Thomas Sowell to Mark Levin: concept of systemic racism ‘has no meaning’
“It really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses”
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Thomas Sowell joined Mark Levin Sunday and discussed and oft using leftist claim —- systemic racism.
“It really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses,” Said Sowell.
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Economist and author Thomas Sowell told “Life Liberty & Levin” in an interview airing Sunday evening that the left’s claim that America is beset by “systemic racism” has no definitive meaning and cannot be “tested” in any empirical manner.
“You hear this phrase, ‘systemic racism’ [or] ‘systemic oppression’,” host Mark Levin told Sowell. “You hear it on our college campuses. You hear it from very wealthy and fabulously famous sports stars. What does that mean? And whatever it means, is it true?”
“It really has no meaning that can be specified and tested in the way that one tests hypotheses,” answered Sowell, who added that the currency of the phrase reminds him of the “propaganda tactics” of Nazi Germany, where Sowell claimed that if a lie was “repeated long enough and loud enough” it would be widely believed.
… Sowell chimed in that while activists claim to be casting off racial and class differences, they only end up creating their own “nomenclature” and establishing their own hierarchies.
“If the election goes to [Joe] Biden,” he added, “there’s a good chance that the Democrats will control [Congress] and considering the kinds of things that they’re proposing, that could well be the point of no return for this country.”
The entire interview is well worth the time:
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Systemic racism is certainly subject to empirical investigation. For instance, in the mid-twentieth century, A&P didn’t explicitly discriminate against blacks, but they hired based on the “old boy network,” that is, they hired based on recommendations from whites who already had jobs. The empirical result was few black employees, and most of those in the most menial jobs.
He is talking about 2020, not 70 years ago….
PaulB: He is talking about 2020, not 70 years ago….
Sowell didn’t make a claim about the current prevalence of systemic racism. He made the false claim that systemic racism is not a meaningful concept.
Hiring through the “old boy network” led to entrenched racial disparities — even if we make the implausible assumption that there was not a single racist at A&P in the 1960s.
That’s not systemic racism, that’s the very well-known tendency for hiring interviewers to hire people who remind them of themselves. Sometimes this can be based on superficial physical characteristics, but it can just as easily be based on personality and culture. I know many people in the tech industry who’ve gotten a job mostly because they had hobbies in common with the hiring manager, technical ability be damned.
That is what they’re now calling “systemic racism”. But it isn’t racist at all, though it does often indirectly have a different impact on different races, just because characteristics, hobbies, etc., are not equally distributed among all races; we shouldn’t expect them to be and we wouldn’t want them to be.
I hired lots of electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and software engineers and people with associate degrees, like electronic technicians.
My experience was that those who started as hobbyists, those who had hands on experience plus a degree, generally performed better. I also found that best grades did not correspond to best performance.
When interviewing, after an initial look at their education, I quizzed them about their early interests and hobbies.
That had nothing to do with bonding over similar hobbies.
I started my career as a grunt, being a good grunt impresses people, gives one good references and leads to the kind of contacts and reputation which opens doors.
It sounds to me like some people feel entitled to a free affirmative pass to bypass the grunt stage. Expecting someone to pay their dues as a grunt is not racism. That experience is the first step towards building character.
This is true, but that is not racism. Or if you insist on calling it that, then it’s a meaningless concept, of no significance. It’s not something that ought to concern any reasonable person.
Nobody is being denied a job at the company because of his race — people are not getting jobs at the company because they don’t know anyone to recommend them. So the way to get one of those jobs, if your heart is really set on it for some reason, is not to magically become white, but to seek out friends at the company — which is exactly the same task you’d have if you were white.
In a realistic situation, where your heart is not oddly set on one company, but where many companies hire on recommendations, the answer is the same for people of all races: seek out new contacts wherever you go, and let them know that you’re looking for a job. If you’re an introvert and find it hard to make friends, then I’m sorry, it’s going to be difficult for you, but that’s just the way reality is. It’s not a good or a bad thing, and it’s certainly not morally wrong. There’s no reason anyone should want to change it.
daniel_ream: that’s the very well-known tendency for hiring interviewers to hire people who remind them of themselves.
When “remind them of themselves” is based on race, then it’s racism. However, that’s not actually the situation. The disparity is the result of previous oppression. Even if you were to eliminate all personal racism, people hiring people they know (and not people they don’t now on the other side of the tracks) entrenches existing racism. That’s systemic racism. That some people were obviously still individually and often collectively racist, exacerbated the disparities.
Milhouse: But it isn’t racist at all, though it does often indirectly have a different impact on different races, just because characteristics, hobbies, etc., are not equally distributed among all races
No. We’re not talking about hobbies, which has nothing to do with getting a job as a cashier at the A&P. Systemic racism refers to a system that keeps historically oppressed minorities out, even if there is no overt racism.
Milhouse: So the way to get one of those jobs, if your heart is really set on it for some reason, is not to magically become white, but to seek out friends at the company — which is exactly the same task you’d have if you were white.
Except that whites have a leg up in terms of the old boy network. They lived in the neighborhood and went to the same schools. The system entrenched racial disparities which were originally due to overt oppression.
The example of A&P, repeated all across America, debunks the original claim that systemic racism is a meaningless concept.
This is bullshit. The fact that the people at a specific company have networks doesn’t help you if you’re not in those networks. If you happen not to know anyone at a specific company, making a friend there is EXACTLY AS DIFFICULT if you are white as it is if you are black.
“just because characteristics, hobbies, etc., are not equally distributed among all races”
It really is not anyone’s fault that marbles are not equally distributed, or that those with fewer marbles have to accept a lower station in life.
Seems a darn shame that the white neighborhoods are responsible for creating all the white jobs *and* the black jobs. Maybe some of the black neighborhoods could try generating some black jobs, might that equalize the dynamic?
Milhouse: The fact that the people at a specific company have networks doesn’t help you if you’re not in those networks.
That’s not true — obviously. After generations of oppression and segregation, when the white manager of the A&P is looking to hire, he is much more likely to hire his white neighbor, a white member of his church, a recommendation by a colleague from his private all-white golf club, or his sister’s white kid, than to hire someone who lives across the tracks with whom he has much less contact. Even if there is absolutely no racism, which is implausible considering the period, network analysis shows it takes generations for segregation in opportunity to be significantly reduced when hiring is according to the old boy network.
JusticeDelivered: It really is not anyone’s fault that marbles are not equally distributed
More bullshit. When the
whitemanager of the A&P is looking to hire, he is much more likely to hire his whiteneighbor, a whitemember of his church, a recommendation by a colleague from his private all-whitegolf club, or his sister’s whitekid, than to hire someone who lives across the tracks with whom he has much less contact. If you happen not to be his neighbor or his nephew, attend his church, or know anyone at his golf club, then getting to know him is JUST AS DIFFICULT whether you are white or black. Being white will not help you become his neighbor, join his church, or make a contact at his golf club, and it won’t be much help in becoming his nephew. (And private golf clubs that exclude black members almost don’t exist any more.)
That people hire from their own networks is normal, right, and proper. It’s how things are supposed to be. Your point is that in many cases the people whom this gives a leg up are more likely to be white than black. The answer is “So what?” There is nothing wrong with that. It isn’t racism, it’s just reality.
The real point is that among those who have this leg up, white people enjoy no advantage over black ones, and among those who don’t have this leg up, white people again enjoy no advantage over black ones.
Your argument is exactly like pointing to the facts that (a) only rich people can afford Rolls Royces, and (b) there are more rich white people than rich black people, and claiming that therefore (c) Rolls Royce ownership is racist and should be reformed in some fashion. Once again, the relevant distinction is not between white and black but between rich and poor. White rich people have no more access to Rollers than do black rich people, and white poor people have no more access to Rollers than do black poor people. Being white doesn’t make you rich, and doesn’t even help you become rich, so the distribution of melanin among rich people is just an irrelevant trivium.
Milhouse: When the
whitemanager of the A&P is looking to hire, he is much more likely to hire his whiteneighbor, a whitemember of his church, a recommendation by a colleague from his private all-whitegolf club, or his sister’s whitekid, than to hire someone who lives across the tracks with whom he has much less contact.
Except that during the A&P strike, the manager was white, his neighbor was white, members of his church were white, his colleague was white, the private golf club was whites-only, and his sister’s kid was white.
Ignoring empirical facts does not support the claim that systemic racism “has no definitive meaning and cannot be ‘tested’ in any empirical manner.”
Milhouse: Being white will not help you become his neighbor, join his church, or make a contact at his golf club
In the 1960s, much of America was segregated, so that is incorrect.
Milhouse: That people hire from their own networks is normal, right, and proper.
Generally true, however, when following generations of oppression, the effect of the old boy network can be systemic racism. And that’s assuming explicit racism doesn’t exist, which was clearly not the case.
Lol some interesting developments out of Fulton County GA … Atlanta… The DA issued subpoenas for evidence under the preview of Grand Jury … The problem is there was no grand jury impaneled at that time … The state Atty has asked the GBI expand their ongoing investigation of Fulton County Da
OK, where can one really see the interview. Apparently youtube has pulled it everywhere it landed.
Thomas Sowell taught economics at Cornell in the late 1960s.
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