Democratic accusations that America is endemically racist are becoming ever more frequent and strident. At the last presidential debate, Pete Buttigieg announced that “systemic racism” will “be with us” regardless of who wins the presidency; Beto O’Rourke claimed that racism in America is “foundational” and that people of color were under “mortal threat” from the “white supremacist in the White House”; Julián Castro denounced the growing threat of “white supremacy”; and Cory Booker called for “attacking systemic racism,” especially in the “racially biased” criminal justice system.
At the same time, the allowable explanations for racial disparities have shrunk to one: that self-same racism. During this month’s debate, Joe Biden tried to suggest that some poor parents could benefit from instruction regarding optimal child-rearing practices: “We [should] bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do,” he said.
Biden was invoking one of the Obama administration’s key anti-poverty initiatives. Home-visiting programs pair nurses and other social service workers with pregnant women and new mothers to teach them parenting skills. Progressive activists have demanded and won hundreds of millions of federal dollars for such programs. Yet pundits have denounced Biden’s “horrifyingly racist answer,” in the words of The Intercept, and called for him to pull out of the presidential primary because of it.
It is now a standard trope that whites pose a severe threat to blacks. That may have once been true, but it is no longer so today.
This month, the Bureau of Justice Statistics released its 2018 survey of criminal victimization. According to the study, there were 593,598 interracial violent victimizations (excluding homicide) between blacks and whites last year, including white-on-black and black-on-white attacks. Blacks committed 537,204 of those interracial felonies, or 90%, and whites committed 56,394 of them, or less than 10%.
Blacks are also overrepresented among perpetrators of hate crimes, by 50%, according to the most recent Justice Department data from 2017; whites are underrepresented by 24%. This is particularly true for anti-gay and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
You would never know such facts from the media or from Democratic talking points. This summer, three shockingly violent mob attacks on white victims in downtown Minneapolis were captured by surveillance video.
On Aug. 3, in broad daylight, a dozen black assailants, some as young as 15, tried to take a man’s cellphone, viciously beating and kicking him as he lay on the ground. They jumped on his torso like a trampoline, stripped his shoes and pants off as they riffled through his pockets, smashed a planter pot on his head and rode a bike over his prostrate body.
On Aug. 17, another large group kicked and punched their victim until he was unconscious, stealing his phone, wallet, keys and cash. In July, two men were set upon in similar fashion. Such attacks have risen more than 50% in downtown Minneapolis this year.
The Minneapolis media have paid fleeting attention to these videos; the mainstream national media, almost none (CNN blamed the attacks on police understaffing and ignored the evident racial hatred that was the most salient aspect of the attacks). This year’s installments of the usual flash mob rampages on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor have also been ignored.
If the race of perpetrators and victims in any of these incidents were reversed, there would be a universal uproar, with public figures across the board denouncing “white supremacist” violence and calling for a national reckoning regarding white racism. But because the violence doesn’t fit the standard narrative about American race relations, it is kept carefully off stage.
Today’s taboo on acknowledging the behavioral roots of criminal-justice-system involvement, multi-generational poverty and the academic-achievement gap isn’t a civil rights advance. To the contrary, it will ensure that racial disparities persist, where they can be milked by opportunistic politicians and activists seeking to parade their own alleged racial sensitivity and deflect attention away from the cultural changes that must occur for full racial parity to be realized.
This piece originally appeared at the New York Post
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion (available now). This piece was adapted from City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Image