We Need Only a Short National Dialogue on Race

by Roger Clegg

Charles Ogletree and Johanna Wald had an oped in the Washington Post yesterday, using the events of last week to call for, you guessed it, a national dialogue on race and blaming continued racial inequality on, you guessed it again, “structural racism and implicit bias.”  They are wrong on both counts.

It’s never clear to me what’s supposed to be said in this national dialogue. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that racial discrimination is wrong and that Dr. King was right that we should be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.  In all the controversy last week,
nobody — not the NAACP, not the tea-partyers, not Shirley Sherrod, not the Justice Department, not Senator Webb — questioned that.  This is happy news, and it shows that on the basic principle involved there is not much to talk about.

Now, I suppose that one might think that this conversation would, instead, focus on why we still have the various racial disparities that Ogletree and Wald identify.  But I don’t think this is what they envision.  I say that because by far the main reason for these disparities is that more than 7 out
of 10 African Americans today are born out of wedlock.  Yet how many words do Ogletree and Wald devote to this problem in their column?  Yes, you guessed right once again:  Zero.

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