The logical conclusion? Equality is an illusion. There's simply no truth to it. There will always be a class system in every country no matter where you go, whether explicit as it is with the caste systems of India, or implicit, as it is here in the United States. Once you accept that, the next statement will make more sense: as individuals we cannot balance the scales. No matter how many boot straps you pull, or how hard you work, you will never successfully gain equality. You may gain access to more influence, power, or money, but you still haven't gained equality for the rather obvious reason that equality isn't a thing you can gain.
With that knowledge in hand, one might wonder: what then do we do about equality? The answer is quite simple: we have to rely on powerful organizations to balance the scales the best they can. In the United States, this task is unenviable, especially since the entire country was built with the blood of slaves, the majority of whom were of African descent. The effects of slavery are unique from the incident of slavery in one key way. The time period in which slavery existed is well-documented, but its effects are not. We can document the numerous disparities between the children of the formerly enslaved, and attribute it to slavery, but in truth, the damage done by three plus centuries of psychological, emotional and physical torture, not to mention the cultural damage caused by forcibly uprooting 12.5 million Africans and
We can't change the past. We can only try to correct its effects. Many of the alt-right would say we shouldn't try, or that we have done enough. But have we really? 12.6% of the U.S. population identify as Black Americans, according to data from census.gov, maintained by the U.S. Census Bureau. That's 38,929,319 for those keeping track at home. According to the U. S. Bureau of Prisons, Black people constitute 37.9% of the prison population, for a total of 71,647 Black inmates. By contrast, non-Hispanic Whites are 63.7% of the country at 196,817,552. White inmates comprise 58.6% of the prison population, numbering 110,871. Surely this was caused by slavery?
Perhaps, but the water is considerably muddier than this. In the 1980's, in an effort to circumvent Congress and fund Contras in Nicaragua, the CIA begin selling cocaine and weapons to inner cities largely populated by Black Americans. Couple this with segregation, mass lynchings, and the "war on drugs" and suddenly, attribution seems far more difficult than before.
One of the key fallacies of attribution is that things can attributed to one source. We often think of things originating from one source, but the truth of the matter is that we can attribute the disparity in our statistical samples to multiple sources. However, one thing holds true as we continue to explore the various reasons: the majority of the causes are external. To say that Black people are more inherently predisposed to crime, is ignorant, myopic and irresponsible.
As stated earlier, we can't change the past. But we can help mitigate the damage of our previously poor decisions. We can't undo the mistakes of our forefathers, but we can help those affected by it. Not because we should, but more importantly because we can. The United States is a country that has afforded so many opportunities to all of us. The very creed of this nation is about the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, and the core values of the U.S. reflect that. It's that very fact that gives us the ability to help those who have been wronged, to set right what once went wrong. Not simply because we have to, or because we should. But because we can.