Look where the crime is, mostly black. African Americans make up 13% of the population and what % of crime do you think that they commit? Im not racist, I am well aware that there are degenerate white people too, I just want to live in an area where there are high class people. These are just some thoughts.
Wow...if that ill-informed statement were an LSAT choice it'd be flagged for several "wrong-answer-type" attributes. I'd say everyone has a fairly decent idea of where large populations of African-Americans can be found in this country. So start by subtracting New York, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore, and relatively small sections of some of the other southern states and already your concept of blameworthiness for crimes committed in this country seems just a tad skewed. This is a large country, are we to believe that with regards to the rest of the country, Native Americans/Pacific Islanders/Asian Americans - being as they consitute such a large
percentage of the total population - are engaged in crime sprees that would push the level of crimes committed by non-white to the proportions you're implying. Some facts:
Data from the 1998 UCR indicate that differential
rates of arrest for crime are related
to race (see Snyder, 1999). Arrests of white
juveniles (under age 18) constituted 71 percent
of all juvenile arrests compared with
26 percent for black youth. American Indian
or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific
Islanders account for 1 and 2 percent, respectively
(Federal Bureau of Investigation,
1999). Black youth were overrepresented,
given the fact that they make up 15 percent
of the juvenile population compared with
79 percent white and 5 percent other races.
Now this data pertains to juveniles...but for the sake of argument let's assume, that every AA juvenile moves on to being an adult offender, there still is a virtual mathematical impossibilty that crime is "mostly Black" Quite the opposite it would seem. I now turn your attention to the section where it mentions that realtive to their numbers the percentage of crime committed by AA is very high but surely we can all agree that this is due to several complex causation factors none of which anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of the social sciences...and I'm no expert...would ascribe to black people being classless.
These data don't help the argument that you are trying to make: they show that African-American kids are being arrested at twice the rate of their representation in the population.
A better and more accurate argument would be to suggest that African Americans are disproportionately the (direct) causes and victims of crime, and that there are, yes, structural/societal reasons for this. These reasons (or indirect "causal factors") need not be viewed as particularly complex:
1. African-Americans are disproportionately poor;
2. The African-American poor are culturally, geographically, socially and economically isolated from the remainder of society.
3. The African-American poor are cut off from the history of their pre-slavery traditions, and therefore without a strong cultural reference point that has the potential to dominate and replace the legacy of slavery and the formal institutionalised racism that came after.
4. Institutional and (nowadays mostly) unconscious racism creates an environment that - in the realm of public policy - by turns ignores the the above situation; stigmatizes this population; and devises policies and practices designed to *control* this population rather than to free it.
1 & 2 applies to all disadvantaged groups, including poor whites in Appalachia. If you check the crime stats on these poor & isolated populations you will find that they go a long way toward evening out disparities across 'groups', almost nullifying the effect of 'race';
3 & 4 are factors that are largely specific to African-Americans. Recent African immigrants to the United States, for example, do not face factor 3 and fare much better, despite the fact that they too are "black" and, when they arrive, mostly broke. And so on.
What - as Lenin would have said - is to be done? Target poverty for all groups. If we want to do it in a small-minded way, piecemeal and Clintonian, then government should remove pockets of poverty by better urban planning, by a change in the basis by which grade school education is financed, promoting small enterprise development in both the inner city and the backwoods, vocational education etc. And this for ALL groups in the situations described in 1 & 2 - whether they are "native americans", "mexicans", "whites" etc...
Better, though, and simpler and likely more effective is to institute the idea suggested by Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law in "The Stakeholder Society" (I encourage everyone who hasn't to read it, it is highly persuasive): we should give every American who graduates from high school $80,000 in $20K installments over 4 years financed by a 2% annual tax on the wealth of the very wealthiest people in our country.
African-American civic organizations should address (3). No-one else can. The traditions of the "old-country", even if they could be identified (was it Hausa? Ibo? Bete?), are lost to African-Americans forever. Silliness like Kwanzaa isn't going to bring them back. A specifically African-American cultural tradition needs to be fashioned out of the specifically African-American expeirnce that is one of hope for the future and optimism and of community with the rest of the population, not one that that is backward-looking, pessimistic and isolationist. The culture of bitches and ho's, of gangsta dress and the pimp walk, of "my-baby-daddy", of taking pride in underachievement (what Chris Rock, that great philosopher, would call the "n-word" culture) is here, there and everywhere, filling the gap between the need of youngstrs to affiliate with a culture that they can call their own and the lack of any positive strong tradition to affiliate with.
Instead, we have the call for reparations - a ridiculous proposal by an intellectually and morally bankrupt civil rights movement, either blind to the tragedy around them or seeking to profit by it through empty rhetoric.
(4) is the weakest - and most overemphasized - factor. Nevertheless, it is real and counteracting it is the responsibility of all of us. We need, as a community of Americans, to watch the way in which all neighbourhoods are being policed; we need to care be vigilant in detecting unconscious racism in, say, the formulation of drug policy.
These kinds of efforts, though, pale in their effectiveness in addressing the root problem, when contrasted with efforts to seriously address 1, 2 & 3. And yet, they take up most of the oxygen in this debate. Sometimes I wonder why that is so, and sometimes I think I know why.