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  1. There has been some discussion of racial politics recently on this site. The existence of a predominantly black underclass affects racial politics. I thought it might be worth posting explicitly about the underclass. I actually posted the following on Rebirth of Reason a little over three years ago. I take the word "underclass" to refer to those people that are entangled in a self-destructive behavior pattern of sexual predation, teenage pregnancy, welfare dependence, crime, and substance abuse. Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of them. Once a person is entangled in this, only he or she can get himself or herself out of it. The rest of us may be able to do things to make it easier or harder, but it is ultimately up to the individual. In this country, the underclass is predominantly black. (I gather this is not true in other countries, such as England.) There are undoubtedly historical reasons for this which I will not try to analyze here. This should not be important and certainly does not change what I have already said. Since race looms large in America today, the blackness of the underclass becomes important in various ways. It gives people in the underclass an excuse, if they wish to use it, for not trying to disentangle themselves or not trying very hard. It may not be a very good excuse, but it is an excuse. It leads some people to say that non-blacks, especially whites, should not say anything about the underclass. Such exclusion of people from talking about an issue is not right and may lead to the loss of good ideas. It provides fodder for people who are prejudiced against blacks and are looking for things to support their prejudices. It skews the statistics for blacks. Different people may use these statistics in different ways, but if they do not acknowledge the skewing, they are not being honest.
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