The Tired Baltimore Narrative

 

BlackLivesWe know well from the media the tired Baltimore narrative: widespread prejudice and callous indifference, now and in the distant past, built the socio-economic bomb that racist police gratuitously set off, leading to regrettable — but in a sense also justifiable — “rebellions” and “uprisings” marked by cri de coeur looting and arson. “Riot” and “thug” are coded racist words, at least if not spoken by the mayor of Baltimore and the President of the United States. The narrative is usually punctuated by melodramatic warnings from elites of “more to come.” I suppose the subtext is that unless, in our era of $18 trillion in federal debt, more federal money is borrowed and redirected into Baltimore—or unless more resources are devoted to the often personal or careerist agendas of elite critics—then the violence of the underclass may well become endemic and perhaps hit the Upper West Side, Palo Alto or Chevy Chase (though perhaps not Utah, Montana or Texas).

What is startling about this now common story are its glaring self-contradictions. Most of the elite critics, from Marc Lamont Hill to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who blast American society for creating Baltimores never quite explain what it was about their own paths to their success—Intact family? Legitimacy? Mentors? Religion? No criminal record? Drug and handgun avoidance? Generous federal and state programs?—that separated them from the underclass in the street.

Statistics prove irrelevant or worse. It is racist to suggest that if less than 5% of the population, comprised of inner-city African-American males between 15-40 years of age, were not responsible for about half of American crime, then these tragically explosive confrontations with the overworked police might be less common. Nor is there any interest in exploring why Baltimore schools are among the highest-funded in the nation and yet serve their students so poorly. Do the hosts at MSNBC believe that should Baltimore exceed New York in per capita expenditures superb education would follow? Do they really think that stricter gun control of legal and licensed weapons in the suburbs will translate into fewer illegal and unlicensed handguns in the inner city?

Police shootings of unarmed black youths, we are told, are now epidemic. In fact, we have no accurate nationwide statistics of how many suspects are shot by local departments, much less under what conditions—and certainly no evidence that supposedly justifiable homicides by police in recent years were always higher than in the 1990s, when adjusted for population growth. Why then are racial relations perceived by the public to be at crisis levels?

In key areas of employment and family income, blacks, like others (except for serious Wall Street investors), have done poorly under Barack Obama. Obama’s menu of more regulation, open borders, higher taxes, more borrowing, zero interest rates, and increased environmental restrictions serve an elite that is already entrenched and in a position to continue doing well. The progressive top echelon can afford to pay more for their own statist and green visions of utopia, whose actual costs and ramifications fall more heavily on other people. Such Solyndra agendas do not lead to an expansion of the economy that might open up new jobs and create demands for well-paid labor in oil and gas production, construction, agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation. If George W. Bush were president, we would be told this economic agenda was callous and indifferent to the needs of minority communities.

What apparently cannot be said in any progressive commentary about the violence from Ferguson to Baltimore is that, after 2008, a Democratic Senate, House, and President failed to expand the economy in ways that might have helped the black underclass. And that cannot be said publicly because 2009-2015 was—as much of 2001-2008 was—simply a continuum of a half-century of Great Society programs that largely did not deliver as promised. But the federal war on poverty certainly created an alliance between white and black elites, who navigated huge transfers of federal and state monies based on fears of an angry underclass with whom even the loudest progressives have so far chosen not to live, share schools, or shop. While Baltimore burned, those who funded its entitlements lived it up a few miles away during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

One usual font of grievance—the Man did it—is in someway played out. When there are not easy targets—stereotypical biased police, the proverbial heartless mayor, the so-called indifferent city council, the prejudiced state attorney—frustration only grows. Who exactly is “they” in Baltimore? Barack Obama? Eric Holder?

There can be no serious argument that Baltimore was a result of too few black officials in government, Eric Holder’s diagnosis of the supposed etiology of Ferguson. An African-American state’s attorney alleges Freddie Gray’s death occurred while in a police van that was, in part, under the purview of an African-American officer, working for a police chief who is black, who works for a mayor who is black, who works with a city council that is predominately black, which is audited by a black U.S. Attorney General, who works for a black President. Is all this false consciousness? Brainwashing? A thin veneer of careerists?

Is the justice system perhaps prejudicial? The state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, all but promised a roaring crowd that she would deliver justice for the deceased Freddie Gray in exchange for its quiet. Most of her quid pro quo indictments were rushed and contorted. Many will not stand up under trial cross-examination or at least under appeal to a higher court. The logical trajectory of her gratuitous commentary, unprofessionalism, and conflicts of interest was her recent marquee appearance at a Prince concert dedicated to the police injustice in Baltimore. She is on the way to offering the postmodern flipside to a stereotyped small town Southern sheriff of the 1950s.

Part of the problem with the Baltimore narrative is demographic. The country is no longer in the heyday of the civil rights movement, with a 90%/10% white-black binary. Asians, Latinos, and intermarriage have changed the very idea of race and racial bias. It is not at all certain that “people of color,” in Rainbow Coalition style, have united behind the Baltimore narrative. In many of these recent confrontations—from the Ferguson storeowner whom Michael Brown strong-armed to many of the small entrepreneurs whose stores were looted and torched—the victims of black lawlessness are not white.

Age matters too. Well over half the country grew up in the era after the civil rights movement, when “discrimination” was affirmative action (and supposedly compensatory), and thus meant a positive readjustment of data in admissions and hiring for particular races and ethnicities. An Asian student who is rejected for a top college despite the fact that his grades and test scores are more impressive than a successful African-American candidate, fairly or not, is not always sympathetic to the grievance that the system is prejudicial against the so-called non-white citizen.

One of the stranger—and scarier—things about Baltimore is the media’s two-faced reactions. We are to deplore rioting that results in damage to black neighborhoods, with the subtext that it might be more logical and tolerable had the violence moved to more upscale areas. Then there is the growing, but still strange phenomenon of mainstream media websites that post various authors’ boilerplate accusations of racism and systematic unfairness, with the usual veiled warning of more unrest — only to be followed by uncensored racial agitation in the ensuing comments.

The disconnect is scary. The more liberal and angrier the op-ed writer, the more reactionary and angry his readers seem to be. Go to the most liberal mainstream news website—whether CNN, the Washington Post or CBS News—where language is carefully euphemistic. Then note the unfiltered anger, occasionally racist in nature, from the readership in the comments. This is not merely trolling, but more an outburst of some sort of poorly articulated rage. Does the media encourage asinine analyses from the Left in order to ensure asinine commentary in order to win more web traffic? Or does the Internet reflect a growing furor against elite condescension on matters of race? How surreal to read a silly self-serving rant from a talentless academic about race—only to read comments with biases of the Bull Connor/Orval Faubus school.

Finally, no one yet has had the courage to call the Obamas to account for their role in this current round of racial polarization. Michelle Obama, with the passing of all electoral referenda on her husband’s tenure, has reverted to her 2008 “raise the bar”/“never been proud”/“downright mean country” rhetoric. She recently made unfounded and erroneous charges that museums have not been welcoming places for inner-city youth. In the age of Beyoncé, Jay Z, Oprah, Eric Holder, and Barack Obama, are we really to lament with Mrs. Obama that blacks are “invisible” and thereby “frustrated?” All her voiced grievances bookend her now tired complaints of the insidious micro-aggressions that she puts up with as the nation’s first African-American First Lady.

When one adds up the long years with Rev. Wright, the racialist references in Dreams from My Father, the “Bitter Clingers” speech, the “typical white person” riff, the stereotyped nonsense language that resulted in the “beer summit,” the call for Latinos to “punish our enemies,” and the reference to Trayvon Martin as the son the Obamas never had, is it really accurate to suggest that Barack Obama is a healer? His entire career has been schizophrenic, using two audiences and two dialects to, on the one hand, encourage black racial solidarity and chauvinism sufficient to gain bloc political clout, and, on the other, to assure white audiences that he is their best electoral insurance of a moderate and assimilated black/white future. Even reading this as utter cynicism is charitable to Obama.

The more the few seek to leverage the tragic death of Freddie Gray, the more the many have heard and seen it all before.

There are 31 comments.

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  1. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Brilliant analysis Dr. Hanson

    • #1
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:21 AM PDT
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  2. donald todd Inactive

    With the media playing the amplified tuba in the band, one wonders if the other instruments can be heard.

    • #2
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:28 AM PDT
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  3. Red Feline Inactive

    The First Lady doesn’t see Thomas Sowell or Walter E. Williams? Both are highly distinguished economists, both are black men, and neither had what could by any stretch of the imagination be called a “privileged” beginning to life.

    Both of these black men worked hard and obtained their respected reputations the hard way. They are the epitome of the American Dream. I doubt if their many admirers see them as anything other than Americans of whom everyone can be proud.

    Too bad so many people seem to have chips on their shoulders!

    When black people are racist, is it called racism?

    • #3
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:39 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Merina Smith Inactive

    Everything you say is true, Dr. Hanson, but I think we should be talking about solutions. This can actually be a winning issue on the right. It’s not about throwing money at the problem, it’s about reforming some things. The criminal justice system does need reform. Too many people are in prison and away from their families for non-violent crime. The bureaucratic system is just a mess. Schools need to start teaching that if kids do three things, graduate from high school, get a job and get married before having kids, they will almost certainly never be poor. That needs to be hammered into their heads. We need a more sensitive education system, however. Some kids should be allowed to start learning a skill early in high school, something that makes them employable and gives them pride in their abilities. High school is too long for some kids without that, and they emerge without salable skills. Let’s teach those with aptitude to be auto mechanics, beauticians, printers, machinists and the like while they are in high school. And for heaven’s sake, keep the music and art programs that get some kids excited about schools. Something can be done about these problems. Let’s discuss those solutions on the right instead of just complaining about the admittedly terrible reporting from the left.

    • #4
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:41 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. KC Mulville Inactive

    I think the word “tired” hits the nail.

    I can’t stand the ritual we have to endure. How many times do we have to listen to the assurances of media and “civil rights leaders” that all we need to fix these problems is to allow the media and civil rights leaders to “raise our consciousness” about our inner racism? Oh, and to give them more money?

    Look at the results. Our consciousness has been raised. We gave more money. It hasn’t worked. Their answer? They, um, uh, obviously need more money. And we need more consciousness raising.

    Minorities need more representatives. They got them. Things got worse. Detroit. Baltimore. Sooner or later, these cities have to learn that the color of the politician doesn’t matter when the politician’s an idiot.

    If you keep addressing the same problem in the same way, and you keep failing … whose consciousness needs to be raised?

    • #5
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:44 AM PDT
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  6. Arahant Member

    Red Feline: When black people are racist, is it called racism?

    Blacks can’t be racist, because one has to be in the majority to be racist. Even when they are the majority, they can’t be racist, because they are the oppressed.

    • #6
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:53 AM PDT
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  7. Red Feline Inactive

    Arahant:

    Red Feline: When black people are racist, is it called racism?

    Blacks can’t be racist, because one has to be in the majority to be racist. Even when they are the majority, they can’t be racist, because they are the oppressed.

    Thanks for the clarification, Arahant! :)

    I find I am becoming so tired of all this talk of racism. Why can’t we say that some people, both black and white, are bigoted? Why can’t we point out that people who have a chip on their shoulders, both black and white, are not too attractive? There is good and bad on both sides: what a pity that too many people, both black and white, can only see one side of the issue.

    As is being said in this post, too many people are putting forward biased views of the issue, as if trying to inflame relationships between black and white people. Why can’t we hear more about the advancement of people, both black and white, and what they did to achieve their goals? Why is no one talking about how people, both black and white, are improving their lives and the lives of their children?

    Of course, that won’t give the professional agitators any money, would it! Some people are making a nice living as agitators.

    • #7
    • May 13, 2015, at 11:18 AM PDT
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  8. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    An excellent column.

    • #8
    • May 13, 2015, at 11:22 AM PDT
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  9. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    OmegaPaladin:

    Red Feline:The First Lady doesn’t see Thomas Sowell or Walter E. Williams? Both are highly distinguished economists, both are black men, and neither had what could by any stretch of the imagination be called a “privileged” beginning to life.

    Both of these black men worked hard and obtained their respected reputations the hard way. They are the epitome of the American Dream. I doubt if their many admirers see them as anything other than Americans of whom everyone can be proud.

    Too bad so many people seem to have chips on their shoulders!

    When black people are racist, is it called racism?

    Thomas Sowell has an amazing intellect, and his arguments are always cogent and usually provocative. I’d like to see him on a Ricochet podcast.

    It’s nice to see a Victor Hanson column that is not yet another well-written chronicle of the downfall of the Greek Roman American civilization.

    • #9
    • May 13, 2015, at 11:26 AM PDT
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  10. Judge Mental Member

    Statistics prove irrelevant or worse. It is racist to suggest that if less than 5% of the population, comprised of inner-city African-American males between 15-40 years of age, were not responsible for about half of American crime, then these tragically explosive confrontations with the overworked police might be less common.

    Until the left can acknowledge this one simple fact, we’ll never have an “honest conversation about race”.

    The best way to not be hassled is to not break the law.

    • #10
    • May 13, 2015, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    In reading some of the posts above I find it particularly disturbing that one has to say the racism exists among “both” blacks and whites as though there is some equivalency. As I have stated elsewhere, I worked for more than 40 years in schools which were largely to predominantly black. Teaching staffs were also close to 50% black. What I saw and heard was an incredible amount of racism which was directed towards whites, Asians, and Hispanics by blacks. I can truthfully say that I never heard the opposite. I never heard a white teacher or an Asian teacher or an Hispanic teacher ever make a negative comment about one of their black colleagues which referred to that person based on their race. Quite the opposite was the case when a black teacher spoke of one of his/her colleagues who was not black.

    It got much worse when we bring the parents and children in to the mix. Attitudes towards non-black teachers by black students and parents were very racist in nature. Whenever a child was disciplined by a teacher or administrator that person was immediately accused of racism. I would say that racism is endemic in the black community. It is openly expressed in language the like of which I have never heard among any other racial group, and I include in this Jews, Hispanics, and Asians with whom I have spend a very large part of my life.

    • #11
    • May 13, 2015, at 11:48 AM PDT
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  12. Yeah...ok. Inactive

    Is John Derbyshire allowed back at NRO yet?

    • #12
    • May 13, 2015, at 12:16 PM PDT
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  13. James Gawron Thatcher

    Dr. Hanson,

    Number of killings, Whites killing Blacks = X

    Number of killings, Blacks killing Whites = 10X

    Number of killings, Blacks killing Blacks = 100X

    As long as the above numbers are not reflected in the statements of this administration and the other left media & intelligentsia, nothing can be done. The narrative that they follow is so far from the truth that it doesn’t offer anything constructive. There’s is not a point of view but a piece of propaganda geared to enrage the intellectually handicapped.

    This is one more piece of left wing insanity that we must endure. Gd is testing us.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • May 13, 2015, at 12:39 PM PDT
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  14. Paul A. Rahe Contributor

    Eugene Kriegsmann:In reading some of the posts above I find it particularly disturbing that one has to say the racism exists among “both” blacks and whites as though there is some equivalency. As I have stated elsewhere, I worked for more than 40 years in schools which were largely to predominantly black. Teaching staffs were also close to 50% black. What I saw and heard was an incredible amount of racism which was directed towards whites, Asians, and Hispanics by blacks. I can truthfully say that I never heard the opposite. I never heard a white teacher or an Asian teacher or an Hispanic teacher ever make a negative comment about one of their black colleagues which referred to that person based on their race. Quite the opposite was the case when a black teacher spoke of one of his/her colleagues who was not black.

    It got much worse when we bring the parents and children in to the mix. Attitudes towards non-black teachers by black students and parents were very racist in nature. Whenever a child was disciplined by a teacher or administrator that person was immediately accused of racism. I would say that racism is endemic in the black community. It is openly expressed in language the like of which I have never heard among any other racial group, and I include in this Jews, Hispanics, and Asians with whom I have spend a very large part of my life.

    I knew that things were bad in this particular. I had no idea that they were this bad. That punks play this sort of game is a given. That the teachers and a great many of the parents do so . . . that causes one to wonder whether there is any hope.

    I remember when African-Americans suffered serious discrimination. Those days are long gone.

    If black Americans suffer today, their suffering is for the most part self-inflicted — Baltimore provides a template. A black mayor, a black police chief, a black state’s attorney, and a city council dominated by African-Americans . . . and no one willing to take responsibility for what is a godawful mess.

    I wonder whether Baltimore is not simply another Detroit in the making.

    • #14
    • May 13, 2015, at 12:53 PM PDT
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  15. Judge Mental Member

    Paul A. Rahe:

    I wonder whether Baltimore is not simply another Detroit in the making.

    This was my first thought during the rioting. I kept hearing that the city never recovered from the 1968 riots. Will this help?

    If they get any more flight, whether white or middle class black, then Detroit is exactly where they will be.

    • #15
    • May 13, 2015, at 1:44 PM PDT
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  16. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Dr Rahe, In 1971 the school I was teaching in in Seattle was the first to be subjected to what was then called the Human Relations Task Force. The group came into our building every day for a trimester and spent 90 minutes per day stirring the pot of racial animus. This was all new stuff in those days.

    We had a staff that was approximately 25% black in a building which at that time had about the same percentage of black students. It took just a short time for the license granted by the task force to get black teachers to begin to open up on their colleagues. I suppose in those nascent days of racial awareness there might have been some minor incidents of “insensitivity” to cultural differences, but nothing that justified the outrageous attacks that commenced.

    Through the years that followed things only got worse. The license once issued was never revoked, and its powers were expanded in each generation as non-black teachers learned that they would be accused of racism if they so much as protested their innocence. That charge, as almost anyone knows, is a professional death sentence. White teachers in particular were told that they were part of a “White Collective” and thereby responsible for every indignity that any black person had experienced. This overt racism was fostered and nurtured by an administration that was only too willing to shuffle off its individual “guilt” on to innocent underlings.

    Continued below

    • #16
    • May 13, 2015, at 1:47 PM PDT
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  17. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Throughout the years we were subjected to annual workshops which simply reinforced the message. The Courageous Conversation was one memorable such event. We were told that it was an opportunity to share ideas and feelings. However, it was immediately clear that the courageous part was meant to be black teachers speaking out against their white colleagues who were expected to sit and accept all that was said against them.

    Once this myth of a White Collective was promulgated it was far easier to hold that it was the insensitivity of white faculty members that was responsible for the so-called “disproportionality” of black students being disciplined and failing academically. When a black student was sent to the office by a white teacher for discipline the consequences for the student were frequently reduced to avoid charges of racism being directed toward the teacher or the V.P.

    The entire atmosphere was one of being an ill-favored minority. The slightest slip of the tongue by a white person would carry severe consequences while overtly racist statements made by black person were never questioned. I never heard of a black child ever disciplined by the administration for the use of a racial epithet against a white teacher or fellow student. However, the reverse would inevitably result in serious consequences. It was truly a world turned upside down.

    • #17
    • May 13, 2015, at 2:08 PM PDT
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  18. Annefy Member

    Eugene, while I don’t “like” what you’ve said, I’ve heard similar tales from relatives whose children went to public school (in a district held in very high regard).

    • #18
    • May 13, 2015, at 3:28 PM PDT
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  19. Annefy Member

    Creepy Lurker:

    Statistics prove irrelevant or worse. It is racist to suggest that if less than 5% of the population, comprised of inner-city African-American males between 15-40 years of age, were not responsible for about half of American crime, then these tragically explosive confrontations with the overworked police might be less common.

    Until the left can acknowledge this one simple fact, we’ll never have an “honest conversation about race”.

    The best way to not be hassled is to not break the law.

    Not to nit pick … well, maybe a little. I’ve been hassled, as have two of my sons. If I had a little more guts I would have raised holy hell, but my lawyer warned me to wait until all my kids were gone from home.

    I’ve been speaking up more and more about this so that Blacks understand they are not the only ones being hassled. “Jerks come in all colors” is my mantra.

    p.s. At the time I was hassled, I not breaking the law. Nor was my son in traffic stop I witnessed, nor the other while walking in the neighborhood. Just so you don’t think I am foolish enough to believe everything I’m told.

    • #19
    • May 13, 2015, at 3:31 PM PDT
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  20. Judge Mental Member

    Annefy:

    Creepy Lurker:

    Statistics prove irrelevant or worse. It is racist to suggest that if less than 5% of the population, comprised of inner-city African-American males between 15-40 years of age, were not responsible for about half of American crime, then these tragically explosive confrontations with the overworked police might be less common.

    Until the left can acknowledge this one simple fact, we’ll never have an “honest conversation about race”.

    The best way to not be hassled is to not break the law.

    Not to nit pick … well, maybe a little. I’ve been hassled, as have two of my sons. If I had a little more guts I would have raised holy hell, but my lawyer warned me to wait until all my kids were gone from home.

    I’ve been speaking up more and more about this so that Blacks understand they are not the only ones being hassled. “Jerks come in all colors” is my mantra.

    Can’t argue with that (guiltily raises hand).

    • #20
    • May 13, 2015, at 3:37 PM PDT
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  21. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Annefy, I don’t like to have to report it. One problem for teachers and, perhaps, parent as well, is that we function in relatively isolated situations. We don’t realize that what we are experiencing is happening everywhere, but it is. Much of it generates out of the schools of education where aspiring administrators who are younger and younger and less and less experienced in actual classrooms get their training. The cultural communism that is being inculcated into teacher and administrator training is getting its start there, and it is then brought back to the schools where faculty meetings, once a monthly event, have become weekly brainwashing sessions. They are further reinforced by very expensive workshops paid for by wealthy donors like the Gates Foundation. At the core of so much of this is the assumption that white, European culture is at its core corrupt and evil. Diversity is essential. Note that diversity refers only to cultural diversity and has nothing to do with intellectual diversity.

    There is, in my experience, a pretty deeply ingrained hatred of whites by blacks in this country. It has never been resolved, and the left is using it for their own twisted reasons, feeding into, giving it voice and legitimacy. The schools are the frontline in their war for “social justice.”

    • #21
    • May 13, 2015, at 3:55 PM PDT
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  22. Eugene Kriegsmann Member

    Annefy,

    In reference to your discussion with Creepy Lurker, At 70, I have had my share of experiences, good and bad with cops in a lot of different places around the country. I think the difference is that when I have a problem with a police officer I don’t see it as a problem with the police in general, but with that individual officer. What we saw in Baltimore and Ferguson and a whole lot of other places over the years is that cops become the avatar for what blacks believe is a racist society. When they strike out it isn’t just against cops, but against the entire social structure. Anyone can become a target, as with the “Knockout Game” or other documented attacks on individuals by mobs of black teenagers. That says a lot more about their hatred and anger.

    • #22
    • May 13, 2015, at 4:09 PM PDT
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  23. Annefy Member

    I hear you.

    But the reason I keep telling my stories is so that people realize they are NOT being singled out just because they’re black. One son drove an old car – he got pulled over so many times we finally junked it. Another has a stupid mohawk.

    As for me? After having a pretty long “discussion” at a cop at our police station, it seems the crimes of one’s children are fair game to place on the mom. It was unforgivable the way I, as a taxpayer, was treated.

    I will tell you though, it really opened my eyes. I had a world famous defense attorney on speed dial, a few bucks in the bank and I spoke English. And it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I never felt so powerless.

    • #23
    • May 13, 2015, at 4:34 PM PDT
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  24. Richard Fulmer Member

    Merina Smith:Everything you say is true, Dr. Hanson, but I think we should be talking about solutions. This can actually be a winning issue on the right. It’s not about throwing money at the problem, it’s about reforming some things. The criminal justice system does need reform. Too many people are in prison and away from their families for non-violent crime. The bureaucratic system is just a mess. Schools need to start teaching that if kids do three things, graduate from high school, get a job and get married before having kids, they will almost certainly never be poor. That needs to be hammered into their heads. We need a more sensitive education system, however. Some kids should be allowed to start learning a skill early in high school, something that makes them employable and gives them pride in their abilities. High school is too long for some kids without that, and they emerge without salable skills. Let’s teach those with aptitude to be auto mechanics, beauticians, printers, machinists and the like while they are in high school. And for heaven’s sake, keep the music and art programs that get some kids excited about schools. Something can be done about these problems. Let’s discuss those solutions on the right instead of just complaining about the admittedly terrible reporting from the left.

    Great points.

    Question: Why is it that public schools that can’t teach children to read do fantastic jobs at teaching those same children to play football and basketball? Could it be that drills (i.e., rote learning) help? Could it be that discipline helps? Could it be that the ability to throw students off the team if they are disruptive makes a difference?

    What if we employed some of the same methods in our classrooms that seem to work so well out on the football fields?

    • #24
    • May 13, 2015, at 8:15 PM PDT
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  25. Limestone Cowboy Member

    Merina Smith:Schools need to start teaching that if kids do three things, graduate from high school, get a job and get married before having kids, they will almost certainly never be poor. That needs to be hammered into their heads. We need a more sensitive education system, however. Some kids should be allowed to start learning a skill early in high school, something that makes them employable and gives them pride in their abilities. High school is too long for some kids without that, and they emerge without salable skills. Let’s teach those with aptitude to be auto mechanics, beauticians, printers, machinists and the like while they are in high school. And for heaven’s sake, keep the music and art programs that get some kids excited about schools. Something can be done about these problems. Let’s discuss those solutions on the right instead of just complaining about the admittedly terrible reporting from the left.

    Merina, AMEN!!

    My older brother was a failing student through much of elementary school and into his first years of high school. He was on track to drop out.

    Then he was transferred into a vocational stream where he encountered metal shop, with it’s lathes and milling machines and drafting. That when he started to succeed. He could make stuff… good stuff. The machines provided the link back to measurement, and math. He discovered that he learned as much or more through his fingertips as through his ears, and he built confidence. And he transferred back to the academic stream, went on to university to earn a degree in chemistry and built a successful career in the industrial chemical industry.

    Today, I see these effects in my teacher-daughter’s middle school theater classes. Kid who are too shy to act on stage instead design and build sets, measuring and cutting wood (under supervision) with power tools. Other kids who are good with computer graphics design the promotional posters and programs. And the actors know that if they mess up, they mess everyone up.

    It’s frustrating to me to hear programs like shop, band, or theater as some kind of frill.. for some kids they are the key to unlocking their own distinctive learning styles.

    I think that re-introduction of a robust vocational stream especially in high school, combined with less fixation on the idea that everyone need to go to college would help a lot students.

    • #25
    • May 13, 2015, at 8:39 PM PDT
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  26. Limestone Cowboy Member

    Richard Fulmer:

    Question: Why is it that public schools that can’t teach children to read do fantastic jobs at teaching those same children to play football and basketball? Could it be that drills (i.e., rote learning) help? Could it be that discipline helps? Could it be that the ability to throw students off the team if they are disruptive makes a difference?

    What if we employed some of the same methods in our classrooms that seem to work so well out on the football fields?

    Richard, I think it’s at least in part because student athletes are a self-selecting group with a built in incentive to perform well.. the adulation of other students, the cheers at the big game etc.

    The students in Ms. Smiths’s 10th grade English class are compelled to be there, whether or not they are interested. Some of those disinterested students, especially those less well socialized will almost certainly become disruptive at some point. (It illustrated why having skilled and interesting teachers is vitally important for a school’s success. They just can’t use 5 year old lesson plans and phone it in).

    That’s why Merina’s comments are so on-point. Texas has a no-pass, no-play rule, so that if a student isn’t keeping up his grades in the academic core, he can’t participate in the fun stuff like theater or the robotics team, or sports or whatever. It provides an additional incentive for the students.

    • #26
    • May 13, 2015, at 8:53 PM PDT
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  27. EThompson Inactive

    Schools need to start teaching that if kids do three things, graduate from high school, get a job and get married before having kids, they will almost certainly never be poor.

    Schools? Really? Any other possible influence that should and frankly must take responsibility?

    • #27
    • May 13, 2015, at 10:33 PM PDT
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  28. OkieSailor Member

    EThompson:

    Schools need to start teaching that if kids do three things, graduate from high school, get a job and get married before having kids, they will almost certainly never be poor.

    Schools? Really? Any other possible influence that should and frankly must take responsibility?

    Of course this is primarily the responsibility of parents to be supported by churches, civic organizations, etc. But that doesn’t mean that schools are off the hook when it comes to supporting good life lessons. Parents and administrators should be insisting that schools help kids to learn what works in life. This is not a racial thing (BTW, I reject the very idea of multiple human races, we are all one species!), it is a cultural thing but it is also what works. Why would anyone who has the best interests of any group of kids withhold vital information for success in life from those kids? Ignorance is not an excuse in the face of decades of studies and evidence, not to mention common sense.

    • #28
    • May 14, 2015, at 4:49 AM PDT
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  29. Arahant Member

    OkieSailor:(BTW, I reject the very idea of multiple human races, we are all one species!)

    Speak for yourself there, Sailor!

    • #29
    • May 14, 2015, at 5:25 AM PDT
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  30. satchelpaige Inactive

    Victor Davis Hanson: The more liberal and angrier the op-ed writer, the more reactionary and angry his readers seem to be. Go to the most liberal mainstream news website—whether CNN, the Washington Post or CBS News—where language is carefully euphemistic. Then note the unfiltered anger, occasionally racist in nature, from the readership in the comments. This is not merely trolling, but more an outburst of some sort of poorly articulated rage. Does the media encourage asinine analyses from the Left in order to ensure asinine commentary in order to win more web traffic? Or does the Internet reflect a growing furor against elite condescension on matters of race? How surreal to read a silly self-serving rant from a talentless academic about race—only to read comments with biases of the Bull Connor/Orval Faubus school.

    I would not assume that the commenters are expressing anything real. I suspect they are as often as not people who have a vested interest in generating the perception that Bull Connor is right around the corner, when he isn’t.

    Sure, there are still some out there. But their numbers are ever tinier, and their social clout is nil.

    • #30
    • May 14, 2015, at 6:34 AM PDT
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