Like the rest of the country, Connecticut is full of racial disparities. With legislation declaring racism a "public health crisis," the General Assembly is formally determining that racism is the cause of most of these disparities.
But advocates of the legislation, like advocates of the similar declarations made by a score of municipalities in the state, fail to identify any supposed racists and supposed racist government policies causing the supposed crisis.
Instead the legislation would appoint a commission to study the disparities and presumably reach the conclusion the legislation preordains – that racism causes them all. Of course the commission will hire a director and two assistants and acquire office space and thus cost $500,000 per year.
Actual evidence of racism – the intent and design to oppress – is not the only thing missing from the discussion of these declarations. Also missing is acknowledgment that the most distressing racial disparities in public health correlate overwhelmingly with poverty.
To use some of the criteria cited by advocates of the legislation, do members of racial minorities disproportionately have poor health because no one will sell them healthy food, decent medical insurance, or housing safely distant from pollution sources? Or do they just lack the necessary funds? If so, who or what exactly is preventing them from earning more money? Where exactly are racists in charge?
Of course the study commission is not likely to pose such questions. The commission is a Democratic Party project and answers to such questions would risk impugning Democrats. Indeed, as with the rest of the racial prattle, the main purpose of the commission seems to be to intimidate any opposition to the political left's objective of enlarging government.
If the commission ever wants to do more than posture piously, an inquiry into racial disparities in poverty in Connecticut might be illuminating.
For example, for decades welfare policy has been destroying the family unit disproportionately among racial minorities, depriving most minority children of fathers and casting many of them into a demoralizing and lifelong poverty. Meanwhile social promotion in elementary education also has a disproportionate impact on children from minority groups, leaving Connecticut with a grotesque racial performance gap in education.
So how do government subsidies for childbearing outside marriage, the resulting destruction of the family, and the repeal of standards in lower education make members of minority groups more capable of supporting themselves and sustaining health?
Since they have such racially disproportionate results, these failed policies well might be called racist -- that is, [ITALICS] meant [END ITALICS] to keep minorities down. Of course the policies may have been well-intended, but after decades of catastrophic results, well-intentioned people might notice unintended results and do something about them.
On the other hand, if these harmful policies have become acceptable because they sustain the comfortable employment of so many people who consider themselves liberals and even "woke," their supporters would deserve to be called racist. In any case these days it seems that only such labeling might gain attention for the problem.
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But obliviousness in state government and politics is entrenched, as House Speaker Matt Ritter, a Hartford Democrat, demonstrated last week.
To mollify the extreme-left Democratic legislators who want billions of dollars thrown at racial minorities for purposes yet to be identified, Ritter said he envisions a huge bonding program for unspecified infrastructure projects to reinvigorate the cities.
Ritter's family has three generations of service in Hartford and state government. So where has he been? Throughout the Ritter era Hartford has become steadily poorer, more dysfunctional, and more violent despite a series of big infrastructure projects -- Constitution Plaza, the Hartford Civic Center, and Adriaen's Landing. Now Constitution Plaza and the Civic Center are nearly empty and the latter needs expensive renovation. Hartford's latest big infrastructure project, Dunkin' Donuts Park, is only 4 years old and still in good shape, but gunshots can be heard nearby almost every day.
Connecticut's cities are not an infrastructure problem but a [ITALICS] social [END ITALICS] problem, a problem of the people who live there. Government keeps messing them up.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.