The issue of race relations in America has reached a new high pitch with the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman, followed by mass peaceful demonstrations and instances of violence, looting, and arson in cities around the country.
I’ve examined all of the evidence carefully and it’s true: What Trump has done — from spying on journalists to unconstitutional treaties — is tyrannical.
The claim of a significant white supremacist threat (led by Trump, no less) is the latest cynical canard of a left that seeks to divide the nation into competing tribes. Over the past weekend In El Paso, a terrorist inspired by many things , including ecology ( Mother Jones characterizes the shooter as an “eco-facist”) — but not by Trump — committed a mass shooting, killing twenty and wounding twenty-six.
Well, I don’t know. I’m starting to think they’re pretty darn common.
Doing research for a book, Hate Crime Hoax, I was able to easily put together a data set of 409 confirmed hate hoaxes. An overlapping but substantially different list of 348 hoaxes exists at fakehatecrimes.org, and researcher Laird Wilcox put together another list of at least 300 in his still-contemporary book Crying Wolf. To put these numbers in context, a little over 7,000 hate crimes were reported by the FBI in 2017 and perhaps 8-10% of these are widely reported enough to catch the eye of a national researcher.
However, hate crime hoaxers are “calling attention to a problem” that is a very small part of total crimes. There is very little brutally violent racism in the modern USA. There are less than 7,000 real hate crimes reported in a typical year. Inter-racial crime is quite rare; 84% of white murder victims and 93% of Black murder victims are killed by criminals of their own race, and the person most likely to kill you is your ex-wife or husband. When violent inter-racial crimes do occur, whites are at least as likely to be the targets as are minorities. Simply put, Klansmen armed with nooses are not lurking on Chicago street corners.
In this context, what hate hoaxers actually do is worsen generally good race relations, and distract attention from real problems. As Chicago’s disgusted top cop, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, pointed out yesterday, skilled police officers spent four weeks tracking down Smollett’s imaginary attackers — in a city that has seen 28 murders as of Feb. 9th, according to The Chicago Tribune. We all, media and citizens alike, would be better served to focus on real issues like gun violence and the opiate epidemic than on fairy tales like Jussie’s.
Jonah Goldberg writes on manufactured hate crimes in his weekly newsletter.
Here’s something you might not know: In Nazi Germany, very few Jews staged bogus hate crimes against themselves.
Here’s some more trivia: Very few blacks in the Jim Crow South went to great lengths to pretend that they were harassed or attacked by racists.
You know why? Because that would be incredibly stupid. What, exactly, would the German Jew who staged an assault on himself gain from it? Where would he or she go to ask for sympathy or recompense? Conjure any horror story you like, the Nazi official you brought it to would say, “Yeah, and . . . ?” The black sharecropper who took the time to make his own cross and burn it on his own property would benefit . . . how?
Why am I bringing this up? Well, for a bunch of reasons. I have more points to make than can be found at an English Setter competition.
First, people who live under real oppression have no need to fabulate oppression. To paraphrase Madge from the old Palmolive ads: They’re already soaking in it.
Second, when you live in an oppressive country, there’s no one you can take your grievances to because that is what it means to live in an oppressive country!The Hate Hoax Bonfire
And indeed, calling a real racist “racist” doesn’t work. “Name and shame” is not very effective against those who aren’t ashamed.
Which brings me to the third point: In non-oppressive countries, there are people to take your case to. Sohrab Ahmari put it nicely in an essay a couple of years ago:
And as Pascal Bruckner wrote in his essay “The Tyranny of Guilt,” if liberal democracy does trap or jail you (politically speaking), it also invariably slips the key under your cell door. The Swedish midwives driven out of the profession over their pro-life views can take their story to the media. The Down syndrome advocacy outfit whose anti-eugenic advertising was censored in France can sue in national and then international courts. The Little Sisters of the Poor can appeal to the Supreme Court for a conscience exemption to Obamacare’s contraceptives mandate. And so on.
This is a hugely important point, and there’s an urgent need for more people to understand it. A free society is a rich ecosystem of competing institutions. Some are powerful, some weak. Some have great influence in a specific sphere of life: the American Bar Association, the military, the Catholic Church, whatever. Some only have power in a certain place: the county zoning board, the local police, your parents, etc. But none have unchecked power over the whole of the society and, thanks to the Constitution, that goes for the government itself, too.
A free society is a honeycomb of safe havens, competing authorities — legal, moral, cultural — that allow for people to find safe harbors from other institutionsibid
And the hoaxes often get rewarded, at least for a while. And it’s rare to see one punished.
Goldberg wanders into economics. But what is economics except the organized study of how people respond to incentives?
A truism of economics is that you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax. I have no quarrel with that. But it seems to me we don’t think enough about how this principle applies to areas we see as outside of economics.
For instance, contrary to what one hears in the left-wing punditsphere, there’s a high cultural penalty — a tax, if you will — on open racism, which is one reason there is so much less of it today.Already, I can hear throats clearing to say “Oh yeah, what price has Donald Trump paid!!!?!?!” Well, leaving aside the merits of the cases for and against the claim that Donald Trump is a racist, it’s transparently obvious that he’s paid a political price for the perception that he is one. The reflexive opposition to Trump by many of the media outlets from which he craves approval is driven in no small part by the widespread liberal assumption that he’s a bigot of one kind or another. Similarly, he’s almost surely paid a price among many independent and moderate voters, including the millions who voted for both Trump and Obama, because of how he’s perceived, fairly or not.
But my point here isn’t to talk about Trump, but to check the box so I don’t have to talk about him further.
The sort of racism Smollett manufactured has never been lower in the United States, but rather than celebrate or express gratitude for this incontestable fact, people look for proof it’s worse than ever. Bereft of giants to slay, they construct windmills and pretend they are heroes for levelling their lances at them. Like the elders of Salem, they mistake their quiet hysteria for sober reality and believe every tale of witches beyond the tree line. On the principle that some things have to be believed to be seen, wearing a blanket at Oberlin is all the proof one needs for a moral panic over the invading armies of the Klan, just as the splash of a dolphin’s tale was proof of mermaids for horny sailors centuries ago.
Hoaxes and hysteria-fueled misinterpretations are common on the left because a certain kind of pity and hate has become institutionalized, monetized, and sacralized. But while pity and hate take a certain recognizable, custom-made form on the left — call it bespoke woke — the left doesn’t have a monopoly on the larger phenomenon. Donald Trump demands pity almost daily, and he gets it. And the pitiers get their opportunities for hatred, too. Christopher Hasson is an exceptional case, but only because he took the rhetoric of pity and hate duopoly to an extreme conclusion.
So I’ll leave with this depressing prediction. Obviously more Smollett-style hoaxes are coming. If the negative attention heaped on mass shooters is enough to inspire other losers to commit that kind of evil, it’s easy to imagine that the attention Smollett has gotten will inspire losers to do likewise. But that’s not my prediction. There will be a hoax involving MAGA hats, but the fake victims will be those wearing them. We already saw the hunger for this kind of thing in the Covington case — but those kids were in fact victims. President Trump invited that kid named Trump to the State of the Union precisely because he wanted to exploit this great reservoir of pity. And the coverage of this legitimate outrage will no doubt encourage others to get a piece of that on the cheap.
So mark my words, some loser, desperate to be lionized by Candace Owens or applauded at CPAC, will manufacture some story of victimhood that will ignite a bonfire of outrage on the right and a riot of sympathy about MAGA persecution. The mainstream media will suddenly remember the professional integrity it forgot in the Smollett case and debunk it. But before then, the pitiables of the right will claim victimhood by proxy and denounce the insensitivity of an uncaring media that hates them. The roles will be reversed, but the script will be the same, and the actors will all yell just a little bit louder, as the snake ups the tempo of its own repast.ibid
It seems like we’ve been getting a lot of reports of “hate crimes” that are wrong. Either they’re completely misrepresented — it’s not a Klan meeting, it’s white sheets draped over furniture in a room — or it’s a hoax.
I wonder how many hate crimes are real.
Certainly, when I hear of one, I’m starting to demand extraordinary proof. For example, when a food server posts a receipt with a racist insult scrawled on it instead of a tip, I want a handwriting comparison, and I want to hear the patron’s side of the story.
It seems that white progressives talk down to Blacks, as if adjusting for a presumed lower level of comprehension.
According to new research by Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale SOM, white liberals tend to downplay their own verbal competence in exchanges with racial minorities, compared to how other white Americans act in such exchanges. The study is scheduled for publication in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Dupree and her co-author, Susan Fiske of Princeton University, began by analyzing the words used in campaign speeches delivered by Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to different audiences over the years. They scanned 74 speeches delivered by white candidates over a 25-year period. Approximately half were addressed to mostly-minority audiences—at a Hispanic small business roundtable discussion or a black church, for example. They then paired each speech delivered to a mostly-minority audience with a comparable speech delivered at a mostly-white audience—at a mostly-white church or university, for example. The researchers analyzed the text of these speeches for two measures: words related to competence (that is, words about ability or status, such as “assertive” or “competitive”) and words related to warmth (that is, words about friendliness, such as “supportive” and “compassionate”).
Warmth, related to intentions towards others, and competence, related to the ability to carry out those intentions, are two fundamental dimensions of how we see others and portray ourselves in social interactions. Stereotypical portrayals of black Americans generally show them as being less competent than their white counterparts, but not necessarily less friendly or warm, Dupree explains.
The team found that Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences. The difference wasn’t statistically significant in speeches by Republican candidates, though “it was harder to find speeches from Republicans delivered to minority audiences,” Dupree notes. There was no difference in Democrats’ or Republicans’ usage of words related to warmth. “It was really surprising to see that for nearly three decades, Democratic presidential candidates have been engaging in this predicted behavior.”
Dupree and Fiske suspect that the behavior stems from a liberal person’s desire to connect with other races. One possible reason for the “competence downshift,” as the authors describe it, is that, regardless of race, people tend to downplay their competence when they want to appear likeable and friendly. But it’s also possible that “this is happening because people are using common stereotypes in an effort to get along,” Dupree says.
Initial data from follow-up studies suggest that describing a black person as highly intelligent, thus reversing the stereotype, or as already highly motivated to get along with whites, thus removing the need to prove goodwill, can reduce the likelihood that a white person will downplay their competence in their interactions with the black person.
There is privilege in the world, but if you’re concentrating on skin color, you may be missing it.
Consider two Americans. One is named Mike. Mike is a straight white Christian male from a decaying industrial city in Ohio or Michigan. He never knew his father. His mother is hooked on painkillers. His home life isn’t great. Mom’s various boyfriends enjoy smacking him in the face. He gets passed around to a variety of family members. He gets into drugs early. Crime too. He drifts around high school and doesn’t graduate. He has no skills and no prospects.
The other American is Malia Obama.
Who has the privilege here? Which one of these citizens is going to have an easier time getting a potential employer on the phone? Who is more likely to find a suitable spouse? Which one of these people is going to have problems getting a mortgage? Who is going to have a better life?
The answer is obviously Mike. All Mike needs to do is present his “white privilege” card to Goldman Sachs, or the Walt Disney Company, or the United States Senate, and all doors will open, because white people like Mike are royalty. Mike will immediately be ushered to a velvet-upholstered throne and be instructed in how to fulfill his duties as a natural-born member of the country’s elite class.
Ah, the Left will protest, but Malia Obama is unique. There is only one of her. Well, two of her. Sort of. But anyway, blacks on average face more challenges than whites in the United States. Yes, but averages don’t tell us much about the lot of any individual. Happiness and success have much to do with personal circumstances — growing up in a stable, loving family; a good education; a strong work ethic. Having two parents who are able to get literally anyone in the world on the phone could help. Having no reliable parents could hurt. Race isn’t the ultimate or anywhere near the leading determinant of how your life turns out, and it’s sloppy to imply otherwise. Yet race determinism is everywhere, and if anything it seems to be growing in popularity.
Race determinism long ago became beloved by the far left but these days even moderates such as Clinton-administration official–turned–CNN pundit Kirsten Powers embrace it. Powers decreed that dislike for Hillary Clinton was no excuse for voting for Donald Trump. “They’ll say, ‘Well, I’m not racist. I just voted for him because I didn’t like Hillary Clinton.’ And I just want to say that’s not — that doesn’t make you not racist. It actually makes you racist.” Powers is hardly alone in this kind of thinking — the New York Times’ new editorial-board member, Sarah Jeong, tweeted, less than three months before she was hired, “‘I am not a racist’ is now a surefire confirmation of racism.” Jeong is a graduate of Harvard Law School. “The heartbeat of racism is denial,” ran the title of a Times column by Ibram X. Kendi, who claimed that President Trump’s assertions that he was not a racist constituted “ugly denials.” Kendi didn’t say these were ugly lies; the mere denying is ugly.
Like alcoholism or homosexuality back in the day, and witchcraft or Communist-party loyalty before that, racism is an unfalsifiable accusation. By denying it you merely make your accusers giggle. Your only hope is to confess and ingratiate yourself with the court by identifying other wrongdoers. Identifying lots of other wrongdoers is your best bet.
When Powers’s CNN remark ran into disbelief and mockery on Twitter, she redoubled her efforts to demonstrate that her thinking had degenerated to the confused-undergraduate level:Kirsten Powers
For those upset abt my comments about racism+Trump supporters, I also said that ALL white ppl (not just Trump supporters) need to examine their own racist assumptions/white privilege that are the result of living in a society that privileges white people. That includes me.
If “ALL” white people are beset by “racist assumptions,” then all white people are racist. All white people are therefore horrible. There’s a word for casting aspersions on people for the sole reason that they belong to a particular race; it’ll come to me in a moment . . .
The ‘White Privilege’ Canard
Clayton Cramer fielded a question from a journalist regarding the perceived increase in police shootings of armed black men.
I’ll send over a few questions if that okay with you… I really want to capture the increased incident of police and armed black men. Activist seem to believe there is racism at the core of these incidents.1. What was your response to the shooting of Jemel Roberson two days ago?
I confess that I missed this. The police officer clearly reacted too quickly and wrongly.
2. Do you believe racism is something that is a factor in these shootings?
I think it is important to distinguish between racism and prejudice. A racist would assume that a different race is intrinsically different or inferior, and often that is expressed as hatred. Many people have prejudices based on race, sex, or other identities that may not be associated with hate. There are times that those prejudices may have a rational basis when applied to unknown members of that group. Let me give you an example.
This is a pretty important point. In another discussion elsewhere with someone else, I felt the need to distinguish between “racial” distinctions and “racist” distinctions. Allocating more funds to treat sickle cell trait in largely black areas than elsewhere is a racial distinction, but not a racist one.
Many years ago, I was walking home from college on a pedestrian path that was pretty isolated. There was a 10 foot high concrete wall on one side, and a chain link fence with a stream and forest on the other. Ahead of me about 50 yards was a young woman also walking away from campus. There was no one else around. Because I was a bit taller than her, I was slowly gaining on her as I walked this path. After a couple minutes, I realized that she had increased her pace; soon, she was almost running.
My first reaction was, “Why is she afraid of me? I am a nice person; I will not hurt her. Is it just because I’m a man?” The answer, I am sure, was Yes. Nasty prejudice. But a rational prejudice. She did not know me. Effectively all rapists are men. That means that men are 2x as likely to be rapists as people in general: unknown men are a disproportionate risk. Few men are rapists; there were 124,000 rapes in America in 2015 (https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/table-1) in a nation of 160 million men, and because rapists are usually serial offenders, there are probably far less than 124,000 men who are rapists.
What if she assumes the worst about a man, and he is harmless (like me)? She gets a bit of a cardio workout from trying to get away. What if she assumes a man is harmless and he is a rapist? The consequences may be quite severe. So her reaction qualifies as a rational reaction to her prejudice.
Former Vice President Joe Biden called Trump’s assertion that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election a “flat lie.” But Biden did not stop there. The Republican support for voter ID, he said, was all about suppressing minority votes: “It’s what these guys are all about, man. Republicans don’t want working-class people voting. They don’t want black folks voting.” Last year, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., denounced “racist voter ID laws and voter suppression tactics (that) sprout like weeds all across the country.” In a press conference in July, CNN’s April Ryan asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders: “So, Sarah, since you keep saying that the President is very concerned about the election process … you did not mention voter suppression in that. Voter suppression has been an issue for decades and particularly in these last few elections.”
Despite these alleged racist roadblocks to the ballot box, in 2008 blacks voted at a higher percentage than whites. That same year, liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote one of the majority opinions in a 6-3 case that upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, which required voters to show a photo ID — such as a driver’s license or passport — before casting their votes. Stevens recognized “flagrant examples of (voter) fraud” throughout America’s history and wrote that “not only is the risk of voter fraud real” but “it could affect the outcome of a close election.” The additional burden on voters, Stevens argued, is more than offset by “the state’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters.”
Blacks also support voter ID. A 2016 Gallup poll found that 77 percent of non-whites support voter ID, nearly as high as the 81 percent of whites who support it.
The fact that voter ID is legal and popular does not, of course, affect the view that it “suppresses” the minority vote. The George Soros-supported website ThinkProgress ran a story last year with this menacing headline: “New Study Confirms that Voter ID Laws Are Very Racist.”
Citing research by three professors from U.C. San Diego, Michigan State and Bucknell University, the article says: “turnout among Hispanic voters is ‘7.1 percentage points lower in general elections and 5.3 points lower in primaries’ in states with strict voter ID laws. The laws also reduce turnout among African-American and Asian-American voters. White turnout, according to their study, is ‘largely unaffected.'”
Case closed? Not exactly.
A follow-up study by researchers from Yale, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania found no evidence that voter ID laws have a statistically significant impact on voter turnout. This study examined the methodology and conclusions of the previous study. Its researchers wrote: “Widespread concern that voter identification laws suppress turnout among racial and ethnic minorities has made empirical evaluations of these laws crucial. But problems with administrative records and survey data impede such evaluations. … We show that the results of the paper are a product of data inaccuracies (and) the presented evidence does not support the stated conclusion … When errors are corrected, one can recover positive, negative or null estimates of the effect of voter ID laws on turnout, precluding firm conclusions.”
In other words, the data do not support the notion that the “brown-brown” are too dumb, too lazy or otherwise incapable of obtaining the necessary identification to vote.