John McWhorter has a thoughtful response to my Root piece arguing that Wells Fargo’s targeting of black folks for subprime loans proves that there are still systemic issues of racism to be dealt with:
Namely, a key factor here was a lack of knowledge on the part of the people who took these loans. The “racist” analysis will naturally seem wisdom incarnate to many, and more “interesting.” But alone it carries a rather nauseating implication: that it is inevitable that poor black people will take mortgages that they can’t afford.It’s more of the subtly internalized inferiority complex that elsewhere leads to conclusions such as that if black people don’t do well on a test then the solution is to discount the test results.
John Bryant readily argues that part of what faces us is “financial illiteracy” and getting the word out to struggling people of color to not take such loans. This would be as effective a response to the problem as suing a bank.
John also writes that “discrimination today is of a radically different sort than what it used to be, not as central to what holds blacks back as it once was, and requiring different responses than what made sense fifty years ago.”