What looting looks like

Fox News on crack

Fox News on crack

Over the past few weeks Fox News has been crammed with images of looting. Only one kind of looting by only one kind of looter will show up there – the kind that has the least effect on society, committed by our least powerful citizens that nonetheless generate the deepest innate fear in old white people.

Images of black men taking stuff work like crack on certain brains. Many of us have evolved to see an entire movie in that one picture, and it’s a racist horror flick.

The emotional response to those pictures plays a vital role in obscuring the obvious truth behind them, the reality we must grapple with if we want to accomplish anything useful over the course of our generation. America has a serious, long-term problem with looting and we are utterly obvious to its shape and its implications.

One picture more than any other summarizes the looting that limits our economic potential, undermines the social compact, and leaves us struggling to compete in a globalized economy driven by human capital. Real looting, the kind that reshapes our communities and blunts our national potential looks like this:

From Vox and the Pew Research Center

From Vox and the Pew Center

The spectacular wealth gap between white and minority households is the lingering fingerprint of generations of systematic, legally sanctioned looting. That looting has not ended. We are no closer to acknowledging it or doing anything about it than we were a generation ago.

Capitalism does not thrive in an atmosphere tainted by violence and extortion. Wherever the parties to a potential transaction are operating at a permanent, systematic power disadvantage that cannot be remedied by personal efforts to improve the value they bring to the transaction, capitalism will fail to deliver the best potential outcomes. That’s what is reflected in our statistics on wealth accumulation. From Ferguson to Cleveland to Staten Island we are seeing outcomes that reflect the realities in that graph.

What would the American economy look like if there were no wealth gap between white and minority households. When we think about that this country needs in order to produce greater economic growth and prosperity, that should be the first idea that comes to mind.

We have made progress in dismantling the legal and political infrastructure constructed across hundreds of years in this country for the purpose of looting wealth from minorities. Our future potential will be defined by our continuing progress toward that goal. Whoever claims to care about business, innovation, economic dynamism, and America’s continuing global leadership is blowing hot air unless they are aggressively committed to dismantling the institutions that loot minority communities and thwart their efforts to participate freely in our economic and political life.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Civil Rights
34 comments on “What looting looks like
  1. Ray Smith says:

    Fix typo: “obvious” should be “oblivious”

  2. RobzHOU says:

    Chris, I’m not sure if you have seen this graphic before (it’s been out there for a while), but I think it sums up in 6 pictures what you have come back to in many articles. Maybe you can incorporate it into one of your next posts.


  3. texan5142 says:

    Anybody else watching the psychopaths on the Sunday news shows trying to justify torture, it is sickening.

  4. kabuzz61 says:

    Chris, I will shorten my response since most your points hinge on rewriting the definition of a word. BULLSHIT. You are a racist brother. Always on color.

  5. CaptSternn says:

    Loot – noun: goods, especially private property, taken from an enemy in war.
    verb: steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot.

    But the left likes to make up their own definitions on the fly, especially when they want to point to those evil white people and blame them for everything. Actual meanings of words are inconvenient then the attempt to make the actual meaning irrelevant. Much like when private enterprise and free choice is called socialism.

    There is an interesting point your graph shows. That is once republicans gained control of congress January 1995, the gap was being reduced, but once democrats gained control January 2007 it started increasing again. Though both blacks and Hispanics started closing the gap a couple of years earlier.

    A big problem with such a simplistic view is that numbers will be skewed for many other reasons. Examples would be insanely rich people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. People like that skew the average but don’t reflect regular working class people. Just because they are white and filthy rich doesn’t mean all white people automatically have more. When it comes to the working middle class, wealth and income are pretty much even across the board.

    (Another thing that skews the numbers is when the left considers Hispanics to be not white when it is convenient to do so, but then turn around and consider them white when it is convenient to do so. Ethnicity is not race.)

    Capitalism is about equal opportunity, not equal results. Every individual here has the equal opportunity to reach for the sky and achieve it if that is their desire, or they may fail, or they may fail a few times then succeed, or they may succeed and then fail and lose everything. And every individual has had that opportunity for generations regardless of the color of their skin.

    So why do we still have racial and ethnic divides? Because the left promotes it, they need it, they depend on it, they thrive on it, and that is why they cannot let it die. And that is what you do all the time, Lifer.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Stern: “A big problem with such a simplistic view is that numbers will be skewed for many other reasons. Examples would be insanely rich people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. People like that skew the average but don’t reflect regular working class people. Just because they are white and filthy rich doesn’t mean all white people automatically have more.”

      If you glance at the graph header, you’ll notice it says, “Median net worth”, not “Mean net worth”, your insanely rich White folks aren’t skewing the numbers.

      Every once in a while, it can be a good thing to just stop and try to understand the numbers rather than immediately assume the numbers are wrong.

      Folks are not always trying to trick you.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      With regard to provisions in the CRA requiring Denny’s to serve pancakes to Black folks, at least some folks on the right seem to find interesting ways to define slavery and involuntary servitude.

    • Turtles Run says:

      “And every individual has had that opportunity for generations regardless of the color of their skin.”

      Yup folks. Just forget all about American history because Sternn said so.

      Sternn did Math and History beat you up in high school because you have one serious grudge against them.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:


      With regard to your mind-numbingly naïve (or willfully blind) argument that “when it comes to the working middle class, wealth and income are pretty much even across the board”, let’s take a look at some more of those scary numbers:

      Median income for full-time workers 25 and older:
      White dudes: $50,000
      Black dudes: $38,000

      But hey, more White people work hard and go to college. Of course the median income is higher for Whites overall.

      So, let’s look at median income for full-time workers 25 and older, with a Bachelor’s degree:
      White dudes: $65,000
      Black dudes: $50,000

      Heck, Black dudes with a Master’s degree have a median income lower than White dudes with Bachelor’s degrees.

      It is not until you snag a PhD or an MD do you get close to parity across race groups. So, all Black folks have to do is get a PhD to be treated the same as White folks.

      Hey, you may say, “Our sordid racist history, which we have totally and completely put behind us now, made it harder for older Black folks to go to college. When you look at everybody with a college degree, you are looking at a whole lot of White folks who have working for 30 years with a college degree, so of course they make more money. We have put the racist past behind us, and it has no effect on young people’s opportunities today.

      So, let us break the numbers down a bit more. We are now looking at ages 25 to 34, and again, median incomes:
      White dudes with a Bachelor’s degree: $52,200
      Black dudes with a Bachelor’s degree: $45,300

      That is a cool 15% “tax for being Black”.

      Now, you might then say, “Well, it is highly likely that more Black students went to schools that were a little less prestigious or were in programs that were a little less well known than their White counterparts. Black folks also could have majored in fields that were just less lucrative”.

      You know, you could say that, but then you might have to examine how racism could have led to that outcome, and heaven knows we don’t want to look at racism as a potential cause of anything. So, let’s just go on believing that everything is hunky dory.

      • flypusher says:

        Question for you Homer, if you’ve got the time, how do those #s stack up when you’re looking at men compared to women? That topic also gets plagued with partisan fuzzy math, and I’m curious how the math really shakes out if you take agendas out of the equation.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Fly, you won’t be surprised that the numbers are very different for men and women.

        However, anytime someone tosses out the, “Women make .76 cents for every dollar a man makes” line, they either don’t know what they are talking about and you should ignore them, or they do know what they are talking about and are purposely distorting the message, and you should throw rocks at them.

        The, “Women make .76 cents for every dollar a man makes” line only is relevant when talking about societal issues that may undervalue work historically performed by women or that may funnel women into lower paying fields for any number of reasons. That line is moderately meaningless or at least very misleading when talking about actual discrimination in pay.

        If you just look at folks 25 to 34, so people born after 1979 when hopefully a little less sexism would be found, you’ll see significant differences in median pay by gender:

        Less than high school: men = $24,400, women = $19,300
        High school diploma: men = $34,000, women = $26,300
        Bachelor’s degree: men = $51,800, women = $42,100
        Advanced degree: men = $68,800, women = $52,400

        For me, the interesting difference, and the one not affected by chosen field of education, is the gap at just a high school diploma. The gender pay differences for college and advanced degrees are hugely affected by degree field, but a high school diploma is pretty much a high school diploma, with no specified field of study.

        For high school graduates, that is a 30% pay differences for men and women, and probably reflects the difference between going to work in retail/customer service versus going to work in some form of industrial job (which are going away faster than are the retail/customer service jobs).

        I’ve spent a lot of time with those entry level industrial jobs, and there are very few that are so physically demanding today that the vast majority of women couldn’t do them. However, the schedules often suck and there is less flexibility for child care. Given traditional gender roles, women often need a bit more flexibility in the schedule. So, women generally do not apply for those jobs, and when they do, they don’t generally get hired for them.

        The better research is when you look within degree field. You will still see big differences when you look across age groups because men have had access to all levels of the workplace for longer periods of time. When you control for degree and for age, the differences do get smaller.

        The general consensus is that when controlling for field of study, age, marital status, and whether or not you have had a child, women make somewhere between 90% and 93% of what men make. There are a few fields where it gets close to equal and maybe one or two small fields where women make slightly more than men, but then you have hundreds and hundreds that are showing a 7% to 10% difference.

        While that is much better than the “76 cents for every dollar” number, it is still a concerning amount. Some will argue that men negotiate salaries better or any number of possible explanations, but this is across millions and millions of people, and the simple explanation is not going to explain away that difference. The effect is very stable and significant.

        Imagine getting a 7% or 10% tax for not having a penis.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        And Fly and HT come to the same conclusion that blacks CANNOT help themselves unless whitey intervenes. That is institutionalized racism and you don’t even know it.

        There are local, regional, sectional wide reasons for everything, but you stick to your simplistic version of how whitey needs to help the black man.

        I know you two always have your lips firmly plants on Chris’ butt, but come on. He’s a big boy. He can take care of himself.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Hey Buzz, when you get a chance, could you jot down some of those ” local, regional, sectional wide reasons for everything” that will help explain these differences.

        I know lots of folks who’ve been researching this for years, and they obviously could benefit from your wisdom.

      • flypusher says:

        Thanks Homer. The 76 cents thing fits nice on a bumper sticker, but I think such things deserve the same treatment as things that fit in nutshells. I wish the politicos would stop citing it. Found this on one of Chris’ links:


        Given that education level (in particular a college degree) is becoming ever more important in boosting earning power, I wonder if we ever get to a point where a female edge in education offsets that 7-10% discrepancy or sends it in the opposite direction.

        What Buzzy, no observations on how Homer and I obviously think women are inferior and cannot help themselves unless a man intervenes???

    • Firebug2006 says:

      ” . . . the left likes to make up their own definitions . . . .”

      Apparently, Sternn considers the dictionary to be nothing more than agitprop.

      Loot transitive verb
      1 a : to plunder or sack in war
      b : to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption

      But his introduction is appropriate, given that the argument which follows is also based on selective fact-finding. For example, his argument that inequality took a nosedive in 2007 because “democrats gained controlled.” How facile to think that Democrats took over Congress and, in a matter of months, achieved a full-scale reversal of economic trends. You’re ignoring the gorilla in the room–the Mortgage Crisis, which disproportionally impacted African Americans and Hispanics. Subprime lending practices and their ensuing implosion, have decimated the wealth of communities of color at twice the rate of white communities.

      And then there is this:

      “Capitalism is about equal opportunity, not equal results. Every individual here has the equal opportunity to reach for the sky and achieve it if that is their desire, or they may fail, or they may fail a few times then succeed, or they may succeed and then fail and lose everything. And every individual has had that opportunity for generations regardless of the color of their skin.”

      Everything you claim here is BS, because it is founded on the premise that Capitalism = Equality of Opportunity. Capitalism makes no such demand. It is an economic system with only one concern: profit. If there is anything in our national ethos that insists on Equality of Opportunity, it is our understanding of democracy. Unfortunately, we operate on the collective assumption that capitalism and democracy are one and the same–or at the very least, mutually necessary.

      • flypusher says:

        ‘ For example, his argument that inequality took a nosedive in 2007 because “democrats gained controlled.” ‘

        And of course it’s all the fault of Dems in Congress that there was a increase in the gap from 7% (’04) to 10% (’07), but that increase from 8% (’10) to 13% (’13), who shall we blame that on?

        (totally rhetorical question)

      • kabuzz61 says:

        It is your naivety that is being demonstrated. Democrats taking over both houses with a super majority really effected businesses, as always. After all, the dem’s are the party of taxation so businesses didn’t want to invest until the bill came due.

      • Firebug2006 says:

        “Democrats taking over both houses with a super majority really effected businesses, as always.”
        Businesses were affected alright, but that was well under way before 2009–as evidenced by the 2.6 million jobs lost in 2008.

  6. BigWilly says:

    When in doubt follow the money.

    The money behind the party isn’t stupid, and in case you hadn’t noticed 2014 happened to be a very successful year for the party.

    Face it, Ferguson is front page good news for politicians everywhere! You guys. Wring your hands and tell me all about those racist cops. I can feel your guilt.

    You, over there, I want you to back the law. We all know what those people are like. Come on, you can say it, real quiet, like a breathless whisper, they’re animals. Doesn’t that feel better.

    And count ’em two, two, victims here. One dead young man, and one ruined.

    Now that all of your suspicions have been confirmed, what are you going to do? Do you think open carry would’ve solved the problem?

  7. flypusher says:

    Speaking of looting:

    “Enron: The smartest guys in the room

    Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. Along the way, we watch Enron game California’s deregulated electricity market, get a free pass from Arthur Andersen (which okays the dubious mark-to-market accounting), use greed to manipulate banks and brokerages (Merrill Lynch fires the analyst who questions Enron’s rise), and hear from both Presidents Bush what great guys these are.”


    All too often when the looters are clean cut white guys in nice suits, not much happens to them. Fastow and Skilling didn’t get anywhere near what they deserved, considering the misery they caused, but at least they got some jail time. I can only hope the lower level douchebags who thought financially reaming old people on fixed incomes via messing with the CA energy market was so damn funny have had some karma come their way.

  8. flypusher says:

    Yeah, that rent to own is usury. But the couple featured in that story sure are assisting in their own fleecing.

    I absolutely do know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. It’s tough.

  9. rightonrush says:

    I’ve said this before and will repeat. IF I were a black person living in America I would be the most radical S.O.B. that ever walked the streets. I have the most respect for folks like John Lewis who practiced non-violence, however, gun down my 12 yr old son and you would have hell to pay, so say hello to the Devil.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      So you would murder someone without full evidence? Really nice. Do your arms drag on the ground too? Grow up my man. Don’t believe sound bites or better yet, turn off the news.

  10. fiftyohm says:

    Funny thing, but I have seen images that, from all over the world where, in times of breakdown in civil order, for myriad reasons, feature looting. Guess it must be different here. Call it American Exceptionalism.

  11. briandrush says:

    Chris, I have a question for you. What you just posted is in the finest traditions of the Republican Party as it used to be, from the Lincoln presidency to that of Nixon. Unfortunately, that’s not what the party still is.

    It’s very much in line with the party’s traditions for a Republican to be out in front on issues of racial equality, but few Republicans today will understand that. The GOP has become what the Democratic Party was from the Civil War until the Great Depression: the party of Southern white men, with increasingly limited reach outside that demographic. Unfortunately for the GOP, that puts the party in even worse straits than the Democrats suffered prior to FDR, because white men with a Southern mind-set represent a declining and ultimately vanishing part of the electorate.

    So here’s my question. Let’s suppose that you and other Republicans like you (if there are any) fail to pull the party back from the brink to become once more what it used to be. Most likely, if that happens, the party will fade, decline, and go the way of the Whigs. Since our electoral structure calls for a two-party system, in the absence of the GOP the Democrats will split. A new party will form and either the progressive Democrats or the conservative Democrats will move into it. Perhaps the Green Party will become more politically realistic and progressive Democrats will become Greens, so that we have the liberal Greens and the conservative Democrats as our two main parties. Or some other naming development with the same practical outcome.

    If that were to happen, would you consider leaving the Republican Party to align with whichever emerging party best fits your ideological convictions and your take on reality? Which is more important to you, party or policy?

    • goplifer says:

      It’s a good question. The scenario you describe is probably less of an “if” than a “when.” We’ve been down this road before. What we are experiencing now is very similar to the regional dynamics that destroyed the Whigs in the mid-19th century.

      No one know how this will play out, but sooner or later there will have to be some kind of reckoning inside in the GOP. There may also be something similar emerging, probably several years behind, on the Democratic side.

      Where I land in that scenario will have a lot to do with local conditions here on the ground in suburban Chicago. Those same unique local conditions are what makes it possible for me to be a Republican now. How Chicago’s collar counties respond to the changing alignments in the GOP will probably determine what I do when this situation ripens.

      • mary says:

        The United States political scene is so much bigger than Chicago. Isn’t the true litmus test one’s principles as opposed to one’s local environment? I understand the value of being a part of a local movement that reinforces personal beliefs, but isn’t this rather selective thinking?

      • goplifer says:

        My community is where my impact is most felt. Here in this community the GOP is very different from its national cousin and absolutely essential to good government.

        I participate very actively in politics here. My best chance to move public policy in the right direction is to see that the kind of pragmatic Republican politics that prevails here becomes more common elsewhere. As long as the GOP remains my best local avenue for political participation that’s where I’ll be.

        That said, I’ve probably cast my last vote for a Republican nominee for a Federal office for a very long time. Like tens of thousands of other Republicans in DuPage County I voted for Republican Bruce Rauner for Governor and Democrat Dick Durbin for Senate. Though I agree with Sen. Mark Kirk on nearly everything, I probably won’t vote to send him back to the Senate or support his campaign on the ground.

        A vote for Kirk is a vote for Cruz. Until that changes I’ll be splitting my votes like so many other people here.

    • mary says:

      What a conundrum….party or policy for the deeply conflicted. We all await GOPlifer’s response. It won’t be an easy one to put out there without abandoning one’s principles or one’s “party”. Too bad the two so seldom align these days – if honesty prevails.

  12. texan5142 says:

    Popping popcorn, this should be interesting.

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