The Atlantic has published part three of its series exploring the parallel justice system that investigates and hands out punishment in cases of campus sexual assault. Part one outlined standards the Obama administration pushed schools to adopt, standards that often provide little protection for the rights of the accused. Part two dealt with the bad science being used to back up this approach. Part three is about the race of those being accused in these incidents and how it probably differs from the public perception of what a campus rapist looks like.
Black students made up approximately 4% of the student body at Colgate. So black and Asian students combined were about 7% of the population on campus but made up nearly 40% of those accused and 42% of those referred for hearings.
What accounts for this disproportionate representation? Yoffe writes, “as the definition of sexual assault used by colleges has become wider and blurrier, it certainly seems possible that unconscious biases might tip some women toward viewing a regretted encounter with a man of a different race as an assault.” If anything is likely to lead progressives to reconsider their support for low standards for adjudicating campus sexual assault cases, this would seem to be it.
The New York Times and the Marshall Project report that homicides are much more likely to be ruled justifiable when a black man is killed by a white person. Racial disparities in self-defense is a topic I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about, because in 2013 I had a challenging and rewarding back-and-forth about it with John K. Roman and Shebani Rao of the Urban Institute. (Roman’s study, my response, their reply, my final comment.) There may be some bias in these decisions, but I don’t think this kind of statistic is very helpful when it comes to studying it.
Basically, when a member of one group attacks a member of another group, two things can happen that will affect homicide statistics: The aggressor can kill the victim, or the victim can kill the aggressor. The former act should be charged as a crime, the latter ruled justifiable (assuming the victim reasonably feared for life or limb). Therefore, more acts of aggression by members of a group translate to more unjustifiable homicides for that group and more justifiable homicides for the other group. As a result, if one group commits more violent crime, we’d expect that group’s homicides to be justified a lower percentage of the time.
You can follow the links above for more details on the math, but using a victimization survey by the Justice Department (which avoids the issue of racial bias in arrest statistics), a rough estimate is that there are 767,000 acts of black-on-white violence and 128,000 violent acts where the races were flipped in the U.S. annually. As I explained, if 2 percent of all victims of violence defend themselves,
128,000 acts of white-on-black violence inspire 2,500 acts of justified violence by blacks. And 767,000 acts of black-on-white violence inspire 15,000 acts of justifiable violence by whites. . . . As a result, 10 percent of white-on-black violence is justified, and only 0.3 percent of black-on-white violence is. This corresponds closely to the actual disparity from the FBI figures [regarding homicides ruled justifiable]: 11.41 percent to 1.2 percent.
I also pointed out that most justifiable homicides involve guns, and that whites report owning guns at about twice the rate of blacks.
The NYT/Marshall analysis does adjust the data to account for numerous factors, such as the relationship between the parties, the killer’s sex, the broad type of confrontation, and the weapon used, and finds that the disparity falls from to eight times to 4.7 times. But they don’t have a way of figuring out which party was actually the aggressor, and therefore they can’t tell whether prosecutors make the wrong decisions, letting off whites and/or prosecuting blacks in cases where they’d have done differently if the races were reversed. (I also find it frustrating that in most of their statistics they compare overall rates with rates for black men, combining sex and race so it’s hard to tell the role of each factor. Anyone want to guess whether man-on-woman or woman-on-man homicides are more likely to be self-defense?)
Again, I’m not claiming there’s zero bias at play here; the data are murky enough that we can’t know for sure. But the disparity documented in the report isn’t evidence of bias. It’s exactly what we’d expect to see when one group offends at a higher rate than another.
Riley’s point is the narrative that all black people in America are enraged and feel victimized over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings — and blame those issues entirely for the plight of the black community — is inaccurate.
He said it’s a concept pushed largely by the mainstream media and those who stand to profit.
“Let’s face it, the grievance industry is a very lucrative one,” Riley said, citing groups such as the NAACP and Black Lives Matter and individuals like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
“There is money to be made playing the race card,” Riley said in a recent interview with The College Fix. “I’ve argued that the Civil Rights movement has become a Civil Rights industry.”
Riley’s new book, “False Black Power,” expands on that idea by pointing out that “black Americans in the first half of the 20th century—during the darkest decades of Jim Crow, when racial discrimination was widespread, legal and often ruthlessly enforced—nevertheless managed to climb out of poverty and gain access to white-collar professions at unprecedented rates that have never since been replicated, even after the passage of landmark civil rights legislation in the 1960s and the implementation of affirmative action programs in the 1970s.”
But electing black politicians in recent decades hasn’t helped the black community fix its current woes.
“The persistence in racial inequality, even in the age of Obama, should tell us about using political power and politics to advance racial ethnic groups,” Riley told The Fix. “There are limits to this path and the Obama presidency is the last proof, and perhaps the best proof, that the problems blacks face today are not due to a lack of political clout.”
That’s an idea one might hear if they hang out in black barbershops and churches, but it’s never uttered inside a college classroom, where Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” which discusses white American racism, is one of the most assigned books for freshmen.
“When you go talk to everyday blacks about the problems facing everyday blacks, you realize the critical race theories, and the Ta-Nehisi Coates and the Al Sharptons, don’t really reflect the viewpoints of everyday blacks, that there is disconnect between them and the people they claim to speak for.”
Yet the narrative taught to students nationwide, riling them up over white privilege, institutional racism and police shootings, has sometimes created such angst that they aggressively disrupt and even shut down campus talks designed to present facts and data to support the notion that “Blue Lives Matter” and that cops are not the main problem facing the black community.
Riley said in his experience speaking at college campuses “what I have found is sort of the more elite, the more privileged, the more nonsensical” the students and their reactions.
“And these kids are not being taught to debate,” he said, “they are being taught to silence their critics — and administrators are indulging this.”
“But at school after school you get this small clutch of conservative students who come up to you afterward and almost whisper to you, ‘Thank you, thank you for coming, and we are sorry we didn’t say much,’” Riley said. “The idea that conservatives or just people who think differently about some of these issues are cowed into silence on campus these days is distributing.”
Riley acknowledged “it’s going to be a challenge getting more and different points of view on campus,” but added there’s a silver lining.
“I don’t know how many people who live in the real world are buying a lot of these academic arguments,” he said. “I know they get echoed in the elite media by liberal commentators but I think on some level those commentators are really only speaking to the academic elite … it’s obvious that in the real world you can’t talk about black incarceration rates without talking about black crime rates.”
“This whole idea that blacks are locked up at higher rates strictly due to a racist criminal justice system and not due to any behavior on the part of the young black men being locked up — I don’t know if that goes very far with your average person, but it is a challenge. You want to get at the kids on campus and give them an alternative point of view, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult.”
But there may be an opening to convince young black minds that the real problems lie elsewhere, he added.
“On college campuses, these kids today are obviously a much younger generation that doesn’t have the historical baggage of older generations when it comes to the history of blacks in this country,” he said. “This is a generation that came of age with a black president, with black mayors and governors and senators and all kinds of black political clout.”
And yet what has all that political clout gotten the black community? In “False Black Power,” Riley points out it hasn’t gotten them much.
Meanwhile, he writes, social scientists [a.k.a. professors] “cowed by political correctness are still downplaying or denying the strong connection between black poverty and black family structure.”
“The current focus on white racism and political solutions to racial gaps continues to miss the mark,” Riley writes. “Our national discussions spend ample time on the impact of slavery but precious little on the black social and economic trends that followed the growth of the modern welfare state.”
“In the postslavery era, the differences in black progress before and after the Great Society interventions are glaring. When intact families were commonplace, the rise in black education, incomes, and occupations was significant and steady. As black family disorganization intensified and wealth-transfer programs grew in size and scope, that progress slowed in some cases and stalled in others,” Riley writes.
“Liberals have attempted to compensate for black cultural retrogression since the 1960s with increased black political power. In 2008, America elected her first black president, and eight years later, one undeniable lesson was that political clout is no substitute for self development.”
File this under “unintended consequences”.
In the past three years, male students accused of sexual misconduct have filed hundreds of lawsuits, charging that they were the victims of both false allegations and school procedures that failed to properly vet the claims.
Jazz Shaw comments:
Suing a woman who was allegedly raped? But there have been simply too many cases dredged up where the charges either turned out to be vastly overstated or completely unfounded, combined with instances where there simply were no legal protections in place for the accused that what else can be done?
The truly sad part of this, as in so many instances, is that it’s really not the fault of the woman bringing the allegations. It’s the social justice warrior climate permeating so many schools, filling everyone’s heads with stories of a “campus rape culture” and a distrust of law enforcement and the court system. It’s easy to see why so many would disregard the normal protections and requirements of the legal system and listen to professors or administrators whispering in their ears, telling them that they can simply “handle it at school” so they won’t need to get the cops involved.
This, of course, is a betrayal of not only the victim and the accused, but of all other women in the surrounding community. As has been repeatedly noted, if a rape takes place, these college kangaroo courts can’t do more than issue a reprimand and boot the alleged offender out of school. If he was actually guilty, this basically means that you just turned a rapist loose on the rest of the community with far more time on his hands. Tell me, advocates of such systems… is there nothing worrisome to you about such a scheme?
No woman needs to be “put on trial twice” in these situations if you actually put the accused through a real trial the first time. That means filing police reports, having them gather evidence, interview witnesses and bring charges. And the accused gets to mount a legal defense and have his day in court as well. (I’ll say “his” because it’s nearly always a man.) Yes, it can be uncomfortable for any victim of any crime and I have all the sympathy in the world. But in case it’s any consolation, if a crime actually did take place and the guy is guilty, the judge can lock him up for a very long time and I’ll be there right alongside you cheering for the most severe sentence possible.
Merv Benson at Prairie Pundit notes:
I have noted before how ill-suited colleges and universities are for handling these matters. Many of them routinely deny the accused due process rights including the right to an attorney and the ability to cross-examine their accuser. What they should be required to do is turn the matter over to local law enforcement such as a district attorney’s office to determine if there is sufficient evidence of a crime.
Now attorneys for the accused are suing their accuser alleging defamation which at least gets the matter in front of a real court and not some campus star-chamber proceeding. Colleges who thought they were protecting the accusers now find those same accusers having to pay attorney fees to defend themselves. If the case had been turned over to the DA’s office, to begin with, this could have been avoided and both sides would have had a better chance of getting due process.
Location, location, location.
When you look at individual counties with high murder rates, you find large areas with few murders. Consider Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. There are virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county, with only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys.
When I first heard, in March 2015, that students at the university where I teach had staged a protest march over an essay I’d written about sexual paranoia in academe, and that they were carrying mattresses and pillows, I was a bit nonplussed. For one thing, mattresses had become a symbol of student-on-student sexual assault — a Columbia University student became known as “mattress girl” after spending a year dragging a mattress around campus in a performance-art piece meant to protest the university’s ruling in a sexual-assault complaint she’d filed against a fellow student — whereas I’d been talking about the new consensual-relations codes prohibiting professor–student dating. I suppose I knew the essay would be controversial — the whole point of writing it was to say things I believed were true (and suspected a lot of other people thought were true), but weren’t being said for fear of repercussions. Still, I’d been writing as a feminist. And I hadn’t sexually assaulted anyone. The whole thing seemed incoherent.
According to our student newspaper, the mattress carriers on my campus were marching to the university president’s office with a petition demanding “a swift, official condemnation” of my article. One student said she’d had a “very visceral reaction” to it; another called it “terrifying.” I’d argued that the new codes infantilized students and ramped up the climate of accusation, while vastly increasing the power of university administrators over all our lives, and here were students demanding to be protected by university higher-ups from the affront to someone’s ideas — which seemed to prove my point.
The president announced that he’d consider the petition.
Last week Inside Higher Ed published an essay from an anonymous feminist professor that truly has to be read to be believed. In it, she describes being triggered into literal hysterics by a male student’s essay (at one point saying that she screamed at her computer screen, “Zero! You get a f**king zero!) This student, who allegedly rather bluntly questioned the existence of “rape culture,” caused her to compare the student to the man she claimed raped her many years ago. Here are her exact words:
I imagined him being friends with my rapist (though the man who raped me is now significantly older than this student, he is frozen in the 18-22 age bracket in my mind). How, I wondered, could I possibly evaluate this student’s work in an “unbiased” fashion? Such a request would involve me living an entirely different life than the one that I have had.
It’s worth highlighting her essay not so much because of one professor’s unbalanced reaction to one student’s essay but because of something else — something far more indicative of campus propaganda on rape and sexual assault. Here’s her description of teaching about “rape culture.”
It was the middle of the semester, and we were covering rape culture. As any feminist instructor who has ever taught about rape culture probably knows, covering this topic is challenging for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes we encounter students who realize that they have been raped who come to office hours looking for resources. Other times, students learn that they have actually perpetrated rape and struggle to reconcile that with their images of themselves as “good people” and “not one of those (usually) guys.” And many feminist instructors, especially those who are women, know all too well what it is like to navigate the “mansplaining” of a few men students who would like to ardently deny that rape culture exists. (Emphasis added.)
Read the italicized portion again. She’s claiming that thanks to feminist instruction, some students actually “realize” that they’ve been raped, while others “learn” that they’re rapists. This is extraordinary. Rape is not difficult to define — unless, of course you’re redefining it. And if she is describing people who “learn” that they’ve committed actual rape, why is she not calling the police? If she’s not calling the police, is she placing other women in danger? After all, didn’t she just “learn” that a sexual predator is on the loose?
Here’s a fundamental problem with campus “rape culture” arguments. On the one hand, campus feminists argue that colleges are in the grips of an extraordinary crime wave — with women at astounding risk of experiencing sexual violence. On the other hand, these same feminists will argue that it’s entirely fine if women choose to leave these crimes in the hands of campus tribunals – that people they believe to be actual criminals should receive academic discipline only, leaving them free to rape again.
Do feminists want to take rape seriously? Then they should define it according to the law and refer every single rape claim to law enforcement. But if they’re really talking about drunken hook-ups or radical new concepts of consent, then they should speak the language of morality and manners, not crime and punishment. Otherwise, they drain the word of its real meaning and contribute to the skepticism they so loudly condemn.
The statistics are unquestionable–at least to the social justice warriors inhabiting American colleges: something between 20 and 25 percent of women will be raped during their four (or more) years of college. Presumably, women sticking around for a master’s or doctorate degree face even more daunting odds.
In March 2017, a 15-year-old girl in Chicago was lured into a basement and gang-raped by five to six males. The girl was threatened with a pit bull if she tried to flee; she was picked up and thrown around. One of the participants live-streamed the rape on Facebook. So far, two boys, 15- and 14-years-old, have been arrested in the attack. The 15-year-old slapped the girl in the head while she was performing oral sex on him. Up to 40 people watched the rape live; none reported it to the police or to Facebook.
Since then, threats, taunts, social-media bullying, and physical assaults have been directed at . . . the victim and her family, not at the rapists. A group of girls beat the victim’s twelve-year-old sister last week, reports DNA Info Chicago. One of the girl’s attackers said: “Why [did] you send my brother to jail,” according to her mother. You want to see an example of “blaming the victim?” This is it. People ring the family’s doorbell and surround the home in a menacing way, the girl’s mother has told the Chicago Tribune. The victim has been moved to an undisclosed location to escape the constant insults and bullying, but the family has not yet raised enough money through a GoFundMe campaign to follow her.
Yet the Left continues to pump out a series of interlocking lies: that “rape culture” is a product of Western civilization exclusively, practiced primarily by heterosexual white males, and its most egregious seat is the pacific American college campus; that minorities are victimized predominantly by white racists; that police presence and proactive tactics in minority neighborhoods are a function of bias, not crime; that disparate racial rates of school discipline reveal teacher bias; that the disciplining of black girls, in particular, constitutes racial injustice. The Left gets away with these lies because of the virtual taboo on the reporting of inner-city dysfunction. This Sunday, a mass shooting broke out in Chicago at a memorial for a Hispanic gang member shot and killed hours earlier. Two masked men with rifles opened fire on the crowd gathered at the shrine, killing a woman and man and wounding eight others, reports DNA Info Chicago. The national media barely cocked an eye. Last year in Chicago, 4,300 people were shot, one person every two hours, including two dozen children under the age of twelve. Had the victims been white, there would have been a revolution. But because the victims were overwhelmingly black, no one pays attention, both out of a reluctance to call attention to black crime and out of an unspoken assumption on the part of the media that that is simply what black people do.
Until that liberal condescension changes, liberal pieties about “rape culture” and other alleged sins of Western society will continue to be just so much obfuscating nonsense.
Here are Eight False Premises of The Left. Learn to recognize and counter them, and the argument will flow your way every time (at least until you’re called Hitler, invoking Godwin’s Law). Which false premise of The Left drives you craziest?
1. Mass shootings are on the rise! If we could just get rid of all the guns, people wouldn’t be so violent!
This argument bears all the hallmarks of a False Premise of The Left. Take a crisis, blow it out of proportion, and demand emergency action. Voila! Rights revoked, and everybody feels better! This is the classic argument of the advocates of gun control. This argument presupposes that humans aren’t naturally predisposed toward violence to assert their dominance in a dispute.
In order to defeat this argument, one must know the freely available stats on the rates of violent crime. Every outlet you can find, left-leaning, right-leaning, government stats, whatever is out there — they all show a dramatic drop in violent crime since its peak in the early ’90s. This article from National Review gives a good overview. The upshot is that as funding for police increases, violent crime decreases. About those mass shootings? According to John Lott, France had more deaths from mass shootings in 2015 than the U.S. had in all eight years of the Obama administration. This is not a uniquely American problem, and the frequency of attacks is a mere 0.078 per million people. Statistically, the chance of dying in a mass shooting event is roughly equivalent to dying in a severe weather event. Is it awful? Of course. Should we do more? Absolutely. Should we trample the rights of law-abiding gun owners? What do you think?
2. Police target minorities more for arrest and harassment
The common refrain among Black Lives Matter protesters is that police all across the country are killing our young black men and white America doesn’t care. The movement has been enabled and encouraged, in large part, by white liberal guilt and limousine liberals who rarely care about more than appearing to be sympathetic while not actually socializing with those in lower income tax brackets.
The problem is that this underlying premise is not accurate. If you analyze the FBI data, as self-proclaimed “radical moderate” Clay Travis has done, you come to the clear conclusion that black men are less likely to be shot during arrests than other races. Since black men commit murder and violent crime at about twice the rate of other races, to say that police are unfairly targeting them for arrest is also inaccurate. So before you let a BLM activist browbeat you into submission, remember that the entire movement is based on a false premise of unfair police targeting.
3. The gender pay gap
Women make seventy-seven cents on the dollar compared to men! America is misogynist! The free markets are unfair! That’s why we need Equal Pay Day and action by the president and for the government to make those evil capitalists be more fair!
When one takes into account the different professions towards which women gravitate versus those preferred by men, along with time off taken for family reasons (thereby affecting overall experience levels), it becomes fairly obvious that women simply make different career choices than men, generally speaking — especially younger women 25-34, who make 90% of what men of the same age earn.
4. 97% of scientists believe that man-made global warming is real
The problem with this claim, endlessly spouted by the likes of Barack Obama, John Kerry, Bill Nye, and Al Gore, is that it is 100% bovine fertilizer. It is made up out of whole cloth. The statistic doesn’t exist. One guy named John Cook once published a paper analyzing the available research on climate and determined that 97% of the papers he analyzed said that “the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gasses are the main cause.”
Right off the bat, it’s obvious that the premise never even says that the Earth’s warming is “dangerous,” despite the Tweet From On High By The Lightbringer™. Furthermore, if you examine the papers analyzed by the author of the study, there’s no way of knowing how exhaustive his research was, or if he left any papers out that disagreed with his premise. Alex Epstein gave a ton of detail about this in a column at Forbes.
Several of the scientists whose work was included in the 97% study protested that their work was mischaracterized as an endorsement when no such opinion was intended.
5. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, proving capitalism is evil
Anyone saying this doesn’t actually understand economics. I’m serious.
Liberals have this consistent weakness of taking a snapshot in time and making it the ultimate definition that serves as their basis of arguments. They use this tactic in all sorts of dynamic, ever-changing systems, like economics, the environment, societal conditions, racial interactions, and many others. Of course, when those dynamic systems inevitably express dynamism and conditions change, the Left is great at moving the goal posts and redefining what injustice means. We solved many of the problems faced by African-Americans in the 20th century. Invent institutional racism and redefine what it means to be bigoted! Predictions around man-made global warming weren’t even close to accurate? Call it climate change! You can see the game they play a mile away.
The gap between rich and poor is a feature of capitalism, not a bug. Capitalism is the ultimate dynamic system — the polar opposite of a command economy. People are constantly making financial decisions, working to increase their pay, and moving up and down the economic spectrum. People in the bottom 20% of income in America live better than the wealthy in most countries across the globe, and within five years, most of those folks are no longer in the bottom 20%. That’s how the free market works.
6. Health care is a human right
The argument has been going on since the early 20th century: “If we can afford to go to war around the globe, we can afford to provide health care to all Americans. Health care is a human right. Nobody should be denied care.”
Admittedly, these are powerful arguments that are difficult to overcome. The emotions involved can sway us away from the logic of the situation. The mistake made by those advancing this argument is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are all about. They clearly spell out, for the first time in human history, that human rights are innate. Rights are not, and cannot, be granted by the state. The foundation of America is a direct result of the state — in our case, England — taking away the right to assembly, the right to free speech, the right to practice our religion freely, and other usurpations.
Any American is free to pursue whatever health care strategy they choose. The problem comes when the federal government mandates that we buy a product, thus paying into a system so that others can be subsidized. This is not the state providing a right, this is mere theft. In any event, the free market works much better than any interference by government, just like with any other product bought freely on the market.
7. If we took the time to understand the demands of terrorists, we could stop them
Leftists often take a sympathetic approach to terrorists, believing that the evils of the West and the economic exploitation of free markets are what spur radicalization. Noted geopolitics expert Bill Nye has said as much: “It’s very reasonable that the recent trouble in Paris is a result of climate change.” Leftists will twist themselves into endless knots to blame Western culture for the terrorism they believe we’ve brought on ourselves. They blame unemployment, capitalist economic exploitation, globalization, and marginalization where a political solution is not available.
Just one problem: That’s all poppycock. There are plenty of examples of terrorists having been fully integrated into Western culture, some with affluent positions such as doctor or Army psychologist, only to re-radicalize later. There is no correlation, despite what the Left wants us to believe, that it has to do with anything but their own interpretation of Islam. To say otherwise is to try to apply political correctness to a situation that patently disproves any truth to the PC orthodoxy.
8. Planned Parenthood and PBS need public funding
Leftists often defend the funding of these programs with a mixture of straw man arguments and misdirections. When asked if the federal government should fund these programs, they’ll say they are vital to the American cultural experience, while cutting them would not balance the budget or fix our national debt. They often throw out the notion that if these federal programs were eliminated, people in rural areas would suffer without media options, without access to women’s health care, and without art.
Now, the idea that a small spending cut is not progress because it’s small, is, of course, absurd on its face. The federal government is way too big and involved in way too many aspects of our lives. We should seek out every opportunity to shrink the leviathan. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood’s budget has already been enhanced by several hundred million in private donations on the mere rumor of its federal funding being cut. If taxpayers — a large proportion of whom vehemently oppose the Planned Parenthood mission — are no longer on the hook for their funding, Planned Parenthood will survive just fine on fundraising drives.
In the case of PBS, far from killing Big Bird, we’ve already seen a free market solution to this supposed problem. Big Bird is on HBO now. So the idea that we’d be killing educational programming is ridiculous. There are dozens of cable channels dedicated to children’s educational programming. The free market, once again, rides to the rescue.
Dr. John Lott’s classic More Guns, Less Crime, has been a thorn in the side of anti-liberty forces since first published in 1998. It is now in its third edition and is no less annoying to those that would disarm the law abiding. As one might imagine, the book proves, conclusively, the title. Anti-liberty forces have […]