Racial Disparities without Injustice?

3 min readDec 22, 2022
Photo by SUNBEAM PHOTOGRAPHY on Unsplash

It’s difficult to have an honest conversation about racial disparities. Especially when it’s suggested there are aspects of “black culture” that contribute to racial disparities more than systemic factors.

Too many black thinkers dismiss the “cultural argument.”

For these thinkers, the “cultural argument” blames black victims for outcomes that are not their fault. These black thinkers want historical, political, social, and structural factors to get the blame they deserve.

With that said, it’s necessary to state that a disparity is just a significant difference or dissimilarity. Therefore, disparities are not negative in themselves. But when you add the word “racial” to the word “disparities,” the term automatically becomes negative because it is thought that all “racial disparities” are caused by injustice.

Popular public intellectual Ibram X. Kendi has said, “Individual behaviors can shape the success of individuals. But policies determine the success of groups. And it is racist power that creates the policies that cause racial inequities.”

Kendi’s rhetoric is crafted to avoid the “cultural argument,” but he inadvertently pointed out that culture is a key variable in his first sentence. Kendi said individual behaviors shape success. The next logical question is: What shapes…




J. Pharoah Doss is a columnist for the New Pittsburgh Courier.