When the media report on crime they are notoriously reluctant to mention race. A Baltimore Sun article about a July 4th crime spree that occurred despite elaborate police preparations was typical: An “adult male” was stabbed after an argument with a “group of individuals.” “Several juveniles” were arrested for carrying knives, and police had to rescue two “individuals” who fell into Baltimore Harbor. For all we know, they could have been tourists from Denmark.
Sometimes even the police can’t bring themselves to talk about race. One of my favorite raceless police reports is from a Washington Post story about a series of shootings in Washington over last Halloween. We learn that “two teens, 16 and 19,” “a 24-year-old man,” “an 18-year-old woman,” “30 to 40 teens,” and “a 44-year-old man,” were either victims or shooters. The Post went to the trouble of finding out everyone’s age—as if readers much care whether someone was 24 or 44—but again, for all we know, the mayhem could have broken out among tourists from Denmark.
But the best line in the story is from an unidentified policeman who told the Post that since the shootings were scattered around town, “there was no pattern to the violence.” I wasn’t even there, but I bet there is a pattern, and I bet every Post reader thinks so too. I would bet my next six mortgage payments that all the shooters were black men. It is almost as good a bet that everyone the shooters were aiming at was black, too, but ghetto thugs are bad shots, so I wouldn’t make a bet on whom they actually hit.
The Brits are just as terrified of mentioning race as we are. In November, a minor celebrity named Jason Gardiner sent the following Twitter message to his 83,000 fans: “Tonight I was mugged by two hooded black youths in Stockwell who held a knife to my throat and threatened to kill me, all for an iPhone.” The poor guy was scared nearly out of his wits, but he is now taking a beating for saying the “youths” were black.
The theory seems to be that we mustn’t write, say, or think anything that might feed “negative stereotypes” about non-whites. But of course the reason there is such a fetish about not feeding the “negative stereotype” about violent blacks is that everyone knows blacks are particularly violent. We are supposed to pretend not to notice something we all know is true.
What do the police do when they want to describe a suspect in a way that might actually help the public find him? Naturally, they mention race. If you go to Google and type just the letters “suspect is d,” Google will offer the search string, “suspect is described as a black male.”
But sometimes, even the police can’t bring themselves to use the B-word. In November there was a series of home-invasion rapes in Raleigh, North Carolina, not far from the campus of North Carolina State University. How did Jon Barnwell, Deputy Chief of Campus Police, describe the suspect? “A dark complexion male, approximately 6 feet tall, stocky build with short ‘stubbly’ hair.” Dark complexion? Stubbly hair? Must be another Danish tourist.