Black Babies and Crime
Bill Bennett was caught in an interview stating:
But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, you know, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
An interesting comment to put it lightly. The above comment was in response to a question by a caller questioning Bennett on a hypothesis about the drop in crime being related to the rise in Abortion. The usual suspects raked Bennett over the coals and the usual suspects ran to his defense. Among the unusual suspects, at least to me, was one La Shawn Barber who thinks that Blacks have blown the entire thing out of proportion. She says:
Black women are more than three times as likely than white women to kill their babies in utero. Thirty-six percent of all abortions are performed on black women. Bennett said that is morally reprehensible. But you won’t ever hear the media-addicted Jesse Jackson or the clownish Al Sharpton or the virulent Howard Dean or bigoted John Kerry say that. Your very own NAACP OFFICIALLY advocates the murders of its own people, and over 70 percent of black babies are born to women who didn’t bother to get married and create a stable home for their children, but you’re “outraged” over what some white man said?
Third, Bennett’s hypothetical is based on fact. Blacks are 12.3 percent of the population, and about half are black men, which means black men are approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population. [Note: Until I remember where I got a certain statistic and link to the source, I’m deleting it. Look for an update tomorrow. In the meantime, the stats found at BJS are still alarming.] (see Bureau of Justice Statistics). Why aren’t you outraged over those shameful statistics?
Hypothetically speaking, if fewer black boys were born, there’d be fewer around to commit crimes. Bennett didn’t (and couldn’t if he wanted to!) say that all blacks commit crimes. In the aggregate, however, blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes relative to their numbers in the general population. It follows, statistically speaking, that the fewer blacks there are, the fewer crimes will be committed. This is not a racist statement, people. It is a statistical reality. Blame black criminal thugs for preying on their own people, not Bill Bennett for pointing it out. Illogical!
These are the linchpins of her argument. I won't get into the abortion as murder argument, but I will say that in reference to Bill Bennett's position it is irrelevant. The problem with Bennett's statement is not its reference to abortion, but rather who should or would be aborted to get this great reduction in crime. Why would Mr. Bennett choose to single out the abortion of every black baby? Not black males (whom are the most likely to be incarcerated in the black population) but all black babies? See that really underscores the subconscious understanding that black people are a threat to society. Period. But La Shawn depends upon statistics so lets go there.
According to the Bureau of Prisons as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics there are 4,919 black male inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States (June 2004). If you divide the black population (~40 mill) in half and do the math (20 mill *4919)/100,000 you would get a total of 983,800 black male inmates or 2.45% of the total black population.
White males are represented by 717 male inmates per 100,000 white males. In 1988 the white/black population ratio was 6.44. If we assume this number to still be accurate then our hypothetical white male population would be 128,800,000 people. Doing the math we did for the black population, we would get another 923,496 inmates. If we put these numbers together we get close to the total prison population of the US as of June 2005 (2,131,180). What immediately jumps out is that following Bennett’s logic, if we aborted every white baby, we would see the same drop in crime, since eliminating all white babies or all black babies would produce, mathematically, the same drop in inmates, and the crimes they committed.
So then, why, if Mr. Bennett is so informed, did he choose to pick on black babies? Hmmmmmm. Perhaps it is because the 2.4% of black males that commit crimes and are convicted of them are more in the forefront of the consciousness of Americans than we would like to believe. After all we get to hear about black males being 4x, 9x and whatever X more than whites to be doing something negative. But when we look at actual numbers we realize we are talking about a relatively small number of people. A relatively small population spread out over many states.
Fully 50% of those incarcerated are for drug offenses. 50%. We already know that, for example, the Rockefeller laws of NY state placed many blacks into prisons for the mere possession of a bit of crack, while powder cocaine users, who are largely white, were getting off easy. Are we then not surprised when in certain locales, blacks make up a large majority of prison inmates and whites do not? This isn't to pooh pooh the drug trade, but merely to show the clear bias in Bennett’s statement. If you wanted to reduce crime (as indicated by incarceration) merely treat crack users like powder cocaine users and voila! Instant drop in crime. Better yet, legalize drug use and realize a full 50% drop in drug crimes, and perhaps a good percentage of it's attendant ills of prostitution, homicides and homicide.
But the statement wasn't really about crime or abortion. The statement was about blacks being perceived as the cause of crime. Crime is a Black problem. Crime wears a black face. This is why we find Bennett’s comments offensive. Not because it was statistically wrong, but that it portrayed crime as a black problem and harkens back to the Eugenicists who claimed that lower class people (blacks and poor whites) ought to not breed in order to reduce the burden on society. We should all be alarmed when such ideas are put forth in such a ways to feed the idea that crime is a BLACK problem.
Of course you don't have to see it that way. You can see it as a simple abortion and statistical issue. But if you see it that way, don't go calling the rest of us names 'cause we don’t.