Giving Compass’ Take:
· Writing for the Manhattan Institute, Brown University’s Glenn C. Loury examines the complex causes behind persistent racial inequality in America and explains why racial inequality is an issue of responsibility.
· How are you addressing racial inequality in your philanthropy?
Racial Inequality: A Conceptual Framework
Over the last 40 years, I’ve explored why, notwithstanding the success of the civil rights movement, the subordinate status of African-Americans persists. Key to my thinking about this intractable problem has been the need to distinguish the role played by discrimination against black people from that played by counterproductive behavioral patterns among blacks.
This puts what is a very sensitive issue rather starkly. Many vocal advocates for racial equality have been loath to consider the possibility that problematic patterns of behavior could be an important factor contributing to our persisting disadvantaged status. Some observers on the right of American politics, meanwhile, take the position that discrimination against blacks is no longer an important determinant of unequal social outcomes. I have long tried to chart a middle course—acknowledging antiblack biases that should be remedied while insisting on addressing and reversing the patterns of behavior that impede black people from seizing newly opened opportunities to prosper. I still see this as the most sensible position.
These two positions can be recast as causal narratives. One is what I call the “bias narrative”: racism and white supremacy have done us wrong; we can’t get ahead until they relent; so we must continue urging the reform of white American society toward that end.
Read the full essay about racial inequality by Glenn C. Loury at the Manhattan Institute.
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