I am struck by the outpouring of emotion from Blacks because of the election of Obama to the presidency. It’s not that I didn’t expect it, but one aspect repeats itself that surprises me: apparently Blacks will now be able to do what they couldn’t before, prosper in America. Again and again I read statements that now Blacks will be able to succeed educationally, vocationally, and economically.
It will be wonderful if that is true, but I wonder why it should be.
Two other large, easily identifiable minorities in America are more prosperous and successful than Blacks, and neither of them has ever had one of theirs become President. Asians in America as a group are as successful, and in terms of education and median income more successful, than White Americans.
Although not as successful in America as Whites or Asians, Hispanics already do better than Blacks in terms of education, median income, home ownership, and poverty rate.
Blacks can claim that they are still victims of lingering racism and the slavery of some of their ancestors (which ended over 150 years ago), but Asians and Hispanics have also been exposed to racism, not only in America, but often in their former homelands (perhaps even having personal knowledge of slavery). Many came to America with only the proverbial, often wet, shirts on their backs, not speaking English, frequently illiterate even in their native languages, penniless, and thrust into a strange culture. When they arrived they envied American Blacks, who were literate in English and established in American culture and in their communities.
Then in less than a generation many Asian immigrants became more prosperous than most of the long-established Black Americans, with higher median incomes and education levels than Whites.
Amazingly, all of that was accomplished without an Asian President, or even an Asian Secretary of State or Supreme Court Justice.