In a piece at The Atlantic, Jordan Weissmann turns the spotlight on white privilege through the prism of a new study that finds that as youths, many successful white male entrepreneurs engaged in “aggressive, illicit, risk-taking activities.” Men of color, however, have been saddled with rap sheets for committing the very same crimes, hampering their ability to correct their lives.
One of the great privileges that comes with being born wealthy, white, and male in the United States of America is that you can get away with certain youthful indiscretions. Indiscretions like, oh, smoking prodigious quantities of marijuana, for instance. If you’re an upper-middle-class caucasian, chances are the cops aren’t going to randomly stop and frisk you in the street under dubiously constitutional pretenses. And if you do somehow get caught baggie-in-hand, your parents can likely afford a decent lawyer to help plea bargain your way into some light community service. It’s a cushy setup.
Today, I’m finding myself wondering if that leeway — that societal room to do a little law breaking, punishment free — isn’t part of the reason why so many of the successful entrepreneurs in this country are, yes, white guys.
Sorry if that sounds a bit out of left field, but let me explain. Ross Levine, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and Yona Rubinstein, a professor at the London School of Economics, have released a fascinating working paper exploring the demographics, personality traits, and earnings of entrepreneurs.
Read Jordan Weissmann’s entire piece at The Atlantic.
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