Thomas Sowell

It so happens that whites were turned down for mortgage loans at a higher rate than Asian Americans, but that fact seldom made it into the newspaper headlines or the political rhetoric. Nor did either the mainstream media or political leaders mention the fact that black-owned banks turned down black mortgage loan applicants at least as often as white-owned banks did.

There was never the slightest reason to expect the different racial or ethnic groups in the United States to have the same credit ratings or the same behavior or performance in any other way, when both racial and non-racial groups of various sorts have for centuries had radically different patterns of behavior and performance in countries around the world.

The difference between per capita income in Eastern Europe and Western Europe has long been greater than the difference in per capita income between blacks and whites in America.

Yet, despite the fact that group differences have been the rule-- not the exception-- in all sorts of times and places, many people in these places and times have pointed to such disparities in their own country as evidence of something strange, if not sinister.

An extremist movement began in Bombay (now Mumbai) when a journalist hyped the fact that the indigenous people of the region were almost totally missing among the business elites of that city. The seeds of a disastrous civil war in Sri Lanka were planted by politicians who hyped the fact that the Tamil minority was over-represented among the owners of businesses and among university students. A military coup in Fiji was provoked because the descendants of people from India were likewise doing so much better than the indigenous Fijians.

Not all of this was simply a matter of intellectual confusion. Political power was the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. Race hustling can also be a lucrative occupation, as Jesse Jackson -- among others-- has demonstrated in the United States. As long as we keep buying it, the hustlers will keep selling it.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate