Economists have diverse opinions about economic theories that seek to explain racial discrimination. Even so, there is no doubt that official U.S. statistics confirm the persistent existence of economic inequality endured by Black America (in the short and long run), which is at least partly attributable to racial discrimination.
However, economies may evolve organically in the long run to militate inequality by reducing racial discrimination. In this case, we are referring to prospects for technology to precipitate reductions in racial discriminatory practices in the marketplace.
A hot media topic today concerns disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that access the totality of human knowledge to provide solutions/answers to a nearly unlimited range of questions/problems. It is predicted that as a starting point, 300 million jobs are likely to be lost globally because of Chat GPT, GPT-4, Bard, Bing, etc.(1) Some experts warn that even lawyers should be concerned about this innovative technology.(2)
What a fortuitous evolution for Black America! Why? Because, given our artificially depressed income and wealth (due in part to racial discrimination) we may not have the financial resources to litigate discrimination cases. But financial resources may become a near nonfactor in addressing certain types of discrimination in the future.
What we know is that lawsuits can right, at least partially, certain wrongs. For example, consider the hundreds of millions of dollars paid in fines and restitution because of discriminatory lending practices by financial institutions leading up to the 2008/9 Great Recession.(3)
Specifically, Black Americans, who believe that they experience racial discrimination in employment, housing, lending, education, health, etc., may be able to leverage AI technology to research cases and prepare their own court filings.(4) This could be particularly true when the defendant is a local or regional firm.(5) Some Black Americans may be able to litigate discrimination suits successfully without an attorney—especially if AI technology evolves appropriately to assist in this process.(6)
If enough Black Americans self-litigate racial discrimination cases in courts, then AI technology will be able to use history and the first wave of such cases to assist those in follow-on waves.
In fact, BlackEconomics.org’s recommends that the National Bar Association (NBA) take the following action if it believes that nonlawyers can litigate discrimination cases successfully: Go beyond its “Know Your Rights” webpage and add a page that includes a compendium of general procedures for filing and litigating racial discrimination cases—including references to important, related cases. Admittedly, Black lawyers stand to lose opportunities to litigate cases under this arrangement, but an upsurge in opportunities could occur if Black Americans self-litigate such cases to a point, but then require professional assistance to conclude the litigation. Today, many racial discrimination cases may not be litigated because costs are prohibitive.
There would be obvious cost savings on attorney fees if Black Americans file their own discrimination suits. However, the process will not be costless. There are filing and other fees, but they should not be too onerous.
If Black Americans become more litigious about racial discrimination in an economically efficient manner, then we can flood the justice system with litigation, increase the profile of racial discrimination in the nation, create opportunities for more Black lawyers and judges, and, hopefully, force discriminators to pay. If we are successful in making enough racial discriminators pay for their actions, then we may not be able to alter their racist mentalities, but we can certainly drive some racial discriminatory practices out of the marketplace.
In addition, there are at least two other important reasons for Black Americans to pursue this suggested path to relief from racial discrimination. First, it will expand our knowledge of legal processes (beyond the criminal), which will be beneficial in the future if we decide to establish self-determined areas of influence (communities) with accompanying judicial operations. Second, and possibly most important, it will reflect a renewal of Black America’s mind about racial injustice in the US. It will signal to the nation and to the world that we will pursue justice by “any means necessary,” and that we will not accept injustice anymore!
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1 Jack Kelly (2023). “Goldman Sachs Predicts 300 Million Jobs Wil Be Lost or Degraded by Artificial Intelligence.” Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2023/03/31/goldman-sachs-predicts-300-million-jobs-will-be-lost-or-degraded-by-artificial-intelligence/?sh=7d90d01b782b (Ret. 042123).
2 Tate Ryan-Mosely (2023). “AI Might Not Steal Your Job, But It Could Change It.” MIT Technology Review: April 3.
https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/04/03/1070750/ai-jobs-legal-field-gpt-4/ (Ret. 042123).
3 See the following US Department of Justice Press Releases: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-335-million-settlement-resolve-allegations-lending-discrimination; and https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-settlement-wells-fargo-resulting-more-175-million-relief (Ret. 042123).
4 Black Americans already engage in this process to some extent when filing Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Civil Rights, and other types of similar complaints.
5 It may be for nonlawyers to litigate cases against large corporations that have extensive financial resources.
6 This assumes that Black Americans will face fair and just courts, which is a very important concern today.