Summary: The most difficult problems for a society are those that we cannot bring ourselves to discuss. For America, that’s the high crime rate of African-Americans. We either ignore it or respond with police and prisons, different ways to close our eyes. We have tried both “solutions”; both have failed. At some point we have to begin dealing with our problems, or they will accumulate and gang up on us.
“Crime and bad lives are the measure of a State’s failure, all crime in the end is the crime of the community.”
— From H. G. Wells’ A Modern Utopia (1905).
The unspeakable problem.
Breitbart is not the kind of news service I rely on, but occasionally even a blind squirrel finds a nut, as in this Nov 2015 story by Jerome Hudson: “5 Devastating Facts About Black-on-Black Crime“.
“In 2012, white males were 38% of the population and committed 4,582 murders. That same year, black males were just 6.6% of the population but committed a staggering 5,531 murders. In other words: black people -– at just a fifth of the size — committed almost 1,000 more murders than their white counterparts.
“The figures above highlight a horrific truth that black racialists and white liberals routinely ignore: Lawbreaking black Americans, young black males particularly, put themselves in close proximity to (mostly white male) police officers at rates sometimes five to 10 times higher than whites.
“…There have been almost as many deaths in one American city as there have been in the two major wars carried out by the U.S. military this century. Chicago’s death toll from 2001 – November, 26 2015 stands at 7,401. The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001-2015: 3,506), total 8,321.”
See more disturbing evidence at “Guns and race: The different worlds of black and white Americans” by Richard V. Reeves and Sarah Holmes of Brookings, December 2015. The bottom line…
Even the major news media occasionally report these sad numbers, such as in “Race and Homicide in America, by the Numbers” by Matthew Cella and Alan Neuhauser in US News and World Report, September 2016 — “New federal statistics have some interesting things to say about interracial killings and ‘black-on-black’ homicides.”
“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”
— Daniel Patrick Moynihan in Family and Nation — The 1985 Godkin Lectures at Harvard University.
Centuries of racism — baked into America’s soul at the beginning — have put African-Americans in a difficult situation. But their actions do not seem to be helping. Their incredible crime rates — with them the worst-affected, rotting their communities — which they mostly ignore. Instead there are Black Live Matter protests about police’s street execution of long-time criminals and demands that today’s Americans pay reparations to descendants of slaves (although many American’s didn’t even have descendents in America before the Civil War). These show odd priorities, unlikely to prove effective in any meaningful sense.
This contributes to another problem: decades of progress after WWII is being washing away, as the tide of racism rises again. I have no ideas about ways to stop this complex ball of problems. I have not seen any ideas that look promising. It is a rot that should be near the top of America’s list of priorities, but I doubt a majority of Americans agree with that.
My guess — emphasis on guess — is that addressing urban crime levels is the most promising first step. The rest of America can help, but the initiative must start in the communities of our inner cities.
For More information
It is important to understand what life is like for those living with America’s history of racism, baked as it was into America at the start. For example, see “What It’s Like to Be Black in the Criminal Justice System” by Andrew Kahn and Chris Kirk at Slate, August 2015 — “These eight charts suggest there are racial disparities at every phase of the justice system.”
- Congress did a great thing 50 years ago, but rot from that day has spread and taken root.
- Hard data from Harvard about police violence & race.
- Racism is the dark side of populism. Will it divide and defeat us?
- Donald Trump leads us back to the future, to the dark days of US history.
- Trump and the 1% lead America back to its past, to its dark roots.
- Warning: the income gap between races is widening in America.
- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let the GOP remember its great betrayal.