Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Paul Bernhardt (
3 Apr 1995 18:35:45 GMT

Donald Edwards ( wrote:

: That is, it has helped (for example) the rich blacks get
: richer, but it has not helped the poor blacks get richer.

: In fact, while the *average* salary of blacks has advanced
: (relative to the average salary of whites) more rapidly
: since the 1964 Civil Rights Act than it did before, the
: *median* salary advanced more rapidly before than it
: has since.

: (The median, in case someone doesn't know: line 'em all up
: in order by size, and take the one in the middle of the
: line.)

Median is the best measure of this kind of comparison.

: Affirmative action has been a tool by which the minority
: individuals who would have "made it" anyway, can do better
: than they would have otherwise.

There is an important transition that occured in US society about the
time of the Civil Rights Act that casts doubt on the validity of the
preceding argument.

In the decade following WWII there was a severe labor shortage in the US.
Blacks were hired in large numbers to fill these positions. Basically,
corporate america held its collective nose and hired persons that would
not have been hired otherwise. During this period, economic boom did mean
all boats rose (to recall an aphorism from the Reagan years.) When the
boom started to wear down in the early 60s the blacks were the first to
be laid off. This was the source of the discontent that became the riots
of the 60s and finally resulted in the Great Society, the Voting Rights
Act, and the Civil Rights Act.

The relatively high level of employment of blacks in the 50s means that
the median income was increasing relative to whites. When this came to an
end, black incomes started to drop disproportionately to whites. The data
presented by the previous poster could in fact be true, but not be
representative of the actual enconomics of the period. His argument (and
mine) would be bolstered if we could present the year by year income by
race statistics. (I don't have them handy, I am just aware of the trends).