Skip to comments.Glaring limits of the Civil Rights Act: We need to redistribute wealth
Posted on 04/20/2014 9:08:59 AM PDT by Altura Ct.
Even if racism were wiped out tomorrow, we'd still need to address pervasive racial wealth inequality. Here's why
Although the Civil Rights Act, the landmark legislation which just reached its 50th anniversary, made great strides in desegregating the economy, economic discrimination is still widespread, and anti-discrimination legislation alone can never rectify the economic damage inflicted upon blacks by slavery and our Jim Crow apartheid regime. The Civil Rights Act was a mild reform, all things considered, but one conservatives fought with vigor and one many conservatives are still bitter about to this day.
When the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, the primary purpose was to root out discrimination in public accommodations (like hotels and movie theaters) and in employment. The former purposeeliminating public accommodations discriminationhas received renewed attention from conservatives lately who find it to be an infringement on the rights of racist business owners to be racist. GOP favorite Rand Paul expressed this view in 2010 and Catos Ilya Shapiro expressed it just a few months ago on MSNBC.
These arent new concerns, of course. One white Nashville resident interviewed at the time of passage said the same thing about the Civil Rights Act: I also think that it is in violation to my civil rights if someone can say you must serve me. Nonetheless, it is telling that the embarrassment attached to claiming it is the racists who are the real victims in all of this has sufficiently subsided within the mainstream conservative movement that even GOP leaders are willing to reinvigorate the claim. I suppose thats par for the course for a movement thats also pushed the evisceration of the Voting Rights Act and pursued an intentional campaign of voter suppression that disproportionately targets blacks and other people of color.
Despite the fevered conservative protests over the extensive reach of the the Civil Rights Act, it has not totally succeeded in its aims. Lunch counters and hotels no longer outright ban blacks from service, a relatively easy thing to root out. But academic studies show that employment decisions continue to be made upon race-based lines.
For instance, in one 2003 study, a team of researchers sent nearly 5000 resumes to over 1,300 employment ads posted in newspapers in Chicago and Boston. The resumes were totally fake and otherwise identical except that some had black-sounding names on them while others had white-sounding names on them. The researchers found that the applications with white-sounding names on them received call backs 50 percent more often than the applications with black-sounding names on them. As things usually go with racist discrimination, it can be hard to pin down a particular given instance as motivated by racism, but the aggregate numbers do not lie.
Clearly, more progress needs to be made on the anti-discrimination front, but anti-discrimination, even if it were entirely successful, would still never be enough to rectify the economic harms inflicted by centuries of slavery and racial apartheid.
One of the consequences of the racial caste system that characterized American society prior to 1960 is that black families were prevented from accumulating economic wealth. Because wealth is the kind of thing that is passed down generations and the kind of thing that grows and grows, this initial racist starting point has opened up a yawning racial wealth gap that simply cannot be closed without intentional policy aimed at doing so.
In 2010, the median black family held around $16,000 in wealth, while the median white family held around $130,000. And this is not just a function of the fact that whites have higher incomes than blacks. Even when you control for incomecomparing white and black families in the same income rangewhite families are three times wealthier than black families. The racial wealth disparities hold up and down the income ladder.
As Thomas Pikettys groundbreaking book Capital in the 21st Century has detailed: wealth has a tendency in a capitalist economy to concentrate into the hands of a few and travel down generations through gifts and inheritances. Even if racism were wiped out tomorrow and equal treatment became the norm, it would never cease being the case that the average white person has more wealth than the average black person. We could equalize everything else in society, and racial wealth inequalityplus all of the political power disparities that accompany such a thingwould continue into perpetuity.
Thus, those actually serious about righting the wrongs of enslavement and Jim Crow apartheid must support more drastic leveling efforts. Beefed up anti-discrimination, which is both necessary and good, will not be enough. Ideally, we could work towards reparations in the form of redistributing wealth along racial lines. With that an unlikely possibility though, we can at least think about ways to redistribute wealth more generally from those with wealth to those without it, something that would have a similar, albeit more attenuated, effect as reparations given who the wealthy and non-wealthy happen to be.
They are going all-in. They will make their move before the vacuity of their ideas becomes obvious to all — and that means the time grows short.
It takes the whole village to drag the cart to the top of the hill.
Utter BS and revisionist history.
Republicans, most of whom were Conservatives, were the ones who passed the Civil Rights Bill in the first place.
Another attempt by the left to re write history to fit they current agenda
Is this true?
In this era of affirmative action, I could imagine that a resume from Malcolm Jamal or Latisha might get more call backs than a resume from Jason, Justin, or Jared.
Well, this is from Salon, which is well known to be a liberal mouthpiece.
Wealth redistribution has been going on since the end of the War Between The States.
It really kicked into high gear when LBJ decided to put blacks back on the Government Plantation and get them living on handouts paid for with money extorted from working taxpayers.
Obama has brought it to a new level with his stimulus money handouts, his $17 trillion dollar debt, record deficits, record unemployment, destruction of the middle class and half the population sucking the government teat.
Wealth redistribution is why the USA is heading down the democrat/liberal/socialist toilet bowl.
The writer likes to make stuff up. It was the democrats that fought against the bill.
The usual leftist lies to rewrite history.
Damned be all of those arch-conservatives in Chitcago and Boston! Oh wait....
Redistribution of wealth is happening NOW through the back door. One big way this happens is the Federal Reserve’s Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP).
ZIRP denies interest to those who work hard and have savings. At the same time, it offers nearly unlimited capital to Government (at all levels) at very low (near zero) interest rates. This allows entitlement spending to grow to near infinity with few consequences (in the short term, anyway). With ZIRP, savers continually lose ground as the amount of interest they get is well below the true rate of inflation.
Eventually ZIRP will not be enough and you will see a Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP). Under NIRP, you will have to PAY to keep your $$ safe (let’s say 1-2% of your principal each year). And that is even after inflation.
It’s coming—count on it.
I agree! I think Michael Jordon, Will Smith, Tiger Woods, Barrack Obama and Snoop Dogg should all give me half their wealth so I can be rich too... cuz its not fair for them to have so much and me to have so little!
Anyone who writes complete drivel like this article needs to voluntarily donate to their own scheme.
Those who carp about reparations need to divest their money and donate to any black they meet walking down the street in Philly or Baltimore or NYC.
Those who advocate suicide to end overpopulation, should act on that belief and off themselves.
Those who, like Al Gore, advocate a completely upside down lifestyle change must become the stationary herbivores living in unheated and unair-conditioned 100 square foot apartments taking showers rarely.
The Obamas need to vacation closer to DC and stop adding to the carbon emissions along with every single celebrity posing as an environmental crusader as they pollute the skies not to mention the land with ridiculously huge houses.
I could go on. I won’t.
Let’s start with the wealth accumulated by Salon, Soros, Clintons, Kerry, Boxer, Feinstein, Kennedys, Reich, Buffett, Gates, Steyer, Jackson, Sharpton, and so on.
And by redistribution, it means actually giving the money away to individual people they claim must have it, not to political organizations whose purpose is to gobble up money for bribes that go to make politicians, like those above, even richer than they already are.
Put up or shut up.
Thomas Pikettys the author of book Capital in the 21st Century is a French neo Marxist who has bragged about being a policy consultant who has had a major impact on the Obama Administrations policies and one who is held in high esteem by President Obama personally.
This article puts into perfect perspective what Pikettys writings are all about and the fact that this guy’s ideas mirror those of the Administration and are a major influence is rather telling
Start with yours.
funny how Asians arrive here constantly with nothing and in just a few decades are usually rich.
why is it blacks have had 150+ years and still can’t get their act together? could the fault lie with them? and not some imagined boogy man?
I'm not so sure that is something to be proud of. The so called 'Civil Rights Bill' has turned out to be an anti-white abomination. We have more race crap now than we have ever had almost all of it in the name of 'civil rights'. 'Civil rights' permeate our laws, schools, work place, institutions etc. there are literally thousands of race based political, lobby groups and social group most of it decidedly anti-white. When they passed this legislation they forgot to tell whites that 'civil rights' doesn't apply to them and how anti-white it would all be. Kinda like the immigration act of 1965.
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