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  • Writer's pictureJason Green

GREEN: The TRUTH About Solving Inequality...

When trying to mitigate inequality, the focus should be on the direct cause of inequality, not a proxy. Adopting this approach (e.g. addressing the direct causes of inequality and hardship rather than adopting race as a universal proxy) would lead to better outcomes for those who are underprivileged because society could more efficiently and effectively address the source of the problem. Consider the following analogy: in responding to an illness, it is far better to know the particular virus that you are infected with (the source of the problem) than to just know what your symptoms are (a confounding variable) because you can directly eradicate the source of the issue rather than engage in an ongoing treatment of the symptoms.


In America, one’s race is certainly a source of inequality, but not as much as people believe.


To illustrate the current state of the overestimation of racism, a recent study found that 44% of self-identified liberals estimated that police killed between 1,000 and 10,000 unarmed black men in 2019. The actual number was 27. This area is the epitome of the adage “the plural of anecdote is not data.” This phenomenon is the result of a cycle of heightened media coverage in the area: a narrative is formed and news outlets run stories confirming the narrative without reporting on stories that break the narrative. Admittedly, while some news companies are culpable for using misleading reporting to generate profit and push their agenda, not all news companies are not totally to blame because the news-industry is set up to report on unexpected developments (e.g. new stories).


Race is still a factor in one’s opportunity and “privilege.”


I am not here to deny that there are still people who hate others solely because of the color of their skin. The question is to what degree race affects someone’s opportunity. In order to effectively counter unequal opportunities, we must accurately diagnose the source of said inequality. Stating that unequal opportunity arises solely because of skin color, while ignoring poverty and family structure, is an oversimplified view.


A common counter to this argument that we should emphasize the focus on the source of inequality rather than race itself is that it ignores the historical racism and injustices that led to the direct sources (e.g. poverty). The historical racism and discrimination has certainly contributed to the current poverty that many minorities face. However, this does not vitiate the fact that the best way to counter inequality is to fight the direct source of poverty. This is particularly the case when the original cause (in this case rampant racism) is no longer as prevalent as when it initially caused the direct source (as I argue above in the second paragraph).

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