Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Atlantic Pretends Not to Understand "Black-on-Black Crime"

The Atlantic has published a piece entitled "The Bias in Fresno's Justice System." In that piece appears the following passage:

When the ACLU report came out in 2017, Dyer told the Fresno Bee the findings of racial disparities were “without merit” but also said that the disproportionate use of force corresponds with high crime populations. At the end of our conversation, Dyer pointed to a printout he brought with him, a list of the department’s “most wanted” people. “We can’t plug in a bunch of white guys,” he said. “You know who’s shooting black people? Black people. It’s black-on-black crime.”

But so-called “black-on-black crime” as an explanation for heightened policing of black communities has been widely debunked. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that, overwhelmingly, violent crimes are committed by people who are the same race as their victims. “Black-on-black” crime rates, the study found, are comparable to “white-on-white” crime rates.  (emphasis mine)

This is a rather amazing semantic sleight-of-hand. The authors of this piece have their own unique definition of "Black-on-Black crime rate."  What they mean is the probability that any given black victim was victimized by another black person. That probability is high. It's also high for whites, because criminals, by and large, victimize people in their own community. 

What the rest of us mean by "black-on-black crime rate" is the overall rate at which blacks victimize others or the rate at which they are victimized themselves––which, for homicide, has ranged from 6 to 8 times higher than for whites in recent decades. Homicide is the leading cause of death for black boys/men aged 15-19, 20-24, and 25-34, according to the CDC. That fact cannot be said about any other ethnicity/age combination. Blacks only make up 14% of the population. But about half of the murdered bodies that turn up in this country are black bodies (to use a phrase in vogue on the identitarian Left), year in and year out. 

The Atlantic piece made this argument in response to a police officer's attempt to justify the fact that his department arrests a higher percentage of blacks than exist in the local population. It is infuriating that such people––who, whatever their flaws, are on the front lines of the homicide problem in the black community––can get so easily tarred as racist in publications like The Atlantic (which I generally enjoy.) It is more infuriating that many people are more worried about "trafficking in stereotypes"––a problem with no death count––than they are about the leading cause of death among black men and boys. 

How do you solve a problem that can't be mentioned?

21 comments:

  1. It's a shame that the journalist left is so terrified of digging into the statistics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. The lunatic Jamelle Bouie is advocating for *abolishing prisons* in his latest newsletter, and he's the *chief political correspondent* for Slate. Shit's getting out of hand.

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  3. It's nuts how you effectively say more in this plaintive three paragraph piece that probably took about ten minutes to slap together than Coates does in hundreds of pages of his self-endeared purple prose. (For which he's awarded a National Book Award, of course)

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  4. Mr. Hughes: look up the studies on interventions that have effectively reduced gang violence. Criminal justice professionals know what works - and I would argue these tactics are effective regardless of the so-called conversation on race.

    It's now what we say, it's what we do.

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  5. Excellent corrective. It's headscratchingly baffling how the original authors get away with such wilfully misleading dishonesty.

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  6. This is evil, stupidity or a mixture of the two.

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  7. Are you implying every single black person is a criminal and that white people are angels? Why don't you look into white crime rates too? I'm pretty sure a white guy is out murdering other people like at Jacksonville.

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    Replies
    1. "Are you implying every...?"

      This is satire, right?

      Delete
  8. You are right, of course.

    I keep this comprehensive report on homicide rates bookmarked.
    https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

    It was published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics using data from 1980-2008. I've read a couple of your Quillette pieces and watched your interviews with Glenn Loury and Sam Harris. You are very much driven by the data. You probably have already seen the BJS report I linked to.

    Anyway, one interesting thing to note is that the black homicide rate is overwhelmingly drug related. "Compared with the overall percentage of murder victims who were black (47.4%), blacks were less likely to be victims of sex-related homicides (30.4%), workplace killings (12.5%), or
    homicides of elders age 65 or older (28.6%) (table 7)."


    So if we could figure out how to reduce or stop drug related homicides, the black homicide rate may decline.

    I personally lead my life as a boring, dull, prude. Don't drink alcohol or soda, do any drugs or tobacco, engage in homosexual sex, visit prostitutes or commit adultery. So I'm personally anti-drugs. But I think criminalizing drugs has created a black market for them with opportunities to make outsized, tax free, illicit profits. And that has encouraged the formation of gangs who deal in drugs and want to use violence to protect their turf. Including engaging in vigilante justice when one gang has been "wronged" by another.

    If we legalize or decriminalize drugs, then the opportunity for illicit profits will be removed. The drug related homicides may decline. Yes, there will be unintended consequences. Maybe legalizing drugs will create new social problems that are worse than the social problems we have now. I don't know. But it ought to be explored. I think that the war against drugs is similar to the war against poverty. Both began with noble intentions. But you can't ignore the consequences or results. I think they've both been failures.

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  9. That is brilliantly designed to convince anyone who can't think statistically or logically.

    It's similar to how a large percentage of the population can't distinguish between "All terrorists are muslims" and "All muslims are terrorists".

    Such a simple distinction to anyone capable of basic analytic thought, but completely opaque to a lot of people.

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  10. You da man, Coleman. Keep doing you

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. I don't think it's a conspiracy of obfuscation, as much as it is a moral imperative on the Left that oppressed can never be responsible for their own oppression (less a moral imperative than a moral panic, actually)

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  13. As always, thank you for your perceptive and sober observations.

    As an aside, have you read any Albert Murray? I found his book, The Omni-Americans, to be indispensable for thinking about American culture and political life. I don't necessarily endorse everything Murray says, but reading his book really contributed to liberating my mind from narrow partisan thinking.

    ReplyDelete
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