Politics

Walter E. Williams: ‘The civil rights struggle is over, and it is won’ [AUDIO]

Jeff Poor Media Reporter

On WMAL 105.9 FM’s “Mornings on the Mall” radio program in Washington, D.C., on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams declared that the civil rights struggle is “over” and “won,” but acknowledged the black community still faces struggles.

“The civil rights struggle is over, and it is won,” Williams said. “Now, I’m not saying that every vestige of discrimination has been eliminated, but the civil rights struggle is over and won. At one time, black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees of everybody else. Now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems that black Americans face, but they’re not civil rights problems. And if we view them as civil rights problems, the solutions will be elusive forever.”

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One example Williams cited was the increase in the illegitimacy rate, which he said was not a civil rights issue.

“For example, let me list two or three — the illegitimacy rate among blacks is around 75 percent,” he continued. “That’s a devastating problem, but it’s not a civil rights problem. In 1940, the illegitimacy rate was 14 percent. At the time Martin Luther King spoke, it was 25 percent. Only 30 percent of black kids are raised in two-parent families. That’s a devastating problem, but it’s not a civil rights problem. In the 1880s, up to 80 percent of black kids lived in two-parent families.”

Others problems he cited were the lackluster education system in the black community and the high homicide rate among African-Americans, neither of which were civil rights issues in his opinion.

“Another major problem that blacks face that’s not a civil rights problem is the grossly fraudulent education that most black youngsters receive,” he added. “And Washington is a good example of that — that is the average black student who is a 12th grader — he has the reading, writing and computational skills of a white seventh or eighth grader. That’s a devastating problem. But it’s not a civil rights problem. Over 50 percent of all homicide victims in the United States are black people. And it’s not the Klan killing them — 94 and 95 percent of them are killed by other blacks. Again, if we say that this is a civil rights problem — we need to do something about white people, then the solution is going to be elusive forever.”

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