Star Parker

Can anyone tell me why suddenly race is the hot topic of national discourse?

According to Gallup polling of last week, the issues most on the minds of Americans are the economy and jobs followed by dissatisfaction with all aspects of government.

I didn’t notice racism on the list anywhere.

The NAACP says it was “snookered” by Fox News on the Shirley Sherrod story.

I say we’ve all been snookered by the NAACP.

The NAACP has shown that those who have written this organization off as irrelevant are wrong. It demonstrated this past week that if it so chooses it can dominate the national discussion with its racial agenda, regardless of what the real pressing issues of national concern may be.

The accusation about Tea Party racism is ridiculous. But even if you don’t think it’s ridiculous, is this the discussion we need to be having when national unemployment hovers at ten percent, and when black unemployment is closer to 15%, double that of whites?

Now, of course, we should be talking about racism if this is what is driving black unemployment. But is it?

I don’t think so. Nor do most blacks.

In January of this year, well into our recession, and well into the emergence of the Tea Party movement, the Pew Research Center surveyed black attitudes.

In answer to the question, “When blacks don’t make progress, who or what is to blame?”, 52% of blacks responded that “blacks” themselves are “mostly responsible”, and 34% said “racism.” This is the reverse of how blacks responded to this question just 15 years ago, when 56% said that racism was the impediment to black progress.

Glenn Beck

In the same survey, blacks responded almost identically as whites to the question of whether success in life is “determined by forces beyond one’s control” or whether “everyone has the power to succeed.”

Seventy seven percent of blacks and 82% of whites said that “everyone has the power to succeed” and 16% of blacks and 12% whites said success is “determined by forces beyond one’s control.”

And when blacks were asked in this same survey about the main problems facing black families, the response was overwhelmingly exactly the same as the general result of the Gallup poll of last week. Jobs.

So, Americans of all colors today generally feel responsible for their own lives and the main concern of most is the sick state of our economy.

So let’s have that discussion.


Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.

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