disease Control, police killed 123 blacks,
while, by the way, killing over twice that many whites. But that same year blacks killed
over 6,000 people -- again, mostly other blacks.
What about traffic stops? Unlike when responding to dispatch calls, police officers exercise
more discretion when it comes to traffic stops. Therefore “racist” cops can have a field
day when it comes to traffic stops, right?
Actually, no.
The National Institute of Justice is the research agency of the Department of Justice.
In 2013, the National Institute of Justice published a study called "Race, Trust and Police Legitimacy."
Three out of four black drivers admitted that they were stopped by the police for a "legitimate
reason." Blacks, compared to whites, were on average more likely to commit speeding
and other traffic offenses. The Institute wrote, “Seatbelt usage is chronically lower among
black drivers. If a law enforcement agency aggressively enforces seatbelt violations,
police will stop more black drivers."
The NIJ’s conclusion? These numerical disparities result from "differences in offending"
-- in other words, not because of racism.
Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also found that blacks violate
traffic laws at higher rates than whites -- in every offense, whether it’s driving without a license,
not wearing a seat belt, not using a child safety seat or speeding.
Is there still racism in America? Of course, there is. But racism is not in America’s DNA.
Recent history and a lot of research and data prove it.
As liberal Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson said, America, “is now the least racist
white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protections of minorities
than any other society, white or black; offers more opportunities to a greater number of
black persons than any other society, including all of those of Africa."
Patterson, by the way, is black.
I’m Larry Elder for Prager University.
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Is America Racist?

11705 Folder Collection
Ying Chi Shing published on July 13, 2016    Evelyn Chiu translated    吳宜臻 reviewed
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