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At what point is structural racism self-inflicted?

We’re told that black families are hardest hit, this is all structural racism:

Labour has reaffirmed its commitment to tackle structural racism after new analysis showed black households are five times more likely to struggle making energy bills repayments.

Black and minority ethnic people were already 2.5 times more likely to be in relative poverty, and 2.2 times more likely to live in deep poverty (defined as having an income more than 50% below the relative poverty line), than their white counterparts regardless of the energy crisis, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Labour analysis has revealed black households are also four times more likely to be behind on rent or mortgage payments than white adults. On top of this, more than two-thirds of black adults are finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, compared with 45% of all adults; and 21% of black adults saying they are behind on payments, compared with 5% of all adults.

It’s certainly possible that this is all about structural racism. If we had significant structural racism then this might well be the sort of thing we’d see.

So, maybe.

It’s also true that those of us who have been around the world a bit see Britain as a very less than normally racist place. Not the least or a place without any racism at all but one where, through a possibly jaundiced but internationally experienced eye, race has less to do with economic outcome than most to many other places.

So, is there an alternative explanation? One that Occam’s shaving kit suggests might be the true explanation?

Note that the numbers are about households. The median (and modal, mean) British household is two adults. A single adult household is going to be, quite obviously, at an economic disadvantage when we consider household income.

Not sure if we do have numbers for ethnicity by size of adult household. So, children by single parent household by ethnicity would be a useful proxy. It is a proxy, it is not the thing we wish to measure. But it’s close to it and is a useful guide.



The percentage of black children in single parent families is double that of whites. Of black caribbeans it’s triple. Of Indians it’s only just over half that white level. Note that the Labour figures there talk about black and ethnic minorities being more likely to be poor, but then pull out black figures alone for the much worse outcome.

We’re talking about household incomes and can note that we’ve very different household – on average, median, mode and mean to boot – structures. So, how much of the difference in household incomes is down to differences, by ethnicity, in household structure?

That brush, soap and blade from the medieval monk doesn’t tell us that this rumination is correct. It does though tell us that we might want to examine this point a little more before insisting that it’s the oppression of whitey upon the diverse causing the original problem being complained about.

In a world where most households are two adults and mostly two adults earning, we’ve a portion of the society more likely to be single adult households and also poorer when measured by household income. Hmm, gosh, now that is a surprise, right?

But is it the cause of what is being complained about?

13 thoughts on “At what point is structural racism self-inflicted?”

  1. There’s varying types of self-infliction, of course.

    Elsewhere in the dear old Grauniad there’s an article about how the cost of living is impacting those ethnic minorities sending money abroad to family and friends in the homeland. With of course, the hidden subtext that it’s the fault of the government they are being squeezed.

    One woman sending money to Nigeria arrived here when she was one year old. And now she’s grown and earning, it’s expected, it’s cultural, we are told.

    We are also told the sums being sent home add up to ‘more than government foreign aid’.

    So…why don’t we stop such aid entirely, and use it to offset the money going out of the UK economy?

  2. When external factors are getting better and internal forces are getting worse.

    For instance, the majority of African-American families had two parents in the household in the 1920s, and now most are single-parent. I’m willing to bet that slavery and Jim Crow laws didn’t provide the best fodder for family stability, and that structural racism doesn’t exist in America anymore, so it’s fair to say internal cultural factors in specific social circles are the main culprit.

    Thomas Sowell talks about many of these cultural shortcomings actually having origins in white redneck culture, but the persistence of these issues has been encouraged by the very government schemes and liberal “do-gooders” who claimed they would help lift African-Americans out of poverty. Dependence on subsidies and arbitrary racial justice policies turned would-be self-determination into infantilism.

  3. If you look at the Social Maps of Victorian London by Charles Booth you can see that the ‘Poor’ are judged by their poverty (duh) rather than as the recipients of racism or religion.

    I’m afraid that ‘racism’, ‘religion’ and even ‘one parent families’ are just example of ‘one cause’ thinking – containing some observational truth but, I suspect, no remedies. The ‘poor’ are the ‘poor’ for many reasons but ‘fixing’ one cause is unlikely to effect major change. Some of the poor are ‘deserving’ poor, some are not, and who are deserving depends on the politics of the day.

  4. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    The table is garbage and quite possibly the numbers in it are garbage. It certainly isn’t at all clear how they were arrived at.

    For example the best way to not be brought up in a lone parent family is to not have an ethnicity recorded. In that category, 99% of kids have both parents at home. Yay!

    From the survey result, that’s 31 sprogloids of no appearance in lone parent households, versus – quick calculation – 3069 sprogloids of no appearance in mummy and daddy (or daddy and daddy, etc) households.

    And since we are told it’s 1.1% (of 41.000) households, there are a mere 451 households harbouring these 3100 sprogloids of no appearance, that’s 6.87 sprogloids per household. Mormons, obviously.

    For black Caribbean we have 91 sprogloids in lone-parent representing 63% of the total, so a total of 144 black Caribbean kiddies in the households being surveyed. We aren’t told how many black Caribbean households are in the survey but it’s go to be more than the Mormons. So, black Caribbeans have fewer kids? Maybe than Mormons, but not the rest of the world.

  5. We are not, you see, going to be allowed to get back to affordable energy, ever again.

    No, the plan is to blame it all on wypipo.

    D’ye see where this is going?

  6. It’s the usual convoluted attempt to avoid saying that black people don’t pull their weight economically.

    Why don’t they? Well, rather than make a serious attempt to answer that Labour just makes excuses for it.

    Because otherwise they’d have to discuss them as if they were adults. You’ll recall that an adult black was recently attacked by a Labour politician as not really being black because he is intelligent and well educated.

  7. Bloke in the Fourth Reich


    That one’s obvious. You are merely expanding the numerator to include the large number of labour MPs on the government benches.

  8. ‘… to struggle making energy bills repayments.‘

    Growing all those cannabis plants under lamps in the attic takes a lot of electricity.

  9. The Christmas spirit has really moved me. My response to all that is …
    “And I am supposed to care because…?”

  10. Steve

    Even with the Arctic Freeze Moscow must look pretty good right now

    Couldn’t agree more – the ‘Great Replacement’ is happening as we speak, aided and abetted by every government in the West barring Poland and Hungary.

  11. Blacks are relatively much more likely to be behind with their bills than to be in relative or deep poverty.
    Black children vis-a-vis white children are more likely to be in relative or deep poverty than to be in single-parent families.
    So it’s not *just* the single-parent problem: it is *also* what they do about it. Probably more white single-parents claim maintenance from ex-husbands.
    Maybe the structural racism problem lies in the Grauniad editorial office brainwashing blacks into believing that they are helpless and hence excused from making an effort.

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