Monday, September 26, 2016

Searching Where The Light Is Better

When I was a young, we had a children’s magazine with several stories and cartoons in its pages. This Mutt & Jeff strip may have been one, but my memory isn’t that sharp. The upshot of the strip is, of course, how wrong headed and funny it is for someone to be knowingly looking in the wrong place for some lost item simply because the light is better there. As children, my sister and I and millions of others like us knew that this was funny. Fast forward sixty years and it’s not so commonly recognized as funny anymore.

Even though no woman over the age of fifty has ever been known to commit an act of transportation terrorism we still search them as if they had. We do this in the name of fairness. Because if we start to exclude one group or another from scrutiny then pretty soon we’re looking where we’re most likely to find them and we call that “profiling”. We’re looking for something where we're most likely to find it and not where the light is the best.

Almost every day, if you listen, you will hear someone who should know better say that we have a huge problem with race in American and that it is manifested by the obvious, extraordinary and unacceptable levels of police brutality toward the black community. There is indeed a problem, but it isn’t one of police misconduct, or even racism, at least not the classic hateful kind that everyone thinks of. And so, not knowing or acknowledging what the problem is we fumble around where the looking is easy trying to find something that isn’t there.

Commentators on recent events like to mention the “obvious fact” that more blacks are killed by police than whites without offering anything besides the echo chamber harmonies of all of the race hustling choir and their back up band The Main Stream Media. Of course there are detailed statistical analysis like the one done by the black Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. and published in the New York Times. (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html?_r=0). And another analysis of Washington Post police shooting data that appeared surprisingly here (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/07/18/analysis-of-washington-post-police-shootings-data-reveals-surprising-result/) , but not too surprisingly, people don’t seem to be interested in those articles because the light is better and the looking is easier somewhere else.

The simple stats seem compelling. You hear that blacks make up 40% of the prison population while they make up only 16% of the general population. What else besides racism could possible explain this discrepancy? It must be systemic, societal racism. But what about men and women? Men make up roughly 50% of the general population and yet account for roughly 94% of the prison population. Does that then indicate systemic sexism targeting men? Of course the answer is “no” in both cases.

So now, in order to correctly position our search for our solution to the problem at hand we must face the problem at hand and say it. Black men commit crime at a higher rate than do white men. They aren’t being unfairly targeted. They commit more crime.

And now that we’ve said it out loud and admitted to ourselves that it’s true we can start to look for the reasons for its being true and for a solution to that problem.

It seems to me to be a rather simple matter. There are those that claim that it’s the economy, that jobs have been taken from the black community and this is true, but while it’s true that corporate taxes, and business regulation have been increased along with the minimum wage without a single thought given to what the effects would be in black communities, it's also true that poor people aren’t necessarily criminals. Crime is born out of a lack of respect. Criminals have no respect for the physical property of others, for their rights as individuals, or for any authority outside themselves. Rahm Emmanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, has recognized this. He says that “The deck has been stacked against the kids,” and is putting forward a multimillion dollar program that will include “mentoring” for young people. Mentoring. Giving young people responsible adults to look up to, to emulate and to take advice from. Mayor Emanuel has touched on the problem here, but blew right past it on his way to a government solution that costs millions of dollars and is doomed to failure.

Sixty seven percent of black children grow up in single parent (read mother) households. In other words they grow up in an environment without a strong authority figure. They grow up without learning to respect authority. That’s the problem right there. It seems that even blacks who don’t commit crimes are still insulted by the fact that police have authority that has to be recognized, and that seems to be part of the culture.

So what’s the cause of this? Are blacks simply more promiscuous and fertile than other ethnic groups? It seems hardly likely. My feeling is that it traces back to the well-meaning but ill- considered socio economic policies enacted by the federal government during the middle of the 20th Century that made poverty less uncomfortable and in many cases made it economically advantageous for women with small children to remain single. Add to that a culture that was trying to remove the negative social stigma from virtually everything short of axe murder and cannibalism, allow to incubate for fifty years and here we are.

We now live in a society where increasing numbers of people rely on the federal government for more and more services. Free breakfast for school children; free lunch for school children; free dinner and after school programs for children; proposed free preschool (child care) and now we have a proposed program in Chicago for free mentoring. All of these are parental responsibilities. We are told that children who live in households where families eat together turn out to be happier and better balanced, but the government sponsors programs that take children out of the home. What we are witnessing is the government’s gradual takeover of all family function. Virtually all of the major problems we see in our culture today that are blamed on race can be traced back to well meant, but poorly thought through programs or unnecessary authoritarian meddling.

But back to the problem at hand. It seems clear to me that the government created and continues to create the conditions that lead to our current situation and now people in government are promoting for and implying that a government solution is necessary. When you find out that your doctor has been poisoning you for over fifty years it seems foolhardy to return to that doctor for an antidote to the poison.

It’s time for America and Americans to throw off the yoke and break free.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.





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