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“If there was no crime and violence in communities of color, who would suffer?” — Graffiti on sidewalk outside of CTA Roosevelt Station, Chicago, Illinois
I first ran across this graffiti (clearly done with a stencil and pink paint) a month ago, and it got me thinking. Who would suffer, actually? We can see who the author believes would suffer: https://twitter.com/crimedrought has plenty of trashing of the police, and Trap House Chicago is apparently a “restorative justice clothing store” down on the South Side. (Obviously, CoC violations galore there.)
First, let’s take a step back and look at the quote. Crime and violence are written about like weather, just something that happens. There’s no agency — no criminals or violent people. If there’s no crime and violence in their hood, the criminals are going to have to leave their community and go commit crime elsewhere. Not sure if that counts as suffering, though. Also, communities of color is only something woke liberals say. Actual Black and Hispanic communities are not too fond of each other. During the riots last year, the Latino gangs ran any suspected rioters out of their territory with force. The urban talk radio station had plenty of callers upset that construction crews were hiring Mexicans rather than their brothers.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the usual suspects here:
- Police: Do people think that most police in fairly peaceful communities want to have more crime? I suppose there might be a few adrenaline junkies, but most police probably wish they didn’t have people shooting at them, or people thinking that they are racist because cops took Dad to jail and shot their cousin. If someone made a patrol in Austin as easy as one in Rogers Park or Hegewisch, cops are not going to suffer.
- Suburban/rural white people: I’ll let you speak for yourselves in the comments below, but I never felt any joy over urban crime from outside of the city, even as a high school edgelord into fascism. Generally, the sense is apathy and resignation. It has been this way long enough we thought it always would be that way. The only other element is fear of the crime coming to you. No one wants to deal with gangbangers. If urban crime stopped being a problem, you would probably see more visitors to cities. I don’t see any suffering here.
- Corporations: Big business wants customers and profits. Crime both directly hits the bottom line (theft, vandalism) and reduces the ability for consumers to buy products. Every business from Amazon to the corner bodega is going to be cheering on a drop in crime, and Wall Street would be doing the happy dance as the Dow climbed. Suffering? Not a chance.
- Politicians: Surprisingly, I don’t see this as a group that benefits from minority crime. Most politicians rely on bringing the pork home and making their constituents happy. Crime is a real problem that requires tough solutions. Expanding government power directly angers voters here, making it more challenging than issues like climate change or poverty. No politician would suffer from cities getting Canadian crime rates.
- Minority activists: Activists derive their income and importance from having a problem to deal with. People like Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter need to have racial tensions to address, or they are not going to matter anymore. You can see this because they keep talking about how bad it is now, as if the civil rights movement never happened. As if Barack Obama did not get elected president, as if Black actors have to be hidden on U.S. posters like they are on Chinese posters. Any progress might cut off the money spigot.
The answer: Activists like the graffiti man would suffer. Would there be much of a market for a restorative justice clothing store if there was not a crime problem in minority communities? Would anyone follow the man behind this graffiti if there were less racial tension? His profiting from the suffering of Black people would make plantation owners rise from their graves in a standing ovation.Published in