Archive for January 12th, 2013

Civil Rights

 Available at AMAZON

In reviewing this book, I begin first with the last words in the closing chapter of this book, largely because the author Dr. Thomas Sowell has been misrepresented by those who are more politically liberal. This work is not a recommendation of minorities to lift themselves out of their own bootstrap, but rather a focus on political policies with government interference that affects the disadvantage. Thus, it’s not a complaint against individual minorities, nor is it a denial that there is no such thing as racism or other evil prejudices. With that said, this book is an evaluation of the axioms of the civil rights movement after 1965. Sowell evaluates the presupposition of whether or not political means bring about ethnic prosperity, noting that there is not a necessary correlation between political success and economic success: Irish American political success and activity did not correlate with economic prosperity while Chinese, Italians and Jews were affluent and successful economically but not necessarily enjoy political clout overseas (Indonesia, etc) while being politically apathetic in the United States at certain time in their history and was yet prosperous. The author also pointed out how entrance into politics is not necessarily a blessing if an ethnic group does so on the basis of ethnic group solidarity and may suffer backlash. The author also noted the change definition of civil rights and chapter 2 was good in demonstrating the danger of identifying racism on the basis of statistical aggregation. Here the economist side of the author comes out, in which he points out a lot of factors are also at work including cultural, etc. Chapter three even discuss about how segregated schools at times and according to race can do better than white. Chapter three’s main refutation is of the invokation of “modern authority” over legal precedence or the Constitution in Brown vs Board of Education with psychological studies that have now been discredited. Chapter four has a good study arguing that culture plays a stronger role than color when it comes to economic success though historically this was not always the case; his evaluation of West Indies in light of the American statistical average and blacks in general is a powerful argument. Noting that first generation West Indies are above the average than these two groups, he also pointed out that one must also study second generation West Indies who would be more like other African Americans (lack of accents, etc) and whether or not they do better or worst than the first generation. If they are the same as the rest of other African Americans, then color might be a stronger probable cause for predicting income but if they still do better than the national average and their parent’s average, culture (family, education, etc) has more of a role than color itself. The statistics reveal that second generation West Indies actually do better than all three groups (first generation West Indies, Blacks in general, and American average). Also a great chapter on closer analysis of the economics of Woman in the work place. Much more can be said, but this is a book worth reading.


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