Famously, left-wing identitarians love nothing more than to accuse people of racism. They may say that if you do not support BLM, you are racist, but there is an even more sinister claim. They will say that you are racist because you exist. This may not be how they say it, but the argument goes something like this. As a person in America, you are complicit with the American system, and this system is bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, transphobic, etc. This is known as systemic discrimination. Even if all the individuals in an entity are not bigoted, the structures behind that system can oppress those in the lower classes.
This is the reason the left is adamant about pushing identity politics. Anyone who falls into one of these lower classes is oppressed. This indoctrinates anyone in one of these classes into believing that they must become a democrat. But another secondary function of identity politics is to push the narrative that these groups are oppressed merely because they are in that particular group. One of the most common groups cited is black people. This is a good group to reference because it is a group that is statistically worse off in America.
Is this proof that the American system is racist? Probably not. Leftists have switched around the independent and dependent variables here. This is a simple mistake to make because you can observe that one group is worse off, and assume that everyone in that group is worse off because they are part of that group. It seems like a logical conclusion, after all, if on average a group is worse off there must be some intrinsic and systemic disadvantage they face. The problem with this is that one group’s outcome is a dependent variable. This means that it depends on at least one independent variable.
This independent variable could be the group that someone falls into, but it does not have to be. By simply assuming that people in a group are worse off, they completely ignore any alternative causes that the outcome may have. In the case of evaluating the outcome of various races, a major independent variable is the location that a particular person is in. Both white people and black people born into poor areas are more likely to remain poor than someone born into a rich area.
Even hypothetically assuming that this is the only independent variable that affects the outcome of people, there will still be a racial disparity. This is because the races are not evenly distributed across America. Proportionally, a larger percentage of the black population lives in poor areas than the white population. This means that the dependent variable (the outcome of a race) has been affected by an independent variable that is in no way systemic or discriminatory.
Still, the argument remains that black people are systemically kept in impoverished areas. This is one of the most common arguments cited by left-wing identitarians. Unfortunately, this argument is blatantly false. There are by all means systemic factors that keep people from moving, but none of these single out any individual race. This is again a situation where the left has confused the dependent variable for the independent variable. The actual reason that black people live in poor areas at a disproportionate rate is that people with poor parents are disproportionately affected by poverty, and there are more black people with more poor parents.
The final argument given is that black people were historically discriminated against, and this is the reason that poor generations ended up poor. This argument is factual. In the 1930s, the practice of redlining singled out black neighborhoods, and denied financial investment in these areas. This kept black neighborhoods poor and prevented people from moving out of these neighborhoods. While this is obviously a systemic issue, it does not support the notion that America is still a place where black people are systemically held down. It shows the historical reason the black people live in poorer neighborhoods and face the current systemic challenges related to location at a higher rate. None of this changes the fact this systemic issue is related to location, and not race.
Of course, the debate around systemic racism is far larger than this one issue. But this goes to show that simply citing poverty rates as support for systemic racism is not a valid support. By trying to solve 99% of the issues in America through eliminating systemic issues attributed to the wrong cause, left-wing identitarians miss the actual reason for the issues present in America, and if we are going to solve any of these issues, we can not just look at the outcome a particular group faces and attribute this to systemic issues, but we actually have to identify the root causes of these issues.
Agree/Disagree with the author(s)? Let them know in the comments below and be heard by 10’s of thousands of CDN readers each day!