Dozens of Out-of-Touch White Conservatives Agree: Racism no Longer a Problem!
Bill Berkowitz braved the fever swamp to report that 62 out of 63 right-wing bloggers agree that racism isn't a problem, but calling out racists for their racism is a really, really big problem -- it's destroying the Republic!
If more than five dozen conservative bloggers overwhelmingly agree that racism no longer exists, does that make it so? John Hawkins, a conservative blogger and columnist, recently conducted an unscientific survey on race and racism, and then sent me an email about it after it was published on his website. He later told me in a follow-up email that judging from the results of the survey, “conservatives don't think racism is a major problem in America, they don't consider themselves to be racist, and they believe most complaints of racism in politics are made for extremely cynical reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with bigotry.”This seems like a fine time for a spontaneous excerpt from my book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy, which is coming out next month! Here goes -- this starts a few paragraphs after I made fun of the National Review's "White People's Summit on What's Wrong With Black People" (It was minority outreach!):
I’m sure that all of theNational Review’s pasty experts on the African American experience would agree that, sure, racism still exists—kinda-sorta, and on the margins. But because blacks have enjoyed the full rights of citizenship since the mid-1960s, if you argue that maybe racism has something to do with their lower average economic status, you’re just “playing the race card” or embracing an “ideology of victimhood.” It’s a pretty offensive assertion, given that there are quite a bit of data to suggest that racism is alive and well in the United States and very much plays a role in African American lives. In 2003, Northwestern University sociologist Devah Prager conducted a study in which she sent pairs of volunteers to apply for entry-level jobs advertised in local newspapers. The white “applicants” admitted to their prospective employers that they’d served eighteen months in prison for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The black volunteers offered the same level of education and experience but presented clean criminal records. Prager was surprised when more white “criminals” were offered jobs than African American men who’d stayed on the straight and narrow. “I thought the effect of a criminal record would swamp other effects,” Pager said. “That assumption was clearly wrong. It really suggests that stereotypes and assumptions about black males are very much a factor in hiring decisions.” Some people questioned Prager’s findings because it was possible that the volunteers’ performances weren’t consistent. Perhaps the white volunteers simply happened to be more charismatic. Another study, by the University of Chicago’s Marianne Bertrand and MIT’s Sendhil Mullainathan, took the human factor out of the equation entirely. The researchers gathered hundreds of real résumés that were comparable in terms of experience, education, and the quality of the résumés themselves. They then replaced the names with monikers that were picked to “sound white” or “sound black,” and used the résumés to respond to thirteen hundred job ads in theBoston Globe and the Chicago Tribune. Bertrand and Mullainathan found that the “white” names got about one callback per ten résumés, while “black” names got one per fifteen. They then tried sending résumés with different levels of education and experience. The CVs of more experienced “applicants” who sounded white were 30 percent more likely to elicit a callback, but those whose names sounded black were only 9 percent more likely to get a response. In 2001, a class action lawsuit against Nissan prompted an analysis of 300,000 auto loans the company had made in thirty-three states between 1993 and 2000 and found that African Americans “consistently paid more than white customers, regardless of their credit histories.”Yet I also make the point that in terms of economic outcomes, racism alone does not explain the persistently higher poverty rate in the African American community. But you'll have to read the book for the rest of that story. Also, consider this:
Vanderbilt University economist Joni Hersch found that legal immigrants to the United States who had darker complexions or were shorter earned less money than their fair-skinned or taller counterparts with similar jobs, training and backgrounds. Even swarthy whites from abroad earned less than those with lighter skin.
Immigrants with the lightest complexions earned, on average, about 8 to 15 percent more than those with the darkest skin tone after controlling for race and country of origin as well as for other factors related to earnings, including occupation, education, language skills, work history, type of visa and whether they were married to a U.S. citizen.
In fact, Hersch estimated that the negative impact of skin tone on earnings was equal to the benefit of education, with a particularly dark complexion virtually wiping out the advantage of education on earnings.
Taller immigrants also earned more, she found, with every extra inch worth about 1 percent in earnings.
Why should pale people earn more? "I don't think that any explanation other than discrimination is possible -- and I am not one to draw such inferences lightly," Hersch said in an e-mail.So, yeah, racism isn't an issue for white wingnuts. Good to know.