"Hell is other people"

Crime & Race

It’s a sad sign of the times that it takes a person of color to discuss race and crime in America. We’re familiar with the embarrassing facts, as tabulated in FBI Crime Stats 2019. In the category of violent crime, young black men punch way above their statistical weight.

Jason D. Hill, professor of philosophy at DePaul University wrote a short essay, Blaming White Racism:

Blacks targeting other blacks for murder is the most systemic form of racial profiling that exists in the U.S. today. Black-on-black crime is a national security disaster and risk. It betrays a deep current of black self-hatred that expresses itself in homicidal rage turned largely against black people.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the offending rate for blacks (the number of blacks who commit homicide as a percentage of the population) was almost eight times higher than that for whites, and the victim rate six times higher. Most homicides were intraracial, with 84 percent of white victims killed by whites, and 93 percent of black victims killed by blacks.

He goes on to lament the fact that we cannot have an adult conversation on this topic. Yes, racists use the opportunity to spew bigotry at all people of color, but we’ve got to do away with the idiot’s veto.

Professor Hill also dips into the touchy area of culture:

It is not the case, of course, that black American culture has to be this way, nor that it always has been this way. This cultural indigence derives largely from the way that leftists have resolutely made excuses for the worst outcomes for African Americans, insisting that all of it was a result of and reaction to white racism. Everything good and wholesome about black life—the sense of mutual aid, bettering one’s station, and the importance of family and marriage—was denigrated as a kind of false consciousness. Brutish misery was promoted as black authenticity.

When we speak of black American culture today, we are talking about a culture that is broken, bereft of values, moral heft, and sustained leadership. It is self-destructing. It is a thug culture that contributes little of any intellectual, aesthetic, or moral value to the world at large. The gang of five police officers who killed Tyre Nichols are the most eloquent manifestation of its ethos.

We have no problem describing and denigrating white “hillbilly” or “redneck” culture and blaming poor white people for not escaping their dysfunction, refusing to learn how to code, etc. “Move away!” is a common admonition to whites mired in poverty-stricken regions of Kentucky and West Virginia.

To attack a problem, you first have to acknowledge the problem exists. If you drill down into the crime data, this is not a “black” problem. People of color are fully assimilated into our nation’s fabric, and they enjoy the same neighborhoods and occupations as everyone else. People of color also espouse and extol the same values as everyone else.

Some of the most visible legacies of racism are the persistent pockets of crime and dysfunction where the vast majority of these crimes take place. City police departments show these areas as small red pinpoints–dangerous and dysfunctional–on a large, mostly peaceful city map. Those red pinpoints contain a small percentage of black people who are statistically overrepresented as victims and perpetrators. It is important to understand and emphasize this. There are vast swathes of “black” America blessedly untouched by this dysfunction.

I don’t know why we can’t have fact-based conversations about this and put it in the correct, fact-based context that rightly avoids damning all black people. And yes, the conversation also needs to include how our history of slavery and government-enforced racism contribute to our problems today.

Most importantly, we need focused conversations that avoid generalities and broad, nebulous feel-good statements. We need punch lists of specific, measurable actions. We need to get down to brass tacks.

What say you?

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