Thomas Sowell

Other statistics, however, showed that whites were turned down for conventional mortgage loans at nearly double the rate for Asian Americans. By the very same reasoning, that would suggest that whites were being racially discriminated against by banks that were mostly run by whites.

But this unlikely conclusion never surfaced, because the second set of statistics seldom saw the light of day in the mainstream media, even though both sets of statistics were available from the same sources.

To publish the second set of statistics would undermine the whole moral melodrama in the media, and the political crusade based on it.

Statistics on the average credit ratings of people in different racial groups likewise seldom saw the light of day. The average credit ratings of whites were higher than the average credit ratings of blacks, and the average credit ratings of Asian Americans were higher than the average credit ratings of whites.

But to lay all these facts before the public and say, "We report, you decide" might well result in the public's deciding that banks and other financial institutions prefer lending to individuals who were more likely to pay them back.

Also lost in media stories was the fact that many, if not most, of the financial officials who actually made loan approval decisions never laid eyes on the people who applied, but based their decisions on the paperwork sent by those who dealt directly with the applicants.

Equal "access" does not automatically lead to equal outcomes, either in lending institutions or in basketball, or anywhere else. But words like "access" have led to much political success and much economic disaster, the housing market being just one example.


Thomas Sowell

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

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