How to Exacerbate Inequality

At Bloomberg Adam Minter points out the grave inequality between blacks and whites in Minneapolis:

Just after dawn last Wednesday, the smell of smoke lingered over the intersection of Lake Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. It’s a major commercial thoroughfare, home to dozens of black-owned businesses. It’s also eight blocks from where George Floyd suffocated beneath a police officer’s knee and died on May 25. During the chaos that followed, dozens of Lake Street’s buildings and businesses burned.

It was a serious blow to a community that’s struggled for decades to achieve economic equality. In 2018, the median income for black households in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area was $38,200; for whites, it was $82,500. That’s a wider gap than for the U.S. as a whole, despite the area’s progressive reputation, a corporate community that’s renowned for its civic-mindedness, and a robust regional economy.

I’m certainly open to suggestion on how to remedy that situation, something lacking from Mr. Minter’s article. Something he might consider is demographics. Minneapolis has a population of 450,000 of which 20% are black, 90,000 in round numbers. 74,000 Somalis live in Minneapolis. As is the case in much of the Upper Midwest, a large percentage of Minneapolis’s adult white population has a college education. Probably 70% or more.

What could possibly explain the income disparity between blacks and white in Minneapolis? Racism is probably a factor but somehow I doubt it’s the only factor.

16 comments… add one
  • GreyShambler Link

    Racism is the only factor you can express and keep your job.

    That’s a whole lotta Somalis. Maybe it’ll take them a few generations to find their niche. If your business is doing well maybe you could hire one to watch people work.

  • bob sykes Link

    Minnesota has had a strong socialist party since the founding of the Farmer-Labor Party (now Democrat-Farmer-Labor) in 1918. This is the party of Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone, and Amy Klochbar. It has been the dominant party in Minnesota since at least 1944, when F-L merged with the Dims.

    Surely, 75 years of socialism must have cured racism in Minnesota by now. If 75 years can’t cure the racism of White progressives in Minneapolis, essentially 100% of the city’s population, what will? Do leftist Minnesotans need reeducation camps. Surely the Maoists at U. Minnesota know how to do that.

    Here’s hoping Minneapolis disbands its police department and installs some sort of touchy-feely good-think organization in its place. That should be entertaining. Somalis actually know how to shoot down helicopters.

  • GreyShambler Link

    There are so many things Dave, and you know what they are. “Trading Places” is a funny movie. But you can’t take a man off the street and plug him into a job that takes a lifetime of preparation just to manage the social aspects, and especially if he rejects the whole concept. You’ve used the job description “cat”. I’ve heard it said “player”. Hell, maybe they’re right and I’m wrong! Damn Lutheran Christian work ethic anyway, its for fools and chumps. Maybe I made more money but they had more fun. Or, maybe they made more money AND had more fun.
    All I know, where I worked, African Americans wouldn’t apply, they had better options, not a single one wanted my job. There were always openings.

  • Guarneri Link

    Oh, come on. This gets so tiresome.

    Dave, you said it in your last paragraph. If we don’t want to deal with reality, fine. I sit here in the lap of luxury in a super high end community in SC. But I care about these issues. I actually care about the type of people I met when I didn’t have a pot to piss in and worked in a steel mill in NW Indiana.

    But if the steves of the world, the leftists of the world just want to play their infantile games for political gain, so be it. Nothing has been accomplished due to their efforts in 60 years. Absolutely nothing. And nothing will be accomplished given the tired old crap being spewed currently. I don’t think they really give a rats ass. It is apparently nothing more than a political game.

    I will play golf, shoot at the range, cycle, fish and enjoy fine dining while the malcontents pontificate. I pity those under duress, but my prescriptions apparently are subservient to political motivations. You scum………

  • TarsTarkas Link

    If you use a cynical outlook on what’s happening in Minneapolis and other cities, one could say that the haves (the ANTIFA/BLM crew) felt so threatened by some of the have-nots starting to have more than they did, reducing power of the inequality stick they use to beat the pigdog capitalists with, so they burned them out to turn their equity into smoke and keep them in their place. I don’t think that was the intention, but that’s the effect the rioting and looting have had on those minorities and poor people who were struggling to join the middle class.

  • steve Link

    Using your numbers, then 80% of the black population is Somali. Their average age is 22. Average age of white people in the area is 41. Average earnings of a 22 y/o are a bit over half of a 41 y/o. Somalis earn about 25% less (from memory) than the average 21 y/o. Those are the numbers.


  • Guarneri Link
  • Note that my point is emphatically not that racism is not a factor in inequality; it is that racism is not the only factor. When you take into account the non-zero drop out rate among Somalis and the percentage who are not native speakers of English, that the jobs available to them pay less should not be surprising.

    If you want equality, you should want to decrease the immigration of people with less than a high school education.

  • steve Link

    Sure, but then you are taking the inequality argument to weird extremes that no one actually argues for. It is simply not possible for immigrants who average 22 years old, are not educated well and many don’t speak English well to earn the same money as people people born and raised here. When we talk inequality we are talking much more about apples to apples comparisons, people born and raised in the same communities.


  • Sure, but then you are taking the inequality argument to weird extremes that no one actually argues for.

    Maybe not intentionally but that’s what they’re arguing for. Claiming that because they don’t say those words that’s not what they’re arguing for is sophistry. Policy is hard when you start talking actual ways and means.

    At least 28% of present Americans are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. Considerable inequality is inevitable.

    It is simply not possible for immigrants who average 22 years old, are not educated well and many don’t speak English well to earn the same money as people people born and raised here.

    Don’t you see the conflict? On the one hand inequality is being condemned as the source of problems. Then it’s being defended on the grounds that anything else is unrealistic.

  • GreyShambler Link

    Put another way, diversity and material equality are mutually exclusive, and will fuel income streams for civil rights leaders for generations to come.

  • Let me try to explain the point another way. Let’s say you’re in downtown Chicago. You say “Drive me to South Bend”. I start driving and after going over the Skyway, soon we arrive in Gary. You then say “I never said I wanted to go to Gary”. But there’s no practical way of going from Chicago to South Bend without going through Gary. Just saying that you want to go from Chicago to South Bend is materially equivalent to saying you want to drive through Gary. You don’t have to say it. That’s what it means.

  • jan Link

    Inequality happens when people are not treated equally. Racism happens when color overrides every other aspect in the assessment of another’s character and personal qualities. Both inequality and racism, IMO, have been enormously fueled by social progressive policies, ones that virtuously promote government dependence rather than self reliance, champion agendas calling for reparations and racial quotas – all of which effectively only increase divisiveness, minority stagnation, feelings of victimization and white privilege finger-pointing.

    And, while the liberal progressive’s language is laced with peace, love and social justice, their actions are hateful, hurtful, and harmful to any and all who disagree or get in their way. For instance, BLM is supposed to be supportive of black people. So, why are they defacing the Lincoln Memorial in DC., looting and burning black-owned businesses, and beating up or killing other black people? Furthermore, while there are demands for fundamental, institutional changes to be made, how can a nation even properly process and fairly construct any reforms when there is so much unruliness and pandemonium everywhere. Finally, since most of the fiscal mismanagement and social dysfunction resides in democratically run states and cities, how are new changes – for the better – to be implemented under the same old party leadership?

  • GreyShambler Link


    White separatists and supremacists are praying for that. Nothing that could be done that would swell their ranks more than high, regular federal payments based on evidence of racial background based on family lore.
    Or shall we do DNA?

  • steve Link

    Let me modify your analogy. I want to get to South Bend but I stipulate I want to be there in 2 hours. One person is going to take me in a rickshaw. The other in a cab. We both have to go through Gary. (Played a football game there in high school.) The rickshaw driver just isn’t going to make it in time. So no ones really expecting a minority group with an average age of 22 to make the same income as another group with one of 41. What we expect is that when that minority group has been here long enough to learn to speak English and get educated and at least be roughly the same age, that they will then be more equal.

    ” government dependence rather than self reliance”

    Hard to be self reliant if you cant get a job because people wont hire you because of your name, or drug arrests on your record that wouldnt be there if you were not a minority.



  • But, steve, that was not the point that Mr. Minter made in his piece. His position was that the problem in Minneapolis was due to income inequality between blacks and whites full stop. If you discount immigrants, as you suggest he must certainly mean, he has no article which was my point.

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