With his great 1982 book, The State Against Blacks, my GMU Econ colleague Walter Williams was, along with Thomas Sowell, far out in front in explaining how illiberal policies hurt blacks. The obstacles and snares Walter then identified are now mostly worse: the
war on drugs war on people who choose to ingest certain products continues; housing and land-use restrictions are worse than ever; the government-school system is a calamity disproportionately for blacks; and of course the minimum wage remains as a barrier to so many young black men and women wishing to enter the labor market.
Walter has been active in speaking out against the new illiberal measures flying under the banner of “anti-racism,” “inclusiveness,” and the like. Here’s one recent column on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Walter’s column is syndicated nationally, including in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, read by state legislators in Virginia.
My colleagues in the GMU Law school released a well thought-out commitment in favor of free speech and academic freedom.
Finally, my Econ colleague Dan Klein wrote a letter to Gregory Washington, the new President of GMU. The student newspaper did a story about it. And Dan did a presentation on these matters, video here and text here (SSRN). Dan’s letter is getting picked-up, for example here.
I am blessed – truly – to have colleagues such as these, with none longer than Walter, who I first met face-to-face in August 1985 when I joined GMU’s Econ faculty. I already admired the man, as a scholar and as a person. That admiration has only grown, and steadily so, over the course of the next 35 years. I am proud beyond words to call Walter a friend and, despite my never having been his student formally, one of my most influential teachers.