John Hood | Race theory is dangerous nonsense

RALEIGH – According to the US Census Bureau, Americans of Filipino origin had a median household income of just over $ 100,000 in 2019. The median household income of White Americans that year was around 66,000. dollars.

Based on these two facts, should we conclude that our society is largely biased in favor of Filipino immigrants, or Americans whose ancestors once immigrated from the Philippines? Should we draw the same conclusion about Americans with ancestral ties to India (their median household income is $ 136,000), China ($ 85,000) or Nigeria ($ 69,000)?

No, we shouldn’t. It would be an exercise in bad math and faulty logic. Differences in household income or other measures between ethnic groups have many potential explanations. Cultures, traditions and family structures vary. Education levels and labor force participation rates vary. Payment models vary. Preferences vary.

If you’re with me so far, you probably don’t agree with a key tenet of critical race theory. Brought together in the 1980s and 1990s from disparate currents of Marxist and postmodern thought, Critical Race Theory seeks to explain disparities in income, wealth, educational attainment, and other measures as primarily the product of discriminatory social structures rather than individual choices.

Its parent idea, Critical Theory, was concocted by mid-twentieth-century Marxist intellectuals following the disillusionment of revolutionary socialism as practiced behind the Iron Curtain. Some academics and activists began to apply their new ideas to the justice system, resulting in critical legal studies. Others concluded that earlier Marxist analysis had focused too much on class at the expense of other structures of oppression, developing a critical theory of race (and even narrower and more esoteric applications) not just as an approach. of radical scholarship, but also as a guide to radical politics. action.

What does all of this have to do with the conversation about public policy in North Carolina? A lot – unfortunately.

Do you believe in diversity, equity and inclusion? Me too, at least when the terms are properly defined. Surrounding yourself with people of different perspectives and backgrounds is often good for you. It can strengthen organizations and teams. I also believe that people should be treated fairly, that they should not be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity or other characteristics that have nothing to do with doing a job well. . And I think it’s better to include, not exclude. You do not agree?

These beliefs are sadly not what the current diversity, equity and inclusion movement is aiming for. Much of this is critical racial theory rigorously and sometimes ruthlessly applied to workplaces, government, philanthropy, and the social sector. It assumes that statistical disparities must be the product of discriminatory practices and attitudes deeply rooted in our social structures. Therefore, he sees the use of discriminatory practices and attitudes as the only appropriate response.

Let me explain this last point more clearly. If the disparities in outcomes are sufficient evidence of systemic racism and other forms of structural oppression, then the only way to know if the oppression has been dismantled would be for those disparities to disappear. The logical goal must be equality of results, not just equal opportunities. If this requires continued discrimination against “privileged” groups – racial and ethnic preferences in hiring, contracting and higher education, for example – so be it.

It just doesn’t make sense. It is based on simplistic and easily discredited analysis, and uses crude tools such as “implicit bias” tests that are both methodologically unhealthy and very destructive of real human relationships.

Still, I would pay little attention to critical race theorists if they limited their nonsense to barely reading newspapers and attending classes little. In a free society we all have the same right to be wrong.

But critical race theory has now spread far beyond the cloister. Its advocates seek to transform corporate governance, our justice system and the curriculum in our public schools. Its assumptions are incompatible with freedom, liberal education and equality before the law. These assumptions must be fully revealed, clearly understood and relentlessly opposed.

John Hood is a columnist for the Carolina Journal and author of the upcoming novel Mountain Folk, a fantasy story set during the American Revolution (MountainFolkBook.com).


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