The current problems facing blacks in America owe more to the Great Society than to slavery.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said there were “phrases that serve as an excuse for not thinking.” One of these phrases that substitute for thought today is one that depicts the current problems of blacks in America as “a legacy of slavery.”
New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof asserts that there is “overwhelming evidence that centuries of racial subjugation still shape inequity in the 21st century” and he mentions “the lingering effects of slavery.” But before we become overwhelmed, that evidence should be checked out.
The evidence offered by Mr. Kristof in the November 16 issue of the New York Times seems considerably short of overwhelming, to put it charitably. He cites a study showing that “counties in America that had a higher proportion of slaves in 1860 are still more unequal today.” Has he never heard statisticians’ repeated warnings that correlation is not causation?
The South long remained a region that blacks fled by the millions — for very good reasons. But, in more recent years, the net migration of blacks has been from the North to the South. No doubt they have good reasons for that as well.