Last week President Obama used "the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow" to explain Donald Sterling's attitudes towards black. Usually, when someone invokes that expression, they're using it to explain away some black dysfunction.
But are high rates of illegitimacy, murder, and rape, and lower rates of academic achievement really all just the legacy of slavery and segregation? When we live in a country where affirmative action has been in place for roughly forty-five years, how much does Jim Crow really explain?
Does it explain why blacks who come from families which make between 180 and 200 thousand dollars a year score lower on the SATs on average than whites who come from families which make less than 20 thousand a year -- and how those results remain remarkably consistent year after year? Can the legacy of past discrimination account for the poor SATs of blacks who grew up rich?
Do sub-Saharan Africans who never went through Jim Crow and segregation have low rates of murder and rape and high SAT scores?
Maybe it's time to admit that differences in accomplishment and temperament and behavior are the legacy of…..our diversity.
Or, maybe other groups should start using similar excuses.
Maybe Japanese-Americans should claim that their absence in the NBA is "the legacy of the internment camps" they were put into during WWII. After all, they were put into those camps.
Maybe whites should attribute their lack of dancing ability to America's repressive Puritanical heritage. After all, this country was founded by Puritans.
And maybe women should say the fact they never win The World's Strongest Man competition is the legacy of centuries of sexism. After all, there's no denying that women have been subjugated since the dawn of history.