Is Black Political Power Overrated?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Two African-American scholars argue that it is. “By contrast, when blacks had little political power, they made significant economic progress,” economist Walter Williams points out in a column on “During the 1940s and ’50s, black labor force participation rates exceeded those of whites; black incomes grew much faster than white incomes.”

“Between 1940 and 1950, black poverty rates fell by as much as 40 percent. Between 1940 and 1970, the number of blacks in middle-class professions quadrupled. Keep in mind that was before affirmative action programs.” Dr. Williams is the John Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University as well as the author of several books.

Dr. Williams was largely reacting to a video posted by Manhattan Institute scholar Jason Riley on PragerU. “The fact that political success is not a requirement for socio-economic success — and indeed may have an opposite effect — doesn’t apply only to blacks,” Dr. Williams notes. “American Jews, Italians, Germans, Japanese and Chinese attained economic power long before they had political power.”

“By almost any measure of socio-economic success, Japanese and Chinese are at or near the top. Riley asks, ‘How many prominent Asian politicians can you name?’ By contrast, Irish-Americans have long held significant political power yet were the slowest-rising of all immigrant groups.”