What’s Your Favorite Statistic About Race?

These leading thinkers prove that questions of race rarely have simple — or numerical — answers.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

C. Eric Lincoln, author of Coming Through the Fire
“By 2050, more than half of the people in the United States will be nonwhite. And the Tiger Woods syndrome is upon us.”

Glenn C. Loury, Director of the Institute on Race and Social Division at Boston University
“Between 1977 and 1994 the number of first professional degrees (law, business, and medical school, mainly) awarded to African-American women increased by 219 percent (from 776 to 2,477). That number grew by only 5.1 percent for African-American men (from 1,761 to 1,851).”

Ron Takaki, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of California at Berkeley
“Bob Dole announced his support for Proposition 209 in a speech at Little Saigon, in Orange County, Calif. There was a public perception that identified Asian-Americans with the eventually successful assault on affirmative action. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Asian-American vote was 61 percent against Prop. 209.”

John B. Judis, Senior Editor at the New Republic
“I live in Silver Spring, Md., a racially mixed, middle-class suburb of Washington, D.C., and my daughters go to public school there. They have always had black friends, but by the beginning of middle or high school, these friends had departed for predominantly white private schools. The reason, we learned, was that their parents feared that if they stayed in public schools, they would fall under the spell of other blacks who identified success in school with being white.”

Linda Chavez, President, Center for Equal Opportunity
“According to a recent survey conducted by Lou Harris for the National Conference, 46 percent of Latinos and 42 percent of African-Americans agreed with the statement that Asians are ‘unscrupulous, crafty, and devious in business,’ while only 27 percent of whites agreed; 68 percent of Asian-Americans and 49 percent of African-Americans agreed with the statement that Latinos ‘tend to have bigger families than they are able to support,’ as did 50 percent of whites; 33 percent of Latinos and 22 percent of Asian-Americans agreed with the statement that African-Americans ‘even if given a chance, aren’t capable of getting ahead,’ yet only 12 percent of whites agreed.”

James McBride, author of The Color of Water
There are 60,000 black children waiting to be adopted in the United States, while every week newspapers and magazines across the country are graced with ads by parents who are willing to pay huge bucks for a baby. Unspoken, of course, is their willingness to pay for white babies, which are apparently in short supply. As a black man raised by a white Jewish mother and a black American father, I don’t fault these folks for trying to obtain a baby who ‘looks like them.’ But I’m glad I’m not that baby.”

Troy Duster, Professor of Sociology, University of California at Berkeley
“Cheryl Hopwood, a white female, sued the University of Texas Law School, claiming she had been the victim of racial discrimination because she was not admitted even though she had higher test scores than students of color who were admitted. The appellate court directed the lower court to consider damages to Hopwood, and she is seeking more than $1 million from the state. In all these decades of racial exclusion, no court in this nation has ever been directed to consider damages for a single student of color.”

Paul Begala, adviser to President Clinton
“This year’s incoming class at the University of Texas Law School — which once produced more African-American and Hispanic lawyers than nearly any other law school in the country — includes a grand total of four African-Americans.”

Ruy Teixeira, Director, Politics and Public Opinion Program, Economic Policy Institute
“In 1958, 44 percent of whites said they would move out if a black person moved next door. In 1997, the figure is 1 percent. Yet the economic problems of blacks persist. This suggests that: (a) the problem is no longer racism or discrimination, but broader economic arrangements that intersect with race; or (b) racism has simply become covert.”

Jim Sleeper, author of Liberal Racism
“Almost all polling data reveal that the closer black Americans get to middle-class life, the more unhappy and untrusting toward whites they feel. Never mind that the indices of two-parent homes, education, mortality, and career mobility are improving among blacks; liberals still encourage thousands of diversity trainers and racial gatekeepers to create an industry for which no good racial news can be real news. Conservatives spent centuries telling blacks how different they were. Why have so many liberals replaced that historic racism with an elaborate thicket of treatments that prolong the disease?”

Rubén Ortiz-Torres, artist and photographer
“My favorite fact of the month is that Che Guevara’s car in Havana was an emerald-green 1960 Chevy Impala with a V-8 engine, automatic transmission, white upholstery, and an AM radio. Another interesting fact is that the largest sombrero in the world is the Sombrero Tower in a theme park called South of the Border next to North and South Carolina’s border. The Sombrero Tower is 200 feet high and has an elevator that takes you to the top.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend