“Why aren’t there more black libertarians?”

May 28

Over at Libertarianism.org, Jonathan Blanks has an interesting essay on why African-Americans aren’t more likely to be libertarians. From the essay:

Too often, libertarians discuss rights and what people will do if the government gets out of their way, but before government was active in furthering racial equality, history shows that both public and private actors worked in concert to deny equal opportunity and truly free markets—often under the guise of “freedom.” This isn’t libertarians’ fault, but if libertarians want to have any voice in suggesting what the future should look like, we must grapple with the past and explain how and why this sordid history won’t repeat itself.

Moreover, American libertarians must not only confront the nation’s racist past, but how the legacy of that racism affects people today. Part of the disconnect between blacks and libertarians is likely related to the perception of racism’s prevalence and its impact on everyday lives of black Americans. If libertarians continue to downplay or dismiss racism’s role in criminal justice, economic uplift, and perceptions of black Americans, black Americans are unlikely to accept ideas from people who don’t see their own world for what it is.

Orin Kerr is the Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor at The George Washington University Law School, where he has taught since 2001. He teaches and writes in the area of criminal procedure and computer crime law.
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