Walter E. Williams

Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States is "a nation of cowards" when it comes to race relations. In one sense, he is absolutely right. Many whites, from university administrators and professors, schoolteachers to employers and public officials accept behavior from black people that they wouldn't begin to accept from whites. For example, some of the nation's most elite universities, such as Vanderbilt, Stanford University and the University of California, have yielded to black student demands for separate graduation ceremonies and separate "celebratory events." Universities such as Stanford, Cornell, MIT, and Cal Berkeley have, or have had, segregated dorms. If white students demanded whites-only graduation ceremonies or whites-only dorms, administrators would have labeled their demands as intolerable racism. When black students demand the same thing, these administrators cowardly capitulate. Calling these university administrators cowards is the most flattering characterization of their behavior. They might actually be stupid enough to believe nonsense taught by their some of sociology and psychology professors that blacks can't be racists because they don't have power.

What about Holder's statement that America is "voluntarily segregated"? I say, so what. According to the census, in 2007, 4.6 percent of married blacks were married to a white; less than 1 percent of married whites were married to a black. While blacks are 13 percent of the population, they are 80 percent of professional basketball players and 65 percent of professional football players. Mere casual observance of audiences at ice hockey games or opera performances would reveal gross voluntary segregation. What would Holder propose the U.S. Justice Department do about these and other instances of voluntary segregation?

Attorney General Holder's flawed thinking is widespread whereby people think that an activity that is not racially integrated is therefore segregated. Blacks are about 60 percent of the Washington, D.C. population. At the Reagan National Airport, which serves D.C., nowhere near 60 percent of the airport's water fountain users are black; I'd guess blacks are never more than 5 percent of users. The population statistics of states such as South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, Montana and Vermont show that not even 1 percent of their populations are black. Does that mean Reagan National Airport water fountains and South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, Montana and Vermont are racially segregated? If Holder does anything about "voluntary segregation" at the state level I hope it's not court-ordered busing; I'm not wild about their winters. Just because some activity is not racially integrated does not mean that it is racially segregated.

The bottom line is that the civil rights struggle is over and it is won. At one time black Americans didn't share the constitutional guarantees shared by whites; today we do. That does not mean that there are not major problems that confront a large segment of the black community, but they are not civil rights problems nor can they be solved through a "conversation on race." Black illegitimacy stands at 70 percent; nearly 50 percent of black students drop out of high school; and only 30 percent of black youngsters reside in two-parent families. In 2005, while 13 percent of the population, blacks committed over 52 percent of the nation's homicides and were 46 percent of the homicide victims. Ninety-four percent of black homicide victims had a black person as their murderer. Such pathology, I think much of it precipitated by family breakdown, is entirely new among blacks. In 1940, black illegitimacy was 19 percent; in 1950, only 18 percent of black households were female-headed compared with today's 70 percent. Both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

If black people continue to accept the corrupt blame game agenda of liberal whites, black politicians and assorted hustlers, as opposed to accepting personal responsibility, the future for many black Americans will remain bleak.


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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