Two racial narratives

In 2018, Glenn Loury described what he called the bias narrative and the development narrative.

The bias narrative calls attention to racial discrimination and exclusionary practices of American institutions—black Americans not being treated fairly. So, if the gap is in incarceration, the bias narrative calls attention to the behavior of police and the discriminatory ways in which laws are enforced and attributes the over-representation of blacks in the prisons to the unfair practices of the police and the way in which laws are formulated and enforced.

The development narrative, on the other hand, calls attention to the patterns of behavior and the acquisition of skills and discipline that are characteristic of the African American population. So, in the case of incarceration, the development narrative asks about the behavior of people who find themselves in trouble with the law and calls attention to the background conditions that either do or do not foster restraint on those lawbreaking behaviors. Now, the position that I take is that whereas at the middle of the twentieth century, 50 to 75 years ago, there could be no doubt that the main culprit in accounting for the disadvantage of African Americans was bias of many different kinds (bias in the economy, social relations, and in the political sphere), that is a less credible general account of African American disadvantage in the year 2018. And the development narrative—the one that puts some responsibility on we African Americans ourselves, and the one that wants to look to the processes that people undergo as they mature and become adults and ask whether or not those processes foster people achieving their full potential—that, I think, is a much more significant dimension of the problem today relative to bias than was the case 50 years ago.

But as far as I can tell, Critical Race Theory sees the development narrative as racist.

For more Glenn Loury, along with John McWhorter, Shelby Steele, and Eli Steele, I strongly recommend this video.