Walter E. Williams

 A tiny percentage of the black community is allowed to impose high costs on its overwhelmingly law-abiding residents. Criminals, vandals and thugs have turned once economically viable shopping areas into economic wastelands. Ensuring public safety is a job of politicians, and they fail miserably. The police, courts and jails allow thugs to prey on the black community with near impunity.

 Solutions to the most serious problems that black Americans face will not be found in the political arena. Otherwise, the problems would have been long solved with the civil rights legislation, litigation and the more than $8 trillion spent on poverty programs since 1965. Or the problems would have been solved by the two terms of President Clinton, whom some blacks have called the first black president.

 Perhaps the biggest roadblock to finding solutions is the widely held vision of the problem black people face, namely racial discrimination. That vision calls for civil rights strategies. The truth of the matter is that the black civil rights struggle is over and it's won. At one time, black Americans did not enjoy the constitutional protections enjoyed by others. Today, there are no constitutional protections not enjoyed by blacks. That's not to say that every vestige of discrimination has been eliminated. It is to say that the devastating problems facing a large proportion of the black community are not civil rights problems and the solution won't be found in the political arena.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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