June 26, 2007, - 3:29 pm

What Price Would You Put on Being Black?: Study Authors Upset at Anti-Shakedown Results

By Debbie Schlussel
What price would you put on being Black? On varying degrees of likely or possible racism? How much would you demand in compensation to undergo the experience? How much would you ask to be paid if you also knew that you would be part of an elite group that receives all sorts of preferential treatment, even if you experienced little harm?
A study co-authored by Harvard and Ohio State University professors said that White Americans generally said they’d charge less than $10,000 to live the rest of their lives as Blacks.
But Mahzarin Banaji, a Harvard social ethics professor, and Philip Mazzoco, an Ohio State assistant professor of psychology–who conducted the study–are upset at these findings. I wondered why they would conduct such a study, the results of which appear in the current issue of Harvard’s Du Bois Review, published by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University.

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And they’ve given insight in press interviews. They believe that this offers insight as to why about 90% of White Americans object to reparations. They also say that there really are higher costs associated with being Black, like lower income and wealth, higher poverty levels, and shorter lifespans than Blacks. In a press release, they say Whites “underestimate the cost of being Black.”
On the other hand, the study does not examine the “pay” Blacks and minorities already get for being members of their ethnic groups: affirmative action admissions in college and graduate schools, affirmative action in hiring, minority set asides in government contracting. All of these are forms of compensation that exert racism and costs on non-minorities (ie., Whites). Maybe that’s why Whites would ask for less than $10,000 to live out their lives as Blacks. Those things don’t exist in a vacuum, and they’re part of the price . . . or rather, the “business transaction.”
Obviously skin color is different from ethnicity, and it’s generally difficult to hide from. And no-one should have to hide from that identity. As a known Jew, however, I endure more than my fair share of anti-Semitism. Death threats from several Muslims have let to huge impingements on my lifestyle, which I’ve had to take as security precautions, and which–for that reason–I can’t go into here.
Yet, as readers of this site know, I’m very proud of my heritage, and I’d never demand pay for it. It’s not a negative or something I’d ever describe as “the cost of being Jewish.” Only self-haters and bigots describe it that way. It’s part of my identity that is a positive influence on who I am. That White Americans also would see being Black in the same way, and therefore, wouldn’t ask for a lot of money to live out their lives as Blacks, should be greeted as a very positive result. It shows the respondents don’t see being Black as a bad thing–that they aren’t racist.
Those who would demand large pay are the ones we should be worried about. And it’s good news that there aren’t many of those in White America, according to this study. If only there were similar results in Black America.
It’s sad that academics, including those from the over-rated Harvard, don’t see it from that point of view. And they are the ones teaching America’s future leaders and civic-minded citizens.
They’re bummed that, unlike Bill Clinton, most Americans don’t feign the “I feel your pain” biz and don’t value race-based shakedowns the way the titans of the industry–Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton–do.
Those Blacks who speak of “the cost of being Black” are really no different than those in the Klan who have similar feelings about them. And it’s very disturbing.

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12 Responses

Well deb, after reading that…it’s not wonder black america is still held back. When you have the most insane people wanting to live the rest of their lives “black”, and those that speak of some costs and whatever…..you get this.
I’m proud of the good that came out of my ethicity. Real people like Edward Brooke is who took my race forward. But we don’t have blacks like that anymore becuase the media wants us to believe a piece of shit gangsta rapper is a poineer.

Squirrel3D on June 26, 2007 at 4:18 pm

If i had it i’d pay half you crackers $10,000 to live a WEEK Black…and not no Cosby Show existence, but REAL GHETTO circa 1980’s…NOW living black ain’t all that difficult and THAT has nothing to do with the Bush legacy.
As for “affirmative action admissions in college and graduate schools, affirmative action in hiring, minority set asides in government contracting”…THAT is still so much of a fallacy! Since there’s still more brothers in prison than in college [therefore the AA for graduate school is virtually nil] and way too few Black businesses that would benefit from government contracts, all that is just klan rhetoric.
And the whole reparations myth is something said as a joke by P-Funk…niggas KNOW we ain’t getting 40 acres and a mule—just talk about it to fuck with y’all.

EminemsRevenge on June 26, 2007 at 6:33 pm

If you are a black (or half-black) middle class female, you are set for life. You will be recruited into the best schools, you’ll be eased into an advanced degree program in front of more deserving individuals who aren’t part of that special designated minority. Then you get the cushy job and get promoted regardless of your performance. The people this hurts are the blacks who are truly deserving and who don’t need affirmative action. My hero Thomas Sowell has said he’s glad he went to school before affirmative action. Affirmative action places a stigma on minorities. Yet they just don’t want to give it up.

lexi on June 26, 2007 at 7:07 pm

What a ridiculous premise for high-brow research. If there’s one thing I got out of the political organizing I did in the “Black community” it’s that there are a plenty of reasons to be proud of being black, and why all Americans should be proud of black (or African-) Americans. This is a non-partisan issue.
Frederick Douglass, anyone? Ida Wells? Joe Louis? Booker T. Washington? If people can’t separate the wheat from the chaff on this subject, then no one and nothing can help them.

Jeremiah on June 26, 2007 at 7:23 pm

I don’t want to be black for the same reason I don’t want to be Asian, Hispanic, Christian, Buddhist, Canadian, French, whatever. I’m happy with who I am. What a useless exercise to ask people how much money they’d take to change their identity. As if the only reason someone can have for not wanting to be black is racism?

LibertarianBulbasaur on June 27, 2007 at 1:10 am

And to be followed by a race bating, anti-americanist like M&M makes me sick. I doubt the wheat will be seperated, as long as sub-humans like M&M exist to contuine holding back black americans like myself.

Squirrel3D on June 27, 2007 at 4:49 am

Umm Debbie, i don’t know what you mean by “business transaction” but i do know that comparing blacks to a business is exactly what the premise of slavery was built upon and boy, you and i know how horrible that was. To evoke such nasty memories speaks volumes of your mentality towards blacks.
Secondly, affirmative action in hiring and government set-asides still haven’t eliminated the black:white wealth ratio. Oh and by the way, these funds only account for a tiny percentage of the funds. So, if your opposition to any programs that afford blacks opportunities they would not otherwise get is based on preserving white privilege, shame on you.

Emperor on June 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm

Debbie is just defending white America. STFU and get a clue. It is clear that when people like Sharpton, Jackson, and other racists are the “leaders” there is a serious problem. Plus, don’t forget the increasing propensity of Islam in making inroads among the black community here. Blacks should stop pandering to affirmative action and accept the fact that they are more prone to alcoholism, crime, poverty, and divorce than whites. Debbie is just pointing out that reverse racism won’t reverse these facts.
How much would you demand in payment if you had to live one week as a Muzzie?

reasoner101 on June 27, 2007 at 11:33 pm

They say blacks receive “lower income and wealth, higher poverty levels, and shorter lifespans”. Than what? Not blacks in Africa. If blacks are so offended by being included in a European system, why don’t they revert to an African one?

steve ventry on June 28, 2007 at 2:11 am

Jeremiah, thanks for all the “political organizing” you did for blacks, stupid. Now that my neighborhood is 99.99% black, and you made sure they got programs to pay for having 5 kids apiece (that have broken into every 3rd house by the way), why don’t you help move them all into YOUR neighborhood?

steve ventry on June 30, 2007 at 11:29 am

Emperor, “white privilege”?? Do you worry about “hispanic privilege” in hispanic countries? Do you worry about “black privilege” in black countries? “Asian privilege” in asian countries? No, you’re only worried about Whites having something. Since Whites were NINETY PERCENT of the US when I was a kid, who would you EXPECT to be running America? Eskimos? And Whites have gone to EXTREME lengths to include non-whites in EVERYTHING, something nobody has ever done for us. And what do we get for it? We are racing towards EXTINCTION, with the esteemed likes of Ms. Schlussel still worried about the horrors of “racism”.

steve ventry on June 30, 2007 at 11:37 am

I have no appetite in the morning, a bit of an appetite for lunch, and have to watch what I eat for dinner. ,

xvmnzbc_ on June 3, 2011 at 8:23 pm

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