Aaron Coleman has one of the easiest jobs on the planet. Of all the topics one could choose to write about, “race and economics” must require the least effort – considering the fact that race is highly correlated with IQ, and IQ is highly correlated with almost everything else. One could pick just about any aspect of modern living, and claim that it’s afflicted with “racism” based upon racial disparities.
Here’s Aaron Coleman writing for GQ:
How Cashless Restaurants Reinforce Systemic Racism
Amid the rise of cashless vendors, legislators scramble to fight the “discriminatory effects” on the underbanked
… Financial technology—debit cards, credit cards, Apple Pay, mobile payments, and so on—were supposed to expand who could shop and broaden how we pay. Yet, some retailers’ switching entirely to electronic payments has constricted shopping accessibility like a digital python. With millions of Americans unbanked and underbanked, the advent of cashless commerce and its support from big brands like Amazon has meant communities traditionally marginalized by banks can’t shop in an increasing number of retailers.
To stave off this trend, last week, New York City council became the third major city, behind Philadelphia and San Francisco, to pass a measure banning cashless restaurants. More than an effort to increase convenience, council member Ritchie Torres, the bill’s lead sponsor, says the measure addresses racial equity. “I see a cashless business model is an expression of institutionalized racism insofar as it disproportionately excludes people of color,” says Torres. “People of color tend to have less access to credit and debit and therefore would have a diminished ability to purchase goods and services in an increasingly cashless marketplace.”
Historically, banks have avoided minority communities across the country. Despite being home to Wall Street, Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, New York City still fails to provide black and Latino communities with adequate banking services. According to a 2016 Urban Affairs Review study on New York, for every single bank located in the city’s majority white census tracts, black tracts had only 0.18 banks and Latinos tracts held 0.35 banks. Beyond avoiding minority neighborhoods, banks employ a set of tools that shun people of color, including strict identification requirements that rival discriminatory voter ID laws and hefty overdraft fees that function like a regressive tax. For folks living with this neglect and disdain, often, the only option remains to turn to check cashers and rely on cash transactions.
There are a couple of points I agree with here:
The increased complexity of modern life, often embodied by the financial sector, has indeed, left many Americans behind. Low-IQ individuals, and people with mental health issues can easily find themselves struggling to survive. Sometimes, this struggle can translate into trouble with the law, homelessness, unemployment or substance abuse. As our society becomes increasingly complex, we must find solutions for those on the left side of the Bell Curve.
I also believe that businesses should be encouraged to accept cash – not because of “racism,” but to protect our privacy and anonymity. Many of us simply don’t want the banks, and the government, knowing about all of our transactions.
But Mr. Coleman appears to be ignorant (I’m being charitable) of the fact that in the US, blacks are grotesquely over-represented among bank robbers. According to the FBI’s most recent statistics (2018), blacks were responsible for 1361 bank robberies, while whites committed 1286 – despite the fact that whites outnumber blacks 6 to 1.
Might this have something to do with the dearth of banks in black areas?
As for Hispanics, it’s true that they’re not especially known for robbing banks, but they ARE known for being disproportionately illegal immigrants. They tend to work for cash, and strive to live under the radar. Obviously, there will be less of a demand for banks in such areas.
What does Mr. Coleman have to say about illegal immigrants? He quotes New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres:
“My concern,” says Torres “is that a cashless business model, however well-intentioned, could have a discriminatory effect on the underbanked and unbanked, on immigrants who have no documentation…”
“Immigrants who have no documentation.” What a delicate way of putting it. Let’s send both Coleman and Torres to Mexico; I’m sure they’ll feel much more at home there.