I remember when Slate first started publishing. Michael Kinsley was going to reinvent journalism, along with his super-rich patrons at Microsoft. The early version was just a PDF that you could read on your PC or print off at home. It was not a very interesting magazine at the time. Kinsley was a professional apple polisher and toady. He knew how to be interesting to rich people in private, but he had no skills of interest to a broader audience. If you look at his career, he is similar to Barak Obama in that he has a gift for currying favor with super-rich white people willing to give him stuff.
Today, Slate seems to be click bait. No one goes to Slate for incite or analysis. You go there for hilarious examples of some weird Liberal tick. The near total lack of self-awareness by the writers there makes for some comedy gold. A favorite, it seems, is Jamelle Bouie. Liberal whites love to decorate their website with a youngish black male writer willing to flatter liberal white people about race. The Atlantic has TN Coates and Slate has Baba Bouie.
His latest work of nonsense has the usual stuff, but it contains one useful bit of incite.
The glib response to stats on blacks and police is to cite so-called “black crime” or “black criminality.” But this depends on a major analytical error. Yes, blacks are overrepresented in arrest and conviction rates. At the same time, “criminal blacks” are a tiny, unrepresentative fraction of all black Americans. If you walked into a group of 1,000 randomly selected blacks, the vast majority—upward of 998—would never have had anything to do with violent crime. To generalize from the two is to confuse the specific (how blacks are represented among criminals) with the general (how criminals are represented among blacks). Statisticians call this a “base rate error,” and you should try to avoid it.
In fairness, you could apply this to police as well. The number of cops who shoot—much less shoot black Americans—is a small percentage of all cops. Why judge the whole by the actions of a few?
Why indeed. But, it is what we do as humans. We look for patterns. We assess risk to ourselves, our children and our chances of biological success. We then act on what we think are the patterns in a way that reduces our risks. It’s why old Jewish ladies don’t go out for walks at night in the ghetto. They know it is much riskier than sitting at home watching TV. It is why young black males go the other way when they see cops. Right or wrong, they believe cops are a threat to them so even when they have nothing to hide, they avoid the cops. Asking people to do otherwise is demanding them to commit violence against themselves.
There’s a social benefit here. Cops need cooperation from the people to do their job. They have to self-police if they are to stay on friendly terms with the public. In all cases where the police are hated by the community, you find a lack of self-policing. The cops get defensive and see the public as their enemy. It gets cleaned up when new pols hire new police chiefs who clean up the rot and re-establish relationships with the people they serve. The NYC PD under Giuliani is a perfect example of how self-policing works.
Human populations have been self-policing since the beginning. Some groups are better at it than others. Jews, for example, were exceptionally good at “boiling off” their members who did not really fit the tribe’s goal. The slow-witted and lazy would marry off into the gentile population, leaving the smart and faithful in the tribe. Do that for enough generations and you have a population of very smart and very loyal people. The Amish may very be the result of the same process. All people, in all times and places, have had to figure out how to deal with their troublesome fraction.
In America, whites of all types have figured this out pretty well. Instead of relying on old customs from Europe, they used geography. America is a big country with lots of useful land. That means the stupid, lazy and criminal can be set aside physically. That’s not to say the old ways were abandoned. Class distinctions reinforce the physical divide. Whites can identify their kind just by the look and location. Even to out-groups like Asians and Hispanics, this guy is a very different person than this guy, even from a great distance.
Orientals have relied on the old ways for the most part. Shame is a powerful tool to force cooperation and compliance, but it is also a useful tool for segregating the troublesome. I’ve known a few Koreans who basically abandoned their families because they could not or would not abide by the cultural mores of their community. They either conformed or walked away. The tremendous success of East Asians has allowed them to follow the white pattern and use distance and culture to weed out the troublesome from their ranks. This guy is not this guy even to this round eye.
The one group in America that has not figured this out is blacks. Successful blacks are under extreme pressure to avoid being white. They have to “keeps it reelz” in order to avoid being called an Oreo. This is not just for highly successful blacks. Middle-class blacks are under constant pressure to embrace black culture. Sports coaches tell me it is nearly impossible to get black kids into soccer and lacrosse. They all want to play basketball and football. You know see little black kids playing instruments anymore either. That’s for white and Asian kids. Hip-hop is black music.
This becomes a problems when it comes to distance. A black family moves out to the burbs and their new neighbors are in tears having finally acquired a black neighbor. Then one weekday night the new neighbors have a party that starts at ten at night. All of their old neighbors from the ghetto show up and party into the wee hours. That sounds nuts, but I know of dozens of such examples. Suddenly, diversity is not so cool. The for sale signs go up and the neighborhood changes. The black people are left to think that white people just hate living near black people, when it is really just middle-class people not wanting to live in the ghetto.
Bill Cosby used to rant about this before he was hissed off the stage. Chris Rock had a great bit on the same theme. He was pressured to stop doing it because “white people misunderstood it.” That’s hilarious for a number of reasons. How long racial solidarity can keep the black middle-class from jettisoning their ghetto brothers is a mystery. A run through the television dial suggests the elites are fighting it which means it will not happen. That means the majority of blacks who commit no crimes and just want to live decent lives will remain chained to the ghetto visually and geographically, paying the tab for those who commit the bulk of the social trouble in modern America.