According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans of Filipino descent had a median household income of just over $100,000 in 2019. The median household income of white Americans that year was about $66,000.

Based on these two facts, should we conclude that our society is pervasively biased in favor of Filipino immigrants, or of Americans whose ancestors once immigrated from the Philippines? Should we draw the same conclusion about Americans with ancestral ties to India (their median household income is $136,000), China ($85,000) or Nigeria ($69,000)?

No, we shouldn’t. That would be an exercise in bad math and faulty logic. Differences in household incomes or other measures among ethnic groups have many potential explanations. Cultures, traditions and family structures vary. Educational levels and labor-force participation rates vary. Settlement patterns vary. Preferences vary.

If you’re with me so far, then you likely don’t agree with a key tenet of critical race theory. Pieced together in the 1980s and 1990s out of disparate strands of Marxist and postmodernist thought, critical race theory seeks to explain gaps in income, wealth, education attainment and other measures as primarily the product of discriminatory social structures rather than individual choices.

Its parent idea, critical theory, was concocted by Marxist intellectuals of the mid-20th century in the aftermath of disillusionment with revolutionary socialism as actually practiced behind the Iron Curtain. Some scholars and activists began applying their new ideas to the judicial system, yielding critical legal studies. Others concluded that prior Marxist analysis had focused too much on class at the expense of other structures of oppression, devising critical race theory (and even more narrow and esoteric applications) not only as an approach to radical scholarship but also as a guide to radical political action.

What does all this have to do with the public-policy conversation in North Carolina? Plenty — unfortunately. Do you believe in diversity, equity and inclusion? So do I, at least when the terms are properly defined. Surrounding yourself with people of differing views and backgrounds is often good for you. It can make organizations and teams stronger. I also think people ought to be treated fairly, that they shouldn’t be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity or other characteristics that have nothing to do with performing a job well. And I think it’s best to include, not exclude. Don’t you agree?

These beliefs are, alas, not what the current diversity, equity and inclusion movement is all about. Much of it is just critical race theory rigorously and sometimes ruthlessly applied to workplaces, government, philanthropy, and the social sector. It assumes statistical disparities must be the product of discriminatory practices and attitudes deeply embedded in our social structures. Therefore, it embraces the use of discriminatory practices and attitudes as the only proper response.

Let me explain that latter point more clearly. If disparities of outcomes are a sufficient proof of systemic racism and other forms of structural oppression, then the only way to know if the oppression has been dismantled would be for those disparities to go away. The logical goal must be an equality of results, not just an equality of opportunity. If that requires ongoing discrimination against “privileged” groups — racial and ethnic preferences in hiring, contracting, and higher education, for example — so be it.

It’s all utter nonsense. It’s based on simplistic and easily discredited analysis, and employs crude tools such as “implicit bias” tests that are both methodologically unsound and highly destructive of real human relationships.

Still, I’d pay little attention to critical race theorists if they confined their nonsense to scarcely read journals and sparsely attended classes. In a free society, we all have an equal right to be very, very wrong.

But critical race theory has now spread far beyond the cloister. Its advocates seek to transform corporate governance, our justice system, and the curriculum of our public schools. Its assumptions are incompatible with freedom, liberal education, and equality under the law. Those assumptions must be fully revealed, clearly understood and relentlessly opposed.

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John Hood is a Carolina Journal columnist and author of the forthcoming novel Mountain Folk, a historical fantasy set during the American Revolution (MountainFolkBook.com).

(5) comments

thechaosaysmuuuu

How can y'all in good conscience post this lie-ridden garbage? Do y'all seriously have zero scruples?

This paper has become such a complete and utter embarrassment...

Branch

This might be my favorite part though: “Cultures, traditions and family structures vary. Educational levels and labor-force participation rates vary. Settlement patterns vary. Preferences vary.”

African Americans have been here since the 1600’s. Their culture, traditions, and family structures are American cultures, traditions, and family structures. Cornel West, in his book Race Matters, says: “Culture is as much a structure as the economy or politics; it is rooted in institutions such as families, schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, and communication industries (television, radio, video, music).” These cultural institutions are just as perfectly capable of perpetuating racial inequities as legal and economic systems. Even if you swallow the contemporary fiction of the durable “tradition” of the nuclear family, Black nuclear families are shattered by mass incarceration. Why would Black folks’ education levels and ability to participate in the labor-force vary from that of whites? Because of how we fund and provide or limit access to those institutions. “Settlement patterns vary.” What a cute way to describe a history of red-lining, segregation, gerrymandering, and suburban white flight. “Preferences vary.” I would prefer John Hood stop spewing neo-NatSoc (the more common word for these folks is apparently banned from WD posts) talking points and damaging our social fabric with his reactionary, ahistorical BS.

thechaosaysmuuuu

Excellent deconstruction of yet another puddle of Hood's weekly mind vomit.

Branch

Here’s how easy it is to dismantle some of this garbage:

“If disparities of outcomes are a sufficient proof of systemic racism and other forms of structural oppression…”

Seeing as how this is the actual definition of systemic racism, I should think that would be sufficient, yes. Also, no need to employ “crude tools such as ‘implicit bias’ tests” if the structural oppression is marked by OUTCOME. Hood can’t even hold his argument together for three straight sentences. Implicit or explicit bias does not even need to be considered to look at statistical disparities between racial groups (though it should be). What IS total nonsense is to insist that individual choices are the engine behind the outcomes of large groups of people.

Let us look at just one example, the War on Drugs. Black and white folks make individual decisions to take and sell drugs at remarkably similar rates (actually, young white males are slightly more likely to engage in this behavior). But for some weird reason, Black folks are arrested for drug crimes at rates much higher than whites. Take a look at some statistics from Michelle Alexander’s 2010 classic The New Jim Crow: A study from 2000 found Black drug crime arrest rates to be between 20 and 57 times higher than whites.

And how about sentencing after arrest? Black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at 13 times those for white men. The same disparities exist for violent and other crimes too. In the mid-nineties in Georgia, 98.4 percent of those serving life sentences were Black. Prosecutors in that same state sought the death penalty in 70 percent of Black on white murders, but only 19 percent of the time in white on Black murders. And what about the children? In juvenile cases, Black youth are 6 times more likely than whites to go to prison for identical crimes. Even though Black folks only make up 16 percent of the youth population, they represent 58 percent of youths admitted to adult prison.

Then understand that having once been convicted of a crime (particularly a felony), every facet of your life — employment, social benefits, loans, personal relationships, voting — is subject to a nearly impossible uphill climb. If this isn’t systemic injustice along racial lines, then I don’t know what is.

Branch

The amount of lies compiled here is mind-boggling. Our current understanding of systemic racism is based on W.E.B. Du Bois’ coining of the term “institutional racism” circa 1935. It’s not some new “Communist” invention. This entire editorial is nothing but indulgence in the (now apparently mainstream) Cultural Marxism conspiracy theory born from the ashes of Nationalist Socialist propaganda, i.e. Cultural Bolshevism. This is absolutely stunning revisionist history; utterly shameful. Show me the new contemporary “discrimination” against whites in “hiring, contracting, and higher education.” Show it to me. Seriously. Where is it? As I am writing this, Texas Republicans are fast-tracking a bill that forbids Social Studies teachers from even discussing the *concept* of white supremacy or tracking current events deemed “controversial” in schools.

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