Friday, July 17, 2020

Systematic Racism: The Rest of the Story

In discussion about why we should all show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, several friends and acquaintances have recently asked me to watch this little video explaining systemic racism and consider the proposition that the US in 2020 is systemically racist. Perhaps they hoped that by watching it I would finally understand that racial disparities and inequities are the result of ongoing widespread systematic racism in our institutions. So I watched it, here are my thoughts: 

My first thought: All inequality is not inequity and all racial disparities are not the result of systematic institutional racism.

Before President Obama became president he was one of those middle of the road voices. Speaking to a renowned black college, then Senator Obama compared his generation to the Joshua generation and said that MLK’s generation was the Moses generation. He said that MLK’s generation had brought the black community in America 90% of the way, and that his generation had to bring them the last 10%. Why would Obama say that America had come 90% of the way in realizing MLK's dream? Could it be that institutional racism is not legal in United States in 2020 and when MLK began to march it was? It seems like American's have lost their grasp of reality, as if they don't know that it is literally illegal for institutions in America to discriminate on the basis of race -- Well, with one exception, it is legal for institutions to discriminate in favor of black Americans.

The story I've been listening to the media tell 24/7 for a week is that America has made no significant progress in race relations in last hundred years and that there is widespread institutional and systematic racism. The Black Lives Matter movement said they were going to "change the terms of the debate" about racism, WOW, they have spectacularly succeeded, and mainly because high profile media outlets and leaders aren't countering the message, instead they are becoming the main promoters of it. The video created by a production company for, an media arm of the DNC, is promoting a video to change the terms of the conversation about race in America. I'm listening to coverage of the protests and rioting, leaders in major US cities, who are sending the message that America is a place where to be born black is a death sentence, a place where black lives don’t matter! Does that sound like a place that’s come 90% to realizing MLK’s dream? A place where it is literally illegal to murder anyone, of any race? Does that sound like a place that has brought murder charges against the police who killed George Floyd, the place where the entire population and people across the political spectrum has universally condemned the police brutality that led to George's death? Is America really the country that Black Lives Matter describes it as on their website, the country that regularly turns a blind eye to “rampant and deliberate state-sanctioned violence“ against black Americans? If you really believe that you have lost your grasp on reality!

This redefined racism narrative is highly explosive and demoralizing.

It should go without saying, but OF COURSE there was racism and extreme discrimination toward black Americans is part of our history. Denying it would be like denying the holocaust, but I guess these days you have to make that stuff clear because there is a lot of crazy going around. I recognize institutional racism in America's past but I don't believe there is widespread ongoing institutional or systematic racism in 2020, and I'm going to attempt to explain why while I counter the misleading presentation in this video going viral in social media.

Race, Money, and Education 

Let's start with their characterization that more money equates to better educational outcomes and that under-performing schools in black neighborhoods have less money than better preforming schools in white neighborhoods. This claim is false! The data doesn't back it up and this lie matters immensely! Next to strengthening the nuclear family black children grow up in, improvement in education will have the most profound impact in improving the lives of black Americans and facilitating economic upward mobility. Throwing money at the problem is exactly what we have been doing in ever increasing amounts over the past 50 years and isn’t solving the education gap. It's imperative that we understand what most contributes to successful academic outcomes and that we stop trapping children in failing schools.

The U.S. spends approximately 700 billion dollars (local, state, and federal) a year in K-12 education. 56.6 million children attend K-12 in the US, divide that evenly and we spend approximately $12,368 per student per year for public school students. (That number is actually higher because not all school age children attend public schools)

The video says rich "white" schools spend more on students then poor "black" schools because of property taxes. First off, I don’t like the way the video portrays these divisions as starkly white and black since there are poor white students and rich black students and everything in between. I’ll come back to that. Let's start with whether it's true in large part that poor inner city areas get less funding per pupil then suburban schools.

Example: Estimates suggest spending in DC public schools is somewhere between $27,000 and $29,000 per child per year, which is roughly double the national average. Compare that spending to the wealthiest neighboring Maryland county, Montgomery County, which spent $16,859. The additional $10,000 dollars a year that DC spent on their students didn't translate into better or even matched academic attainment. In fact, DC schools remain one of the worst in academic attainment in the country. Some list have DC ranking 49th in the country despite spending double the national average.

This is only one example, but it’s a very good example of what the video was trying to show, two neighboring school districts, one with more poor housing and the other with high priced homes, but that's where the similarities end because the video is intellectually dishonest. First of all both school districts are highly racially diverse, it is not all black or all white on some imaginary line. Then they get it completely wrong on the funding. DC, the so-called, "poor black neighborhood" spends more per pupil than the so-called "rich white" Montgomery County does. In that same mega metro area you have the Baltimore City Public Schools, which spent $17,493 per pupil in 2019, in the top three school districts for spending but ranks last in academic attainment. 

Here's another example from middle America that might be more similar to the kind of comparison the video is trying to make. In the Omaha Nebraska metro the top performing school district boarders the poorest performing district. The top performing district in the metro area is far less diverse then the poorest performing and homes in the top performing district are large and pay very high property taxes. Does the video example work in Omaha?

  • Top performing district MPS: Total yearly revenue $247,616,000 divided by number of students, 24,018 students, their spending is $10,310 per pupil or $7 million per school per year.
  • Lowest performing district: OPS total revenue $928 million divided by number of students, 52,881 students, their spending is $17,549 per pupil or $10 million per school per year.

We can see this same phenomenon play out in states across the United States, and between states. Examples would be states in the United States with ethnically diverse school populations tend to spend far more per pupil on education then states with less diversity, But the spending rates do not correlate to the overall attainment of the schools. Utah schools who spend the least per pupil, but aren't highly diverse, have higher attainments then more racially diverse higher spending states.

Also, how schools are funded within states varies greatly, and it is not as simple a calculation as the one presented in the video. Poor schools receive generous funding from federal sources and in most states poor schools receive a greater portion of state funding as well. This is why inner-city Baltimore schools spend more per pupil then Howard county public schools do, even though Howard County schools bring in more local funding.

There are many contributing factors to academic attainment beyond money and race. Most of them are connected to family supports, waste of tax dollars, administrative corruption (and it isn’t entirely white administrative leaders, most inner city school districts are run by predominately minority leaders), poverty, crime (making it hard to retain good teachers), teacher union demands on state budgets, culture and learning differences. 

For all these reasons conservatives make different proposals for school reform than progressives, many conservatives believe that the best way to address the disparities and provide all children and families the ability to access quality education is through school choice, to attach tax dollars to the individual student and let parents decide what schools to enroll their children in. To make schools accountable to the parents and force them to compete for every student they enroll by providing them with the best possible attention, and by allowing this shopping around for schools to create a market that will promote innovation where schools will organize to meet differences in learning styles.

The Political Reasons Democrats Keep Black Kids in Failing Schools

  • Democrats: Propose more education spending and more redistribution within a failing public school system.
  • Republicans: Propose tax dollars follow the student and parents choose the school. Plan for more freedom for students and accountability to the family (the consumer of education).

Follow the money

Most American don't know that teachers unions spend big money on the politics of protecting the public school monopoly. They spent a combined $32 million in 2016, even more than most labor unions. Teacher's unions have no use for Republicans who advocate for school choice and expose excessive waste and abuse in school funding, both reforms threaten the public school monopolies, bloated school administrations, and the unions themselves. Thus they give Democrats at least 94% of the funds they contributed to candidates and parties since as far back as 1990. The Democrats are politically motivated to continue propping up failing school by promising ever increasing budgets regardless of the facts, and that should make this part of the video narrative highly suspect.

Generational Disadvantages of Black Americans 

The principle of upward economic mobility is a quintessential American reality. Prior to American liberty and capitalism, if you were born poor you died poor, and unless some great accident of fortune just happened across your path, so did your children and your children's children. The idea of the American dream was legendary because of rags to riches stories, but as amazing as those stories are, for the vast majority of American immigrants economic upward mobility was a generational acquisition. The struggle was real. Many immigrant groups suffered discrimination, such as the Asians, the Irish, the Poles, the Jew and the Mormons, but they made their generational climb none the less.

It goes without saying, that no other racial or cultural group in America suffered more oppression than black Americans. In a better world, in a better America, emancipation would have been the beginning of their generational climb in the American system. Under reconstruction it began to look like it was possible, under reconstruction there were many black men elected and serving in state governments, but no sooner did the federal troops pull out of the south then black Americans fell under the dark degrading oppression of their racist neighbors. The extreme oppression, particularly in the south where black Americans lived in the large numbers, made generation progress extremely slow. Seventy five years after emancipation 86% of black Americans still lived below the poverty line. What is extraordinary is what happens next. Between 1940 and 1960 the black community saw 40 point decline in poverty. It was the swiftest decline in poverty among any group in American history!! It’s important to note that the reduction in poverty was coming about without government universal suffrage and without the poverty programs of the welfare state. The story was that black Americans were doing fine on their own, they were spurred forward by the strength of their character and their families.

What happens next is the most critical to understanding where we are today and why so many black children still grow up below the poverty line. At the culmination of the civil rights movement there was another revolution taking place that was going to cut a serious blow to black families still living below the poverty line. The disintegration of marriage in the late 60s and 70s stifled the extraordinary upward momentum that had showed promise in the 40s and 50s. Upward mobility among blacks slowed as family structures weakened. Instead of making their way out of these poor urban areas, as other racial and immigrant groups had done before, many black Americans were getting trapped in poverty with all it's social ills.

Another extraordinary shift was taking place in American politics in the 50s and 60s. The Democrat party was losing it's constituencies. On one hand Americans had just fought a war against socialism, fascism, and were now at war with communism. The progressive era socialist had taken root in the Democrat party. This put the party out of touch with Americans who had been exposed to the evils of these systems of government in their experience in World War II. In addition, the country was becoming more racially integrated and was turning away from the racist politics that had characterized the Democrat party for over a hundred years.

The Democrats had a perception problem and shrinking constituencies. This presented a challenge, but the solution was brilliant. Democrats recemented their power by doing a 180 on civil rights legislation, embracing the sexual revolution and anti-war hippies, and using their socialist ideology to sell a "helping hand" to poor black Americans. In other words, the Democrats capitalized on the revolution, re-branded socialism for the modern age, and became the benevolent Fathers of black America rather than the party of slave holders.

It became a powerful political narrative and cemented black Americans as a primary constituency of the Democratic Party for generations to follow. Democrats built a massive welfare state to address inequalities; yet, the disparities remained, and the anger and desperation escalated. For the black family the disaster deepened and so did the poverty trap. Today 75% of black children are born to single mothers, a key social indicator of nearly all social disparities seen in poor minority communities.

If we have learned any policy lesson well over the past 25 years, it is that for children living in single-parent homes, the odds of living in poverty are great. The policy implications of the increase in out-of-wedlock births are staggering.
Bookings Institute: Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Birth

By the year 2020 a growing number of black Americans have begun to rebel against the lock step loyalty for the Democratic party. They have been examining the history and asking critical question about the authenticity of the Democrat narrative and the effectiveness of their governance. Cities and states governed by Democrats for 50 years have gotten economically worse and suffer from extreme crime rates. Black Americans who leave the Democrat party have their "blackness" questioned and are treated like traitors of their culture, they are Uncle Toms.

The next several sections are related to the areas of systematic racism that the "new racism narrative" has developed whereby Americas institutions are saturated in racism. I'm not sure what alternate reality we have entered into, but in the year 2020 their are not institutions in America who legally discriminate against black Americans. It's literally illegal to discriminate in America today, it's the law, it's enforced. If discrimination happens there is readily available recourse, more so than ever before in the history of the world you can sue for wrongful termination, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and any other form of institutional discrimination and if you sue will likely win. In that light, let's go back and look at days when discrimination was legal, whether for race or other reasons and look at what the video shared as proof of discrimination in our institutions.

Inequality in Lending

Here's another key point in the video that contains historical distortions. Several important observations: 

1) LOW INTEREST RATES: The one example used in the video is cherry picked from the south during one snap shot in time and leaves out the overall realities of home buying and loans during that time, including the fact that people didn't get low interest loans and it took 20% down as a rock solid rule to buy a house. Thus the only poor people buying homes were people with more wealthy family members or collateral.

2) HOME OWNERSHIP among the poor was very rare and the statistic used is too scant a representation of reality to extrapolate that across decades in order to calculate how much wealth blacks have been denied by racism. 

3) REDLINING: First it's important to note that redlining was made illegal in the U.S. in 1975. Second, geographic zoning, played a role in determining investment risk. Banks held mortgages and based their rates on the associated risk of both the property and the borrower. Redlining did not create a race barrier around a particular area that no one could cross, it was not a forced ghetto like the Germans did to the jews where black Americans were forced to live there and forced to stay there.

4) MOVING UP: Moving out of poor inner city areas is an important component of upward mobility, some racial groups have been more successful at doing this than others. Applicable examples would be ones where the racial group is also black. “West Indian blacks would have been virtually indistinguishable from their American counterparts. But despite being subjected to the same racist treatment by local whites, second-generation West Indian black families were highly successful, out-earning American black families by 58 percent.” Black immigrants on the whole have been more successful at making this move out of poor failing inner city areas than American blacks.

5) BANKS DISCRIMINATE, AND IT'S CALLED GOOD BUSINESS: Only in the last 30 years that banks were prohibited from discriminating in lending. Discriminating in lending used to be consider good business in the banking business, I'm not talking about racial discrimination, I'm talking about poor person discrimination. There were lots of reasons banks discriminated. It might be that your profession wasn't very stable, it might be that you had a bad reputation in the neighborhood, it could have been that the area you wanted to buy in was a bad risk, but most likely it was that you didn't have the money to secure the loan.

Here is a great article about the difference between disparities and discrimination

So what is the story of lending today? Congress produced fairness in lending laws and put billions to back big banks who took on greater risk in order to provide loans to higher risk borrowers. This reduced the risk and increased the incentive for banks to stop discriminating against poor people of any race. Has that been good for the poor, or for black America? Forcing banks to take on more risk in lending for the sake of equity in lending is what created the notorious Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insolvency and a domino effect that took down the real estate and banking sectors causing the deep recession of 2008 that took the nation a decade to recover from. The federal government spent trillions of dollars bailing banks out and showing up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and yet there’s been no reform to the laws that got us in that mess.

In an ironic twist the story the Democrats and their media allies sold about the 2008 recession was that the banks were guilty of predatory lending of black Americans, that they were specifically exploiting minorities in getting them into loans they could not afford and have no hope of paying back. The other half of that story that didn’t get told is that the banks were incentivized by the equitable lending laws the Democrats pushed through congress, to issue those loans. So once again it was an attempt of the government to "fix" racial inequities that led to predatory lending, and ultimately a massive recession. Once again Republicans argued that rarely do government solutions to these types of inequities produce change in a positive form — with the exception of equity under the law and justice for all — areas we should continue to focus on.

Crime is Actually Down for ALL Americans

Its astounding that the national discussion has been able to create a perception of rising crime, injustice, and systematic racism responsible for the loss of black lives, especially in light of the overall context that crime in America is the lowest its ever been, even among minorities. Data shows that opposite race homicide is relatively low, that unarmed blacks are actually less likely to be shot by police then whites, and incidents of police killing people during law enforcement encounters is extremely low as a percentage of police encounters overall. Perhaps the disconnect lies in the fact that the main stream media simply doesn't print the facts.

  • Property and violent crime rates are falling, and are down more than 50% since their 1991 peaks.
  • Violent crime rates reached a 20-year low in 2014, with a 7% increase since then. Many believe it is a result of police pulling back after the Baltimore riots and national targeting of police.
  • Lethal uses of force are exceedingly rare. Example there were 1.6 million arrests in Houston from 200-2005 and officers fired their weapons only 507 times.
  • Out of the 30-50 million interactions that the police had with the American public in 2018, 10 million people were arrested, and less than 0.01 percent were shot and killed by the police. Out of those 10 million people arrested, 47 of those shot and killed were unarmed, which equates to 0.00047 percent, 17 of which were black.
  • Out of the 10,000,000 arrests made last year in the U.S., 17 black people shot and killed by the police were unarmed, which equates to 0.00017 percent.
  • Arrests are decreasing.
  • In 2018, the combined state and federal imprisonment rate (431 sentenced prisoners per 100,000 U.S. residents) was the lowest since 1996.
  • The total imprisonment rate fell 15% from 2008 to 2018.
  • From 2008 to 2018, the imprisonment rate dropped 28% among black residents, 21% among Hispanic residents, and 13% among white residents.
  • In 2018, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest since 1989.

So, overall America is making significant progress compared to the crime rates of the 70's and 80's, and for most Americans of all races life in America is safer now then it was 30 years ago!

Except where it's not...

And then there's Chicago, Baltimore, St Louise, Detroit, New Orleans, Baton Rouge... and so on. While crime is down overall in the U.S., violent crime has actually ticked up in the last decade and most analysis attribute this to the war on the city streets of our biggest cities. 

Race does matters when it comes to urban violence because in the center of some of our largest cities we have some of our poorest neighborhoods and they are overwhelmingly black. Homicide-victimization rates for black men were 3.9 times the national average and 52% of all known homicide victims were black (2017 data). According to the US Census estimates, Blacks made up 12% of the population. However, from 2015 – 2019 they accounted for 26.4% of those that were killed by police under all circumstances. While black inmates make up nearly 40% of the prison population. While data shows that in the most lethal forms of police force — police shootings — there is no racial bias, however, in nonlethal uses of force blacks stopped by the police in urban high crime areas were on average 17% more likely to experience use of force.

The stark realities in the data cannot express the experience of those who live it everyday. To them it doesn’t feel at all like overall crime rates are falling. It feels like there are two different Americas and the one without crime is like a fairy-tale you can only watch on TV and dream about. How do I know that, being a white woman who has never lived in a high crime neighborhood? I was fortunate to meet a wonderful black sister in my church years ago when living in the suburbs of Baltimore. My dear friend was a beautiful lover of God and devoted grandmother of six children. She was struggling to raise all her grandchildren alone in her old age. Through government programs she was able to leave the inner city and get her grand kids enrolled in better performing schools.

We spent lots of time together over the five years we lived only a few streets away from each other. She didn't drive, so every time I was running errands I'd invite her along and we'd get all our stuff done together. Sometimes we'd just meet up and have lunch together and I almost always drove her to church. The time we spent together was precious to me and I thank God that he placed her in my life so I could learn from her.

We had lots of time to talk during those hours in the car together and what I learned about her life in the violent streets. What I learned about her fears and her dreams, about how I looked to her, those things open my eyes. I can't ever really know what it was like, but as a mother I tried to imagine it. I cried at the passion she had for keeping her black boys out of those streets. She often said to me that she would never go back there and prayed her boys would never go back, she said that she knew if they went back they would not grow old.

There is a war going on in many of our biggest cities. It's not a war between black people and the police, it's a war between criminals and the police putting their lives on the line everyday to stop the crime. Innocent people do get caught in the middle and circumstances strain relations between the community and the police. The terror for black mothers and grandmothers feel is real! The biases in policing are in part a product of the high crime rates among minorities, an on the beat reality, that has a spill-over effect on law abiding minorities who fall under greater suspicion during police encounters then white people. The best way this culture of bias and racism in some "bad cops," will change is by reducing crime in minority communities overall. Upward economic mobility is the way to end the crime cycle. Of course, we must do more to improve policing and reduce to the greatest extent possible the inappropriate use of force by police without handicapping them to successfully protect the lives of the innocent, but let's not do that alone.

Systematic Racism in Policing

Careful research reflects racial disparities but tells a very different story then the one we are hearing from Black Lives Matter. The vast majority of black deaths by police happen in the commission of a crime, and arrests and incarceration directly correlate to crimes committed. Essentially, more blacks are in prison because more black committed crimes. There were almost 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks in 2015. By contrast, only 258 blacks were killed by police gunfire that year. In 2015 89.3% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. Despite the data Black Lives Matter continues to successfully persuade Americans that black Americans are in existential threat of "violence inflicted on Black communities by the state."

The most outrageous abuses by law enforcement, covered without context and sometimes factually distorted by the media, have stirred up raw emotions and fear beyond reality. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. Professor of Economics at Harvard University, conducted a thorough peer reviewed empirical analysis of racial disparities in the use of police force and found that “blacks were either less likely to be shot by police or there was no difference between blacks and whites.”

“On the most extreme use of force – officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account. We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police officers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of officer-involved shootings.”

The New York Times reported that Professor Fryer “said anger after the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and others drove him to study the issue. “You know, protesting is not my thing,” he said. “But data is my thing. So I decided that I was going to collect a bunch of data and try to understand what really is going on when it comes to racial differences in police use of force.” When it comes to the most lethal form of force — police shootings — the study finds no racial bias. “It is the most surprising result of my career,” said Roland G. Fryer Jr.. The result contradicts the image of police shootings that many Americans hold after a string of shootings in recent years.”

Data matters. Facts matter. A truth is a powerful agent of change. Getting the facts right is the only way to get the cause and solution right. Here are some more facts everyone should know:

Let's Start Talking About the Crime that is Really Killing Blacks in America

Why is it that the progressive socialist and organizations like Black Lives Matter don’t want to talk about black-on-black crime or its significance to rising violent crime in American cities? Why don't they want to talk about abortion and how many black babies have been kept out of live because of white progressives? Could it be because it undermines the racism narrative? Could it be that the political power they seek relies upon the rage falling on police and the "system" instead of failing progressive policies?

The reason: Politics & Power

This is a political strategy by the left and is incredibly dangerous. Stoking a war with Police has made it much more difficult for Police to combat the black-on-black murder which is the primary cause of homicide among black Americans. Barry Latzer from National Review wrote an extensive piece on black-on-black crime. Barry says, “Urban violence is deplored by the black community, but at the same time it is enabled by a culture of noncooperation.” It should outrage us that Black Lives Matter uses their influence to attack the police and place the blame the death of blacks on “the state.” Which is sad because “there is no reason we can’t acknowledge the black-on-black-crime problem and address police abuse.”

The surest way to reduce black-on-black crime is for blacks to work their way out of poverty and securely into the middle class, and the middle class, black or white, eschews violence. 

Fatherless Black Children is State-Sponsored: But it's Legal

Had black Americans continued the extraordinary socioeconomically advancement they begun in 1940, had the momentum not been stifled by the disintegration of their strong family culture and the “helping hand” of the failed “War on Poverty” policies that married black women to the state and encouraged generational dependence, the black story would have been more like the Irish and Italian immigrant narrative, with a rise from violence and poverty to affluence and law-abidingness. The welfare state is the true generational racism, the true systematic racism, and it is completely legal state-sanctioned racism against poor black Americans -- It just happens to be the bread and butter of the Democrat party. By marrying the black women to the state instead of their fathers far too many black children have struggled and suffered all the ugly consequences that are natural outgrowths of fatherless homes.

Social Science about the effects of stable homes headed by opposite sex married couples has well established the benefits of the traditional nuclear family. If there is a privileged class of children in America today it's those children born into these traditional nuclear homes. This family structure is protective from danger and enabling of success. America has turned away from the nuclear family and in recent decades has become hostile to those who teach the social science of traditional marriage for the better outcomes of children. Black Lives Matter is one of those organizations that wants to dismantle the nuclear family. Their website proclaims: "We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure... we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking... We work to dismantle cisgender privilege."

Why would an organization that says that black lives matter be working to tear down the black faith & family culture that has sustained black Americans through hundreds of years? Why would they disrupt the nuclear family when black children are most likely to be empowered by it?

Democrats are the political party of progressive socialism and have completely embraced the secular modernity of moral relativism. Their party politics have become hostile to the traditional nuclear family, but these are not the values of black Americans. Fifty years after emancipation black families were more devoutly Christian and had more intact than white families. Their faith and commitment to family is what I believe set up the conditions for them, even in their poverty, to lead America to a more complete expression of our unfulfilled righteous ideals.

Drugs, Crime & Incarceration: American has a drug problem

Drug abuse arrests are rising and now outnumber property crime arrests.

In the video on systemic racism they asked viewers to look for systematic racism in sentencing guidelines. This is an area that comes up a lot, and there are a lot of heated feelings about it. I think in order to understand this area better we need to look at the largest driver of incarceration among black Americans — DRUGS.

Libertarians come into the debate here and say we shouldn’t be passing laws against what people put into their bodies. That people should be free to ingest or inject anything they choose, and shouldn’t be forced to ingest or inject substances they don’t choose. Essentially they argue that we should Decriminalize drug use and mainstream the sale to stop the drug war, therefore weakening gangs and reducing violent crime as well. I am sometimes swayed by this argument and I wonder if it would work. If simply eliminating the drug war would end gang warfare, violent altercations with police, and high rates of minority incarcerations with no hidden side effects that might cause worse conditions, then what could possibly be the downside! If freedom to use hard drugs could do all that, I’d favor that solution.

However, I haven’t gone this libertarian yet. Mainly because drug abuse destroys so much more than the individual life of the drug user. It ravages families and by extension communities, and therefore leads to social degradation and thus crime. We should be careful not to measure the impact on crime by this one metric. We must consider the impact drugs have on the natural judgement and how drug abuse might impact crimes such as domestic violence, rape, child abuse, robbery, murder, etc.. Would legalizing drugs actually reduce the number of black Americans who are incarcerated for possession and trafficking and take revenue away from gangs? Even if it does, will it help strengthen the black family? If it won't do that then it will weaken the already struggling social fabric that is a significant factor in poverty and crime.

Another problem with the Libertarian theory is that it doesn't address what all the gangs that live off the drug war will do when the drug war ends. Legalizing drugs will not magically restore broken homes, fix poor education and unemployment prospects, end welfare dependency and all the social ills attendant to it. So the simple argument that legalizing drugs would reduce the number of criminals made by drug trafficking is doubtful and the likelihood of it resulting in an improvement in inner city conditions and the lives of black Americans is absurd.

Sentencing Reform

Sentencing reform however is very possible. Since drugs are the a driver of incarceration among blacks, lets start with the common sense reform of sentencing guidelines for certain classes of drugs. This has been one of the key pieces of evidence of systematic racism. The political pitch is that crack cocain carries a harsher penalty then powder cocain, which is systematically racist because crack cocain is the choice of drug among poor black communities while powder cocain. So, essentially the same drug holds a harsher penalty when used by blacks then the one used by whites, systematic racism.

There is some missing context here, once again the history of how we got here gets omitted or twisted in order to carry the narrative. The reason the harsher punishments were put in place began as a way of helping black Americans. Yes, by the request of black community leaders, Democrats acted to help. At the time community leaders were angry about how crack was affecting the black community and they wanted the stuff off the streets. The plan, harder penalties. Joe Biden was one of those leaders who supported mandatory minimum sentencing for crack cocain and felt the effort was “helping” minorities. If in the end it has only caused more problems then it has solved then it's time to throw this idea out. Is this easy to fix? Yup. Sentencing reform to create a straight line across all drugs within a certain class is not at all hard to do, or we could end mandatory minimum sentencing all together, I imagine this is something you could get bi-partisan support on.

Voter Rights

In the last scene of the video one of these areas of action in the bubbles was secure voting rights. This may make it seem like 50 years after the Civil Rights Act black Americans are still discriminated against in voting, or prevented from voting. This is just simply untrue. An area of invented controversy the Democrats have used against Republicans of late is that support for voter I.D. laws is proof that Republicans are racist and still trying to keep black Americans from voting, wait, did I say "still trying?" Wait a minute, did the Republican party ever try to keep black people from voting. NO! Remember that was the Democrat party. And do voter I.D. law really discriminate? Not all all!

Democrats have consolidated a constituency among black America in a phenomenon seen no where else in American politics. No other ethnic, cultural, or religious group in America votes so overwhelmingly for one political party. No modern Republican President has received more than 13% of the African American vote. It's not surprising when you see how wide spread and pernicious these false "progressive" narratives are. Democrats and their institutional allies have successfully sold these lies for generations in order to ensure this overwhelming loyalty.

Some sources on school spending and attainment:

Educational Score Performance - Country Rankings - Student Performance on the Reading, Scientific and Mathematical Literacy Scales, mean score, 2006, Countries are ranked highest to lowest score:
US School Expenditures 1960 – 1999:
U.S. Education Spending and Performance vs. The World [INFOGRAPHIC]:
Maryland Education Funding Per Student Charts for 2019:
Maryland Education Rankings By County for 2019:

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