4 thoughts on “Some initial thoughts on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ report”

  1. Posted 01/04/2021 at 17:23 | Permalink

    I need a dictionary for that last paragraph.

  2. Posted 04/04/2021 at 08:46 | Permalink

    Tim, I presume you mean the penultimate paragraph. I’m sorry, it is a mouthful.

    What I’m trying to get at is that concepts like ‘institutional racism’ are ultimately drawn from sociology. The assumption, which can be traced back to Emile Durkheim in the 19th century, is that you can make generalisations about society and institutions which constitute ‘social facts’. These ‘facts’ cannot be derived from individuals’ own perceptions but lie above them. In a rather different way, Karl Marx uses the idea of ‘class’ to make generalisations about groups of people (and about how history moves).

    This isn’t the way economists tend to think, as they start from analysing individuals’ choices in response to changes in incentives. This may be wrong, sure, but it is different from the thinking which lies behind the idea of institutional racism (or institutional misogyny or institutional transphobia or whatever).

  3. Posted 04/04/2021 at 10:53 | Permalink

    I knew the names that Professor Shackleton referenced but certainly couldn’t immediately locate where in each of their respective philosophers the link would be between the report and the philosophies. As an aside my family and I were living south of the Thames when Karl Popper passed away in 1994 and I was surprised to learn that he had been living in Croydon. For a quick summary of his life and philosophy here is a link to the Wikipedia article about him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

  4. Posted 04/04/2021 at 19:13 | Permalink

    It looks like Sewell has been attacked for an assertion he didn’t make. From the report:
    “. .the success of much of the ethnic minority population in education and, to a lesser extent, the economy, should be regarded as a model for other White-majority countries”.
    This is a claim mainly about education, but some have leaped on it to say it is a claim about Britain as a whole and therefore it’s a broad brush erasing of their argument that all British institutions are being racist. Some people just will not or can not read.

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