Last week we were talking about white pride. I think we deconstructed the history pretty well, and why that's a problem, but there are also some basic fallacies with regard to how it functions now. I want to get to that, but I am going to approach it via some specific areas of lies and misconceptions.
When we talk about racism lately, the discussion often comes from an incidence of police brutality, or other violence against black people by white civilians. It is very common for right-wing pundits and politicians to try and deflect by bringing up two issues. It then becomes common for people who listen to these pundits to go there too. I turn your attention to "Black On Black Crime" and "Absent Black Fathers".
It's completely reasonable to argue that those issues do not excuse the other issues, and that if one issue needs discussion it is right to focus on that instead of always trying to deflect to something else, but also, those are wrong ideas in people's heads.
My awareness shot up a lot after Trayvon Martin was killed. That would have been a stupid time to bring up black fathers, because he was going to his father's house. His father was there. That's been happening with a lot of these names and press conferences. Their fathers are there. Maybe the parents aren't together, but both parents are in the child's life.
So I started thinking about my own black friends - the ones where I know them well enough to know things about their family - and without counting siblings (there are some cousins in there), of ten family units the parents stayed together in seven (though three of those unions have one partner dead now), with one divorce (which did not end contact with either parent), and two where I am not sure. That's a higher percentage of lasting unions than with my white friends.
Now, you can tell me that I'm in the Pacific Northwest, and there is no way that's a representative sample, but two of those families are from the South and one's from Detroit, so, you know, it's not completely unrepresentative either. (Actually, the divorced family is from California, so make what you will of that.)
That is still anecdotal. Anecdotally, I could also tell you about a white woman who almost certainly refrains from marrying the father of her three children so she can continue collecting government benefits and that would not prove anything about white families. If we move away from the anecdotes, a recent study showed a slightly higher rate of involvement for black fathers than other races, especially in the area of homework.
So, let's talk about crime statistic based on race.
Actually, there are a lot of good articles about this, but here are the three key points.
1. Most crime happens within the same racial group. If I am a crime victim, the perpetrator will most likely be white. Years of enforced segregation have ensured that most of the chances we get to commit crime are on people of the our own race. To make black on black crime an issue without making white on white crime an issue is disingenuous, but also a pretty effective illustration of how society makes generalizations about races other than white.
2. That being said, black crime rates have nonetheless been dropping steadily, at a faster rate than the overall crime rate. Fox News and their ilk have been slow to give credit to black communities for this drop in crime, which has been happening because...
3. Many black people do care greatly about black on black crime, and they do outreach and hold summits and create programs to reduce it, with a pretty good success rate. In the areas that are still worse for crime, there are people working on it. We can say a lot of things about what structural factors are working against them, but that leads us into other areas, so for now let's just hear from Jon Stewart:
Right around the three minute mark, that's what I'm talking about.
The discussions are worth having anyway, because racism is an important issue. Effects of structural racism is an important issue, and should not be derailed. It still seems worth pointing out that the derailers are lying.
They may not know they are lying. I remember being taught that slavery disrupted the black family, along with welfare rules and the war on drugs. For liberals that should lead to sympathy for what society has done to the black family, where conservatives are less likely to make allowances, but neither side is seeing the actual picture. You can have the best intentions and a lot of compassion but still be the chump who swallows the party line.
Let's not be chumps. There's a lot of wrong information out there. Sometimes it happens on purpose, sometimes it may not, but it can only get in the way of real progress.
If you care, you need to question.