April 10, 2012

In case anyone had forgotten or was having trouble tracking down a source:

Even professional “black leader” Jesse Jackson makes a rational, probabilistic assessment when he encounters a black man on the street.

See this long, thoughtful 1999 article from the magazine of the impeccably liberal New York Times:

Blacks make up 12 percent of the population, but accounted for 58 percent of all carjackers between 1992 and 1996. (Whites accounted for 19 percent.) Victim surveys — and most victims of black criminals are black — indicate that blacks commit almost 50 percent of all robberies. Blacks and Hispanics are widely believed to be the blue-collar backbone of the country’s heroin- and cocaine-distribution networks. Black males between the ages of 14 and 24 make up 1.1 percent of the country’s population, yet commit more than 28 percent of its homicides. Reason, not racism, cops say, directs their attention.

Cops, white and black, know one other thing: they’re not the only ones who profile. Civilians profile all the time — when they buy a house, or pick a school district, or walk down the street. Even civil rights leaders profile. “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson said several years ago, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery — and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jackson now says his quotation was “taken out of context.” The context, he said, is that violence is the inevitable byproduct of poor education and health care. But no amount of “context” matters when you fear that you are about to be mugged.

At a closed-door summit in Washington between police chiefs and black community leaders recently, the black chief of police of Charleston, S.C., Reuben Greenberg, argued that the problem facing black America is not racial profiling, but precisely the sort of black-on-black crime Jackson was talking about. “I told them that the greatest problem in the black community is the tolerance for high levels of criminality,” he recalled. “Fifty percent of homicide victims are African-Americans. I asked what this meant about the value of life in this community.”

The police chief in Los Angeles, Bernard Parks, who is black, argues that racial profiling is rooted in statistical reality, not racism. “It’s not the fault of the police when they stop minority males or put them in jail,” Parks told me. “It’s the fault of the minority males for committing the crime. In my mind it is not a great revelation that if officers are looking for criminal activity, they’re going to look at the kind of people who are listed on crime reports.”

The Jesse Jackson quote also appears in this 1996 article from U. S. News and World Report.

Illustration: Regular Division of the Plane III, M. C. Escher.

6 Responses to “‘Racist’?”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    I don’t understand. Did you just comb for articles from the 90s to argue that profiling isn’t racist?

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    Or is this a veiled defense of George Zimmerman murdering an unarmed black teenager?

    • Jon Says:

      Snoodickle, these same quotes have been used by Walter Williams to provide a defense of George Zimmerman against the character assasination that has been and will surely continue to be carried out by the media. The fact of the matter is, we don’t know for sure whether or not what he did was justified. There is apparently evidence for both sides. It’s far better to wait and see it all presented in court than it is to draw conclusions based on media hype. Keep in mind that there is pleanty of incentive for the media to dishonestly create racial polarization – it’s something nearly everyone has a passionate opinion about.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        I agree, but I have reviewed what evidence there is, and it definitely implies that a murder occurred. I listened to the 911 tape where there is a voice screaming “help”. Based on the evidence and the situation, it seems clear that it was the boy screaming. Moreover, George Zimmerman stated that his head was pounded into the pavement repeatedly. However, the video taken of him shortly after the incident (again, objective evidence) indicates no injury. Moreover, Mr. Zimmerman was not “standing his ground” but stalked the boy as he retreated. Thus, he was the initial aggressor as they say in legal parlance, and is not entitled to claim self-defense anyway.

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