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Still Undisputed: The Facts About Discrimination Against Blacks in America

There is no doubt that blacks continue to face discrimination in America.  This discrimination occurs on the roads, in the neighborhoods and in the workplace.

On the Roads:

According to the Rhode Island Traffic Stop Statistics 2004-2005:  “As with most racial profiling studies, the Rhode Island traffic stop study relied upon law enforcement officers to self-report all information about traffic stops.  After being stopped, statewide 2.9% of white drivers and 5.9% of non-white drivers were subject to a discretionary search, defined as all searches except searches incident to a lawful arrest.  To address concerns about whether or not inventory searches should be considered a discretionary  search, a second discretionary search category was created to include all searches except those searches incident to a lawful arrest or the inventory of a vehicle. Using this broader definition, statewide 1.8% of white drivers were subject to an extra discretionary search compared to 4.0% of non-white drivers.”

According to a similar report from Massachusetts:  “Statewide the average disparity between non-white drivers cited and non-whites in the driving population estimate was 2.6%… we found that non-white drivers were still significantly more likely to be searched than white drivers in 26
communities… out of the 142 communities that could be included in our sample of citations and warnings non-white drivers were significantly more likely to receive a citation in 58% or 83 of the communities. When examining only drivers who were cited for speeding violations 15 mph or less over the posted speed limit, 73.6% of white drivers received a citation compared to 82.6% of non-white drivers – a statistically significant difference of 9%.”

In Neighborhoods:

According to HUD:  “Key findings of the Department of Housing and Urban Development analysis show that: 1) From 1993 to 1998, the number of subprime refinancing loans increased ten-fold. 2) Subprime loans are three times more likely in low income neighborhoods than in high-income neighborhoods. 3) Subprime loans are five times more likely in black neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods. 4) Homeowners in high-income black areas are twice as likely as homeowners in low-income white areas to have subprime loans.”

According to another HUD study:  In a paired test, two individuals— one minority and the other white— pose as otherwise identical homeseekers, and visit real estate or rental agents to inquire about the availability of advertised housing units. This methodology provides direct evidence of differences in the treatment minorities and whites experience when they search for housing.

Rental Sales

– Whites were consistently favored over blacks in 21.6 percent of tests.
– Whites were more likely to receive information about available housing units, and had more opportunities to inspect available units.

Home Sales

– White homebuyers were consistently favored over blacks in 17.0 percent of tests.
– White homebuyers were more likely to be able to inspect available homes and to be shown homes in more predominantly white neighborhoods than comparable blacks.

In the Workplace:

Complaints about racial discrimination in the workplace increased dramatically in the 1990s, acording to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports.  Also according to the EEOC, blacks are far less likely to be executives and other high level managers than whites. 

In studies by Western and Pager, two noted sociologists, there is substantial hiring discrimination based on race.  “Our first set of results come from the three-person team in which a white, Hispanic, and black tester applied to the same set of employers presenting identical qualifications. For each set of visits, we recorded whether testers were offered the job on the spot, or, at some later point, called back for a second interview (which we refer to together as “positive responses.”).  The proportion of positive responses depends strongly on the race of the job applicant. This comparison demonstrates a strong racial hierarchy, with whites in the lead, followed by Latinos, with blacks trailing far behind. These outcomes suggest that blacks are only slightly more than half as likely to receive consideration by employers relative to equally qualified white applicants.”

Racial discrimination in America is a fact, it is widespread and it has a long history.  These facts are not seriously in dispute.

7 comments to Still Undisputed: The Facts About Discrimination Against Blacks in America

  • You know what they say: if it happens in Rhode Island, it’s happening everywhere.

    As for the strawman argument that there’s no racial discrimination anywhere, I won’t address it.

  • Joshua, not Dewberry

    RI and MA are just two of the many states where racial discrimination exists. It wasn’t meant to be comprehensive. My claim is not that racial discrimination exists: my claim is that it is widespread and has a long history.

  • Don’t ever consent to a search. Close your car door and windows if they ask you to get out, lock it, and say “you don’t consent to any searches” if they ask you anything.

  • I guess I’m just not as comfortable about calling every police officer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts racist.

    That’s the bottom line, without the caviling and minuscule parsing of words in order to avoid it: when you make the claim that blacks are pulled over more than whites, or more accused of crimes, you’re labeling the police as racist.

    Complaints about racial discrimination don’t de facto count as evidence that there is racial discrimination.

    And this post didn’t arise in a vacuum; it’s ludicrous to just say, “Oh, I wanted to show that racial discrimination is a fact when I woke up this morning.” That’s bullshit. The original conceit was Obama claiming that it’s a fact that blacks and Latinos are disproportionately stopped by law enforcement. It was a made-up fact. Just because you and Obama say it’s true, it doesn’t make it true. And I pointed to an instance where this made-up fact was indeed disputed. Then this post arose, which didn’t at all directly contradict that, and instead tried to argue something that wasn’t in dispute.

    In any event, I’m not interested in arguing this any more. It’s my belief, informed by statistics and anecdotal evidence of having worked and spoken with more cops than most people, that police officers are not, by and large, racists looking to accuse brown people of crimes. You and Obama and Gates may differ, but without extremely strong evidence to back up that extremely strong claim, it’s pretty offensive to just say it.

  • Joshua

    No one, including Gates, Obama or myself, called all police racists. No one in their right mind would make such a claim. It’s ludicrous to argue that all police officers are racists, because from the evidence, it is clear that most are not engaging in racial profiling. But it happens and that is a fact. What Gates and Obama are saying is that racial profiling is a problem in America, that there is evidence to support the claim that it is happening. All one has to do is examine the evidence to see that racial profiling exists. There is not a figment of imagination.

    The larger argument is that racial discrimination is widespread — meaning that it happens often and it happens all across America — and that it has a long history. Racial profiling fits into the larger picture of racial discrimination in America, an argument I made as a comment to a comment in an earlier post. When my argument was questioned I felt it was appropriate to show the facts about racial discrimination in America. My post puts racial profiling in the proper perspective: it is part of the larger problem of racial discrimination in America.

  • When you claim, as Obama did, that brown people are disproportionately stopped by police, you are claiming that the police are racists. There’s no getting around it. As Obama would say, “That’s a fact.”

  • Thomas Sowell said in National Review:

    For “community organizers” as well, racial resentments are a stock in trade. President Obama’s background as a community organizer has received far too little attention, though it should have been a high-alert warning that this was no post-racial figure.

    What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.

    These comments are Mark Steyn:
    That’s a good point. As much as Reverend Sharpton or anybody else, “community organizing” is not about ending grievances, but about institutionalizing them in perpetuity.

    I could not agree more with these quotes