Just saw Keith Olbermann opining that it’s racist to blame the mortgage crisis on a rules change that encouraged the making of riskier loans in order to attract black customers; this, proclaimed Keith, is the equivalent of “blaming the crisis on black people.”
Um, no it isn’t. If the law forces you to make risky loans to black people that you wouldn’t make to white people, it’s the fact that the loans are riskier, not the fact that the recipients are black, that causes the problem. If the law had mandated lower risk standards for left-handed borrowers than for right-handed borrowers, that too could lead to a greater number of risky loans – and pointing that out would not constitute prejudice against left-handed people.
Mind you, I don’t think affirmative action in the lending market is anything like a major cause of the mortgage crisis; and focusing on that as opposed to more fundamental institutional problems might itself be a symptom of racism – but it hardly need be.