Posted on September 30, 2019

A Platform of Urban Decline

Heather Mac Donald, City Journal, September 23, 2019

Democratic accusations that America is endemically racist are becoming ever more frequent and strident. {snip}

At the same time, the allowable explanations for racial disparities have shrunk to one: that self-same racism. During this month’s debate, Joe Biden tried to suggest that some poor parents could benefit from instruction regarding optimal child-rearing practices: “We [should] bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do,” he said. Biden was invoking one of the Obama administration’s key anti-poverty initiatives. {snip} Progressive activists have demanded and won hundreds of millions of federal dollars for such programs, yet pundits have denounced Biden’s “horrifyingly racist answer,” in the words of The Intercept, and called for him to pull out of the presidential primary because of it. {snip}

In today’s political climate, Barack Obama’s 2008 Father’s Day speech in Chicago would be deemed an unforgivable outburst of white supremacy. “If we are honest with ourselves,” Obama told his audience in a South Side church, Americans will admit that too many fathers are “missing—missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.” In the current frenzy of intersectional rhetoric, any such reference to personal responsibility brands the speaker as irredeemably bigoted.

Yet key parts of the intersectional narrative are not born out by data. It is now a standard trope, implanted in freshmen summer reading lists through the works of Ta-Nehesi Coates and others, that whites pose a severe, if not mortal, threat to blacks. {snip} Just this month, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2018 survey of criminal victimization. According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90 percent, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10 percent. {snip}

Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes—by 50 percent—according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24 percent. {snip}

You would never know such facts from the media or from Democratic talking points. {snip}


{snip} Today’s taboo on acknowledging the behavioral roots of criminal-justice system involvement, multi-generational poverty, and the academic-achievement gap is not a civil rights advance. To the contrary, it will ensure that racial disparities persist, where they can be milked by opportunistic politicians and activists seeking to parade their own alleged racial sensitivity and to deflect attention away from the cultural changes that must occur for full racial parity to be realized.