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Post-racial America

Published by marco on

From the article Rand Paul’s Confederacy Scandal Is Not an Anomaly – Libertarianism Is a ‘Philosophy’ That Papers Over Deep Racism in America by Thom Hartmann (AlterNet),

“So now comes a political philosophy—libertarianism—that says everything is fine, everything is equal, and government should get the hell out of the way. […] Of course, […] most [libertarians] probably don’t see how their “get rid of government” policies prop up institutional bigotry, but the reality is that when you blast government as the root of all evil and neuter its power, you end weakening the one thing that can keep the ruling elite in check. […] And when you do that, the rich and powerful race hangs onto its wealth and power and the poorer minorities lose even more of what little they have.”

And how little do those poor people have?

The articles Whites and African-Americans in America by the numbers by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) and Murderers where the Victim was White are Far more Likely to be Punished in US (Graph) by Juan Cole (Informed Comment) include the following charts illustrating an America that doesn’t look very post-racial at all. The second chart, illustrating median wealth for blacks is only 4% of that for whites (and about 6% for Latinos), is particularly disturbing.

Median wealth gap 1984–2009 Median wealth gap 1980–2009

Not only are blacks and Latinos just so much poorer than whites—a trend that, as shown in the charts above, has only increased—they are also incarcerated at much, much higher rates.

Incarceration rates by gender & race 2010

With the death penalty still on the menu in so many states, the following chart shows that it is used overwhelmingly to avenge the murder of white people—even though blacks, with only 14% of the population, account for 50% of the murder victims every year.

Executions by victim's race

And how do things look at that other creamy-white and cushy rich end of the spectrum? The article US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs by Dan Roberts (Guardian) offers a hint as to how much political clout blacks have gained with “one of their own” in the White House (as has been so elegantly put by so many pundits).

“Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis.”

Obama has never said one word about incarceration rates, but he’s handing out plum government posts like filthy lucre to his biggest donors—donors who gave away more money to a single political campaign than most black families will see in a lifetime (see charts above). Sure, Susan Rice is now Obama’s national security advisor—only one of the many posts she’s had—but she’s richer Croesus and nearly radically right-wing in her policies, so she barely even counts as a very rare exception to the rule. In the history of the U.S. Senate, there have only ever been a paltry handful (Wikpedia) of black Senators. This is including the fifty years after they got their civil rights. Women are also woefully underrepresented (Wikpedia), but not to that same shocking degree.

“The White House insists all its ambassadors are well qualified, regardless of their campaign history. “I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles,” said Obama in a statement issued with Barzun’s appointment.”

And trying to explain away these numbers by pointing out that perhaps blacks and Latinos just commit more crime and are too lazy to earn money or waste it all frivolously when they do earn it—well, that’s not very post-racial reasoning, is it? There is something institutionally corrupt at every level in America and these statistics, gathered over decades, show that not only has there been no improvement—but things have gotten drastically and rapidly worse. Where will the U.S. be in ten more years? Twenty?