Candid Conversations about Race

We'll never solve our problems if we don't look at them honestly.

On September 1, 2014, Time Magazine published Joe Klein's "Beyond a Simple Solution for Ferguson" which started, "Why we need to address race relations in a thoughtful, provocative way."  Mr. Klein said, "Blacks represent 13% of the population but commit 50% of the murders; 90% of black victims are murdered by other blacks."  Among black men between 20 and 24, the murder rate is over 100 per 100,000.  If this group were a country, it would be more violent than Honduras, the world’s most violent nation.  Mr. Klein ended:

We've had 50 years of drastically improved political, educational and employment opportunities for blacks, which have produced a burgeoning middle class, but a debilitating culture of poverty persists among the urban underclass. Black crime rates are much higher than they were before the civil rights movement. These problems won't be solved simply by the recognition of historic grievances. Absent a truly candid conversation about the culture that emerged from slavery and segregation, they won't be solved at all. [emphasis added]

Instead of candid discussions, we've had decades of mealy-mouthed media malpractice, glossing over inconvenient truths in the name of "political correctness."

Mr. Klein is correct: we can't make any progress on racial issues without an honest assessment of where we are, how we got here, and what might improve the situation.

Let's get candid!

Mr. Klein isn't alone.  As the Wall Street Journal explained on P A15 of the July 16, 2013 print issue and on-line:

Any candid debate on race and criminality in this country would have to start with the fact that blacks commit an astoundingly disproportionate number of crimes.

Blacks have had far higher crime rates than whites for more than 50 years, which is the entire time since the Civil Rights movement gave black Americans equality under the law.

The Journal ended their article with an appeal to the ultimate authority on black justice:

"Do you know that Negroes are 10% of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of the crimes? We've got to face that. And we've got to do something about our moral standards," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in 1961. "We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can't keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves."

On June 26, 2010, the New York Times reported:

Blacks are only 23 percent of the city's population. Whites ... make up 35 percent of the city's population. ...  Based on reports filed by victims, blacks committed 66 percent of all violent crime in New York in 2009, including 80 percent of shootings and 71 percent of robberies. Blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of reported gun assaults. And the vast majority of the victims of violent crime were also members of minority groups. [emphasis added]

Non-Hispanic whites, on the other hand, committed 5 percent of the city's violent crimes in 2009, 1.4 percent of all shootings and less than 5 percent of all robberies.

The Times is saying that a black man is twenty times more likely to commit a violent crime than a white man, which is worse than in Dr. King's day.  The civil rights era has taken us backward with respect to black crime.

Given that they're the sharp edge of society's efforts to reduce crime, is it any wonder that police investigate blacks more than whites?  Given numbers and facts like these, is it any wonder that ordinary people, including blacks, are wary of black men?  Those who aren't careful enough often pay a heavy price.

Government Race-Baiting

Instead of acknowledging the facts about black rime, our politicians are pretending that blacks get in trouble because the police are biased against them.  Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States, told the people of Ferguson, MO:

I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding ... I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.

Mr. Holder didn't tell us whether he'd been speeding or not, but he was clearly a victim of bigotry, right?  In a word, "No!"

The New York Times described a study funded by Eric Holder's very own Justice Department and conducted on that selfsame New Jersey Turnpike, which discovered that blacks were far more likely than whites to speed:

Two years ago, when the Justice Department forced New Jersey officials to adopt new policies to discourage racial profiling by state troopers, it also told the state to study the driving habits of black and white motorists on the New Jersey Turnpike.

... numerous studies have shown that police officers in New Jersey and elsewhere stop black and Hispanic drivers for speeding more often than they stop whites. ...

The study involved photographing tens of thousands of drivers on the turnpike last spring while clocking speed with a radar gun. It found that black drivers sped much more than other drivers, according to three people who have reviewed the unreleased report. The racial gap was far wider than officials had expected ...

Those results startled officials in the state attorney general's office, who had assumed that the radar study would bolster their case that profiling was widespread. Instead, the study concluded that blacks make up 16 percent of the drivers on the turnpike and 25 percent of the speeders in the 65 m.p.h. zones, where complaints of profiling have been most common. [emphasis added]

Just as with stop-and-frisk, the police did stop more blacks because more blacks were breaking the law.  What's biased: the police?  Or reality?

The study was suppressed because it didn't support Mr. Holder's narrative.

This brings us to candid point #1: On average, blacks are far more likely to commit crimes, whether armed robbery, shoplifting, or speeding than whites are.  Every police officer and almost everybody else knows this.  It's silly to pretend otherwise.

Now, it's true that the vast majority of these crimes are committed by a small minority of black people, mostly young black males.  The large majority of black individuals are just as law-abiding as anyone else.

But if you don't know anything about an individual other than their color - the statistics clearly indicate that one color is more likely to be an evildoer.  And not by just a little bit, but by an enormous margin.

Any discussion which intends to do something constructive about racial issues has to acknowledge and confront this inconvenient truth.

If we truly want the America of racial equality that Dr. King preached about and which the overwhelming majority of Americans genuinely do desire, there is an essential problem that must first be addressed: What do we do about black crime?

The Destructive Cycle

Our politicians and media have created a never-ending downward spiral.  Our national leaders pretty much ignored the 60 blacks who were shot in Chicago over the 4th of July weekend because they were shot by other blacks.  They only seem to care about cases where a black is shot by a non-black, preferably a white policeman.

Dr. King suggested that the black community ought to seek ways to reduce black crime; more recently, Dr. Bill Cosby has said the same thing and been all but lynched by his fellow blacks.

The cynical Racist Reverends Sharpton and Jackson, and our racist Attorney General, have a different approach - they shout out that employers and the police are hopelessly biased against blacks.

Is this going to encourage black people to follow the law, or is it going to give them excuses to rob? - "The Man robs me, so I can rob a convenience store."  The more blacks commit crimes, the more the police investigate them, and the more opportunities for race-baiters to get undeserved media attention.

On September 13, Mr. Holder announced an investigation into the Ferguson shooting, but we've heard nothing about results.  This is suspicious because Eric Holder has a long and sordid track record of suppressing inconvenient truths.

Early news reports said that when the white policeman Darren Wilson was taken to the ER, he had such a badly swollen face they were concerned that the bone above his eye socket had been broken.  That's the strongest bone in the skull.  If they were worried about such a fracture, Michael Brown, the 300-pound black choirboy who'd just robbed a convenience store, must have punched him pretty hard.

Why has the investigation taken so long?  Why should it take two months for the grand jury to decide whether to indict Officer Wilson?

It seems that the Racist Reverends, our racist AG, and other rabble rousers have stirred up the mob to such a fever pitch that there will be more rioting if the officer is exonerated as in the Trayvon Martin case.  The only logical reason for the delay is that the evidence is so strongly on Officer Wilson's side that the grand jurors, ordinary citizens like you or I, can't bring themselves to indict an obviously innocent man who was doing his best to protect the community at the risk of his own life.

This brings us to candid point #2:  We are afflicted by professional rabble-rousers and politicians who've discarded Dr. King's observation that blacks really ought not to commit so many crimes and instead choose to blame "the system" for the fact that so many blacks are in jail or on parole.

Criminals may not be Einsteins but almost all of them can make a quick cost/benefit analysis before carrying out criminal acts; that's why there are so many more crimes committed than solved.  This sort of rhetoric tips the balance in favor of criminal activity - "I can riot because the cops won't dare do anything about it."

It's Families, Stupid!

Which brings us to Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage by Isabel Sawhill, which was reviewed by the Economist.

She has been studying family structure since the Clinton administration.  She reports that nearly 90% of university-educated women get married before having their first child.  Their marriages are durable.  Their children are showered with stimulation and do well in school and at work.  58% of first births of non-college women, on the other hand, are out of wedlock.  Her most telling point is:

The further down the social scale you go, the more fissile American families are. Children grow up in a "family-go-round" of absent fathers, new stepfathers, new half-siblings, and chronic uncertainty. ...

Scholars on the left tend to blame poverty for family breakdown.  Ms Sawhill finds this too glib.  Families were much poorer in the 1950s, but they stuck together.  Unskilled men's wages have fallen in recent decades, but not by much.  This "cannot explain more than a small fraction" of the change at the bottom.

Ms. Sawhill points out that "children have rights, too," and that unstable family relationships harm them in all sorts of ways. There are many undesirable characteristics of the "family-go-round;" by far the worst is the lack of a father's long-term influence.

The overwhelming majority of black children are born to unmarried parents.  It would be understandable to view this as a legacy of slavery, but the exact opposite is the truth; in 1940, prior to the Civil Rights era, black illegitimacy was 14%, and the black marriage rate was higher than that of whites - and had been that way for half a century!

Nobody bars black people from getting married.  No law prevents black Americans from forming families or staying in them.  Lots of white Americans choose to never get married or to get divorced; black Americans exercise the same right of free choice, but for some reason the end result is starkly different.

As an overwhelming volume of research shows, the result is disastrous: being in a single-parent family is the #1 best indicator of poverty.  This is true regardless of race, but a far higher proportion of blacks are in this unfavorable position.

Most of these single-parent families take the same form: specifically, a single mother raising children of whichever gender they happen to be.  There are of course some single fathers but the overwhelming majority of single parent families are female-led.

Which, statistically, makes things even worse than they otherwise would be.

It's Fathers, Stupid!

Mr. Obama knows very well that fatherlessness is a major factor in leading young men into lives of poverty and crime.  The New York Times reports on p A 12 of the August 19 issue that on August 18, he said:

"You have young men of color in many communities who are more likely to end up in jail or in the criminal justice system than they are in a good job or in college," Mr. Obama said on Monday. He said part of his job was to "to get at those root causes."

Last February, Mr. Obama announced a $200 million, five-year initiative known as "My Brother's Keeper" that's supposed to persuade adult men to bond with young men and help keep them out of trouble.

Having volunteers get involved may help a bit at the margins, but nothing can replace the biological bonds of a real father who has a long-term, emotional commitment to the mother and to their children.  Mr. Obama, to his credit, has provided black Americans an excellent example of how to raise kids: get married and stay married to their mother, and stay deeply involved in their lives while they're growing up.

The single mothers who attempt to raise children on their own work very hard, many of them, and do their very best.  Alas, precious few individuals have enough energy and personal strength to do the job intended for two adults of different genders and personalities.  Without making any value judgments about the efforts of these single mothers, the fact remains that virtually every relevant statistic is enormously worse for children who grow up without fathers.

Again, the same is true for whites as for blacks: single motherhood starts kids out in life with two strikes against them regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin.  For whatever reason, black children are far more likely to be in this sorry state through no fault of their own than people of other races,but the percentage of white children in this situation is increasing.

Paying Extra for Illegitimate Children

When the Great Society programs were announced 50 years ago, about 7% of American children lived in single-parent homes, but they'd usually been born to married parents and one parent died.

Now, more than half our children are born to unmarried mothers.  Why? Because our welfare system pays women to have fatherless children.  If she gets married, her benefits are cut off.

Women used to say, "Not unless you marry me, and I won't marry you unless you grow up and get a job."  Now, men in welfare neighborhoods can have all the sex they want without taking any responsibilities because welfare pays the woman's expenses.

The Cato Institute calculated, "In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation." 

That's a decent income, but it's really worth more than that: welfare benefits are tax free.  In order to pay for a car to get himself to work with a few bucks left over for his own expenses, a man would have to earn $50,000-60,000 pre-tax to be able to give his wife the same amount of money she can get from welfare.

That's more than the median income in the US!  No wonder so many women decide that marriage isn't worthwhile: women can have just as good a life on the dole without having to put up with an inconvenient man around all the time, and men can get what they want without taking responsibility for anyone other than themselves.

Sociologists have said for decades that the prettiest, most desirable women always end up with the richest men because women go for guys with money.  Welfare benefits are so generous that the government bids more for women's affection than ill-educated men can afford.

The "debilitating poverty of the underclass" which Mr. Klein mourned in his Time article is driven by our welfare system which produces generation after generation of fatherless children at taxpayer expense.

This brings us to candid point #3:  Welfare programs may make individual people better off economically at a given point of time, but over 50 years they've led to multiple generations of broken families and fatherless kids.  If a foreign government harmed American kids that badly, we'd consider it an act of war.

We Were Warned

Senator Moynihan was condemned by liberals for "blaming the victim" when he pointed out that non-marital births were destroying the black community.   Bill Cosby attracted similar criticism for saying the same thing.  Liberals have come down so hard on anyone who points out the down-side of family disintegration that most people won't talk about it, not even astute writers like Joe Klein or Isabel Sawhill.

There are exceptions.  In his article "Liberalism Versus Blacks," the great black economist Dr. Thomas Sowell wrote:

The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals' expansion of the welfare state.  Most black children grew up in homes with two parents during all that time but most grow up with only one parent today.

Although the welfare system destroyed black families first, the New York Times reports that most of the babies being born to white mothers under 30 are being born out of wedlock.  The welfare-induced poison of fatherlessness is spreading.

It was never quite clear what liberals meant when they trashed Sen. Moynihan for "blaming the victim."  Did white racism somehow make black women more willing to have babies out of wedlock than previous generations had been? Or was the reason simply that they can get more money bearing fatherless children than by getting married?

It might be reasonable to speak of "blaming the victim" now, however.  80% of the victims of violent black crimes are black; some victims are of other races.  Just about all the money paid to welfare recipients comes from non-violent, hardworking taxpayers of all races.

In that sense, we're all the victims of the welfare system.  We keep re-electing politicians who keep shoveling money out without changing the rules that make breeding illegitimate children who are vastly more likely to turn to crime so very much more attractive than marriage.  We're the victims, and we're to blame.

Ms. Sawhill's Solution

This brings us to candid point #4:  No government program has done anything to reduce fatherlessness.  In fact, the opposite has happened.

Given that there's so much political momentum behind the current system, it may not be possible to fix it, but we can try to reduce its ill-effects.

The Economist points out that 60% of births to single women are unplanned and that IUDs are 40 times as effective as birth control pills because they last for years.  One way to reduce fatherlessness would be to require that a woman get an IUD as a condition of receiving welfare.

Whenever anything like that's been proposed, the same liberals who trashed Sen. Moynihan complain that evil conservatives are trying to deny poor women the right to breed.

We have no problem with any woman having as many children as she and/or her spouse can support.  But do we really believe that a woman has an unlimited right to have children at public expense?

The Left clearly does; in fact they spare no effort to import as many foreign waifs from other countries as they can get away with, all of whom end up on your and my payroll one way or another.  It's obvious why this is so: the Democrat party has long since staked out the political ground of "we'll pay all your needs at someone else's expense."  Anyone who has no ability or desire to provide for themselves will naturally support this position; it's human nature.

The question is, why does anyone else put up with it?  Why have we not taken action to at least mitigate the damage?  As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once wrote in a somewhat different context:

Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

We've had rather more than three generations of imbecilic voters of all races.  Let this be the last one!

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Democrats like this. All those welfare people don't vote against more spending, the criminals enrich the prison guard unions which pour money into Democrat campaigns, and the teacher's unions bribe Democrats to let them keep running dropout mills so the underclass won't escape through education.

October 14, 2014 6:42 PM

The WSJ says:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/police-union-backs-officer-involved-in-shooting-in-st-louis-1413322425?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLE_Video_Top

Gunshot residue and evidence indicate that a black teenager fired at an off-duty St. Louis police officer before he was fatally shot a week ago, the department and police union said Tuesday.

Lab results from the Oct. 8 shooting, which has prompted a week of city-wide protests, confirmed that 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers had gunshot residue on his hands and clothes, the department said. The police also said they recovered the weapon, a 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol previously identified by police as a Ruger pistol, used by the teen and that it had been previously reported stolen.

An earlier autopsy by the city’s chief medical examiner didn’t include a residue test, which the examiner said is often inaccurate.

Demonstrators and some local officials have claimed the white police officer used excessive force, an echo of the fatal August shooting of Michael Brown , also 18 years old, in nearby Ferguson, Mo. The Myers family contends the St. Louis teen was unarmed at the time of the shooting, said their attorney, Jerryl Christmas, who questioned why information was being released in what he said seems like a slow trickle from the police and the union.

“That was character assassination on Vonderrit Myers,” Mr. Christmas said. “We have a problem in St. Louis with African-American community relations that we need to get on top of as soon as possible.”

The police union on Tuesday also excoriated local politicians for inciting unrest and backed the officer involved in the shooting.

“In the future, you can expect we are going to stand up for our membership,” said Joe Steiger, president of the Saint Louis Police Officers Association, at a news conference. “A lot of these guys are looking for someone to stand up for them,” he said.

Brian Millikan, the lawyer for the officer who shot Mr. Myers, said the level of evidence against the teen would be “impossible” to fabricate.

October 14, 2014 7:51 PM
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