Groundhog Day

Maybe you felt the same way. You keep hearing about “Systemic Racism” but aren’t sure what it is. When in doubt, Google. The search pointed to Wikipedia, which uses the term interchangeably with “Institutional Racism,” defined “as a form of racism embedded through laws and regulations within society or an organization. It can lead to discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, political power, and education, among other issues.” This got me thinking. 

In the 1950s and ’60s, we worked hard to change the nation’s laws and regulations to ensure everyone their constitutional rights. We have mainly been successful. Most of the present-day problems reside at a more local level. For instance, criminal justice, policing, and prosecution are State and local issues. Education is always a local affair. Even housing and healthcare problems originate at the local level.  

Political power at the local level is how we fix local problems. If there is racism in our local institutions, let’s get oppressed to the polls and throw the bums out. 

Never have people had greater access to the polls. Blacks in many states of the old south vote in more significant percentages than whites. Nothing is standing between Blacks joining like-minded people to form coalitions to achieve the law enforcement and education to improve lives.

In fact, blacks have formed ruling coalitions with others in almost all locales they live. Blacks are almost uniformly governed by the political party they overwhelmingly give their votes. These local governments also control the zoning that dictates the affordability of housing.

 The paradox is institutions some Black’s claim are racist are controlled by the very same people they voted into office. Walt Kelly’s Pogo would understand. He proclaimed, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” 

If you don’t like your local criminal justice system, prosecutors and police departments vote for candidates with a different approach. Maybe they belong to another party. Continuing to vote for Democrats means supporting other party pillars such as the public sector unions. Bad teachers and cops often remain employed due to the protections afforded by their unions. Achieving a workable balance is in large part stumbles over the bad cop problem. Poor areas need more policing, but not by repressive bad cops.

Teacher’s unions displayed their true colors during the pandemic. In city after city under Democratic control, children lost a year or more of in-person instruction. This fell heavily on impoverished kids. Blacks make up a significant portion of this group, and their kids may never make up for this educational loss. 

Two significant institutions are failing many blacks hindering progress. The question is who is to blame. Ex-president Trump or the Ku Klux Klan, and other white supremacist groups are featured in the media as the culprits. None of these hire local prosecutors or police chiefs. School boards aren’t made up of people in white hoods. If you think you’re suffering from “Institutional Racism” in law enforcement or education and want to find the source, maybe a look in the mirror will solve the mystery. 

Detroit and Newark have worked hard to find equilibrium in law enforcement. They haven’t suffered the crime crises plaguing so many of our cities. Trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves takes hard work, but these cities show it’s achievable. Understanding policing problems and dangers on one hand and respect for the citizenry they serve needs honest communication. Cries of “defund the police,” or “they’re all criminals” get us nowhere.

We have choices in almost everything in our lives. Alternatives improve our lives. School choice has shown it can bring kids in impoverished areas better outcomes. It will take political will to overcome the power of the teacher’s unions. Our kids are just too important to be controlled by people who put their own interests over them. 

 If you are open to candidates willing to do the hard work, you’ll find them. They may not be Democrats. That party would pretty much cease to exist without the massive Black vote. If Blacks voted in the same numbers as Hispanics or Asians for Non-Democrats, the Democratic Party would simply lose in most places.

This dependency on one group explains much of the Democratic-Progressive actions. Admitting significant progress has already been made and building on this foundation undercuts the Progressive narrative of unrelieved White oppression of Blacks. 

This involves recycling horror stories of racial conflict. The account of the destruction of the “Black Wall Street’, in Tulsa 100 years ago appeared widely across our media. Many professed shock. They asked why the story had been repressed. History was covered up. Now that we know, we have to do something.

Strange, the “Black Wall Street” destruction was part of the last century civil rights movement’s list of horrors. I, for one, was well aware of this travesty. Decades ago, an Oklahoma commission looked into the incident and published its report. Hardly a cover-up.

The lynchings, deprivations, and anti-black riots were what people were marching about during the 50s and 60s. Congress, overwhelmingly non-black, voted for civil rights legislation. More Republicans than Democrats voted in favor. 

The Civil rights laws of the sixties were passed because people of goodwill from all races and backgrounds were well informed of Black oppression. Not only were our rules changed, but actions such as the “Great Society’,” racial preferences, and school busing were taken to redress the effects of “Jim Crow.” (Amity Shlaes’ book the “Great Society” gives a good picture of the period) 

Throwing vast amounts of money and social engineering, however well-intentioned, were ineffective. At best, these actions did little and counter-productive at worst. The fact we still haven’t achieved Martin Luther King’s dream for his children, ” they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” still hasn’t been achieved.”

 The present administration’s proposals for spending vast amounts of money and more social engineering smacks of the movie “Groundhog Day.” It didn’t work in the last century, so why are we considering doing it all over again. Why not tackle the remaining local institutional problems holding so many blacks back. Safer neighborhoods with better school options would go a long way to closing gaps. Isolating an issue makes it easier to resolve.

An even better way to uplift people is to empower them individually. Instead of endless confusing expensive programs, give the money to people directly. Milton Friedman’s “Negative Income Tax” could do the job. Give kids vouchers to attend a school of their choosing. If we trust people, they will find their way to a better life. No matter the color of their skin or background, most people are better than our media gives them credit.  

May has gone, but not before producing Covid numbers showing we reached enough Herd Immunity to return us to normal life. This is just as I predicted back in January. No thanks to the poor Biden vaccination response. Thank goodness for imaginative Governors such as Ohio’s Mike DeWine coming up with lotteries and such to entice people to get shots or our performance could be worse. Luckily, Warp speed still has us in good shape in spite of the Biden administration:

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