Williams: Blacks Need To Go Beyond Politics


Former Reason stalwart, syndicated columnist, and economist-to-the-stars Walter Williams has a sharp piece in today's Washington Times (a paper so grand that it recently excerpted Tim Cavanaugh's excellent bit on liberal hawks and regularly runs Jacob Sullum's scintillating syndicated col). His point: that African Americans need to realize that politics won't address the problems many in their community face. Snippets:

Whether you're black, white or polka dot, to take advantage of opportunities, you must be prepared. A large part of preparation is a decent K-12 education.

For children to do well in school, there are some minimum requirements. Someone must make them do their homework, see that they get a good night's rest, prepare a breakfast and make sure they get to school on time and obey school authorities. This is not rocket science, but here's my question: Can those requirements be met by a president, member of Congress or a mayor?…

Solutions to the most serious problems facing black Americans will not be found in the political arena. Otherwise, the problems would have been long solved with the civil rights legislation, litigation and the more than $8 trillion spent on poverty programs since 1965. Or the problems would have been solved by the two terms of Bill Clinton, whom some blacks called the first black president.

Whole thing here. I basically agree with Williams, who also notes that discrimination still exists but argues that it isn't the main reason many blacks struggle. I think he's right to emphasize the importance of education–but he glosses over the political obstacles that help keep public education sub-par, especially in urban and lower-income areas. Williams himself is a strong advocate of school choice, which is favored by an overwhelming majority of blacks–and is ultimately only going to come about via political struggle.