I’d say the correct response to all this is an attitude I encounter a lot among people who are working in these communities, which you might call left on structural racism and right on cultural accountability.There is a critique of the 60s which says that all the personal freedom worked out great for those at the top of society, but has been a complete disaster for the less fortunate. Sometimes I think there is something to it.
That is to say, the left-wingers have it correct when they point to the systems of oppression that pervade society: the legacy of residential segregation; the racist attitudes in the workplace that demonstrably make it much harder for African-American men to get jobs; the prejudices — in the schools, in the streets and in the judicial system — that make it much more likely that African-American males will be punished, incarcerated and marginalized.
But conservatives are right to point to the importance of bourgeois norms. Three institutions do an impressive job of reducing racial disparity: the military, marriage and church. As the A.E.I. study shows, black men who served in the military are more likely to be in the middle class than those who did not. Black men who attended religious services are 76 percent more likely to attain at least middle-class status than those who did not. As Chetty’s research shows, the general presence of fathers — not just one’s own — in the community is a powerful determinant of whether young men will be able to rise and thrive.
Friday, July 13, 2018
Race and Bourgeois Norms
David Brooks reviews the evidence that movement toward racial equality has essentially stopped, and then says,