Steve Sailer likes to draw comparisons between this age and what happened when the 1960’s counter-culture turned toxic in the the 1970’s. The Civil Rights Movement had curdled into militant black power and the hippy movement had soured into roving gangs of militants like the Weather Underground. It’s not a bad comparison, because then as now, the cause of the turmoil was an incoherent radicalism. What did the Black Panthers want, other than access to white women? What was the point of the BLM violence?
A key difference between then and now is the issue of race. In the 1960’s, America was 85% white and whites just assumed blacks were a poor fit for modern society. Today, America is 60% white and everyone has spent their lives indoctrinated in a cult that worships blacks. Fifty years ago when blacks turned violent, everyone sort of expected it, so no one was really surprised. Today, black violence is a mystery to the beautiful people and they insist everyone else pretend that it is a mystery or caused by whites.
That’s what makes the Ferguson Effect an interesting topic, even after the consequences are slowly starting to fade. Prior to the Black Lives Matter stuff and the liberal tub thumping over events like Travon Martin, crime in general, and black crime in particular, had faded from the public’s consciousness. Then all of a sudden the blacks were angry and murder rates in certain cities began to shoot up again. In 2011 Baltimore had 211 murders. In 2015, the year of Freddy Gray, the city recorded 342 homicides.
White liberals, broadly speaking, have argued the Ferguson Effect is the result of black rage in response to police brutality and racism. The reason blacks in Baltimore, for example, started murdering one another at a record clip, was over anger at the police department’s rough justice in the ghetto. It’s an argument that assumes blacks have no agency of their own and are simply controlled by the behavior of whites. This is a gratuitous assertion by people with an anti-white agenda, but it is the prevailing opinion.
Blacks, on the other hand, have never accepted this line of argument. Instead, they prefer to dismiss the whole thing as an baffling anomaly. The prevailing argument from black activists is that there is no such this as the Ferguson Effect. This piece in City Lab, the urban subsidiary of The Atlantic, is a good example. It has become an article of faith among blacks that the Ferguson Effect is just another effort to explain away the real causes of black crime. Namely, to hide the institutional racism in modern America.
There is, of course, something to it. Blacks seem to get that the underlying assumption of the Ferguson Effect is that left to their own devices, black society would quickly devolve into something pre-modern and violent. Without the constraints of white society, blacks are simply unable to achieve anything above the neolithic. If whites come to accept this again, then all of the concessions and benefits that came out of the Civil Rights Movement no longer make any sense. The whole project unravels in the face of biological reality.
Reality is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it. Race relations in America, with regards to blacks, have always been about a series of gates. Blacks who can behave themselves pass through the gate from the ghetto to the suburbs. Blacks with something on the ball can enter into the managerial class, assuming they are willing to accept their symbolic role in the system. The violent and stupid, in contrast, cannot pass through those gates, so they are penned up in urban reservations guarded by the police.
Whites in America, have come to terms with this by never thinking about it. Liberal whites invest their time in fantasies like structural racism and white privilege, while normal whites just ignore it. Blacks, on the other hand, are keenly aware of this reality. For those able to pass through those gates, there is a need to obscure this reality, but also a deep resentment for it. You’ll note that black anger at white America comes from those able to pass through the gates, because they know the underlying assumptions are true.
This is why middle-class black anger at white America is visceral and incoherent. You see it at the end of that posted article, when the writer celebrates pointless protest. “If the word “Ferguson” was permanently and exclusively attached back to its original meaning, we might find evidence of an “effect” when it comes to a number of recent, inspiring events: the bringing down of Confederate monuments, the ousting of Chicago’s police chief, or the recent Chicago protests that forced Donald Trump to cancel a rally.”
The truth is, black crime rates went up in areas where Black Lives Matter was active, because the white cops were simply unwilling to do the job that was necessary to control the ghettos. Many simply moved to other jobs, while the supply of new recruits dried up, leaving these police departments woefully undermanned. On the other hand, the blacks who have made it through the gates are reminded of the reality of their situation. They know that in order to avoid this, they must accept this. That’s the source of their anger.