Let’s talk a little bit about ‘systemic racism’. That’s a rally phrase for the left and a wretch phrase for the right, probably because of the way the left shoved it down the throats of the country.
But let’s think about the words. Do systems exist? Are we just individuals, solid nuclei making our way through the void or does our culture guide us? Are we influenced by film, books, social media, music? Are those things influenced by ideas?
How about laws and institutions? Do they matter?
Of course they do. There are systems. Computer systems, market systems, political systems, cultural systems. These all affect things.
Does it matter that Margaret Sanger created a powerful institution which quickly co-opted the high places in our ruling class, usually via the wives, painting fearful pictures of ‘lower breeds’ run amuck with uncontrolled birth rates? And to this day her clinics cluster near black neighborhoods. Did that have any effect? Were babies who might have done good for their communities lost? Were women traumatized? Were sexually predatory men absolved of the normal bonds of responsibility?
Numerous economic policies were enacted with the full and open understanding that they were intended to stop the flow of black people from the South to the North to ‘take the jobs’ of white workers. Seniority systems disadvantaged newcomers. So did various forms of extraneous occupational licensing including apprenticeships, which often depended on social and familial ties. Ditto for political patronage jobs. Any network system as opposed to pure competition system favored older networks over newcomers.
What about zoning laws which we know were used to keep poor blacks from subdividing larger suburban homes to accommodate extended family or tenants? Systemic and racist.
How about culture? As Myron Magnet pointed out in the Dream and the Nightmare, culture makers at the top glorified sexual chaos and drug usage. But the beatniks, and later hippies, had richer daddies with better lawyers, more access to rehab, more of a safety net. But when these ideas hit the poor, they were far more devastating. Are cultures part of the system? Does culture matter?
Does our culture which glorifies atomization and demonizes restraint have any consequences? Do the consequences fall equally upon those with and without social and financial capital?
And don’t even get me started about the welfare system and the carnage it wrought. Is the welfare system a system? Did it hurt blacks more than whites?
Of course there is systemic racism. And the fact that this term has been weaponized by the same people whose fingerprints are all over this system doesn’t mean that the idea must be forbidden, blocked out, denied. The fact that toxic race hustlers have cornered the market in this discussion is no reason to shut the market down. It’s a reason to compete with better ideas.
Originally published on Townhall Finance.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.