Ms. Sumi Maun recently rebutted my June 26 guest column in Current in Carmel, “Face the truth, not a false narrative.” I applaud her effort to point out systemic racism. It’s worthy of discussion, but some evidence-based support for her beliefs would be more convincing. It takes very little effort to dispute data supporting my claims without explaining why, or providing any evidence of her own.
One of her many claims is how I “glaringly omitted” that “…systemic racism is the root cause of economic, educational and societal inequalities in America.” I didn’t mention it because I do not believe it is the issue. My column simply refuted the claim that the police in the U.S. are systematically targeting black men. They are not.
While I wholeheartedly agree that past systemic racism certainly did its best to keep black Americans down—especially the poorest and least educated individuals, I do not believe it is the problem facing them today. If racism were still systemic in the way she and many others describe, President Obama would never have been elected, Colin Powell would never have been the highest-ranking officer in the most powerful military on Earth, and Condoleezza Rice would never have been Secretary of State.
According to a New York Times study, black American families in the middle class numbered only 266,000 in 1967 and grew to more than a million by 1989. Today, 40 percent of black households are in the middle class compared to 42 percent for all households. How can this be true if they were burdened by systemic racism?
Ms. Maun and others seem to think I believe that poor and undereducated black Americans brought all this pain onto themselves. I do not believe that, nor did I say any such thing, though it is unrealistic to hold them entirely blameless. The current social factors I listed in my original column are some of the tragic results of past systemic racism, and it is these issues that we must solve for today if we are to help these people improve their lives.
Matt Rowe, Carmel