Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?
by Thomas Sowell
Roughly two decades after the civil rights legislation of the 1960s, economist Thomas Sowell wrote Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? Sowell’s goal was simple – look at facts and statistics and understand if the high-minded idealism behind the legislation resulted in equality gains for minorities. The answer is no, says Sowell, who marshals a wide range of data to support his contention that in spite of the best intentions of its proponents, the legislation has been unable to demonstrably improve the situation of some minorities groups. As Sowell observes, much of this failure has been due to what he calls “the Civil Rights Vision” which sees discrimination as the primary cause for all inequality. Sowell then shows how societies, cultures and personal preferences all play a large role in cases of inequality – and how legislation does not and cannot address these variables. While taking the risk of being misunderstood, Sowell has written a valuable analysis of the limitations of legislation to end inequality.
Praise for Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?
“Thomas Sowell…retraces the tortuous path of civil rights legislation from equal opportunity to reverse discrimination. Along the way he overturns many untenable assumptions, exposes contradictions, and lucidly expounds the logic of liberty.” – The Freeman
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