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Reading this dispatch from the Dispatch, it seems like David French is four square in the camp of structural racism.
In his article he attacks those on the right that believe in equal justice under the law thusly:
…that racism exists only when there is individual malign intent, that remedies for racism should be limited to imposing consequences on individual racists, and that there is no intergenerational obligation to remedy historic injustice (“I’m not responsible for my ancestors’ sins”).
Under this mode of thinking, the concept of “equality under the law”—as mandated by the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act—is both necessary and largely sufficient to address the causes and consequences of centuries of slavery followed by generations of Jim Crow.
Well, I have to say, yes. That is what we have to work with. Anything else is making someone today pony up for some sin they did not commit. I have an ancestor who served in the Confederate Army. So what? French cites a biblical passage, which, I will ignore, because we have more than believers in the Old Testament here about, and move on. French decides to find structural racism in housing.
Residential segregation, through redlining and other means—especially when combined with profound employment discrimination and educational disparities—resulted in the creation of large communities of dramatically disadvantaged Americans. Because of centuries of systematic, de jure (by law) oppression, they possessed fewer resources and less education than those who didn’t suffer equivalent discrimination.
While the passing of the Civil Rights Act meant that black Americans had the right to live elsewhere, they often lacked the resources to purchase homes or rent apartments in wealthier neighborhoods with better schools. Indeed, to this day, the median net worth of a black family ($17,150) is roughly one-tenth the median net worth of a white family ($171,000). That means less money for down payments, less money for security deposits, and overall fewer resources that enable social mobility.
One of the solutions to this problem is permitting more multi-family housing in wealthier communities. But that’s exactly when NIMBYism rears its head. Even if every member of a local zoning and planning commission isn’t racist, there are multiple non-racist reasons for them to resist greater population density. There’s traffic congestion. There’s school overcrowding. There’s the potential consequence to property values. There are environmental objections. There are a host of related infrastructure concerns.
Well. I guess all those poor black people who moved north to escape Jim Crow and the poverty of the south did not happen? French ignores that what was called “White Flight” was in fact, “Middle Class Flight.” What is weird here is that he gives all the totally normal, race-neutral reasons that people don’t want where they live changed. Well, that is great. He just goes on to call for people to change their rules anyway. Y’all who know me, know I am pro-community rights, because I believe the people have the right to fashion communities they want to live in. This is done through government. David French, conservative, disagrees:
With regards to zoning, I’m more likely to suggest that property owners should be granted more economic freedom and that limits on multi-family housing are perpetuated by limiting people’s freedom to buy and develop land. The balance between planning and property rights should tilt more towards liberty. NIMBYism exists in part because government authorities sometimes control my backyard more than I do.
David French does not understand how “Not in My Backyard” works. It exists because the people who are there use government to set controls into place. It is clear that Mr. French is unhappy that local people, trying to build the best community they can, with nary a bit of racism in their own hearts, are unwilling to take a hit of some sort, and have the sorts of multifamily housing proven to decrease standard of living. It is clear that he wants them to take one for the team by what he calls a “tilt more towards liberty” but what he really means is a “tilt more towards the sort of construction I think should happen because bad things happened to minorities in the past.” I am pleased he does not want central control of redistribution of wealth, but forcing a community to change its zoning to increase housing density is not an act of liberty for the people already living there, it is a violation of their rights as sure as if you taxed them to transfer money to someone else.
Speaking of transfers, French complains:
Indeed, to this day, the median net worth of a black family ($17,150) is roughly one-tenth the median net worth of a white family ($171,000). That means less money for down payments, less money for security deposits, and overall fewer resources that enable social mobility.
Well, since the start of the Great Society, we have spent billions and billions in tax dollars, taken from people doing well, and given it, mostly no serious strings attached, to the poor. The so-called War on Poverty has not budged the line at all. So, I don’t see how more transfers of wealth, in any format, is going to make a difference.
What is really funny to me, is that before the end of Jim Crow, black families were more intact. It was not slavery that ended black families. It was not decades of oppression that ended black families. No, it was the coming of massive government intervention, and a society that embraced sex outside of marriage to an astonishing degree. Indeed, all families used to be more intact. I wonder if Mr. French put the same energy and faith into advocating for the end of no-fault divorce as he does for this sort of nonsense what that would be like. Not popular with anyone, I imagine. I mean, we are in an age, where David French’s buddy at the Dispatch watched and spoke highly of Game of Thrones which was
soft medium-core porn (and Danny, by the way folks, was underage in the book) and cheered it on in the GLOP podcast. Not sure I have read French take his buddy to task for that.
What is really funny here, is that French opens his whole article complaining that another religious organization does not want a pastor to use Critical Race Theory as a foundation. He then attacks being against CRT as being unconservative because it is not seeing the world as it is, namely, that slavery and Jim Crow did some bad things.
Even worse, David French does not prove that in 2021 there is structural racism against blacks. The title of his article is not even backed up. What he talks about are nonracist reasons that some people find themselves boxed out of some situations. The real reason there are “large communities of dramatically disadvantaged Americans” is because dysfunctional people create dysfunctional communities. No one who is functional wants to live in those communities regardless of their race. And any time too many dysfunctional people move into a functional community, it fails. The functional people move out, and the area is colonized by more dysfunctional people. Burning down your local Walmart is not the act of “disadvantaged Americans” because if it were, large parts of the Appalachian mountains would have been burned to the ground. Mr. French does not even address that level of poverty.
David French is not an ally in the fight to save America. He has sided with the forces who want CRT and he is calling for reparations. Not calling them with that name, nor is he calling for centralized control. But he is clearly calling for people to disadvantage themselves because there has been racism in the past, and own up to the idea that being nonracist, but wanting the best for you and yours is actually systematically racist.
Heaven help us from “conservatives” like David French.Published in