Posted on March 25, 2021

The Media Would Rather Talk About Race Than Stop Mass Shootings or Crime

Richard Hanania, Newsweek, March 23, 2021

Every time there is a mass shooting in the U.S., partisans on both sides hold their collective breath waiting for the perpetrator to be identified in order to see whose worldview will be vindicated. The left gets excited about murders involving police officers shooting unarmed black people, as well as those perpetrated by white supremacists or believers in QAnon; the right highlights Muslim terrorists and Antifa. Yet the number of killings in 2020 that can be attributed to all of these causes put together is in the dozens, representing a tiny fraction of the over 20,000 murders that took place in the United States.


On Monday, 10 people were killed by a crazed gunman at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. An image of the shooter emerged on social media showing what looked like a hunched white man with a black beard. The reaction on Twitter was swift: “Extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not” was one typical tweet, written by an editor at Deadspin, which quickly racked up 100,000 likes. {snip}

The thing is, this time, it wasn’t a white man. Or at least, it wasn’t someone who the left would ordinarily consider white. The shooter, a man named Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, is a Syrian immigrant. But instead of correcting the error, many doubled down. “Syrians in America are legally, politically & socially WHITE,” read one such attempt to save face.

In a sense, the point is correct: People from the Middle East are technically white, according the U.S. Census. And yet, how these labels are applied is often a question of politics. When The New York Times was counting how many white people there were in government last year, they classified Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian America, as a person of color, while counting Republicans like Chris Sununu—Lebanese via El Salvador—and Alex Azar—also Lebanese—as white.


It would be nice to live in a country in which we had good faith discussions about our absurdly high crime rate, why is it increasing, and what to about it. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with a media and activist class that needs to fit everything into a race-based narrative, with preassigned heroes and villains, even when the “racial” categories have been invented out of thin air by government bureaucracy.


Unfortunately, there is little interest in the United States for serious, data-driven analysis of crime, which has for over half a century now made the U.S. by far the most dangerous country in the West, thanks to violence overwhelmingly concentrated in our inner cities.

After a year in which we saw a historical increase in murder, the media has shown amazingly little interest in this trend compared to the relatively few crimes they can blame on their preferred targets: white men, the police, and conservatives.