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"𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘮 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘴𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘮."

Talking about "the system" relieves us from personal action. What can I do about a 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 system? How do I confront it (who)? Notice my question were with regard to personal action on my part. I can be an example, an inspiration, a helping hand, a kick in the ass as required to stand against racism at a local level within my sphere of influence. The system is above my paygrade. I don't make laws or corporate policies (the system).

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author

"Talking about "the system" relieves us from personal action."

Yes, yes, yes. This, I believe, is exactly why it's become so trendy to do it.

And why people like DiAngelo have become millionaires telling white people, "of *course* you're racist! It's an inevitable consequence of having white skin. Just do some public self flagellation and put my book on your coffee table and you shall be absolved."

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Seconded. Eschewing racist behavior is an individual responsibility

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I think citing ‘systemic’ anything removes us from direct accountability for our actions and I applaud your embrace of what really matters - what we as individuals can do.

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It takes laws.

Without affirmative action black men with doctorates would still be unable to get any job above janitorial work. Racial bigotry is deeply ingrained in American culture and the only reason that we have made any progress is because of laws. Remove those laws and we will be back to where we were within a generation.

You will of course object that, as with anti-abortionists not universally opposing contraception, most people favor racial equality. Living with nonwhite coworkers and neighbors has softened and even eliminated the bigotry of their ancestors.

But just as you won't find prolifers passionately committed to keeping contraception available, you won't see many people putting anything on the line for racial justice. I would have; some people would have, but I have left.

These are poll results. They are not personal commitments.

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

"Perfunctory" doesn't seem to be quite the right word. I think "reflexive" would be a better choice.

Definition I get online is "carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection"; I think of this as a applying more to "perfunctory courtesies" as in "how are you" or "good morning," insincere well-wishes that serve as phatic communication, keeping the channel open but without real content.

This issue is more serious than those.

I've written before that I believe racism is a reflexive (there's that word) attitude held over from our many thousands of years as small tribes, where outsiders were dangerous and so clannish attitudes were emphatically survival-positive. It is emphatically systemic. As with the predilection toward religion these attitudes have outlived their usefulness but persist in our behavior genetics and need to be called out and consciously opposed.

Which I believe can only be done by passing laws.

Edit: and no, I am not advocating laws banning religion, through I think laws encouraging it, coddling it, should be ended.

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author

"'Perfunctory' doesn't seem to be quite the right word."

😁Yeah, I usually let people get away with using big words they're not quite ready for. Bless 'em.

I think racism is something more than vestigial tribalism (I'd say unconscious bias is closer to that). Racism as in the practice of segregation, say, or in racially motivated violence, is based on a hatred or fear that I can't quite understand.

I've travelled to some fairly remote areas of the world where people certainly reacted to me as if they'd never met a black person before, but while some were a little hesitant, they were almost unfailingly kind once the initial surprise/curiosity wore off.

It's natural to react differently when you encounter somebody different to yourself, there's be no issue of that was all racism was. The mystery is the degree.

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I didn't say it's vestigial tribalism; that would be cultural. I'm saying it has a basis in behavior genetics and until recently it was prudent.

Same for religion, I don't know of any human culture anytime in history that didn't have it. I think that if we had generation ships that went on centuries-long trips to other stars and where religion was unknown to the first generation, the ships would arrive full of mummified corpses anyway because religion would re-arise and bifurcate into opposing groups killing each other over doctrinal minutiae.

I don't mean to discourage; I am not saying we need to learn to live with bigotry. Quite the opposite. I'm saying we need to recognize its origins.

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"Same for religion, I don't know of any human culture anytime in history that didn't have it. I think that if we had generation ships that went on centuries-long trips to other stars and where religion was unknown to the first generation, the ships would arrive full of mummified corpses anyway"

Hmm, I wonder about this. I'm not disagreeing exactly. Religion is a particularly insistent aspect of human culture, I just feel like we're outgrowing the old forms of it slowly but surely (though we're replacing them with things like "wokeness" I suppose).

But still, I guess that religion serves a purpose that I don't see for racism (again, I'm differentiating between hate and bias). I grew yup watching Star Trek as a kid, so I'm hopeful on both fronts.

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The system is top down, and it took anti-discrimination laws to tame it, slowly.

Years ago, I worked for the government. A friend, and coworker, was being promoted to a supervisory position. At about the same time, the local newspaper published a story about the results of a class action suit where X numbers of black people were being promoted to Journeyman, supervisor and management positions.

His comment to me. "I'll just be damned! It's hard enough for a black man to get any respect around here and they do this now. I'll be seen as a token quota n****r." While he saw a need for such action, it came with a cost personal to him.

The idea of tokenism was a widespread damaging thing that even hit people who were generally not racists, "Is this surgeon good, or a token medical school graduate?" It still exists to a lesser degree today.

It also happened with respect to women and other demographics that were outside of the long accepted "white men do this stuff" norm.

Over time we saw it as unfounded. I've had non-white, non-American citizen non-male, managers, surgeons, etc. and hopefully I am not unique in not seeing that as something that should give me pause. The laws were needed, and helped, sometimes painfully as a process. Positive change is often like that. 𝗕𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝘀, 𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗳𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹𝘀.

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"While he saw a need for such action, it came with a cost personal to him"

Yep, this is the curse of diversity programs in general. I've never felt as if I was on the receiving end of something like this, but I'd feel sick if I ever did. Change is messy sadly. And slow. Even changes that are designed to help in the long term will end up hurting some number of people along the way.

The ultimate irony of affirmative action in particular is that while it's seen as "that thing that got black people into positions they didn't deserve" the greatest beneficiaries of it were white women.

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As with so many other advances it isn't possible to reach into someone's head (ugh) an change attitudes. It was NOT that long ago that a white worker could call a black one the n-word right in front of everyone with no fear of reprisal; now he will be escorted out of the building under guard.

Change the law, you change behavior. It may take a generation or two but attitudes will follow. Already the idea of opposing same-sex marriage is starting to seem just bigoted.

The charge of tokenism is inevitable, and complicated by the fact that a minority has to be superlative in the same role where a majority can be average.

It's also complicated by the fact that there really are people who think they're helping by promoting mediocrities above their level. The most uncontroversial example I can think of was Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine and its promotion of some truly awful women writers. There are some great women writing SF; LeGuin, Cherryh, others. ASFM printed some who were just awful, which did not help women writers one bit.

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Glenn Loury & John McWhorter just covered this in one of their talks, about DEI initiatives and whether they work. They spoke of black kids being able to get into, say, Georgetown Law School only being in the 70th percentile while white & Asians kids had to score in the 90th percentile. They didn't use the phrase 'bigotry of low expectations' but that's kind of what it is. They said what if black kids *were* held to the same high standard as others? Maybe it would mean not a lot of black kids get into Georgetown U for awhile but they'll have to work harder. My Nigerian friend used to complain about American blacks giving him crap for being a nerd, educated, 'well spoken' (he was from Nigeria, he didn't know how to 'talk black' and once he did, he didn't think he needed to). He also complained about blacks eschewing success and good grades as 'acting white' (something some American blacks like to claim isn't true).

These arguments resonate with me as corporate & academic America debate how to get more women into STEM studies and jobs. And I think, yeah, it would be a good thing to get more women into that but I'm not sure it will ever reach parity, nor should it if it's not natural. Some women just aren't good at that and I hope no one's being pushed to be an engineer when what she wants to be is a financial analyst. And really, when you're part of a DEI initiative people will always say you got in because of your biological X, not because you could compete on a system of merit (however faulty that may be).

It's definitely not fashionable on the left to note that disadvantaged groups often hold themselves back with the same low expectations of those around them. I see it in the female/feminist mindset all the time. It's too easy for them to blame 'patriarchy' and 'misogyny' when I see 'fear of empowerment' and 'fear of assertiveness'.

There is for sure systemic racism and sexism, but corporate America is doing a genuine job of trying to rectify that as I watch it morph over websites, where i spend a lot of time on with my job (sales) and have for 25 years. I'm seeing more black, brown, female, and combinations of those things on boards, leadership pages representations on business sites. More large people. More female people. More mixed female people on beauty & vanity sites with the white women centred less than before. I'm even seeing more men represented there too.

So yeah, change is happening but not everyone is willing to admit it. The victimhood narrative serves them too nicely and abrogates their need to look within and ask them what are *they* doing to hold themselves back.

A question I've been struggling with *my entire life*.

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author

"They spoke of black kids being able to get into, say, Georgetown Law School only being in the 70th percentile while white & Asians kids had to score in the 90th percentile."

Yeah, this is a huge issue. And it also leads to black children struggling or dropping out when they do get into these schools. Remember that law professor, who was fired for noticing that a lot of her lower performing students were black (https://libertyunyielding.com/2021/03/11/georgetown-law-professor-investigated-for-telling-the-truth/#google_vignette)?

Artificially engineering "diversity" in universities is not the answer. The work of changing outcomes needs to start much earlier. And it needs to be in schools *and* in homes.

As for the victimhood narrative, I'm publishing an article about exactly that in a few days. So I won't say any more about that yet.😁

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There is little doubt that some people enjoy beleiving themselves to be victimized and oppressed, taking this as evidence that they're *important* enough to be oppressed.

What other explanation is possible for the creation of phony minorities which people not only shoehorn themselves into but then project to anyone and everyone with pronouns and a firehose spray of imagined grievances?

And just imagine, some of us seek our validation from achievements. But, hey, we're just a bunch of elitists.

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It certainly serves the powerful quite well. Because victims aren't strong; they're weak. They're good at shooting off their mouths but not changing anything. I'm not sure what Ta-Nehisi Coates is doing to moe the conversation forward, and when I was on Medium Jessica Valenti was (probably still is) their most popular feminist but all she ever did was whine about the 'patriarchy' and complain about men getting away with this or that. Never an article in which she encouraged to do much more than 'make their voices heard' rather than, say, encourage women to report sexual assault at the time and stand behind them when the inevitable shitstorm starts.

Someone challenged me, a few years back on Medium, to stop 'screaming into the void' about growing some labia and offer suggestions and action items. They were right. That's what I've been trying to do, ever since, and I know that i've impacted at least a few hearts and minds and persuaded them to think more powerfully.

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When wages converge people could claim making progress. Mustn’t have that. Diminishing rage means lower lecture fees, hence the intangibles like patriarchy.

How can anyone claim patriarchal attitudes are improving?

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I think they *have* improved, but the ones who were never on board with equality are now empowered to speak their (tiny) mind and protect their dominance. Women haven't done enough to protect their rights - Trump got in with a LOT of their help. I wonder, though, if it will encourage male defection away from equality, particularly those who are turned off by the current misandrist feminist zeitgeist.

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I think the misandry was a lot worse in the 70s with womon/womyn and the fish-bicycle thing. A lot of women wanted more equal treatment, they weren't interested in hating their boyfriends and becoming lesbians.

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 28, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

The fundamental problem is predation and not racism. In a society where predatory abuse was unacceptable to a extreme degree, very few people who felt that Blacks are inferior would take to harming Blacks. Why? Because predatory behavior would be a taboo.

Our society, however, not only tolerates but encourages predation and discourages cooperation. Young males who are nice are mocked as being Gay. There may be some truth to the observation that Gay teens are less predatory. Not only are they more prone to like other males and hence not be motivated to abuse them, but they do not feel in competition with other males for females. Also, they may understand better what it is like to be on the receiving end of predation even if it is limited to anti-gay talk without others' knowing that there is a gay person in the midst.

Mathematically, one would expect that since Blacks are 14% of the population and Whites are over 60%, there would be more abuse of Blacks than of Whites. Whites still abuse Whites because that is the culture. Remember the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman? Where there are only Whites, there is still predation (not that other peoples are not also predators).

In a polarized society which is at war within itself, being harsh, judgmental, violent towards the opposing group is cheered, as Donald Trump showed by his abusing everyone who did not agree with him. The Wokers likewise are hideously abusive of Whites blaming all people of light skin hue as stealing the Black man's labor and demanding slavery reparations. Joe stole from me so I get to steal from Steve. The people who make money and gain power from our predatory culture are (1) Wall Street and (2) politicos. https://bit.ly/3fUBy1z 4-18-21, Hate Money Stalks America

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author

"In a society where predatory abuse was unacceptable to a extreme degree, very few people who felt that Blacks are inferior would take to harming Blacks."

I guess you're right, but wouldn't creating a society that was free of predatory instincts be even harder than creating one that was free of racism? Predation, in its various forms, seems to be an even more fundamental human drive.

I suspect people will always find reasons to fight. But Think we can find better things to fight about. Maybe even things that eventually lead to a better world.

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In a way it would be harder, but it would gain more support as it would benefit everyone. As long as people think that some are claiming special treatment, there will be strong opposition to change. Also it is not as hard as you imagine. We can structure schools to focus on cooperative problem solving. Some LA Probation camps in the 1960's ran cooperative programs, but the problem arose when the kids had to return to the home culture which was based on brutal violence. We had success with reducing gang violence and when we met with the assistant superintendent of LA schools in 1970 about our program and he is response was "Mexicans like to kill each other and there's nothing you can do about it."

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I almost strained my neck nodding along vigorously at the final paragraphs. If you really care about solving problems and helping real people, then your analysis has to be more complex than a skin tone chart. The roles to which racism, cultural, socioeconomic, ethical and other normative behaviors contribute to any given problem (maternal mortality) or perceived disparity is the real "hard work" that needs to be done. Otherwise the solutions may or may not be helpful at all. Think about diagnosing a patient as "sick" in the medical profession - do they have gout, heart disease, pneumonia, covid? It really matters, and the answers are all different. So diagnosing something as a disparity isn't insightful at all, it's actually just a categorization exercise, and often an incomplete (or faulty) one.

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"your analysis has to be more complex than a skin tone chart"

This is what I think a tragic number of people struggle to understand. "Race" is such a useless, way of improving outcomes in 2022. Most of the ideas I suggested in those paragraphs would benefit people of all colours, and certainly wouldn't be targeted at one particular skin colour. They're targeted at *need*.

If white people who are in need benefit, we should be happy. If black people who aren't in need don't, that should be fine with everybody involved. I think black people would be disproportionately helped because black people have been disproportionately harmed. That's how it should work I think.

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and thank you for linking to the Pew data - very interesting. I always wonder why these are pegged to "white" families when "asian" families are better off economically. I'm against trying to get anything insightful from lumping people by appearance, but just a question within that framework. eg: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/11/01/how-wealth-inequality-has-changed-in-the-u-s-since-the-great-recession-by-race-ethnicity-and-income/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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author

Did your reply get cut off? I'm not sure if you meant to ask a question here.

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It got a bit truncated - but no worries. Was just my musing about how data is collected/presented as I'm writing (laboriously) something myself and I've noticed the same oddities.

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deletedJun 29, 2022·edited Jun 29, 2022
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Jun 29, 2022·edited Jun 29, 2022

There is nothing honest about this exercise, nor is there anything insightful about propping up stereotypes. You're right to note that people do this all the time - it is one of a thousand mindless heuristics we use to get through the world. But that doesn't mean it's helpful or "honest". Nor is it very interesting or accurate as you are conflating culture and appearance and socioeconomics and a half-dozen other variables. It's a coarse, zeroth order thinking that you can try to elevate but ultimately doesn't advance any beneficial societal outcomes. "asian culture" - there are some 4 billion asians in the world - Burmese, Cambodian, Hmong etc. all have very different study habits than Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc. (and of course everything I said there based on countries is a coarse-grained assumption - students from Seoul very different than those from eg Busan). "black culture" - tell me about it - lmao...would love to hear what you think that is. sex-based ones are at least more rooted in reality as some of this is related to hormone production etc. post-puberty. But if you're actually interested in solving problems, you'll find that you need to think a bit harder about problems than "Indians are like this, blacks are like this". Boring, inaccurate, and misleading at best.

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It's hard to find any connection between what I wrote and your response. This response is the God Emperor of the Straw Men. You are characterizing my position as the exact opposite of what I wrote.

I've deleted it rather than go back and forth with turbo-charged tedium. I am not on here to be trolled, for arguments, or for teenybopper goading like "lmao." Bye.

Three.

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Not sure what you're on about to be honest. I've gotten a few messages from you since we exchanged. You're making assertions that aren't true - I'm pushing back against that. The rest of the ad hominem etc. doesn't lend you any credibility. If there is something you'd like to discuss - happy to get into details. I've seen you reply on several folks' statements in there and you seem to feel you're being misunderstood a lot. Perhaps that's something to examine in terms of communication style or content. Have a great weekend.

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I’m a little confused… you talk about the individual but then go on to suggest things that are actually systemic. If you address poverty, education, etc., you’re addressing it systemically. The fact that it will disproportionately benefit any one group is a byproduct of your original point that different groups are different. What is the individual aspect of that? Just voting?

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author

"you talk about the individual but then go on to suggest things that are actually systemic"

Yeah, as Voice of Reason says below, I'm not denying that systemic racism exists. Not at all. I'm pointing out how useless it is to stop thinking at that point.

Systems are made up of or changed by individuals. Goals are made up of clear, measurable steps. Too much of the rhetoric today doesn't get anywhere close to addressing those details.

The individual aspects is just action. As I said, Martin Luther King was an individual. The people who run community programs are individuals. Politicians are individuals. Yes, voting matters too, but there's lots that individuals can do aside from that, big and small, to make a difference.

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Jun 27, 2022·edited Jun 27, 2022

I think Steve’s point there was to concede that all those systemic approaches are also needed—just not exclusively, at the expense of individual responsibility.

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As a young man I had a huge amount of privilege. White, male, tall, athletic, handsome, with ability to get along with others. There is privilege in every bit of that. As a result, I was given projects that were challenging and interesting, something that you don't always get when you are getting started. It was difficult and I was forgiven when I stumbled. More privilege. As a result, I developed.

As time went on, women and minorities started entering technical fields. As Chris pointed out, "a minority has to be superlative in the same role where a majority can be average."

They were often given projects and tasks that were beneath them, with less change to advance or shine. Not to toot my own horn, but this was a place where I could do something. My manager, a woman at that time, expressed low regard for a female engineer from another department in a meeting. I spoke up for her and explained that I had worked with her and there were things about her that she didn't have the visibility to that I had. It helped get her a bit of respect, and a chance to earn it.

I was known as a go to guy for technical help, but probably some of the most important help was not the technical stuff, but to help people who were not given respect as a starting point receive, earn and feel respect. One Vietnamese engineer told me that he almost quit his job but because of me he stayed. In an environment where some people try to boost themselves up by stepping on others, especially the ones easy to step on, it is much better to do the right things. In one case my help enabled someone to surpass me. He earned it and I have no regret. There were people who helped me along the way.

None of what I wrote above was to boast. It is given as examples of what an individual can do to help people in a less privileged demographic. Policies from above can get them in the door, but they can too easily be nudged out unless individuals do their share to give them a chance.

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I don't believe minorities help themselves by voting Democrat almost all of the time. Tell me one neighborhood, I won't even ask for a city, that the Dems have turned around in these areas over the last fifty years. Just one.

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author

"Tell me one neighborhood, I won't even ask for a city, that the Dems have turned around in these areas over the last fifty years"

I'm definitely not familiar enough with every city in America to answer that. But is that really a fair metric of efficacy? What does turned around mean? How many governments, Democrat or Republican, have been successful in doing this?

Asking about Republicans isn't just whataboutism. If you're asking what the Democrats have done, but the Republicans have been equally ineffective, aren't you just talking about the ineffectiveness of government in general? Which is a worthwhile conversation to be fair.

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Turned around means safe, clean streets where kids get a quality education and there are job opportunities. Sadly I'm not aware of any where anything has improved.

I don't believe there are any large cities where Republicans hold the majority and if they did, who knows if it would make a difference. Though I think it would benefit citizens in these cities to vote for members of other parties so maybe more politicians would be working on the problems.

However you want to look at it, the Dems have failed miserably. So much so, I sometimes wonder if their failure for so long is intentional. Planned Parent Hood and liquor stores are about the only business's to be found. Poor educational systems. Bad policing policies

I mean fifty years. How long does it take to have some results? Anywhere?

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And what have Republicans done for the country?

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Don't care, I'm not a Republican. But see if you can keep up. My statement was about Blacks living in inner cities and anyone who looks honestly at the results of Dem policies in these cities knows nothing has changed.

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“See if you can keep up.”

That’s two.

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Sorry, but your response to my post was not relative at all. Your post was, what about the other guy. Which many people use because they have no true response.

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Camden, New Jersey? Not completely turned around, very far from it, but still improved in important ways.

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Sounds like you are proving my point. One city maybe slightly improved in fifty years. Not a very good track record, wouldn't you say?

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Oh you're not going to find much disagreement from my corner! I just wanted to provide the "Just one" example. Felt like almost like a trivia challenge LOL.

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Lol, that's funny

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