Why Think, When You Can Blame Everything on “Racism”?
In a classic The Simpsons episode, Lucy Lawless hand-waves away every plot hole in Xena: Warrior Princess with the flippant excuse, “A wizard did it”. Every objection is shouted down with, “Wizard!”
“Racism” is the “Wizard did it” of the left.
As Thomas Sowell observes, in Intellectuals and Race, the first response of the “progressive” intelligentsia is to blame every disparity between racial groups on “racism” – usually in the complete absence of any evidence whatsoever. Indeed, often in defiance of the evidence. For instance, economic disparity between blacks and whites in the U.S. are triumphantly blamed on “systemic racism”. Yet, the economic disparity between different groups of whites in Europe far exceeds that between U.S. blacks and whites.
Still, no matter what the issue, the left automatically blames “structural racism”.
The latest example of this intellectually vacuous ideology concerns COVID-19.
Recently, a rather curious Venn diagram popped up on my Facebook feed.
In my innocent naivete, I laughed my arse off and begged to know exactly how a virus could possibly “highlight deep-seated structural racism and injustice”. Boy, was that an invitation to go down the rabbit-hole of leftist crazy-talk.
“Cases and deaths are concentrated in low-income areas,” was the immediate response. Which, I would have thought, was pretty obvious evidence that it’s not racism. It’s being poor – which has a well-known correlation with poor health. But that’s to underestimate the cunning of the left’s Evil Racism Wizard. Because all poor people are non-white, of course.
Which is garbage, as it happens.
The median income for American blacks is $41,511. For British “BAME” it’s a bit more complex: Asians and Indians earn far more than whites, Bangladeshis and blacks earn less. But high-earning British Asians only earn the same as American blacks. British whites earn less.
And they all earn far more than the very-white Russians – who also earn just one-third of the also-very-white Icelanders.
In any case, all Britons have access to the NHS.
In fact, the entire premise that “BAME” British are more likely to die than whites is demolished by the inconvenient facts. In fact, the overwhelming numbers of British deaths are white.
It’s also a conspicuous fact that populations densely crowded into big cities with large public transport systems are often particular clusters for COVID-19. “The sheer magnitude of the correlation between public transit and mortality is huge,” says Christopher R. Knittel, the George P. Shultz Professor of Applied Economics at MIT Sloan. As it happens, London is the epicentre of non-whiteness in Britain. London, with its famous Tube system, is also the concentration of the highest infection and death rates in Britain.
Which takes me to another of the “it wuz racism wot dun it” excuses: non-whites living in crowded conditions. That may be true, but then it begs the question: why are densely crowded, non-white places like Taiwan or Sri Lanka not as similarly devastated? Why does overwhelmingly-white San Marino have the worst per-capita death rate in the world?
As even a casual perusal of the facts shows, the alleged nexus between race and COVID-19 is far from clear, no matter what the media might have you believe. More importantly, a causal relationship between COVID-19 and imaginary “structural racism” is not only not established, but it seems highly unlikely.
In the US, the worst-affected areas have been overwhelmingly Democrat strongholds, often for decades. If “structural racism” is the reason, then the Democrats clearly have some hard questions to answer. Similarly, South Africa, also touted as a textbook case, has been run with an iron fist by the black African National Congress for nearly 30 years. Once again, if there’s “structural racism”, the non-white ANC has to answer for it.
Blaming COVID-19 on “structural racism” is a clear example of H. L. Mencken’s adage that, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”.