This is racist. That is not.

For those who don’t know me, sometimes I am distracted by proverbial squirrels. I could be reading one thing, notice something related to it and off I go down a long rabbit hole. This article is like that. Trust me though, it all makes sense in the end. Just sayin’…

Have you have noticed this increased focus on racism in America? I am, of course, being sarcastic. Racism is being discussed more today than it has been since 2004. It is also the source of much research. Check out this Google Trends chart that shows search traffic on the word- racism since 2004.


And that brings me to this article before you now. I have noticed with increased frequency, how people are using the word – “racist” as a weapon. It seems to me that people are deliberately using it incorrectly to either score political points, to cancel someone they disagree with or, are woefully ignorant of what true racism is. For the sake of clarity, racism is defined this way…

This part of the definition stands out to me the most, “…usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” This was heavy on my mind when someone brought to my attention recent controversy surrounding the  NMAAHC – “The National Museum of African American History & Culture.” Quite recently, they published a page entitled – Whiteness and on that page was a graphic illustrating “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States.” The graphic is below. Do you notice anything unusual about it? I do.

A few points stand out to me. According to this chart, being “white” means…

  • You work for your reward and don’t expect a handout (“self-reliance”)
  • You believe hard work should be rewarded (“autonomy highly valued”)
  • You do not have a victim mindset (“you get what you deserve”)
  • You appreciate traditional family values (“father, mother, 2 kids)
  • You are objective in your thoughts and not guided purely by emotion (“rational linear thinking”)
  • You value hard work (“work before play”)
  • You respect authority
  • You have a religious faith.
  • You are willing to delay gratification for future success (“plan for future’)
  • You have a sense of fairness and not entitlement (“winner/loser dichotomy”)

These are universally accepted values and could be ascribed to every minority in the USA (and beyond) and not just white people. So, why did the National Museum of African American History and Culture frame the conversation this way? Aren’t these traits the basic building blocks for success? Wouldn’t labelling these traits as being part of a white supremacist dogma persuade some African Americans to rebel against them? If so, how does that benefit the African American community or for that matter, any minority community that wants to eschew any hint of racism? And if these traits are being “white” then, are they suggesting that being “black” means you are lazy, dependent on handouts and disrespectful of authority? How does it not?

The spirit behind the chart as well as the language therein, speaks to a bigotry of low expectations. There have been many commentators harshly criticizing it and I am happy to say that the chart was removed from the museum website; although the “whiteness” page is alive and well. Here are a few reactions from social media discussing it.


After I stepped away from the web and pondered how The National Museum of African American History & Culture was inferring how one race was inferior to another (hmm… there’s a word for that), something struck me. That chart is somewhat, and this might be a bit of a leap, a recent spin on an old evil – scientific racism. My definition of scientific racism is using anecdotal data and charts to “prove” one race is better than another. However, Wikipedia defines scientific racism this way

Scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism, is the pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence exists to support or justify racism (racial discrimination), racial inferiority, or racial superiority.  Historically, scientific racism received credence throughout the scientific community, but it is no longer considered scientific.

I think I like the Wikipedia version better. Okay, bear with me now, as I go off on a tangent and share  some examples of how “science” has been used to justify racism over the years.


Benjamin Rush (1745–1813), a Founding Father of the United States and a physician, proposed that being black was a hereditary skin disease, which he called “negroidism“, and that it could be cured. Rush believed non-whites were really white underneath but they were stricken with a non-contagious form of leprosy which darkened their skin color. Rush drew the conclusion that “whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.” Despite this, Rush was an abolitionist who wrestled with various contrarian viewpoints.


Alfred Ploetz’s theory of Rassenhygiene (racial hygiene) made him a popular eugenicist, especially among Nazis. In 1936, he was granted a professorship from Adolf Hitler. His book, “The Efficiency of Our Race and the Protection of the Weak,” promotes the idea of a superior Aryan and that race mixing was ruining society. Ploetz believed that the preservation of the Aryan race necessitated enforced selective breeding and the murder of children with disabilities and a ban on interracial relationships.


In the early 19th century, Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman was a Black Khoikhoi woman whose body was exploited as a display to paying Europeans. She and other Black Khoikhoi women were displayed as the “Hottentot Venus,” a term that became the basis of the theory that Black women were hypersexual and had larger birth canals. Naturalists such as Henri de Blainville and Georges Cuvier believed that Baartman’s elongated labia was scientific proof that African women had naturally wide birth canals, enabling them to give birth with ease. The theory was seized upon by white owners in the New World, who used it to justify forcing Black women to work while heavily pregnant and sending them back to work immediately after giving birth.


In 2011, psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa published a blog on the Psychology Today website that argued that Black women were “far less attractive than white, Asian and Native American women.” He based his findings on a website that asked users to rate random pictures of women. Without proof of sample size or meeting scientific standards, Kanazawa continued to claim that his findings showed that Black women were “objectively” less attractive. He speculated that Black women were found to be less attractive because of high testosterone levels and more manly features. No evidence backed his claim and the blog post has been removed. [source]

As you can imagine, his article caused an uproar at the time. Here is one such example…


Any and all pseudoscience that portends to substantiate racial superiority with “data” should be thoroughly denounced, debunked and dismissed as harshly as possible and at every opportunity. The above examples are what I would identify as blatantly racist, no matter how “justified” by science. Conversely, the following “racist” example is not, in my opinion.


I recently read an article that I mistook for satire. At first glance, I thought the article forwarded to me was from The Onion or The Babbling Bee. Alas, it was not. The title of the article was, “The Unintentional Racsim Found in Traffic Signals.” To quote…

A few months back, before Covid-19 kept us in our homes and George Floyd made us take to the streets, I was walking with a friend, her daughter, and my twin sons. My friend is White and I’m not — something I’d never given a second thought until we reached a crosswalk. “Remember, honey,” she said to her daughter as we waited for the light to turn green, “we need to wait for the little White man to appear before we can cross the street.

I realize that White people like to exert control over nearly everything everyone does, I thought, but since when did this literally include trying to cross the street?

Part of my surprise here was a function of age. My boys are a few months younger than her daughter and we hadn’t yet tackled the “crossing the street” component of basic toddler training. But as a Black dad, I was struck by the language at play. How is it possible that well into the 21st century, parents all over Manhattan — well-meaning, #BLM-marching parents — are teaching their children to ask “little White men” for permission to cross the street? And why doesn’t this seem to bother them?

In the article, David Kauffman (the writer), does some research to find the origins of the symbol and discovered that “the little white man” is not actually a man.

A “hominoid” is how the folks at the FHWA initially described him, though later they referred to him as a gender-neutral “Walking Person’”— an icon that actually dates back to the 1940s. At that time, “walk” and “don’t walk” typified traffic signage, but began to be phased out because words could be misunderstood by increasingly globalized populations. “The use of icons instead of words on traffic signs has been a slow but steady evolution for decades because they improve universal comprehension,” an FHWA spokesperson says. “This is not a recent development.”

In fact, the Walking Person’s first major move actually took place in 1971 when it became enshrined in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices — the FHWA bible — as an alternative to the words “WALK” and “DON’T WALK.” For the next four decades or so, our little friend slowly, informally replaced its outdated predecessors until 2009; that’s when the Walking Person finally became the FHWA standard and, as the spokesperson says, “the option to use words is no longer permitted in newly installed signals.” One day soon, every traffic signal will contain the Walking Person, along with its counterpart: the bright red hand telling folks not to walk.

So the “little man” is actually a little person, but that little person is still white. Right?

I honestly thought I was reading a satirical piece up to this point, a daring jab at the woke culture that is triggered by indiscernible microaggressions and perceived racism where it does not exist. However, that changed with the last paragraph.

Nonetheless, that little White man woke me up to the ways that language imparts power and privilege even upon the most banal necessities. And so, as I begin teaching my boys survival basics like riding a bike, waiting in line, and… yes… crossing the street, I’ll work hard to avoid phrases like “little White man.” Obviously “bright light person” rolls off the tongue far less mellifluously, but a bit of extra verbal labor is worth the price of not conceding our power to even one more little White man.

At this point, I honestly reflected on what he had to say, carefully balancing his observations and how the situation resonated inside him enough to pen this piece. It was then I realized that we live in two very different, parallel worlds. In my world, a traffic light is just a traffic light. I am not a victim of a system designed to safeguard pedestrians and drivers alike. In this instance, oppression is not present. Although, in the separate but equal dimension alongside me, I am constantly reminded of the black asphalt on the roads we all traverse; where only the white lines have meaning. Indeed, they divide traffic and serve as borders for walkers to move from one side of the street to the other. What does the blackness of the road contribute?  It is all an unending reminder of the value of order that whiteness brings to us all and the inconsequence of blackness. Hah! I made myself laugh with that last sentence.

All that to say…

Ascribing positive traits to “whiteness?” That is racist.

Using “science” to justify racism? That is racist.

Traffic signs as a symbol of white oppression? That is not racist.

Okay, random thoughts are done.

I’ll just leave you with this…

What has Black Lives Matter Accomplished?

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been the catalyst of a LOT of social change, arguably for the better of society. It has forced a lot of uncomfortable conversations about race that some feel has been long overdue. Many BLM supporters are proud of their affiliation, seeing it as a 2.0 version of the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, the popularity of BLM has surpassed that of even the President of the United States. Still, despite their successes, the organization is mired in controversy. What some see as progress, others view as a destructive force dividing the nations. Whether you are for or against BLM, it is apparent that both sides are stubbornly resistant to the other side’s point of view.

And this had me thinking, “What if I put together a resource of arguments and factoids concerning BLM?” As I pondered further, I thought I could list the positive things that happened as a result of BLM and address some of the controversies. My goal is not to persuade people one way or the other. (Besides, it has been scientifically proven that trying to dissuade someone from their core belief system will likely cause them to double-down on them.) My intent is to share food for thought and spark debate over a group that is not going away anytime soon. Due to this easily offended culture we seem to be in, I will say now that I am not trying to trigger anyone. I am only sharing information for the curious and open-minded. In every case, I link to my source.


Finally, I would ask any and all to see this as a springboard to their own research. PLEASE do your own research and come up with your own conclusions. You have a mind and an opinion, and you are entitled to it; just as I am. If at any point you think I am wrong in simply sharing what I found, I will save us both time by referring to this disclaimer, “You are right, and I am wrong.”

Now with that said, here are some bullet points for the TLDR (too long, did not read) crowd. This article is broken up in several sections.

  • Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation – I talk about the positive contributions and societal changes that BLM is credited for influencing.
  • Where do Black Lives Matter Donations Go? – I talk about the donations they receive and where the money goes.
  • BLM has a George Soros Connection – I share the connection BLM has to George Soros and the conspiracy theories surrounding that.
  • Black Lives Matter is Marxist Trained – The co-founder of BLM has admitted to being Marxist trained. What does that mean? I speculate.
  • BLM has terrorist roots – BLM has verified connections to the Weather Underground, a group the FBI declared to be domestic terrorist.
  • The Double Speak of “Defund the Police” – When people say “defund the police” it is interpreted differently by those who support BLM and their detractors. Why? I speculate.
  • Why Black Lives Matters Not All Lives Matter? – I discuss what I think is the animosity behind this phrase.

Black Lives Matter to Black Liberation

Not too long ago, the media was buzzing about a popularity poll that showed the public support of Black Lives Matter had reached new bounds. Here is a quote from Bloomberg.

From Washington to Whitefish, Montanawhite America is reckoning with racism, publicly demonstrating its belief that black lives have been too long neglected and abused. There’s just one question: Why now?

According to a Civiqs poll, 53% of Americans support Black Lives Matter, and only 25% oppose it — a 12-point increase in support since mid-April. By a double-digit margin, BLM is more popular than either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. As political scientist Drew Linzer noted: BLM “is the single most favorably viewed national political organization or politician in America right now.”

Not surprising as for many supporters, the Black Lives Matter is the new Civil Rights movement and a chance to fight for social justice that some view is in the same vein as Martin Luther King, Jr and those who marched alongside him. Several reforms have been directly and indirectly with the BLM movement.

Here is a partial list.


Where do Black Lives Matter Donations Go?

Black Lives Matter has collected over $100 million for its cause with 200+ companies defending the protest actions of its supporters. Where does the money go? Some have said that millions of dollars was spent on travel and consultants, according to financial statements with 6% of that going to local chapters.

Some prominent voices have said that BLM is a money laundering operation for the Democratic National Convention whereas others consider that a hoax; some have upheld the position that it is.  If you look at the website, there is not much in terms of how they will specifically use donations to “fight for freedom, liberation and justice.”

In online forums, people often ponder anonymously what they hesitate to ask out loud. A certain online thread relates how several people have unsuccessfully tried to find out how their charitable donations would be spent. Included in the conversation was a link to an “Ask Me Anything” event where the Managing Director for Black Lives Matter Network Action Fund and Black Lives Matter Global Network, Inc. gave less than satisfying answers when probed about donations; apparently (according to Reddit members) some comments were deleted afterwards.


BLM has a George Soros Connection

According to Wikipedia, George Soros is a Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist. As of May 2020, he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations. Quite recently, he announced a $220 million investment to fight racial injustice. People on the right, see him as a boogeyman, a self-admitted Nazi collaborator  wielding influence to destroy America and replace it with a one-word globalist government, or “open society.”


To quote ‘The Guardian’ – “Soros’s thought and philanthropic career are organised around the idea of the “open society,” a term developed and popularised by Popper in his classic work The Open Society and Its Enemies. According to Popper, open societies guarantee and protect rational exchange, while closed societies force people to submit to authority, whether that authority is religious, political or economic” and further down in the same article, “Unlike Gates, whose philanthropy focuses mostly on ameliorative projects such as eradicating malaria, Soros truly wants to transform national and international politics and society.

Whether or not his vision can survive the wave of antisemitic, Islamophobic and xenophobic rightwing nationalism ascendant in the US and Europe remains to be seen. What is certain is that Soros will spend the remainder of his life attempting to make sure it does.”


There are many conspiracy theories surrounding George Soros and while some news organizations dismiss them as myth at best or, far right propaganda at worst, alternative news stories persist about his desire and actions to demoralize and destroy America and reshape the world. How is this relevant? George Soros is a financial backer of Black Lives Matter among other causes. To many people – globally, his connection to BLM raises a HUGE red flag.

Further study:

Black Lives Matter is Marxist Trained

When writing The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx thought he was providing a road to utopia, but everywhere his ideas were tried, they resulted in catastrophe and mass murder. How is this relevant? Black Lives Matter co-founder – Patrisse Cullors admits that she and fellow founder – Alicia Graza are trained Marxists.

That being said, what do Marxists believe? The website Classroom summarizes it like this.

Karl Marx, writing with Friedrich Engels, developed a theory of social and economic principles and a sharp critique of the capitalist form of government in the mid-1800s. Marx believed that workers, under the capitalist system of government, sold their labor and that this labor became a commodity. This commodity, or “labor power” translated into surplus value for the capitalist, but not for the worker. Marx concluded that this created an inherent conflict between the working class (proletariat) and the ownership class (the bourgeoisie). Because capitalism has this “built in” inequality, Marx argued that the working class would eventually take power over the ruling class, reconstructing society. This reconstruction would take place in stages. The next stage after capitalism, according to Marx, would be a socialist form of government.

Socialism advocates public ownership of property and natural resources rather than private ownership. The socialist system of government values cooperation over the competitiveness of a free market economy. Socialists believe that all people in society contribute to the production of goods and services and that those goods should be shared equally. This differs from the capitalist system in which individual efforts trump the collective and the free market determines the distribution of goods.  

That was classical Marxism. Marxism has evolved since its original inception into a neo-marxism that has replaced the rich vs poor dynamic with identity politics; something mostly associated with the “New Left.”  The Neo-Marxist is defined in the Urban Dictionary this way:

A neo-marxist is a person who adheres to neo-marxism. Neo-marxism is an offshoot of marxism, in which it is believed that all societal ills come from the divide between the rich (who are claimed to be undeserving of their wealth) and the poor (who are claimed to be oppressed). Marxists believe that all personal failings are of a direct result of someone else oppressing you, and that another person cannot be successful without oppressing another.

Neo-marxism differs from marxism by abandoning the dichotomy of rich vs poor and instead adopt identity politics. Instead of the dichotomy being between wealthy and poor, it is between successful and unsuccessful demographics. Neo-marxists divide all demographics (white, black, asian, male, female, gay, straight, etc) and place them in a hierarchy of oppression as determined by how successful that demographic is. White and Asian men are at the bottom of this hierarchy, whereas blacks and females are near the top (although the exact order is not widely accepted).

Neo-marxists believe that successful demographics are only successful because they exploit the less successful demographics, and as such believe that the more successful demographics (i.e the ‘rich’ of classical marxism) should be punished in some way, and what they have should be given to the less successful demographics. Typically this involves giving these demographics money, positions, and political influence simply for being a member of an “oppressed” demographic.

Consider a quote from a famous 20th century speech that is based on Marxist ideology. It was delivered by a very charismatic and political leader who was both revered and hated in his day. I left blanks so as not to give it away to any potential history buffs.

“The ________ have shown real genius in profiting by politics. This capitalistic people, which was brought into existence by the unscrupulous exploitation of men, has understood how to get the leadership of the Fourth Estate (the news media) into its own hands; and by acting both on the Right and on the Left it has its apostles in both camps. On the Right the ______ does his best to encourage all the evils there are to such an extent that the man of the people, poor devil, will be exasperated as much as possible– greed of money, unscrupulousness, hard- heartedness, abominable snobbishness. More and more ______ have wormed their way into our upper-class families; and the consequence has been that the ruling class has been alienated from its own people.”

Today, one could fill in the blank with “white man” or “conservative” or “Republican” and it would ring true to a lot of people today. Can you guess the speaker? It was Adolf Hitler. He said it in a speech, made in 1922. Add the word “jews” in the blanks and you will have the original speech. What does this suggest to you about Marxism? How can this ideology bring about an overall positive change to our society? Everywhere its been practiced, nothing good came from it.

Further study:


Black Lives Matter Has Terrorist Roots

In an interview with Democracy Now, Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors credits Eric Mann for being her mentor. Eric Mann is a member of the Weather Underground, a radical-left militant  group that bombed government buildings and police stations in the 1960s and 1970s. Among their stated goals was the overthrow of the US government. In 1969, the FBI classified the group as a domestic terror organization. Mann was eventually charged with assault and battery, disturbing the peace, damaging property, defacing a building and disturbing a public assembly, for which he spent 18 months behind bars.

When the magazine – Cosmopolitan asked Cullors “What are some leaders that inspire you?” the response was Assata Shakur.  Shakur assassinated a New Jersey state trooper and now lives in exile in Cuba. She was also involved in bombings and several executions of cops in New Jersey, New York and San Francisco. She is still wanted by the FBI.  

Granted, being an inspiration can take on many meanings, but there is exists today a highly suspected connection to Black Lives Matter because of Susan Rosenberg. Susan Rosenberg, the vice-chair of Thousand Currents group, which handles the administration of the donations made to Black Lives Matter, is a convicted terrorist who was sentenced to 58 years for weapons and explosives charges while a member of the May 19th Communist Organization. She spent 16 years in prison before President Bill Clinton commuted her sentence on his last day. Among other things, Rosenberg was suspected of helping Shakur escape from prison in 1979.

It is notable to mention that Rosenberg was listed as the vice chairwoman of the board of directors for Thousand Currents until the webpage was pulled down after her background was first reported by the Capital Research Center.

For further study:


The Double Speak of Defund The Police

Black Lives Matter has consistently supported an effort to defund the police; something I have discussed at length on my podcast – “Things I Think About.” (Please do listen and subscribe to it.) The hashtag  #DefundThePolice has a double meaning.

When well-meaning BLM supporters say “defund the police” they really mean “reform the police” so that they are retrained in how they interact with the community and part of their funding is reallocated to community and social programs.  However, several politicians and the greater population receive the phrase as a literal desire to stop funding law enforcement agencies entirely and politicians are acting on that protest by reducing police budgets. The confusion over semantics sparks division and hinders mainstream acceptance. It also does not help things when it is recognized that the Black Lives Matter organization is connected to – Movement for Black Lives (M4BL).

According to The New York Times, The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) is a coalition of groups across the United States which represent the interests of black communities. It was formed in 2014 as a response to sustained and increasingly visible violence against black communities, with the purpose of creating a united front and establishing a political platform. The collective is made up of more than 150 organizations of which Black Lives Matter is one. On the “Who We Are” section of the M4BL website it reads, “We believe that prisons, police and all other institutions that inflict violence on Black people must be abolished and replaced by institutions that value and affirm the flourishing of Black lives.”

Whether the ultimate aim is dissolution or reform, what is consistent is the violence against police which has yet to be disavowed by BLM on the national level.

NYC protestors chant for dead cops

For further study:

Why Black Lives Matters not All Lives Matter?

The controversy of saying “all lives matter” in retort to “black lives matter” typically means what Good Housekeeping describes…

At its face, “All Lives Matter” sounds like a we’re-all-in-this-together statement. Some may be using the phrase to suggest that all races should join hands and stand together against racism, which is a sentiment that comes from a good place. But the problem is, the phrase actually takes the focus away from those who need it. Saying “All Lives Matter” redirects the attention from Black lives, who are the ones in peril.

Another popular explanation of this theme is along these lines.

If you break your arm and go to the doctor, and the doctor says “all your bones matter, not just your arm.” You’re gonna look at them stupid because yes, all your bones matter but they are fine, your arm needs attention rn. BLM is that arm, saying all lives matter is redundant.

It is also explained that black lives matter is like a house on fire. Some supporters go as far as to say that if you utter the phrase, “all lives matter” then, you are a racist and beneath contempt because until the BLM movement (and now) you have likely enjoyed a life of white privilege and cannot comprehend the level of oppression that black people suffer daily.

The resistance to saying “all lives matter” is the argument that white people are not (wholly) the problem facing Black America. Rather, it is culture and not color that holds back the black community and not systemic racism. This is not to say that racism does not exist. It is to say that racism should not be a catch-all excuse for not progressing. Indeed, several wounds in the black community are self-inflicted (i.e. black on black crime).  As such, the solution to much of the problems in the black community is self-accountability and not white people. This leads to a constant refrain of if/then statements that hint at self-accountability, such as…

At its core, I think, the arguments can be summed up like this:

  • People who say “black lives matter” are saying, “I am oppressed. Stop oppressing me (with your privilege and systems), racist.”
  • People who reply with “all lives matter” are saying, “I am not oppressing you. Stop calling me racist.”
  • Both sides are saying to the other, “No, stop, you don’t understand.”

Regardless of the side you identify with, saying “all lives matter” can cost you a job, verbal abuse, violence, mob violence and even death. Case in point…

Doty Whitaker Family Asks for Help, Pastor Starts "All Lives Matter" Group

This is not an exhaustive list of arguments against the Black Lives Matter movement. They are merely the ones that caught my eyes the most as I was researching. Additional arguments can be found online and I would encourage everyone to do their own research on the matter. What I think you will find is that most of the arguments overlap but essentially comes down to the following: BLM wants to disrupt traditional family structure and exclude fathers from vision of community, BLM is antiChristian, openly promoted segregation, are accused constantly of being supported by racists within their own ranks and most of all, hate black people who don’t support their agenda.

And finally, an argument against supporting BLM that I am hearing more of is an open and increasingly vocal desire to destroy the country and rebuild it from the ground up. This is in line with the Marxist ideology of reconstructing society. As an example of this, see the video below.

And this concludes my sharing on BLM. If you have come this far and are offended, please review my personal disclaimer at the beginning of my article. If you are not offended but are awakened to new information, I implore you to research further. I am in a phase of my life where I am highly skeptical of the mainstream news. I suggest that you be as well.

Defunding the Police is a Bad Idea

In episode #2 of “Things I Think About Podcast,” I discuss an interview featuring  Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors where she argued that police need to be defunded and by doing so, would resolve issues of homelessness, gentrification and improve the overall quality of life for society.

I took note of what she said and found points where we agreed and very much disagreed. Plus, I make several ominous predictions based on a very disturbing trend. Special thanks to my sponsor – Black History Quiz! Subscribe to the Black History Quiz newsletter now! / Look for the Things I Think About Podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

Articles and resources cited in this podcast:

Are diversity quotas the answer to systemic racism?

Sparked by social protests over systemic racism, the tech industry is laying out concrete plans to increase diversity and inclusion within their workforces. Although well intentioned, how do you recruit for industries where statistically, the talent pool of minority workers is low? In this episode of Tribe TV, Jim Stroud shares data on labor trends, debates equal opportunity vs equal outcome and challenges tech companies in SIlicon Valley to make realistic and measurable goals instead of virtue signaling to their peers. Tune in for a very controversial episode of Tribe TV!


Links related to this podcast:


So, I’ve been hearing about racism, systemic racism, more than almost anything else these days. Case in point, there in an article from USA Today dated June 15, 2020, so its fairly recent. The title, “What is systemic racism? Here’s what it means and how you can help dismantle it.” As I read it, something resonated with me.

Here’s the quote…

Glenn Harris, president of Race Forward and publisher of Colorlines, defined it as “the complex interaction of culture, policy and institutions that holds in place the outcomes we see in our lives.”

“Systemic racism is naming the process of white supremacy,” Harris said.

Harris said systemic racism creates disparities in many “success indicators” including wealth, the criminal justice system, employment, housing, health care, politics and education. He said that although the concept dates back to work done by scholar and civil rights pioneer W. E. B. Du Bois, the concept was first named during the civil rights movement of the 1960s and was further refined in the 1980s.

Structural racism prevents or makes it more challenging for people of color to participate in society and in the economy. While structural racism manifests itself in what appears to be separate institutions, Harris emphasized that factors like housing insecurity, the racial wealth gap, education and policing are intimately connected. 

What stood out to me was the emphasis, at least as I saw it, was on how systemic racism made it difficult to succeed in America and that triggered a healthy skepticism in me. I could name a lot of successful African American celebrities, popular athletes, business people and politicians and they would all be African American. If systemic racism was so entrenched, why are there so many success stories I can point to? And then I thought, you know what, maybe I’m wrong. What facts can I point that would substantiate my gut reaction because I don’t want to rely on emotion and skepticism alone. So, I did some research and when I was done, I had more questions and here they are.

  • If systemic racism is such a problem today, why are so many minority groups doing better than whites economically?
  • In the past, systemic racism was much more pronounced than it is today. That being the case, it would be impossible for African Americans to become millionaires after the Civil War and yet, there were several. Why?
  • If systemic racism is not the blame or at least, not the biggest impediment to African American progress, what is?


Okay, this is my logic. If white supremacy fuels systemic racism then, it stands to reason that they would be at the top of the food chain – economically speaking, but they are not. Check out these stats from the US Census Bureau as quoted by the website Financial Samurai.

The average income for Asian Americans is among the highest in America. For 2020, the median Asian American household income is roughly $80,000 compared the the median overall U.S. household in America of roughly $64,000. Asian Americans make up roughly 5.6 percent of the total American population as of 2020. The largest ethnic groups represented in the census were Chinese (3.79 million), Filipino (3.41 million), Indian (3.18 million), Vietnamese (1.73 million), Korean (1.7 million), and Japanese (1.3 million).

Further down the article it says…

Their overall annual household income corresponds with the Census Burea, but within the matrix, you can see a wide variation with Indian income at $100,000, or 3X higher than Burmese income and 35% higher than the overall Asian American income.

This fact may be due to a higher proportion of Indian workers in the high tech and medical industries. The other surprising income datapoint is Filipino income second highest at $80,000. This may be attributed to better communication skills given English is widely spoken in Filipino culture, as well as a propensity for self-employment.


Shortly after I read that article, something else caught my eye, an article from the Black Enterprise website entitled, “STUDY: BLACK IMMIGRANTS EARN MORE THAN U.S.-BORN BLACKS.” And I thought, really? Here’s a quote from that article (dated September 24, 2015).

As the black population in the United States grows, the diversity in the black community is unprecedented. According to research by Nielsen, the number of black immigrants in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1980, to a record 3.8 million, accounting for 1 in every 11 blacks. By 2060, 1 out of every 6 U.S. blacks will be immigrants.

Black immigrants from Africa are driving the recent growth in immigration, accounting for 36% of the total foreign-born black population. Blacks from Nigeria and Ethiopia account for much of that growth. Still, the Caribbean population accounts for nearly 50% of all blacks, with most coming from Jamaica.

“A lot of the African . . . immigrants are coming specifically to get an education in the States,” says Andrew McCaskill, senior vice president of global communications at Nielsen.

“High numbers are college-educated, and not only have college degrees, but also masters,” he adds.

McCaskill also says that the black immigrant population in the U.S. has a higher percentage of entrepreneurs, and an increased ability to keep dollars in their own communities.

Further down it reads…

“While U.S. born blacks have had to battle generations of institutional racism, such as predatory lending, that has put them at a socioeconomic and psychological disadvantage that some immigrants have not experienced in this country. McCaskill hopes the changing economic landscape for blacks, citing the Nielsen finding that income growth rates in black households are surpassing almost all others, will help U.S. born blacks and immigrants realize the economic power they collectively have.”


Okay, so now I am looking at the Asian American community doing better than whites economically and I am mulling over how Black immigrants come to the USA and do better – economically than native African Americans and while that is going on in my head, someone shares a book with me that I am adding to my Amazon Wishlist. It’s called, “Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires.”

Check out the book description…

The astonishing untold history of America’s first black millionairesformer slaves who endured incredible challenges to amass and maintain their wealth for a century, from the Jacksonian period to the Roaring Twenties—self-made entrepreneurs whose unknown success mirrored that of American business heroes such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison.

While Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Michael Jordan, and Will Smith are among the estimated 35,000 black millionaires in the nation today, these famous celebrities were not the first blacks to reach the storied one percent. Between the years of 1830 and 1927, as the last generation of blacks born into slavery was reaching maturity, a small group of smart, tenacious, and daring men and women broke new ground to attain the highest levels of financial success.

Black Fortunes is an intriguing look at these remarkable individuals, including Napoleon Bonaparte Drew – the first black man in Powhatan County (contemporary Richmond) to own property in post-Civil War Virginia. His achievements were matched by five other unknown black entrepreneurs including:

  • Mary Ellen Pleasant, who used her Gold Rush wealth to further the cause of abolitionist John Brown;
  • Robert Reed Church, who became the largest landowner in Tennessee;
  • Hannah Elias, the mistress of a New York City millionaire, who used the land her lover gave her to build an empire in Harlem;
  • Orphan and self-taught chemist Annie Turnbo-Malone, who developed the first national brand of hair care products;
  • Madam C. J Walker, Turnbo-Malone’s employee who would earn the nickname America’s “first female black millionaire;”
  • Mississippi schoolteacher W. Gurley, who developed a piece of Tulsa, Oklahoma, into a “town” for wealthy black professionals and craftsmen” that would become known as “the Black Wall Street.”

Okay, simple question for all readers, “Was there more racism or less racism in America between 1830 and 1927? I can assure you, there was substantially more racism in America at that time than there is now. And yet, there were black millionaires and successful black professionals. Why didn’t systemic racism hold them back? Why isn’t it holding back black immigrants and the Asian community today? Well, if I had to point to one thing, I would point to the culture.


A few years back, Amy Chua aka “The Tiger Mom” wrote a book called “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” where she exalts the Chinese culture for its ability to rear high-achieving children in America. She followed up that success with another book called “The Triple Package” that she co-wrote with her husband and in that book, she analyzes the cultures of Nigerians, Jews, Indians, Iranians, Lebanese Americans, Cuban exiles.

A quote from her book reads, “Cubans in Miami climbed from poverty to prosperity in a generation. Nigerians earn doctorates at stunningly high rates … [these] groups have a cultural edge, which enables them to take advantage of opportunity far more than others.”

Amy Chua, co-author of “The Triple Package”, explains the
three underlying traits she thinks lead to success.

Hmm… So many thoughts.

According to Pew Research, about half of Asians ages 25 and older (51%) have a bachelor’s degree or more, compared with 30% of all Americans this age. About 26% of Asians live in multigenerational households, a higher share than the U.S. overall (19%). Multigenerational families are households that include two or more adult generations or one that includes both grandparents and grandchildren. And according to US Census data, they have the lowest divorce rates. All this suggests to me that fathers are in the home.

Pew Research tells me that black immigrants from Africa are more likely than Americans overall to have a college degree or higher. For example, 59% of foreign-born blacks from Nigeria have a bachelor’s or advanced degree – a share that is roughly double that of the overall population. In Nigeria, the idea of divorce is considered taboo. Check out these quotes from the website – OZY, its titled, “ THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ETHNIC GROUP IN THE U.S. MAY SURPRISE YOU.”

At an Onyejekwe family get-together, you can’t throw a stone without hitting someone with a master’s degree. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors — every family member is highly educated and professionally successful, and many have a lucrative side gig to boot. Parents and grandparents share stories of whose kid just won an academic honor, achieved an athletic title or performed in the school play. Aunts, uncles and cousins celebrate one another’s job promotions or the new nonprofit one of them just started. To the Ohio-based Onyejekwes, this level of achievement is normal. They’re Nigerian-American — it’s just what they do.

Today, 61 percent of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 32 percent for the U.S.-born population, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services, the 2016 American Community Survey found, and many are professors at top universities. Nigerians are entering the medical field in the U.S. at an increased rate, leaving their home country to work in American hospitals, where they can earn more and work in better facilities. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building tech companies in the U.S. to help people back home.

Further down it reads…

Anyone from the Nigerian diaspora will tell you their parents gave them three career choices: doctor, lawyer or engineer. For a younger generation of Nigerian-Americans, that’s still true, but many are adding a second career, or even a third, to that trajectory.

Anie Akpe works full time as vice president of mortgages at Municipal Credit Union in New York City, but she’s also the founder of Innov8tiv magazine, African Women in Technology (an education and mentorship program) and an app called NetWorq that connects professionals. Raised in the southern port city of Calabar, she had the Nigerian hustle baked into her upbringing. “There was no such thing as ‘can’t’ in our household,” she says.



Before and after slavery, African Americans fought hard to preserve their families, build lasting kinship networks, and survive cruelty and hardship. A phenomenon studied well in Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century. This suggests to me fathers (or father figures) were very much part of the African American experience and likely influenced the former slaves who went on to become millionaires.

In case you haven’t discerned the pattern I am developing here, I’ll make it plain. A culture that emphasizes education, work ethic and fatherhood tends to thrive. And while there may be other factors in play, these are consistent elements of success in Asian communities, Black Immigrant communities and was once more dominant in African American communities at a time of heightened systemic racism. Are those patterns at play in the African American community today? To some degree, yes, as no race of people is a monolith of personality. We do not all think alike or behave as one sentient being to a predetermined course. Yet, the trending data does tell a depressing story.

Walter Williams, professor of Economics at George Mason University recently said this in his syndicated column back in 2017. (I tend to agree with him. Emphasis and links added.)

The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure.

Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes, and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households.

But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery?

In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.

Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers.

Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery?

The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

Parenthetically, a desire to see strong stable families with fathers in the home is a sentiment shared by President Barack Obama as well.


In addition to the negative repercussions inherent to a fatherless generation, another concern for me is the dropout rates in the African American community. Insight Into Diversity cited a study by The Education Trust — an organization that advocates for the academic achievement of underrepresented students — reveals that graduation rates for African American students fall far behind those of their peers of all races and ethnicities. Said study included 676 traditional private and public nonprofit colleges and universities nationwide that enroll 60 percent of all first-time, full-time African American students. At these institutions, black students had the lowest graduation rates of any ethnic group, with just 40.9 percent completing a degree within six years.

The results of that study coincides with US Census Bureau data where points out “Eighty Percent of African Americans over age 25 have high school diplomas. The average number of African Americans that have at least a bachelor’s degree increased two percentage point to 19% since the year 2000. This however is still ten percentage points lower than the national average.”


Business Insider recently posted “26 simple charts to show friends and family who aren’t convinced racism is still a problem in America.” Here are most of the bullet points:

  • The employment-population ratio for Black Americans has historically tended to fall quite a bit lower than for whites or Latinos.
  • The unemployment rate has also spiked for all racial groups in the US during the coronavirus pandemic and is especially high for Black Americans.
  • Black Americans are underrepresented in high-paying jobs
  • People of color, and especially Black Americans, are severely underrepresented at the top of the corporate hierarchy.
  • Black Americans have historically been underrepresented in the highest echelons of government, as well.
  • Black workers have historically earned far less than white workers.
  • Similarly, overall income for Black Americans was about 42% lower than for whites in 2018.
  • There’s a similar disparity at the household level. Lower incomes mean that the poverty rate for Black families is over twice that of white families.
  • One of the contributing factors to the household wealth disparity is student loans.
  • The wage gap between races also interacts with the gender wage gap between men and women.
  • A key part of the “American Dream” is leaving your children in a better economic position than you were in, but that dream is less attainable for Black Americans.
  • Educational opportunities remain starkly split by race.
  • The share of both white and Black Americans with college degrees has increased dramatically over the last half-century, but there’s still a gap.
  • When they tried to get financing from banks, Black mortgage applicants were more likely to be denied loans than aspiring homeowners of other races. Thus, the share of Black households that own their own homes is lower than other racial groups.
  • Black men are roughly five times more likely to be imprisoned than their white counterparts — and nearly 13 times as likely in the 18-19 age group.
  • Roughly half of those fatally shot by police are white, but Black Americans are fatally shot at a disproportionate rate compared to their representation in the US population.

When I review these data points, I think about this quote from Frederick Douglass.

Fredrick Douglass said, “Everybody has asked the question, … ‘What shall we do with the Negro?‘ I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! You’re doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, … let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also.”

Many of the data points from Business Insider outlined above could be resolved with a cultural change within the African American community. If the pursuit of education and stable families were the focal point concerning our community and echoed in the pop culture we produce, repeated ad nauseum by celebrities and championed by political and spiritual leaders en masse, most of the issues cited above would fall away; in my opinion. For any meaningful and significant long-term impact to happen, it will take blacks encouraging blacks to follow advice akin to a certain tiger mom and realize that you are special but have something to prove (to yourself) and should work towards that aim, delaying self-gratification until you have achieved your goal. It will take blacks encouraging blacks to point out that if former slaves can become millionaires then, our self-inflicted wounds become excuses at best. At worst, they become leverage for those seeking some sort of political advantage. Most of all, it will take blacks encouraging blacks because the psychological benefit of self-empowerment would eradicate a victim mentality that prohibits achievement and that frees every generation that follows afterwards.


Racism is the by-product of imperfect people. There will always be imperfect people. If blacks encourage blacks to focus on education, stable households and the discipline to delay personal gratification for a much grander long-term goal then, racism will be far less relevant.


  • This article is not intended to deny the existence of racism or its enduring effects.
  • This article is not intended to denigrate the black community in any way. Quite the contrary, the goal is to share a solution to a societal ill.
  • This article is not intended to disparage black mothers in any way.
  • This article is not intended to gloss over other relevant issues in the black community.
  • This article is my opinion. Take it or leave it. I am entitled to mine as you are to your own.

And I’ll leave you with this…

Further study: