More on the Late, Great Walter Williams

by Don Boudreaux on January 27, 2022

in Archived writings, Reality Is Not Optional, Seen and Unseen

Here’s a further contribution of mine to this month’s Liberty Matters discussion of my late, great colleague Walter Williams – a discussion both of the man and his work. Here’s my conclusion:

That these interventions today are often supported by people whose motives are emphatically not racist does not render these interventions immune from the charge of being systematically racist. If these interventions’ ill-consequences have – as they do – a distinctly racist profile, then the term “systemic racism” is appropriate.

An important difference between Walter and Progressives on this front is that Walter rightly rejected Progressives’ childish belief that racist intentions are both sufficient and necessary for racist outcomes. It is this naïve understanding of systemic racism that Walter spurned. And while he might, to avoid verbal confusion, also have spurned the term “systemic racism,” he certainly understood that the economic, the political, and the legal system each can be perverted by policies that inflict disproportionate harm on blacks and other minority groups. Very much of Walter’s life work was aimed at exposing such consequences.

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