Black Economist Denies White Privilege

Walter Williams is a conservative economist who has long built his entire public image on pretending that racism no longer exists and that the right wing is correct about pretty much everything. In his latest Worldnetdaily column he clutches his pearls about the idea that public schools might discuss white privilege.

What would you think if your 8-year-old came home and told you that “white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily”? You would have heard that at the recent 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation.

The average parent has no idea of the devious indoctrination going on in classrooms in many public schools. What follows are some of the lessons of the conference.

In one of the workshops, “Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom,” educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can “insert social justice, anti-racist information” into their lessons that “even little kids” can understand.

If I had a child and they came home saying that “white privilege is something that white people have, meaning they have an advantage in a lot of things and they can get a job more easily,” I would think, “Undeniably true. Glad they’re teaching about that. I can’t imagine how anyone could deny the existence of white privilege, especially someone who isn’t white.

We have dozens and dozens, perhaps hundreds, of studies that show the effect of subconscious racial bias in hiring, housing and innumerable other areas of life. Just a few weeks ago I wrote about one that looked at how partners in law firms evaluated the writing skills of applicants in completely different ways if they thought they were white rather than black. I could sit here for hours listing and linking to all the studies on hiring and housing that find the same result and not come close to listing them all.

The racial bias in our criminal justice system is so easily demonstrated as to be undeniable. Study after study shows that whites, blacks and Latinos use and sell illegal drugs at nearly the same rate, at about their same percentage of the total population, yet blacks and Latinos are far, far more likely to be stopped by the police, more likely to be searched, more likely to be arrested and prosecuted and more likely to be sentenced to prison. And the numbers here are so overwhelming that they shock the conscience.

There are many studies that demonstrate this. A study of stops by the State Police on the New Jersey Turnpike, for example, found that 15% of the drivers on the turnpike were minorities, but blacks were 42% of those stopped for a traffic violation and 72% of those subsequently arrested — despite the fact that blacks and whites were equally as likely to be violating traffic laws at the time, which means the police were ignoring white drivers who were violating the law and primarily stopping black drivers for the same violations. 77% of all searches were of minorities. A similar study in Maryland found that 17% of drivers on a major highway were black, but 70% of those stopped and searched were black. For minorities on the whole, they constituted 21% of all drivers but 80% of those who were stopped and searched.

But here’s the even more important finding. In both of those studies, whites who were pulled over and searched were actually more likely to have illegal drugs or contraband in their vehicles. In New Jersey, whites were twice as likely to be found with illegal drugs or contraband than blacks and five times more likely than Latinos. The same thing held true in Maryland. So even though white drivers were as likely to be violating the traffic laws and far more likely to be caught breaking the law if stopped and searched, black and Latino drivers were far, far more likely to be pulled over, searched and arrested. The same thing has been found in studies in Florida, Illinois and California. In fact, every study ever done of this subject has found that same pattern all over the country.

In New York City, the police routinely stop and frisk pedestrians walking down the street, people who have done nothing at all to suggest that they may be guilty of any crime. In 2011, 684,000 people were stopped and frisked. 87% of them are black or Latino. Whites and Asians, who make up more than 47% of the city’s population, were only 13%. Between 1997 and 2006, more than 350,000 people in NYC were arrested for marijuana possession; blacks were five times more likely than whites to be arrested, even though we know that whites smoke marijuana at slightly higher rates than blacks. The NYPD says that one of the reasons for this policy is to get guns off the street, but only about 1/10th of 1% are found to have guns. And here again, a higher percentage of whites were found to have actually been committing a crime than blacks or latinos.

It’s appalling enough when anyone denies this reality, but for a black academic to do so is much, much worse.

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  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    It does add an extra layer of hypocrisy I spose but is it really worse?

    Of course even within a culture or group such as African American people are going to perceive everything as individuals.

    Perceptions can be inaccurate and awareness can be lacking in anyone. Walter Williams clearly is wrong and lacking in understanding here. But he’s one of many folks of many backgrounds in this situation so worse? I dunno. Perhaps, perhaps not.

  • davidworthington

    I don’t think he ever actually denies White Privilege. He just posts some saucy quotes and leaves the conclusion inferential. He does suggest that this is liberal guilt at work (though for all the right uses the phrase “liberal guilt” they never explain why this would be a bad thing–especially since the right so often likes to use shame and guilt to try to force change). He also mentions an “amnesty and pardon” for white folks. Which is great, but of course he doesn’t get to forgive and forget for the rest of black culture.

  • Trebuchet

    Is his middle name “Thomas”? Do his siblings have children? One would think so.

  • Abby Normal

    It’s appalling enough when anyone denies this reality, but for a black academic to do so is much, much worse.

    So you’re saying you appy two different standards, depending on the race of the academic?

  • colnago80

    Williams is your basic Uncle Tom self hating Afro-American, along with Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas.

  • jws1

    Don’t forget other areas of white privilege: The Homestead Act (for whites only) and FHA loans, which were for whites only for the first 30 years. Those two pretty much created the white middle class, who arrogantly and fatuously credit themselves entirely for their station.

  • Chris from Europe

    @Abby Normal:

    Seriously? The important aspect is not the skin color, but the minority status. The same would apply to members of other minorities who sell out in order to gain the respect of bigoted members of the majority. Just consider the gay people that suggest we shouldn’t marry or even show any affection in public.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I was at a set of street lights when “No such thing as white privilege” and “Blacks are the real racists” collided. The weird part was that the same guy was driving both. Miraculously, he didn’t even injure his career.

  • Abby Normal

    @Chris from Europe

    Tongue firmly in cheek.

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    Neo-Tomming is perhaps the easiest gig anyone of color and without any self-respect or sense of morality can take.

    The first African-American, semi-skilled “rapper” to go the Neo-Tom route will find themselves VERY wealthy.

  • Pen

    Notwithstanding the existence of white privilege, his hopefully imaginary scenario is bound to be counter-productive. Can you imagine the effect of teaching black eight-year olds that they’re going to find it harder to get jobs than their white peers. Uh-uh – wrong method.