Thursday, August 6, 2015

#Baltimore revisited

The riots in Baltimore reignited an old debate: Are members of a particular racial group disadvantaged because they lack the attitudes needed for economic success? Or because they face discrimination – which is the root cause for any alleged attitudinal problems, too? The same question has been asked about poor whites, but also about women – in general or in particular areas (like business or science). Of course, it could be both – but in some circles “blaming the victim” is seen as adding insult to injury. In this context, why not recall Martin Luther King’s immortal words from over 50 years ago: "There are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.Should anyone be blamed really for failing – or not wanting – to adapt to social and economic conditions that are obviously problematic – even in the absence of any personal bias and discrimination?