Myths About Minorities

"Myths About Minorities," Commentary, August 1979, p. 33-37.


Will Rogers once said that it’s not ignorance that is so bad, but all the things we know “that ain’t so.” Much of what we “know” about racial and ethnic minorities in America is unsubstantiated and just plain wrong.

We “know,” for example, that there is in this country a majority of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (Wasps) surrounded by a fringe of minorities, who have lower incomes, occupations, and IQ’s, and higher fertility rates and crime rates. We “know” that non-whites invariably earn less than whites, and that blacks, who suffer broken homes as a legacy of slavery, are the worst off of all in economic terms. Yet none of those common beliefs is literally true, and some are very wide of the mark.