You are trying to simplify something that’s complex. I’m in no way simplistically suggesting that poverty is the exclusive cause of crime, or, for that matter, that the higher level of black poverty is the exclusive cause of the higher level of black crime. Rather, what I’m suggesting is that the relationship between poverty and crime is a complex chicken-and-egg problem, and there are certainly many other factors involved as well.
For instance, we all know that, among other things:
- Young people of all races tend to commit crimes; old people of all races don’t.
- Men of all races tend to commit crimes at far higher rates than women of all races.
- Crime is almost always higher in highly concentrated urban areas than highly dispersed rural areas. (See, e.g., http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=812: “Urban males experienced violent victimizations at rates 64% higher than the average combined suburban and rural male rate and 47% higher than urban females.”)
Each of these factors, therefore, is going to be relevant to any consideration of crime by black Americans. This is why you can’t compare poor rural whites with poor urban blacks. If it’s your thesis that blacks are just somehow more prone to violence or crime or whatever, how do you address some of the statistics I already gave you, such as, most glaringly, the fact that “poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000)” (see http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=5137)? Contrary to your suggestion that it can’t be done, this is directly comparing apples to apples, and when we do that, the apples come out looking pretty similar, don’t they?
To take up a few of your other points:
- We’re considering why African-Americans have a higher crime rate than, for instance, Asian Americans today in America, so how is it relevant to compare the conditions that Chinese Americans lived in in China in the 19th century before they came to America to the conditions that African-Americans often live in in America today? I don’t know what the crime rates were among those Chinese Americans, but I do know that when Irish and Italians were poor in early 20th century America, the crime rates in their neighborhoods were high, and other Americans often thought of them as genetically inferior trash. This is the same thing we have going with African-Americans right now.
- You write that I am being misleading because I am implying “that someone is forcing black people to live in multi-generational poverty when the real driver is that people who are too poor to provide for their children are having them anyway. THAT is what perpetuates that cycle; irresponsible reproduction.” I just don’t see how you can be so certain that “irresponsible reproduction” is the sole cause of the problem. I’m not saying that irresponsible decisions to procreate don’t take place (of course they do), but it’s really expecting too much for us to expect poor people not to have children unless they can provide for them. Poor people of every race have children all the time. We have a burgeoning crisis in the West, especially in much of Europe, because the poor are having lots of kids, while childbirth rates among the rich are critically low. The result is lots of kids who don’t get resources, don’t get a good education and grow up in ghettos and dependent on government benefits. It’s a recipe for disaster, and I wish there’d be more politicians talking about it and how to fix it, but again, this just isn’t the only issue, and poor whites in urban areas are just as high in violent crime as poor blacks in urban areas, as I documented. If you live in an urban ghetto where people around you have nothing productive to do, are just hanging out on street corners, grow up unsupervised by parents (who are busy working) or nannies (whom the poor can’t afford), live in an environment where drugs and alcohol are rampant and are surrounded by people with low education and poor manners, you’re going to be much more likely to become a criminal, right? The $25,000 question is what causes what, and my answer is that I don’t know. But I can say this much: what’s keeping these people in multi-generational poverty is that they’re growing up in a dysfunctional environment surrounded by dysfunctional people, so that there aren’t all that many opportunities for them to “get out.” The “fault” for this is complicated (more on that in the next bulletpoint), but it’s certainly not as simple as saying, “Oh, these poor people are just having too many kids, so it’s their fault.” Once the cycle of poverty begins, it’s hard to break, so part of the question has to be what resulted in a situation in which these people got into this mess in the first place. At the same time, I’ve made no secret of my view that what currently passes for mainstream “black culture” is way too often crass, dumbed-down, degraded, violence-promoting, homophobic, misogynistic, sexually vulgar filth, and I’m sure that doesn’t help the issue at all, though I also think that poverty is in many ways responsible for the cultural problem as well.
- On the subject of “black exceptionalism,” I believe in part of it but not another part of it. Let me explain. I don’t think it can be denied that black people have a history in the U.S. that’s unlike anyone else’s in America and not comparable to anyone else’s. Most everyone’s more or less familiar with the narrative, but the quick summary entails being brought over as slaves, stripped of possessions, dignity and family structures that stabilize people, kept in that condition for two hundred years, abruptly emancipated but left without much of a chance to succeed, especially after the collapse of Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow, facing educational discrimination, employment discrimination, housing discrimination and other forms of more subtle discrimination, vestiges of which persist to this day. No other group in America faced anything like this, and we consistency underestimate how much effort it takes to climb your way out of hundreds of years of crap. This is why I’m suggesting the issue of why black people are still disproportionately in multi-generational poverty is complicated. At the same time, where I get off the “black exceptionalism” bus is in any belief that the solution for African Americans is going to be any different than it was for every other ethnic/racial group that was once poor and “problematic” in America, and that solution is simply getting out of poverty, integration, getting fully absorbed into mainstream American society, etc. When black Americans cease to be distinct from other Americans in their material circumstances, they’ll also stop being distinct from other Americans in all the other ways that we currently condemn, and at that same moment, any vestiges of racism against black Americans will very rapidly start to wither away.
- In terms of the BLM narrative, I reject it almost in its entirety simply because I see no evidence of any assault on black lives, but the main reason I reject BLM is that it’s doing tons of harm to our society, leading to needless divisiveness, polarization, violence, disruption, anti-white racism. I assume that you and I have no disagreement on that.