Realism’s ethic of consequentialism checks unwise action. Williams '05



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Realism


Realism’s ethic of consequentialism checks unwise action.

Williams '05 (Michael Williams, Senior Lecturer, Department of International Politics, University of Wales, THE REALIST TRADITION AND THE LIMITS OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, 2005, 169)

Over the course of the preceding chapters, I have attempted to show that questions of the construction of action, and its ethical and political evaluation, lie at the core of the willful Realist tradition. This final chapter seeks to demonstrate how this is expressed in two key and continuingly controversial Realist concepts: the ethic of responsibility and the national interest. The relationship between these two concepts is at the heart of many understandings of Realist ethics. In its most straightforward form, the national interest is seen to provide the value to be pursued and defended, while a foreign policy limited to and by the pursuit of that national interest and a prudent consequentialism provides a responsible limit on state action. While this certainly captures important aspects of the Realist position, I will suggest that it fails to capture either the complexity or the continuing significance of willful Realism’s engagement with the question of responsibility and its ethic of national interest.


Realism is empirically proven to be successful and is the best way to avert war

Guzzini '98 Stefano Guzzini, Senior Researcher, research units on Danish and European foreign policy and on Defence and security, 1998, Realism in International Relations and International Political Economy: The Continuing Story of A Death Foretold, 30-31

The historical context of Munich and appeasement gave realism, as opposed to the idealist approaches prevailing in the inter-war period, an enormous appeal. Carr and Morgenthau contributed to undermining the basic principles of what was dubbed idealism (Carr’s Utopianism). Morgenthau was crucial in securing the ascendancy of realism in the newly founded academic specialization of International Relations. Carr used realist scepticism to criticize a great power of his day, his native Britain. He debunked the apparently universal harmony of interests as a status quo power ideology. Yet Carr’s scepticism produces a restless circle of criticism which is, as he acknowledged, self-contradicting. Moreover, Carr’s scepticism is neither able to define his exact mix of realism and idealism, nor to positively propose a coherent policy. Morgenthau, in his attempt to teach the diplomatic lessons of the past, was torn between his earlier criticism (1946) of idealists who confounded politics with science, and his own attempt to replace idealism by a claim to the scientific superiority of realism (1948, 1960). The result is a theory which must find conceptual bridges starting from the eternal laws of human nature, via the state as a unitary actor, to a necessary balance of power theory. It is much more complex and contradictory than usually acknowledged. To take just one example, Kenneth Waltz (1959) proposed a famous distinction between three images for understanding the causes of war. The first image is based on human nature, the second on the nature of the political regime, and the third on the specific characteristics of the international realm (anarchy). Waltz plainly placed Morgenthau within the first category. Yet, although Morgenthau derived power, and hence the essential characteristics of all politics including war, from human nature, he could also qualify for the other two images. He argued that the typical war of the gruesome twentieth century was a result of the democratization, and hence nationalization of international politics. This was how he called the shift to mass societies whose rulers have to respond to large constituencies. This is a form of a second image explanation. And finally, although it is true that politics is about the struggle for power based on human nature, the specificity of the international realm, what he called multiplicity, explains why the warlike struggle for power, while tamed at the domestic level, is endemic to the international level. How can Carr and Morgenthau, so different in style and content, and whose approaches are filled with so many internal tensions, become major reference points for one school of thought? Obviously they were perceived mainly through what they had in common, the critique of idealism and the priority given to power and politics. Hence, this chapter should also serve as a warning: as much as idealism was often idealized to allow a realist critique, realism has often been demonized by its adversaries and misused by reactionary friends. The binary opposition of realism and idealism more often serves to provide observers and practitioners with an identity than it does to provide analytical clarity. The realist world-view wants to be pragmatic, not cynical. Its main purpose is the avoidance of great war through the management and limitation of conflicts by a working balance of power supplemented by normative arrangements. Nevertheless, for realists, the struggle for power will always arise. Conflicts cannot be abolished. For realists, foreign policy often brings choices that nobody wants to make. Diplomats might at times have to gamble, but not because they like doing it. On the stage of world politics where brute forces can clash unfettered, diplomats enter a theatre of tragedy. This is the fate of the statesman, who, in the writings of Morgenthau, but also Kennan and Kissinger, appears as a romanticized heroic figure. Often misunderstood also by self-proclaimed realists, realist policy is not the external projection of a military or even reactionary ideology; it is the constant adjustment to a bitter reality. For realists, Realpolitik is not a choice that can be avoided, it is a necessity which responsible actors have to moderate.

Racism-Alternative Casualties

The common default of suspicion that surrounds the black body causes racism


Higgins 15 [Eoin Higgins, Master’s Degree in History from Fordham University “Just Another Instance of White Terrorism” 6/23/2015 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eoin-higgins/just-another-instance-of-_b_7618822.html Accessed 6/30/2015]

Blacks are criminalized in the news media, treated as less desirable than whites in the popular culture, and presented overwhelmingly as threatening criminal elements infilm and television. Americans of all colors are inculcated to see blacks as threatening, alien, dangerous. This is terrorism. Black Americans are killed for eating skittles. Playing with toy guns as children. Listening to loud music. Selling cigarettes on the street. Running away from police officers. Hanging out at a pool party. Attending prayer meetings. There doesn't seem to be a way for black Americans to just be that doesn't involve the threat of death or violence at the hands of whites. This is terrorism. White Americans can drive without fear of being pulled over for the color of their skin and walk down the street without fear of being stopped and frisked. Black Americans cannot. White Americans can walk up to a police officer looking for help or directions. Black Americans face the chance of death if they do the same. This is terrorism. Terrorism is political and social violence and coercion that has the effect of changing the standard operating procedure of the societies it affects and striking fear into the communities it assaults. Blacks in America have no static standard operating procedure. Their behavior has to change constantly to reflect the threats and intimidation. For the black community in America, even the church is a place where one cannot feel safe. Not in 1963, not in the '90s, not in 2015.


The affirmative can solve for all alternative causes of racism


Watson 15 [Elwood Watson, Professor of History and African-American Studies at East Tennessee State University, “It Will Take More Than a Cup of Coffee to Address the Thorny Issue of Race in America” 3/27/2015 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elwood-d-watson/it-will-take-more-than-a-cup-of-coffee_b_6944958.html Accessed 6/30/2015] For many people, race is, indeed, often the 800-pound rambunctious elephant in the room. It is permeating our current state of affairs. The supposedly post-racial society we supposedly entered several years ago. For the record, I (and probably many other people of color) never believed such a fallacy. There is no person who is attuned to the climate of the current environment who can convincingly argue otherwise and Schultz is to be commended for attempting to tackle this thorny issue. That being said, the fact is that for far too often any effort to address the issue of race in America has been a largely packaged affair; ceremonial, co-opted and controlled by well-meaning yet often alarmingly out-of-touch legislators and celebrities. To put it bluntly, far too many efforts to address the issue of racism in our contemporary culture is often misguided, distressingly adrift, naive and tone deaf to the concerns and harsh realities that many people who suffer its (racism) pernicious effects have to deal with on a daily basis. Politicians of all races, entertainers and the occasional athlete or public intellectual locking arms and singing freedom songs from the civil rights movement more than half a century ago does little if anything to confront the searing issues that are plaguing many communities of color in the 21st century. Unarmed Black men (and some women) being routinely shot by police officers. Students of color and non-White faculty and administrators, college students and faculty routinely enduring relentless forms of microaggressions from fellow students and colleagues on their campuses. Our current African American president, since the day he was inaugurated as president, consistently being subjected to disgraceful acts of obstruction, personal slights and blatant disrespect. Black college graduates are more than likely as their White cohorts to be unemployed. Applicants with Black-sounding names are considerably less likely to be contacted by employers than applicants with more White-sounding names. Black customers being disproportionately more likely to be followed by staff and, in some cases, detained by police officers in stores for suspicion of shoplifting -- "Shopping While Black".

Lack of communication between whites and blacks perpetuates racism


Blake 14 [John Blake, honoree of the Society of Professional Journalist, journalist for CNN “The New Threat: ‘Racism without Racists’” 11/27/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/ Accessed 6/30/2015]

In a classic study on race, psychologists staged an experiment with two photographs that produced a surprising result. They showed people a photograph of two white men fighting, one unarmed and another holding a knife. Then they showed another photograph, this one of a white man with a knife fighting an unarmed African-American man. When they asked people to identify the man who was armed in the first picture, most people picked the right one. Yet when they were asked the same question about the second photo, most people -- black and white -- incorrectly said the black man had the knife. Even before it was announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, leaders were calling once again for a "national conversation on race." But here's why such conversations rarely go anywhere: Whites and racial minorities speak a different language when they talk about racism, scholars and psychologists say. The knife fight experiment hints at the language gap. Some whites confine racism to intentional displays of racial hostility. It's the Ku Klux Klan, racial slurs in public, something "bad" that people do. But for many racial minorities, that type of racism doesn't matter as much anymore, some scholars say. They talk more about the racism uncovered in the knife fight photos -- it doesn't wear a hood, but it causes unsuspecting people to see the world through a racially biased lens. It's what one Duke University sociologist calls "racism without racists." Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, who's written a book by that title, says it's a new way of maintaining white domination in places like Ferguson. "The main problem nowadays is not the folks with the hoods, but the folks dressed in suits," says Bonilla-Silva. "The more we assume that the problem of racism is limited to the Klan, the birthers, the tea party or to the Republican Party, the less we understand that racial domination is a collective process and we are all in this game."


Economic racism prevents discrimination from being resolved


Blake 14 [John Blake, honoree of the Society of Professional Journalist, journalist for CNN “The New Threat: ‘Racism without Racists’” 11/27/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/ Accessed 6/30/2015]

One study conducted by a Brigham Young University economics professor showed that white NBA referees call more fouls on black players, and black referees call more fouls on white players. Another study that was published in the American Journal of Sociology showed that newly released white felons experience better job hunting success than young black men with no criminal record, Ross says. "Human beings are consistently, routinely and profoundly biased," Ross says. The knife fight experiment reveals that even racial minorities are not immune to racial bias, Ross says. "The overwhelming number of people will actually experience the black man as having the knife because we're more open to the notion of the black man having a knife than a white man, " Ross says. "This is one of the most insidious things about bias. People may absorb these things without knowing them." Another famous experiment shows how racial bias can shape a person's economic prospects. Professors at the University of Chicago and MIT sent 5,000 fictitious resumes in response to 1,300 help wanted ads. Each resume listed identical qualifications except for one variation -- some applicants had Anglo-sounding names such as "Brendan," while others had black-sounding names such as "Jamal." Applicants with Anglo-sounding names were 50% more likely to get calls for interviews than their black-sounding counterparts. Most of the people who didn't call "Jamal" were probably unaware that their decision was motivated by racial bias, says Daniel L. Ames, a UCLA researcher who has studied and written about bias. "If you ask someone on the hiring committee, none of them are going to say they're racially biased," Ames says. "They're not lying. They're just wrong." Ames says such biases are dangerous because they're often unseen. "Racial biases can in some ways be more destructive than overt racism because they're harder to spot, and therefore harder to combat," he says.

Economic inequality perpetuates racism


Blake 14 [John Blake, honoree of the Society of Professional Journalist, journalist for CNN “The New Threat: ‘Racism without Racists’” 11/27/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/ Accessed 6/30/2015]

Many whites -- including many millennials -- believe discrimination against whites is more prevalent than discrimination against blacks." But as Nicholas Kristof recently pointed out in The New York Times, the U.S. has a greater wealth gap between whites and blacks than South Africa had during apartheid. Such racial inequities might seem invisible partly because segregated housing patterns mean that many middle- and upper-class whites live far from poor blacks. It's also no longer culturally acceptable to be openly racist in the United States, says Bonilla-Silva, author of "Racism Without Racists."

An unwillingness to admit to racism prevents the deconstruction of racist policies and ideologies


Blake 14 [John Blake, honoree of the Society of Professional Journalist, journalist for CNN “The New Threat: ‘Racism without Racists’” 11/27/2014 http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/26/us/ferguson-racism-or-racial-bias/ Accessed 6/30/2015]

When protests erupted in Ferguson after the shooting this summer, various white and black residents tried to talk about race, but such discussions didn't bear fruit because of another reason: People refuse to admit their biases, research has consistently shown. Ross, author of "Everyday Bias," cited a Dartmouth College survey where misinformed voters were presented with factual information that contradicted their political biases. There were voters, for example, who were disappointed with President Obama's economic record and believed he hadn't added any jobs during his presidency. They were shown a graph of nonfarm employment over the prior year that included a rising line indicating about a million jobs had been added. "They were asked whether the number of people with jobs had gone up, down, or stayed about the same," Ross wrote. "Many, looking straight at the graph, said down." Ross says it's even more difficult to get smart people to admit bias. "The smarter we are, the more self-confident we are, and the more successful we are, the less likely we're going to question our own thinking," Ross says. Some of the nation's smartest legal minds aren't big believers in racial bias either, and that could complicate efforts in Ferguson to reduce racial tensions. Some say they could be eased by hiring more officers of color in Ferguson's police force. But the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has been suspicious of efforts to achieve diversity in workforces, believing that they amount to reverse racism or racial preferences, legal observers say. Some fear the court is about to get rid of one of the most effective legal tools for addressing racial bias. The court recently took up a fair housing case in Texas where the conservative majority could very well rule against the concept of "disparate impact," a legal approach that doesn't try to plumb the racist intentions of individuals or businesses but looks at the racial impact of their decisions. Disparate impact is built on the belief that most people aren't stupid enough to openly announce they're racists but instead cloak their racism in seemingly race-neutral language. It also recognizes that some ostensibly race-neutral policies could reflect unintentional bias. A disparate impact lawsuit, for instance, wouldn't have to prove that a police department's white leaders are racist -- it would only have to show the impact of having all white officers in an almost all-black town. Roberts distilled his approach to race in one of the court's most controversial cases in 2007. The court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines that a public school district in Seattle couldn't consider race when assigning students to schools, even for the purposes of integration. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," Roberts said in what is arguably his most famous quote. Roberts has equated affirmative action programs with Jim Crow laws, says Erwin Chemerinsky, author of "The Case Against the Supreme Court." "Chief Justice Roberts has expressly said that the Constitution and the government should be colorblind," Chemerinsky says. "He sees no difference between government action that discriminates against minorities and one that benefits minorities." What that means for Ferguson is that any aggressive attempt to integrate the police force could be struck down in court, says Mark D. Naison, an African-American Studies professor at Fordham University in New York City. Unless a lawyer can find smoking-gun evidence of some police department official saying he won't hire blacks, people won't have much legal leverage to make the police department diverse, he says.


There are too many alternative causes to racism—surveillance isn’t the brink


Bazian 14 [Hatem Bazian, lecturer in the Departments of Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies at University of California- Berkley “Michael Brown, racism and America’s open casket” 11/24/2014 http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/michael-brown-racism-america-o-2014112552418399369.html Accessed 6/30/2015]

America's open casket to the world is its racism that has been institutionalised and commodified into every part of the society from the police force, political order, court system, corporate structure, media and global relations. Some are quick to point to gains made by African Americans since the civil rights movement; and, indeed we can point to these noticeable advancements including the first black president in the White House. However, statistical data provides a different picture of a nation that is separate and profoundly unequal. African American unemployment and underemployment is almost twice as that of whites. Further, data shows that "by age 17, the average black student is four years behind the average white student; black 12th graders score lower than white 8th graders in reading, math, US history and geography". What is most disturbing is that incarceration rates for black American men stands at 4,347 per 100,000 which is almost 6.5 times the national average of 707 per 100,000. Often US politicians and media talking heads spend countless hours speaking on prison-related human rights abuses abroad while under their noses a prison industrial complex is humming efficiently and their 401K might be invested in parts of it and providing a healthy return. More critically, African American household net worth stands at $4,995 compared to $97,000 for whites, which is slightly ahead of an adult living under occupation in Palestine, and a poverty rate of 27.4 percent twice the national average. In The National Center for Victims of Crime study, a troubling picture for African American young males and crime emerges concluding that "black youth are three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, three times more likely to be victims of robbery, and five times more likely to be victims of homicide. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among African American youth ages 15 to 24". While the data shows blacks are victims of crime nevertheless, the approach by the government to their community adds insult to injury by treating them collectively as a criminal class by deploying police force to control rather than to serve and provide protection for the trans-historically abused community. Racism is America's open casket to the world and the murder of Michael Brown is the latest episode in a too familiar story dating back to the founding of the country. Emmett Till's casket remains open today for the underlying causes that murdered him are still around and unchanged. Michael Brown's cause of death is America's racism, the police officer was the weapon and the grand jury is the clean up crew. Justice for African Americans remains an illusion since America fails to account for racism, the scars and the real bullets it leaves behind.

Racial discrimination is still an issue in schools


Case, 2002

(Rebecca, Fall 2002, Not Separate but Not Equal: How Should the United States Address Its International Obligations to Eradicate Racial Discrimination in the Public Education System?, http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1167:education02-3&catid=49&Itemid=172

2. Academic Tracking Many districts have created academic tracking programs. These programs allow teachers and school administrators to determine a student's abilities and potential and then place that student in an academic track reflective of teacher's or administrator's personal perception. The academic tracks range from remedial and special education programs to accelerated and gifted programs. Studies show that African American and Latino students are over-represented in the lower tracks and under-represented in the higher tracks. The tracking can begin very early in a child's academic career and can be extremely detrimental to the child's future. If a child is placed in a lower track because of a perceived inability to do mainstream work, it is often very difficult for the child to break into the higher track due to the very nature of the tracking system. The method of determining how to put a student in a particular track is laden with racially discriminatory factors. To determine which track to place a child in, three factors are considered: standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, and parental intervention. First, the standardized tests have frequently been criticized for being racially biased. Second, teacher recommendations are strictly subjective and can be based solely upon general impressions. Third, if parents are unaware of the system due to language barriers or because of general ignorance, the parents are unlikely to intervene on behalf of their child and push for a higher track placement. 3. "Zero-Tolerance" Discipline Policies Another area of racial disparity that leads to unequal treatment in the schools is the area of discipline. Studies show that students of color are more likely to be suspended and/or expelled from school than similarly situated white students. This statistic has become more pronounced now that schools that receive federal funding (all public schools) must implement "zero- tolerance" policies for weapons offenses. The policy may appear race neutral on its face, but the implementation of the policy has lead to findings of racial discrimination. Since the consequences of bringing a weapon to school can be harsh, and can include suspension or expulsion, schools are permitted to evaluate incidents on a case-by-case basis and may deliver a less severe punishment if mitigating circumstances permit. There is evidence to suggest that if a student appears to have a positive and promising future, schools will overlook relatively minor violations such as weapon possession, and will not expel the student. Instead the schools will deliver a lesser punishment in the hopes of rehabilitation, but there are inequalities in the application of this school discretion. Often, the minority students do not receive the benefit of this second chance and tend to suffer more devastating consequences. Racial discrimination affects more than disparate test scores and overall unequal treatment in the schools. One effect is addressed indirectly in CAT; however, because of the United States' limited definition of "torture," the CAT's implications are severely limited. According to the United States, the government need only deal with mental suffering caused by torturous acts in very few circumstances. These situations do not deal with any intentional racial discrimination that takes place in the schools but rather they address situations when the victim is in the custody of an official in the criminal setting or in a mental institution. The United States appears to ignore the times when children are under the control of the state during schools hours. Children are under the school's control during much of the day, for five days a week. Yet this time of responsibility is not considered time during which the United States accepts a responsibility to ensure that the children are not experiencing torture in the form of mental suffering. When a child endures racial discrimination in the school system, the child will experience severe mental suffering that will affect him/her throughout the child's life. Students can easily feel frustrated as they are disregarded and classified in lower academic brackets, punished more harshly, and not given the financial means to succeed in school. As the discrimination continues throughout school, the long-term effects will cause severe mental pain as the students begin to believe they are inferior to their white peers. The United States has not acknowledged the possibility that the suffering of the students under the government's control may fall squarely under its own limited definition of torture. According to all three treaties, the unequal treatment between minority students and Caucasian students runs counter to the United States' international obligations. In the United States' report to CERD, the government characterizes racial discrimination problems as mainly private acts of discrimination. However, the disparities in schools are not just a result of intentional or private acts. Discrimination in school is a form of institutional racism and must be addressed by the United States. The United States has an obligation under CERD to protect everyone from acts of racial discrimination and laws that either discriminate or have the effects of discrimination. Under CAT, the United States must prevent torture of all forms, including mental torture. Under ICCPR, the United States must protect every child, regardless of his/her race, as a minor in the society. These requirements are not currently being met.

Racial discrimination still affects minority wages


Fryer, Pager, Spenkuch, 2014

(Roland Fryer, Devah Pager, JÖrg Spenkuch, 8 January 2014, Spenkuch is an Assistant Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences, Fryer, Roland G., Devah Pager, and Jörg L. Spenkuch. 2013. “Racial Disparities in Job Finding and Offered Wages.”Journal of Law and Economics, 56(3), 633–689. “Statistics That Hurt: Racial discrimination still affects minority wages” http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/article/statistics_that_hurt

When confronting the touchy topic of racial discrimination, satirical TV commentator Stephen Colbert often dodges the issue by quipping that he doesn’t “see race.” It’s an intentionally ridiculous point of view, but for the last two decades, most economic explanations of the raw wage gaps between white and black employees—observed at upwards of 30%— seem to be couched in similar terms. “We know that racial discrimination was incredibly important fifty years ago, but the current view among labor economists is that it doesn't matter much anymore,” says Jörg Spenkuch, an assistant professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at the Kellogg School of Management. “The prevailing wisdom is that the skills that people bring to the market are more important for explaining this wage gap. But what I find fascinating about discrimination is that when you look at the real world, there's lots of anecdotal evidence that discrimination still really matters.” Bottom of Form



Recent research coauthored with Roland G. Fryer, Jr. of Harvard University and Devah Pager of Princeton University sets out to challenge the conventional wisdom that racial bias has a negligible effect on wage gaps between blacks and whites. Spenkuch says that his own anecdotal observations inspired the research. “I’m originally from Germany, and there, racial discrimination is essentially a nonissue because almost everyone is white,” he says. “But when I came to the United States, it just jumped into my face. It’s very striking, and not just in job markets—there are racial differences in health, in life expectancy, in education. No matter where you look, race is a really important predictor of how well people do in life.” Indeed, Spenkuch and his coauthors find that black job seekers are offered—and accept—less compensation than white job seekers. In fact, racial discrimination among employers could account for at least a third of the raw wage gap between black and white workers. A New Lens on Racial Bias The researchers began by considering the limitations of previous economic approaches to explaining—or explaining away—racial wage disparities. The so-called “Mincerian approach,” Spenkuch explains, uses statistical regression methods to assign an impact to various observed variables affecting wages, including race. “This approach crucially relies on high-quality data in which there is no variable you could possibly think of that is correlated with race and also affects wages—which is of course never true,” he says. Another approach uses structural models of the labor market, which can generate results that are highly dependent on initial assumptions used to construct the model—and if those assumptions are implausible, the results are suspect. Spenkuch and his coauthors attempted to combine the strengths of these two approaches while avoiding their shortcomings. “The strength of the structural approach is that there’s a model of how people make decisions,” he says, “and the strength of the first approach is that we can control simultaneously for a lot of different variables.” The researchers also obtained access to a novel and uniquely rich set of data which observed the job-seeking activity of approximately 5200 recently unemployed black and white workers in New Jersey over twelve weeks in 2009—“basically ‘yesterday’ in economic terms,” Spenkuch says. Crucially, this data also included wage offers—and not just the offers that applicants accepted, but also ones that they rejected. Spenkuch’s “empirical test” became a matter of finding pairs of job-seekers—identical in every aspect except race, including the wages they received at their last job—and comparing the set of offers they each received while searching for a new job. (The researchers’ model also included two initial assumptions: that whites and blacks draw job offers from a similar set of possible openings, and that blacks are not “systematically overpaid” in their previous positions compared to whites—in other words, that strong affirmative-action policies do not artificially prop up black workers’ wages in spite of lower productivity.) Seeing Is Believing The findings were striking. First, black job seekers were offered significantly less compensation than whites by potential new employers. Second, blacks were much more likely to accept these lower offers than their white counterparts. “This is exactly what you would expect if blacks know that they’re being racially discriminated against,” Spenkuch adds. Finally, and surprisingly, the researchers found that wage gaps narrow over time as black workers stay at the same job. “As an employer I may discriminate against you by offering a lower wage when I first hire you,” Spenkuch explains, “but over time as you work for me, I come to know how good you really are as an individual, and I adjust your wage accordingly.” By taking these variables into effect alongside race, the researchers found that the “raw” wage gap between black and white workers—“which we observe at around 30 to 35 percent, if we don’t adjust for anything,” Spenkuch explains—narrows to between ten and twelve percent. This means that racial discrimination must account for at least a third of the factors that contribute to black workers receiving lower wages than whites. “It follows intuitively from the two assumptions in our model,” Spenkuch says. “Those assumptions are not necessarily innocuous, but we feel confident that they are plausible.” Bias by the Numbers The kind of racial bias that drives this effect, says Spenkuch, is called “statistical discrimination”—“which has nothing to do with any emotional distaste for working with minorities,” he adds. “In our model, employers are purely profit-seeking. The employer says, ‘I don’t care why blacks are less productive on average; I know that they are, because of the lower SAT scores and other data that are observable. Therefore, if I don’t know anything else about the candidate, I have to treat him as I would the average candidate in that racial group—that is, less favorably. Of course, by law employers are not allowed to do that. But the data show that it’s happening.” Spenkuch is quick to assert that “we haven’t necessarily overturned the last twenty years of research on discrimination in the labor market with one study.” After all, if a third of the wage gap between black and white workers is due to racial discrimination, that means that the majority of the gap is still being driven by other factors, such as disparities in education quality and other so-called “pre-market skill differentials.” “Those factors clearly matter,” Spenkuch says. “What we want to argue is that it’s wrong not to pay any attention to discrimination, too. These results suggest that it’s still going on—and enforcing existing legislation would substantially reduce the wage gaps we observe in the labor market. It wouldn’t eliminate them. But it would narrow them.

Racial Discrimination still prevalent in law enforcement.


McKay, 2014

(John, 18 August 2014, Tom is a staff writer at Mic who covers national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He has previously written for The Daily Banter, Wonkette and MTV News, “One Troubling Statistic Shows Just How Racist America’s Police Brutality Problem Is” http://mic.com/articles/96452/one-troubling-statistic-shows-just-how-racist-america-s-police-brutality-problem-is)

The statistics: White officers kill black suspects twice a week in the United States, or an average of 96 times a year. Those are the findings of a USA Today analysis of seven years of FBI data, which claims around a quarter of the 400 annual deaths reported to federal authorities by local police departments were white-on-black shootings. What's more, the analysis indicates that 18% of the black suspects were under the age of 21 when killed by the police, as opposed to just 8.7% of white suspects. Throughout much if not all of America, black people are disproportionately more likely to be killed by the police. The background: Statistics like these may help explain why Pew polls have demonstrated continued low confidence among non-whites in the police and justice systems. Police in general, and white cops in particular, have a pattern of disproportionately directing force against black people. All too often, cases of abuse and excessive force are simply swept under the rug. University of Nebraska criminologist Samuel Walker told USA Today that the lack of a comprehensive national repository on use of force has been a "major failure" for oversight, while USC colleague Geoff Alpert pointed out that around 98.9% of excessive force allegations are ultimately ruled as justified. In just one of many examples, NYPD almost exclusively shoots black or Hispanic suspects. Protests involving black people are also more likely to attract police attention and use of force to disperse them. The ACLU has intensely documented an immensely troubling pattern of police militarization and found SWAT teams and other heavy-handed tactics are much more likely to be used against minority suspects than white ones: In Ferguson, where community members are currently protesting deeply entrenched, racially discriminatory policing, 92% of all people arrested in 2013 were black. The community as a whole, however, is 65% black. It's not just the police, either — the Urban Institute estimates that white-on-black homicides in states with Stand Your Ground laws are 354% more likely to be ruled justifiable than white-on-white ones. The State's Warren Boltondescribes how black men in America "endure a lifetime of suspicion," both from the authorities and people of other races. The statistics are clear. Being the disproportionate target of violence by the police and white people in general is a systemic problem for black people across America. Why you should care: The statistic on white-cop-on-black-suspect shootings is alarming in and of itself. But while race plays a critical role, the number of white cops shooting black people is just part of a larger problem. Black people across the United States are more likely to face discrimination in the criminal justice system and be harassed, arrested and shot by police. Sadly, even the most extreme cases of police excess often end in little punishment.

Racial Discrimination shows in the poverty groups of America


Vara, 2013

(Vauhini, 27 August 2013, Vauhini Vara, the former business editor of newyorker.com, lives in San Francisco and is a business and technology correspondent for the site. “Race and Poverty, Fifty Years After the March, http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/race-and-poverty-fifty-years-after-the-march)

When we talk about the historic civil-rights gathering whose fifty-year anniversary will be celebrated on Wednesday, we usually call it the March on Washington. In fact, the full name of the event was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom; early in his speech, Martin Luther King, Jr., lamented that black Americans lived “on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” The marchers had ten demands for Congress, at least four of which were aimed at improving black people’s financial circumstances and narrowing the gulf between black and white Americans’ economic opportunities. Fifty years later, that gulf hasn’t changed much. By some measures it has widened. In 2011, the median income for black households was about fifty-nine per cent of the median income for white households, up slightly from fifty-five per cent in 1967, according to Census data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. But when you consider wealth—that is, everything a family owns, including a home and retirement savings—the difference seems to have grown. Pew found that the median black household had about seven per cent of the wealth of its white counterpart in 2011, down from nine per cent in 1984, when a Census survey first began tracking this sort of data. The trend is unsettling—hard to believe, even—particularly given the progress black Americans have seen on some fronts. In a 1961 poll, forty-one per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t vote for a “generally well-qualified man” from their party if he happened to be black; five years ago, Americans elected a black President. In 1964, white students graduated high school at almost double the rate of their black peers; today, graduation rates for blacks are only a couple of percentage points lower than for whites. Yet black Americans have moved ahead little—and by some measures have fallen behind—with regard to the one standard that matters most to Americans: making money. How did this happen? How do we fix it? Back in 1963, the Washington marchers made these four economic demands: a higher federal minimum wage, a law barring discrimination by employers, a massive job-training program, and an increase in the areas of employment covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938—the law that established standards such as overtime pay. The policy changes brought about by the protesters’ demands, and the civil-rights movement at large, were significant, if not as numerous as King and his allies sought. In January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the policies that became known as the War on Poverty; that July, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Through the sixties and into the seventies, the government started job-training programs and deliberately hired more black people into government jobs, among other measures. African-Americans increasingly found white-collar and skilled blue-collar work that provided decent wages—not only in northern cities like Baltimore and Detroit, which had drawn black workers earlier in the century, but also in the South. Black Americans seemed to be getting a foothold in the economy; by 1978, the black median income rose to fifty-eight per cent of the white median income, according to Pew. Then came the early nineteen-eighties, when corporations began going abroad for lower-cost labor and cutting domestic manufacturing jobs. That coincided, roughly, with a Reagan-era backlash against public spending that led to cuts in many of the earlier government programs. The gap between black and white incomes widened again. (The black-to-white income ratio would not surpass its 1978 high until the nineties.) “The people who went to Baltimore, who went to Detroit, were the go-getters of the African-American community,” Dedrick Muhammad, the senior director of the economic department of the N.A.A.C.P., told me. “They were willing to work hard. These people, who have become demonized as the permanent underclass, became the permanent underclass when the jobs died.” Because of the dearth of pre-1984 wealth information, researchers have had a hard time studying the racial wealth gap in the years immediately after the civil-rights movement. They have, however, come to better understand what has happened over the past twenty-five years. When researchers compare today’s situation with that of 1984, they find that a greater share of blacks than whites have ended up in low-paying service positions—for instance, assisting in nursing homes—that don’t offer benefits that help compound people’s wealth, such as retirement plans. Black families are less likely to receive inheritances; black students both graduate college at lower rates and are more likely to be saddled with college debt; and blacks are incarcerated at disproportionate rates, reducing their ability to earn good wages even when those who are imprisoned become free. But the wealth gap mostly comes down to home ownership. Researchers at Brandeis University recently tracked the same group of black and white families from 1984 to 2009. During that period, a smaller proportion of black families bought homes, and those who did bought them later in life than their white peers—and that meant they benefited less as home values rose, according to Thomas Shapiro, a professor at Brandeis University. When one compares white families whose wealth grew over the years to black families whose wealth grew, Shapiro said, twenty-seven per cent of the disparity between the two groups is related to home ownership. Which brings us back to the March on Washington. The marchers of 1963 sought policies that would help poor people generate wealth; back then, the government did that by helping people find good work and make decent wages, along with introducing anti-poverty programs that helped people pay for food and other essentials. Today, now that the wealth gap mostly has to do with investments—especially in housing—it would seem that the best policy solution would be to help people buy homes that they can afford and acquire other wealth-generating assets. Instead, the government’s policies for poor people have emphasized consumption without also focussing on savings and investments, as the Urban Institute, a research organization, pointed out in an April report. For instance, the government helps people pay for food with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Families can even lose certain benefits if they save too much. The United States does have policies aimed at building wealth—but those policies happen to disproportionately help people who are already pretty rich. For instance, homeowners claim the mortgage-interest tax deduction only if they itemize their deductions, which higher-income taxpayers are likelier to do, and the deduction gets bigger when you have a larger mortgage or are in a higher tax bracket. There are solutions. The government could, for instance, turn the deduction for homeowners into a flat amount—and one, Shapiro said, that could apply only to a first home and wouldn’t require taxpayers to fill out an extra form. EARN, a San Francisco nonprofit, offers savings accounts in which the nonprofit adds two dollars or more for every dollar a person deposits. The government could emulate that approach to encourage people to save. Four years after the March on Washington, King became frustrated with the government’s focus on the Vietnam War at the expense of the War on Poverty. He organized a kind of sequel to the 1963 march—this time called the Poor People’s Campaign. “We ought to come in mule carts, in old trucks, any kind of transportation people can get their hands on,” he said. “People ought to come to Washington, sit down if necessary in the middle of the street and say, ‘We are here; we are poor; we don’t have any money; you have made us this way … and we’ve come to stay until you do something about it.’ ” In April of 1968, King was assassinated. Given his concerns about the stagnation of the civil-rights movement soon after the March on Washington, it’s hard to imagine that King would have been satisfied, had he lived, to discover that on the fiftieth anniversary of his speech, black Americans are still calling out from an island of poverty and going unheard.


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