Police brutality across the USA is not a novelty. Some journalists even dedicated their own professional careers to prove that the US police are over crossing their jurisdictions in performing various set of duties. The latest killing of George Floyd sparked suspects that there might have been something else behind simple brutality. Outbreak of several dozens of protests immediately has destabilized peaceful American nation.
Not only social turmoil was ignited, but many background processes are now on stage. It is less like that the process could be shaken by the changes in global economic system, but it could. This is not a “racial fight”, this is seen rather as a clash among the classes in classless modern societies. How does the global media outlets see this ever-growing discrepancy that is positioned behind the #BlackLivesMatter?
The New York Times admits the importance of economy that lay behind the protests. In their report, they assume that the national protests seeking an end to systemic discrimination against black Americans have given new fuel to a racial reckoning in economics, a discipline dominated by white men despite decades of efforts to open greater opportunity for women and nonwhite men. The Howard University economist William Spriggs wrote to colleagues in an open letter that was posted this week on the website of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Modern economics has a deep and painful set of roots that too few economists acknowledge. Among many other things, he claims that “the founding leadership of the American Economic Association deeply and fervently provided “scientific” succor to the American eugenics movement”.
Their concept of race and human interaction was based on the “racial” superiority of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And they launched modern economics with a definition of race that fully incorporated the assumed superiority of that group and bought into a notion of race as an exogenous variable. The overwhelming majority of explorations of racial disparities in economic outcomes remains deeply tied to that view of race as an exogenous variable. And in the hands of far too many economists, it remains with the assumption that African Americans are inferior until proven otherwise. And, in this regard, it places economists alone outside the mainstream of all other American social sciences. It is the constant micro-aggression that African American economists endure at every meeting, and in reading every paper, and in reading every reviewer’s comments. The view of economists has real meaning because economists play a key role in shaping policy.
They are viewed as the objective scientists, with the tools to identify solutions; presumably absent “passion.” But to start with a model that has race as exogenous, racial differences cannot be objectively approached. The model begins with a fallacy that assumes racial differences as a 2 natural order. It biases the model, because there is a built-in excuse for disparities that cannot be solved. And, invariably, in the overwhelming case of economic analysis, assumes that there is something “deficient” about black people. Hopefully, more economists will accept the ugly reality that passively accepting that view leads to the ugly incidents of police misconduct we all observed. It is a form of “othering” that reduces the pain inflicted on someone because of decisions that are made. And it excuses the decision maker from responsibility at best or absolves them of guilt for the consequences at worst. Too many economists are great at excusing themselves when policies they propose exacerbate racial disadvantages because of that world view.
New York Times reports that black Americans are vastly underrepresented among economics students and professors, a wide range of data have shown. There are no black editors of the most prestigious economics journals. There are no black professors in the main economics department at Chicago, Mr. Uhlig’s employer, which is one of the most storied departments in the country. In a survey of economists released by the American Economic Association last year, only 14 percent of black economists agreed with the statement that “people of my race/ethnicity are respected within the field.”
The CNN reported on black lives matter issue even several years ago. In their article, they report on a detailed proposal in which a consortium of more than 50 civil rights groups laid out an ambitious plan to improve the financial lives of black Americans with a heavy emphasis on reparations, investing in black communities and economic justice. “The issues dealing with race and racism and racial inequality in the United States are intimately connected to the issues of wealth inequality,” said Patrick Mason, an economist who contributed to the report and the chair of the board of directors at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. This report, as CNN experts saw it, presented an assumption on the “economic justice as the next goal for the black people”.
It is not clear what will the developments look like in the near future. The clashes among the black people and the US police are getting an extreme path with no peaceful indices and promising outlook in the mid-term future.