“We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man.” – Martin Luther King Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The above quote is contained in a Wall Street Journal article written by African-American journalist Jason Riley. Here is an excerpt from his column:
Black elites are eager to blame bad black outcomes on bigotry and quick to denounce or mock anyone who offers an alternative explanation. But we should be thankful that black leaders of yore didn’t pretend that racism must be vanquished from America before blacks could be held primarily responsible for their socioeconomic circumstances. “We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too,” Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in St. Louis. “We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves.”
I mentioned that King quote, which comes from a 1961 profile of him in Harper’s Magazine, in a column for this newspaper several years ago. Some readers accused me of fabricating it. In the era of Al Sharpton, apparently it is hard for people to believe that leading civil-rights leaders used to speak so frankly about black self-help and personal responsibility. Which may be all you need to know about the quality of those black leaders today—and the commentators who carry water for them.
To be fair, it would be wrong to claim that every economic woe faced by African-Americans is self-inflicted. In an article published by Jewish World Review, African-American economist Thomas Sowell states the following:
Low-income minorities are often hardest hit by the unemployment that follows in the wake of minimum wage laws. The last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930, the last year before there was a federal minimum wage law.
The following year, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was passed, requiring minimum wages in the construction industry. This was in response to complaints that construction companies with non-union black construction workers were able to underbid construction companies with unionized white workers (whose unions would not admit blacks).
Looking back over my own life, I realize now how lucky I was when I left home in 1948, at the age of 17, to become self-supporting. The unemployment rate for 16- and 17-year-old blacks at that time was under 10 percent. Inflation had made the minimum wage law, passed ten years earlier, irrelevant.
But it was only a matter of time before liberal compassion led to repeated increases in the minimum wage, to keep up with inflation. The annual unemployment rate for black teenagers has never been less than 20 percent in the past 50 years, and has ranged as high as over 50 percent.
You can check these numbers in a table of official government statistics on page 42 of Professor Walter Williams’ book “Race and Economics.”
Incidentally, the black-white gap in unemployment rates for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was virtually non-existent back in 1948. But the black teenage unemployment rate has been more than double that for white teenagers for every year since 1971.
This is just one of many policies that allow liberals to go around feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.
African-American economist Walter E. Williams agrees with Sowell. Williams writes the following:
Every census from 1890 to 1950 showed that black labor force participation rates were higher than those of whites. Today it’s a mere fraction. Prior to the mid-’50s, the unemployment rate for black 16- and 17-year-olds was under 10 percent and less than that of whites. Who would argue that this more favorable employment picture was because there was less racial discrimination in the job market in earlier times? Labor laws such as the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 — a federal minimum wage law for construction workers — and the 1938 federal minimum wage law for all workers reduced work opportunities for blacks.
In his column “Liberals’ Use of Black People“, Williams points out another way that outsiders have harmed African-Americans:
The largest and most powerful labor union in the country is the National Education Association, with well over 3 million members. Teachers benefit enormously from their education monopoly. It yields higher pay and lower accountability. It’s a different story for a large percentage of black people who receive fraudulent education. The NEA’s white liberals — aided by black teachers, politicians and so-called black leaders — cooperate to ensure that black parents who want their children to have a better education have few viable choices.
Whenever there has been a serious push for school choice, educational vouchers, tuition tax credits or even charter schools, the NEA has fought against it. One of the more callous examples of that disregard for black education was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s cutback on funding for charter schools where black youngsters were succeeding in getting a better education. That was de Blasio’s way of paying back New York’s teachers union for the political support it gave him in his quest for the mayor’s office.
Of course, who would believe African-Americans with doctorates in economics? It definitely won’t be people who are emotionally enslaved to the Democratic Party. They “need” the Democratic Party in order to combat inequalities caused by policies championed by the Democratic Party. Go figure.