July 26, 2017

"As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well."

"Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club. The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a 'frame,' as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.... All children deserve equal protection under the law not because they’re innocent, but because they’re people. By understanding children’s rights as human rights, we can begin to undermine the political power of childhood innocence, a cultural formation that has proved, over and over, to be one of white supremacy’s most potent weapons."

From "Let Black Kids Just Be Kids" by Harvard African-American Studies professor Robin Bernstein (in the NYT).

You might want to read that alongside this New Yorker article, which I happened to read earlier today, "The Life of a South Central Statistic/My cousin became a convicted felon in his teens. I tried to make sure he got a second chance. What went wrong?," by Danielle Allen. Excerpt:
A kid from a troubled home, trapped in poverty, without a stable world of adults coördinating care for him, starts pilfering, mostly out of an impatience to have things. In Michael’s first fourteen years, his story includes not a single incidence of violence, aside from the usual wrestling matches with siblings. It could have had any number of possible endings. But events unfold along a single track. As we make decisions, and decisions are made for us, we shed the lives that might have been. In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated, like a cylinder in one of those pneumatic tubes, whisking off your deposit at a drive-through bank. To understand how that acceleration could happen, though, another story is needed....

143 comments:

n.n said...

The [class] diversitists just don't get it. Not really. They are the problem.

Gahrie said...

So what is the takeaway?

Black and Brown kids turn criminal and violent because of Whitey?

Earnest Prole said...

Once again, a conflation of class and race.

Fernandinande said...

Asian kids don't even exist!

samsondale said...

I love those pneumatic tubes. Reminds me of the movie "Brazil".

MikeR said...

Interesting (first) article, but ultimately made no point at all.

Gahrie said...

As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well. Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club.

Step one might be to stop portraying thugs and criminals like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin as innocent children.

rhhardin said...

Children aren't innocent. They're made small just to limit the amount of damage they can do until they can be instructed.

rhhardin said...

Instruction in picking locks is well postponed until college, as it was in my generation.

TosaGuy said...

With that said the Slendar Man stabbings where two affluent suburban white girls stabbed another affluent suburban white girl over because some fictional character told them to occurred in 2014. It is still in trial three years later. The "innocence of childhood" is a big part of the defense.


Two poor kids regardless of where they live stab some other kid for some reason....they would be 2.5 years into their term at the juvenile prison.

Need more of the latter and less of the former.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What the HELL is "Harvard African-American Studies" professor Robin Bernstein trying to say?

Seriously. Someone interpret this for me. He sounds as loony as the people who think that terms like 'black hole' and 'devil's food cake' are racist. What is wrong with him?

TosaGuy said...

Opps...lost my opening sentence....

This naval-gazing becomes eye-glazing and it is simply used as a political club to blame whitey. As a result, the impact is lost.

CJinPA said...

Harvard African-American Studies professor Robin Bernstein...

Interesting take and an interesting field for a white woman.

This is an old, enduring, racist argument that black children should be held to lower standards of civility. The Obama administration even pressured schools to stop reporting violent offenses as violent (many municipalities are doing this as well) if the numbers include a disproportionate amount of young black students.

Tank said...

In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated

His life did that.

Chuck said...

Althouse; I would so love to know what you thought of that very long essay by Danielle Allen. She has a nice writing style, but the thing that struck me was how exceedingly self-referential it was. More than anything I have read in the New Yorker -- maybe ever -- it was a profile of the author as much as the subject.

Kevin said...

In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated

...once again proving Einstein's brilliant theory. He's not a criminal, but a budding physicist!

Lewis Wetzel said...

This is an opinion piece. Every one is entitled to their opinion. My opinion, no less valid than hers, is that Robin Wright is a nut case, and that she is a parasite living well off of the sweat and blood of working people.

Paddy O said...

Dickens not available for comment.

madAsHell said...

Her web page at Harvard.

Curious George said...

"People of all races see black children as less innocent, more adultlike and more responsible for their actions than their white peers."

Then explain "Webster."

Lewis Wetzel said...

At age 15, Michael committed armed robbery and was shot.
Society needed to be protected from Michael, not the other way 'round. If the carjack victim had been shot, instead of the writer's cousin, would we be reading about his life in the New Yorker?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Lewis Wetzel said...

My opinion, no less valid than hers, is that Robin Wright is a nut case, and that she is a parasite living well off of the sweat and blood of working people.

I thought she was pretty good in Forrest Gump. But I'm not sure why you're bringing her up here.

Ambrose said...

The most shocking statement to me in an article full of them is:

"It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy..."

Does the author really think that white supremacy dates from only 1817?

Fernandinande said...

Kevin said...
"In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated"
...once again proving Einstein's brilliant theory. He's not a criminal, but a budding physicist!


As his life-speed increased he had more trouble determining where his life was; on the other hand his life was younger than it would have been if it had remained stationary.

Bill R said...

There is a famous letter to "Dear Abby". A woman says that Rock music should be banned. Her own daughter was the sweetest girl in the world until she turned 15 and started listening to Rock music.


SukieTawdry said...

Whoever said children of color weren't "innocent"? However, the age of innocence ends at an increasingly earlier age as time goes by (in fact, my generation may have had the last truly innocent childhood). It never did extend into puberty.

bagoh20 said...

She's a poseur. Very impressive.

Achilles said...

""As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well.""

I agree. The kids are innocent.

The parents teachers, professors, bureaucrats, and democrat politicians that create the environments these kids that grow up in however are not innocent.

We need to start throwing those people in jail and let the kids grow up somewhere with people that actually want them to be happy and succeed..

Ralph L said...

Children of color are cool criminals by default.

Achilles said...

The author of this article is almost certainly part of the problem facing these innocent children.

Paddy O said...

People with privilege always make the issue about something that doesn't make the person with privilege vulnerable to losing that privilege.

Nationalism, race, etc. and so on are ways that the powerful manipulate the lower classes to fight for more privilege for the privileged, stoking the anger and outrage against a secondary reality. The privileged don't sacrifice anything by stoking anger, and that anger feeds into both a preservation of the system and enriched self-righteousness.

This is why MLK jr. was such a transformative figure. He sought transformation not justification, seeking bonds of peace and reconciliation rather than ahistorical divisions.

buwaya said...

"But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy"

This is, yet again, a parochial point of view. It has nothing to do with white supremacy. Such attitudes towards childhood are typical of most (or probably all) societies, most of them non-white, and even, many of them, non-civilized.

These ideas (as in the writers theme) can come about only because of a case of tunnel-vision, or of possessing only a limited set of tools. In other words, a dreadfully incompetent education.

TestTube said...

When I hear of a 15 year-old who has a history of armed robberies and carjacking, I'm not thinking "Gee, this is just a phase he will grow out of in three years when he is six inches taller and fifty pounds heavier".

Frankly, when I hear of an even younger kid who is shoplifting and thieving, I am not expecting things to turn out well either. Maybe the kid will get his life together enough to live a semi-decent sort of life, maybe he won't get have the size/strength/guts to get into violent crime, but I'm not betting on it.

Paddy O said...

Which is to say the story of white supremacy has always been a story of some-whites supremacy, even as those some-whites were more than ruthless against their poor pigment-sharing neighbors. Jack London's People of the Abyss, far too many accounts of orphanages, poor communities all over the world, don't support a universal embrace of childhood innocence. It's fairly new (and Western?) concept to apply it universally.

Owen said...

"...we shed the lives that might have been..."

Lovely. Poetic. And utterly damning. These kind sentences (and those who claim to dispense such wisdom) are in fact unwilling to confront the fact: these kids screwed up. They were held to the brutal arbitrary rule and they slipped.

We can attack the rule for being too harsh. We can fault the kids for falling victim to it. They needed more training and more moral support.

But don't call it weakness, or at all permissible.

hombre said...

What incredible nonsense. Apologists for black criminals continue to blame whitey for black deviance from the law. Meanwhile, black activists, Democrats and other "progressives" struggle to fuel white guilt, but otherwise to perpetuate the conditions that give rise to black crime. In Chicago, for example, politicians are reported to have met with black gang leaders to solicit their political support giving their tacit approval to perpetuation of a culture that promotes violence as conflict resolution.

These politicians are Democrats and not all white.

Black children lose their innocence early all right, but not to white culture or white privilege or whatever the latest blather might be.

Paddy O said...

Achilles, yes. Your comment reminds me of a Mark Twain article I first read not that long ago.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"The parents teachers, professors, bureaucrats, and democrat politicians that create the environments these kids that grow up in however are not innocent. "

Exactly. Raising decent children isn't rocket science. Destroying them is a growth industry for the Left, though.

Comanche Voter said...

Most (but not all) white privilege starts from having two fully functioning adults in the household. There are exceptions.

Fabi said...

"More than anything I have read in the New Yorker..."

Said no Republican ever.

Yancey Ward said...

I was sympathetic to Ms. Allen by the end of the essay- she was at least grappling with the reality that she was delusional the entire time after her cousin's arrest at 15 and his murder at 29.

Ms. Bernstein's essay, however, is horseshit, and what really pisses me off is that she writes about how Zimmerman misjudged Martin's age while including that photograph of Martin taken when he was much younger and clearly about 6-7 inches shorter than he was at the time of his homicide. I don't know who included that photograph of Martin- it may well be that Ms. Bernstein had literally nothing to do with it and it, but I doubt it. If you can't make your point by using a more recent photograph of Trayvon Martin, then perhaps the entire story needs to be omitted from the essay itself since the way it was presented is basically so misleading as to be an outright lie.

Bay Area Guy said...

Race doesn't matter. A lot of different races have successfully blended into and fortified general American values and standards.

Culture ABSOLUTELY matters. Some cultures are more violent than others. Some are backwards, some are not. Some value hard work and honesty, some don't. Certain sub-cultures actively oppose general American values and standards.

Duh.

Paddy O said...

but not to white culture or white privilege

I'd say not "just to", as the racist culture that defined American law up until relatively recently has significant culturally and psychological impact even still. Families tend to rise over generations, and when that process is constrained, it creates patterns of depressed expectation and performance, and invites corruption from those who will take advantage of the aspirations and anger of those who feel trapped and without options.

I think Bernstein has a good goal of awakening possibilities rather than reinforcing internalized assumptions. Though as her audience is mostly the "some-white supremacists" who read the New York Times, she's certainly also addressing people who do have (and feel guilty about) the assumptions she's calling out.

Jupiter said...

"No one in his immediate family had a degree, but I was in my element—pretty much my deepest expertise was in going to school."


I think I've found the problem.

SukieTawdry said...

I'm not one who needs a shiny new object to distract me every few minutes and have an attention span of so-far indeterminant length, so why do New Yorker articles always seem interminable?

Achilles said...

I would like to request that the posters on this site step back a bit from the knee jerk reaction to go after the, generally, poor criminals. Incarceration of criminals is a short term solution at best and you need to look at the results of that response. You are falling into a trap.

Look at what the left is doing to black, hispanic, and mostly poor people in this country:

1. They destroy their families with social welfare policies and drive the fathers away from the children.

2. They force the children into shitty public schools.

3. They undermine law enforcement agencies that keep people safe.

It is easy for someone who grew up in a decent suburb with 2 parents or even 1 parent and a stable housing situation to look down on those criminals. But it is not realistic to think that the answer is to lock up all of the criminals and bash on "thugs." It just wont solve the problem.

The problem is the SJW/grievance movement teaming up with leftist politicians to create a permanent dependent class. Leftists clearly want poor people to remain uneducated, locked in poverty, and forced to criminal activity.

We need to be smarter about this. Stop bashing the poor and the uneducated. Go after the power brokers that are creating this situation.

Chuck said...

Fabi said...
"More than anything I have read in the New Yorker..."

Said no Republican ever.

lol. God forbid, a Republican reading the New Yorker. Or listening to NPR.

It would be like a Trump supporter reading the National Review, or the Wall Street Journal, right?

Althouse gets a pass, right? She can read The New Yorker because she isn't a Republican. And she proves that she's not a Republican by linking to Scott Adams. Am I doing this right? So confusing.

gerry said...

Might the family structure destroyed by Progressive policies in the last forty years have anything to do with criminal developments in black children?

Quaestor said...

I think I know what happened. I fell asleep and dreamed through the rump end of 2017. It's 2018 — April 1st, 2018 (Kinda hot for April... that's climate change for ya.) The NYT has had a nice sit-down, gotten over Hillary, and has published an April Fool edition with joke articles and joke editorials. That's it isn't it?

Oh, shit. I'll need to write a whole bunch of apology cards about Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Michael said...

The first article was incomprehensible. In the second the quite nice and loving cousin is gamed by her criminal younger cousin and finds herself surprised and quick to blame "the system."

Achilles said...

Chuck said...
Fabi said...
"More than anything I have read in the New Yorker..."

Said no Republican ever.

lol. God forbid, a Republican reading the New Yorker. Or listening to NPR.

It would be like a Trump supporter reading the National Review, or the Wall Street Journal, right?


It is one thing to read it. It is another thing to agree with it and use it to argue with actual republicans.

Just like you can assert you are a republican we can read those sources. We just don't believe any of it because we have better sources of information and can think critically.

Michael K said...

I am a cultural historian who writes about two subjects: theatre/performance and childhood.

Theater and childhood ? What do they have in common ?

Pretend ?

Michael said...

Achilles
Generally agree but I always come back to the "shitty schools" excuse/explanation for underperformance by this group. Do we really believe that the teachers in these "shitty schools" don't teach? That they do not themselves know how to read or to do arithmetic? Or by blaming the "shitty schools" are we turning our eyes from a more fundamental issue?

Browndog said...

The question is what it always is-

How do you decipher who is the indoctrinator, and who is the indoctrinated?

The left have banked on the notion that after a few generations they'd self-indoctrinate. It works, until the results come in.

Most people believe that the left keep the blacks uneducated and poor is to win votes (Only we can help you). I submit the real reason is control. It's always about control with the left. So much control, when they have the inevitable uprising, they burn and loot their own communities.

Bay Area Guy said...

I know Oakland. I've lived and worked there for years. Until recently, it had a large black majority. In the past 2 decades, yuppies from SF, priced out of the SF housing market, have moved here. This had 2 effects: housing prices in Oaktown have increased and blacks have moved out of Oakland.

Let me be blunt - the public schools here suck. Middle class black kids go to Bishop O'Dowd or St. Joseph in Alameda.

Very few white parents in Oaktown send their kids to public high schools. They are all black/Hispanic/Asian.!

The high school drop-out rate is 50%. Think about that - half the kids (mostly minority kids) don't even graduate high school. They don't have any earning capacity. They have no promising prospects for marriage.

No elitist Harvard intellectuals seem eager to address this problem..,,,,

Allison said...

I feel sorry for Ms. Allen. She is and was delusional, unable to walk back from the victimhood storyline she plays to excuse her cousin, even as she herself succeeded in life because she made no such excuse for herself.

It was not naive of her cousin to steal money from a white family in Georgia. Naive children believe Santa will bring presents mom can't afford. It was not lucky that when he shoplifted he apparently suffered zero consequences. It was not a lack of money that caused him to steal. Lots of us were raised without things we wanted. We never stole. It is a character flaw.

He wasn't acting like other normal teen boys. He wasn't even acting like her side of the family. Could be have been saved from his criminal ways? I don't know. But certainly not by people in denial who excused his bad behavior countless times. In the end, though, these were his choices, repeatedly, and no one to blame but himself.

What can we do to stop kids who are going off the rails? Do we know yet how to build empathy in them when they lack it? Compassion for others? A moral compass? Can a strict enough society keep them in line out of fear? I don't know. But it sure won't come from mislabeling them as "normal" and "naive".




Browndog said...

Very few white parents in Oaktown send their kids to public high schools. They are all black/Hispanic/Asian.!

One of the biggest scams liberals have been able to pull off without any noticing is forcing middle-class whites to fund public schools via property taxes, while forcing them to pay for private schools just so they can educate their children.

Robert Cook said...

"This is an opinion piece. Every one is entitled to their opinion. My opinion, no less valid than hers, is that Robin Wright is a nut case, and that she is a parasite living well off of the sweat and blood of working people."

The difference, Lewis Wetzel, is that her opinion is worth at least considering, while yours is not.

Luke Lea said...

My sense, based on a lot of first-hand observation, is that there is very little real racism among the general population anymore, certainly nothing like it was fifty years ago. You certainly don't hear it. But what has become quite common are allegations of racism, especially in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and a few other elite publications. How to explain this negative correlation?

Rabel said...

"Eighteen months earlier, in March, 1994, California’s Three Strikes and You’re Out law, the nation’s first, had gone into effect. Once you were convicted of your third felony, it meant twenty-five years to life, or a plea deal. If Michael pursued a jury trial, convictions on at least three of his four charges would trigger the law."

This is incorrect, is it not? The three strikes law applied to crimes committed following previous convictions and would not have applied in this case.

Tommy Duncan said...

Blogger Comanche Voter said...

Most (but not all) white privilege starts from having two fully functioning adults in the household. There are exceptions.


Low income housing projects ensure that kids from dysfunctional families are surrounded by other dysfunctional families. Dysfunction becomes the norm.

I had a number of friends who grew up in single parent homes in our blue collar town. They became engineers, chemists and pharmacists. One success factor was growing up surrounded by intact families. They knew what normal looked like and how it felt. It also helped that the single parents were hardworking, decent and God fearing people with high expectations for their children.

Michael said...

Allison: Agree.

exhelodrvr1 said...

It's almost all due to issues caused by weak family structures. And that can't be discussed/dealt with because racism.

Fabi said...

I read the WSJ almost every day and National Review (online) weekly. I have no use for the New Yorker or NPR, nor does a single other Republican I know.

brylun said...

Rabel, my understanding of the Three Strikes Law is that the harsher consequences are based upon previous convictions, not upon concurrent convictions.

Michael said...

Chuck
My observation as well. The article was mostly about her.

Yancey Ward said...

Rabel,

That also read as false to me, but even after reading some links about California's law at that time, I am still unsure that Ms. Allen's assertion was true or false. I also thought it had to be a a crime for which you committed and were convicted of after receiving two prior convictions.

Also, what Allen describes is aggravated robbery and armed robbery, but then calls "robbery".

Sebastian said...

It would be more efficient for the intellectual race-baiters to tell us which concepts are not tainted by "white supremacy" and what, if anything, we are allowed to say.

Michael K said...

"There are exceptions."

Another student in the masters program at Dartmouth on health policy research was a young woman who had grown up in foster care.

She told me she would much rather have been in an orphanage.

By coincidence I'm sure, she was white.

Seeing Red said...

...But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy....

So no other culture than white culture 200 years ago thought children were innocent?

In all of recorded human history not 1 other culture thought that?

They thought their children were evil? Tainted? Tarnished?

-------

Kids should be kids. ITA stop with the victimization indoctrination.

Robert said...

There once was a time when the New Yorker wasn't a liberal rag. If anything, it featured good writing. Republicans read it. After all who bought the Rolls Royces, Rolexes, furs, whiskeys etc advertised in its pages. What's published today bears the name but has no relation to the New York published 1925 to, say, 1985.

Achilles said...

Michael said...

"Or by blaming the "shitty schools" are we turning our eyes from a more fundamental issue?"

1. was family. 2. was schools. 3. was public safety.

I did leave out culture but I think that is a reflection not a cause.

buwaya said...

"Very few white parents in Oaktown send their kids to public high schools."

True. But there are "white" schools in Oakland USD. Chabot, Hillcrest, J. Miller, etc., serving "white" neighborhoods.

Asians tend to be scattered through the "bad" schools, but on the whole, even in bad schools, they generate high test scores.

An interesting special case are the "American Indian" Middle and High schools, which deliver excellent test scores. There's hardly any "American Indians" in these, most (70-80%) of the kids are poor Asians (Free lunch qualifications).

"They are all black/Hispanic/Asian.!"

Nearly so, yes. IIRC OSD is now <10% white, and these are mostly in the segregated schools they frequent, such as those neighborhood schools above, or in the "School of the Arts" which as in San Francisco is mainly, near deliberately, intended to attract a certain sort of white kids, or in some other special cases.

Feste said...

Achilles ... not realistic to think that the answer is to lock up all of the criminals and bash on "thugs." It just wont solve the problem..

Yep.

Pop long back from Korea. Took me to a barbershop for a cut in Long Beach.

Saw my first black man. Crossing the street. Inside pedestrian lines. "Dad! Look! That man's BLACK!"

Pop picked me up. Gave me little-love squeeze. Smiled at the BLACK man. Shook the BLACK man's hand as we passed. There inside the lines. "Son, don't ever make fun of a black man."

David Baker said...

Love this line: "like a cylinder in one of those pneumatic tubes, whisking off your deposit at a drive-through bank."

It's a good line, something akin to a novel - and it made me visualize the writer sitting there at her end of the pneumatic tube hoping her last-minute deposit made it in time to cover her (now overdue) rent.

Meanwhile, I had a problem with "constructed." Like with screws, nails, and wood. Like bricks and beams and cement. Something inanimate, inhuman.

mockturtle said...

The copious stream of troll-bait posted here makes me question the intelligence and integrity of the hostess. Yes, I could go elsewhere, but there are many smart commenters here and I would miss their remarks.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse; I would so love to know what you thought of that very long essay by Danielle Allen. She has a nice writing style, but the thing that struck me was how exceedingly self-referential it was. More than anything I have read in the New Yorker -- maybe ever -- it was a profile of the author as much as the subject."

1. It was published in a category The New Yorker calls "Personal History," so why were you surprised that it was a personal history?

2. Over the last few years The New Yorker has traded very heavily in articles that seem to be about fairly large political/social problems but that focus on one person (usually young and a member of a minority group) who may or may not be representative of the problem, so I don't know why another example of this would seem unusual to a New Yorker reader.

It seemed to me to be exactly the sort of thing The New Yorker has specialized in for years. It's writing for what I suspect is an overwhelmingly white and upper middle class audience and telling us about people who are different from us. What psychic purpose does this serve? Personally, I would like The New Yorker to have more of a variety, which is what I feel it used to have. Some things like this are fine, but it's just so sad and yet only about one person. What are you supposed to do with that? This one young man was not able to deal with excellent help that his well-positioned cousin tried very sincerely to give, but his MAIN problem was that he fell in love with a violent transgender woman, and she attacked him with a knife on at least 3 occasions before she just plain KILLED him. But the author wanted to make it seem as though there's some problem in the justice system. Well, if he hadn't gone to prison, he wouldn't have met that person -- the most beautiful woman he ever saw.

n.n said...

mockturtle:

Althouse is provoking a conversation on topics that seem to inundate political, social, reporting, teaching, and economic planes. It's better to work through reconciliation using words than scalpels on the streets.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

So, ok.
Michael was a sorta-troubled kid from a sorta-unstable home who had a stable extended family who tried to help him and who got a few breaks in his early life (not facing the full possible punishment for his early minor crimes) but who then committed a couple of major violent felonies, was wounded, and sent to prison. Correctly, as far as I can tell.

I guess I'm not sure what the whole "he wasn't violent for his first 14 years" is supposed to tell me when he was in fact very violent/committed a very violent act or two (armed robbery, attempted carjacking) in his 15th year. I'm not sure what the whole discussion of the justice system identifying lots of young black men as members of street gangs is supposed to tell me since Michael apparently did associate with a gang and probably committed those violent crimes with a gang member.

[Aside - the author mentions discussing with friends how ancient Athens rarely imprisoned people. That's true; neither did the ancient Romans. They sure executed lots of folks, though. Both also had tons of slaves despite being "sophisticated, democratic" societies.]

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Worse, this was happening at the high point of L.A.’s panic about carjackings. In Los Angeles County alone, the number of carjackings had nearly doubled between 1991 and 1992, from 3,600 to 6,297. In 1993, the state legislature had unanimously passed a bill that made carjacking an offense for which sixteen-year-olds could be tried as adults.

Panic? It sounds like that area was experiencing a huge increase in a violent, dangerous crime. It sounds like the people of that area reacted to that by passing tougher laws against the crime, and making sure those laws applied to the people actually committing the crimes. That...doesn't sound like panic.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The legislators who voted to try as adults sixteen-year-olds, and then fourteen-year-olds, were not interested in retribution. They had become deterrence theorists. They were designing sentences not for people but for a thing: the aggregate level of crime. They wanted to reduce that level, regardless of what constituted justice for any individual involved. The target of Michael’s sentence was not a bright fifteen-year-old boy with a mild proclivity for theft but the thousands of carjackings that occurred in Los Angeles. Deterrence dehumanizes. It directs at the individual the full hatred that society understandably has for an aggregate phenomenon. But no individual should bear that kind of responsibility.

This is stupid. We pass laws and decree punishments for crimes. We don't say "well, we dislike this particular type of crime, but really we want to punish the bad people who commit this crime, not the bright 15 year olds who do, therefore we'll tailor every individual punishment to the individual who committed the crime. Good kids get probation and rehabilitation, bad people get 50 years." I mean, "we" as a nation did that for a while, sure, but the "bad people" subjected to that type of discrimination were mostly ethnic and racial minorities. That...isn't the kind of thing we should want to emulate!

The people of LA wanted to prevent carjackings and to punish people who carjacked. Carjacking is a violent act and lots of people get hurt, even killed, by carjackers. A violent weapon-weilding carjacker is EXACTLY who the people of LA had in mind when they passed the law--even moreso since they specifically made changes to make sure the law applied to younger people (people Michael's age). It's just stupid to say "since the problem being targeted was a large one/one of society, the law really wasn't designed to target/apply to Michael as an individual."

The argument that "crime is a problem of society, therefore applying criminal punishment to one individual is unjust/unfair/somehow wrong" is just stupid.

The "target of the sentence" was the criminals who were causing the problem for the rest of society. Michael willingly joined the ranks of those criminals, so he was exactly the target of the sentence for that crime.

JAORE said...

" Only out of naïveté could he have thought to steal from a white family in southern Georgia."
Yeah, because it is OK to steal elsewhere or from non-whites? Or is it OK to steal from whites outside the south?
"Her ex-husband wasn’t the first abusive man she had been involved with..."
Damn the luck!
"...caught stealing chocolate-chip cookies... caught shoplifting... seems to have flirted with the Queen Street Bloods... tarted hanging with a friend from the Crips... took a radio and some other items... arrested, for the first time, for an attempted carjacking... "
Damn,if only there had been some warning.
"Michael appeared holding a chrome Lorcin .380, a cheap pistol prone to malfunction..."
Would a higher quality gun have made a difference?
"he had robbed three people during the previous two days on the same block, and that he had robbed someone a week earlier..."
"I don’t believe that Michael was prepared, that morning, to be violent; he had a gun, but refrained from using it."
And I believe you,lady, poor Mike is just misunderstood AF.
"Before his arrest, Michael did not have a criminal record."
Although he could certainly have had one. Some petty some, the other robberies, not.
"a bright fifteen-year-old boy with a mild proclivity for theft..."
Don't you mean a 'mild proclivity' for ARMED robbery.


My empathy level fell with every excuse laden paragraph....

FWBuff said...

"But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy...."

"When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'" Mark 10:14

HoodlumDoodlum said...

“How could it have happened?” is the question everyone asks. Where were the lawyers? What did your family do? I think back to the stolen radio. Michael came from a family who believed that if you did something wrong you admitted it, you fixed it, and you suffered the consequences. Michael was guilty of the attempted carjacking; he was going to have to suffer the consequences. Our family trusted in the fairness of the criminal-justice system. At each turn, we learned too late that this system was no longer what we thought it was, that its grip was mercilessly tightening, that our son would be but one among many millions soon lost in its vise.

He plead guilty and got a sentence that would allow him to be released in 10 years. Apparently that's so self-evidently unfair that it doesn't have to be stated...but he was facing 25 to life and committed a violent robbery and attempted carjacking with a (loaded) firearm. Oh, and he struggled with the victim in the course of the crime, so he could easily have killed the guy. 10 years, for that, doesn't strike me as crazy. He was certainly young, and it's certainly a shame, but the author doesn't bother to argue why that outcome is so terribly unjust. She just assumes it.


An underground nuclear test is conducted, and the land above craters only much later

I don't think that's accurate; I guess it depends on how far underground we're talking and what we consider reasonable values of "much later."

Chuck said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Althouse; I would so love to know what you thought of that very long essay by Danielle Allen. She has a nice writing style, but the thing that struck me was how exceedingly self-referential it was. More than anything I have read in the New Yorker -- maybe ever -- it was a profile of the author as much as the subject."

1. It was published in a category The New Yorker calls "Personal History," so why were you surprised that it was a personal history?

Right; they do that. They dream up names for ad hoc departments like "Personal History." I wasn't particularly surprised; I was actually trying to give the author a break when in fact she, for no good reason having to do with her subject, was going off on what a well-educated and comfortable university faculty member she was.

2. Over the last few years The New Yorker has traded very heavily in articles that seem to be about fairly large political/social problems but that focus on one person (usually young and a member of a minority group) who may or may not be representative of the problem, so I don't know why another example of this would seem unusual to a New Yorker reader.

It doesn't, actually. Reading the New Yorker in the era of David Remnick is something of a combative experience for me. Like wandering through a bad, hostile neighborhood and finding odd little delightful things amidst the overt hostility and danger.

It seemed to me to be exactly the sort of thing The New Yorker has specialized in for years. It's writing for what I suspect is an overwhelmingly white and upper middle class audience and telling us about people who are different from us. What psychic purpose does this serve? Personally, I would like The New Yorker to have more of a variety, which is what I feel it used to have. Some things like this are fine, but it's just so sad and yet only about one person. What are you supposed to do with that? This one young man was not able to deal with excellent help that his well-positioned cousin tried very sincerely to give, but his MAIN problem was that he fell in love with a violent transgender woman, and she attacked him with a knife on at least 3 occasions before she just plain KILLED him. But the author wanted to make it seem as though there's some problem in the justice system. Well, if he hadn't gone to prison, he wouldn't have met that person -- the most beautiful woman he ever saw.

I couldn't agree more, and I couldn't have written a better summary.

I began reading the New Yorker when it was still edited by William Shawn. The editorship of Robert Gottlieb seemed gentle, and some graphic modernization was welcome. Then we got Tina Brown (in 1992), followed by David Remnick (in 1998). Twenty-five years of those two. A generation basically now, of politics that might not be so much "hard left" as "virulently anti-Republican."



Jupiter said...

Luke Lea said...
"My sense, based on a lot of first-hand observation, is that there is very little real racism among the general population anymore, certainly nothing like it was fifty years ago"

You mean "overt" racism. We have learned not to express our racial knowledge, for fear of very severe and lasting consequences. This doesn't mean we are a racially integrated society. All you upscale honkies, pretending you haven't got a racist bone in your bodies, know perfectly well which parts of town to buy a house in, and which parts to stay the hell out of. You know which schools you want your kids to attend. You may call Derbyshire a racist, but you follow the Derbyshire Rules.

n.n said...

Let kids be kids.

From "Let Black Kids Just Be Kids"

Stop dragging MLK, Jr's legacy through the streets and hanging it on virtue trees.

Michael K said...

You may call Derbyshire a racist, but you follow the Derbyshire Rules.

A black surgeon friend of mine, many years ago when his kids were young, found that they had trouble even in a very upscale black area of Los Angeles with having their lunch money stolen by other black kids.

traditionalguy said...

They seem to be running out of racism to fight, and like General Patton want a new war to fight.

This odd angle seems to be saying that black children badly need better parenting. Ergo: White People have parenting skills that come too easily.

Ok. I agree. But what happens to white kids raised by bad parents? It is the same thing. They too will need a community of Church activities and Boy Scouts followed by Team Sports with strong Coaches.

Michael K said...

I don't think that's accurate; I guess it depends on how far underground we're talking and what we consider reasonable values of "much later."

You're dealing with the left that thinks fracking at 10,000 feet deep contaminates ground water at 100 feet.

mtrobertslaw said...

With all the help Michael got, both financial and spiritual support from his cousin, he still made a long series of bad decisions that resulted in his murder. Is Michael an isolated case,or are there a whole lot more Michaels out there in our inner cities who would have made the same bad decisions, even with the same level of support Michael got? I suspect there are a lot more Michaels out there, and that means if this problem even stands a chance of being fixed, the growth of a dysfunctional culture fed by dysfunctional families must be stopped and reversed. Instead, we have the left blaming the whole mess on white racism and white privilege.

mockturtle said...

It's better to work through reconciliation using words than scalpels on the streets.

n.n., do you really believe that our words here will have any impact whatever on what happens on the streets?

Freeman Hunt said...

"When Michael stole the jar of coins in Georgia, and the judge dropped the charges, you might say that Michael met the “forgiving world.” The same happened when he shoplifted, and when he stole the radio in Claremont, in 1993. But, back in the City of Angels, Michael met the unforgiving world."

We taught a kid over and over that there were no consequences, and he kept acting like there were no consequences until there were. Surprise!

Char Char Binks said...

I'll take care of myself and mine. I have no opinion about the relative innocence of others as long as they leave me and mine alone.

mockturtle said...

We taught a kid over and over that there were no consequences, and he kept acting like there were no consequences until there were. Surprise!

Exactly, Freeman!

Fred Drinkwater said...

Parry O,
That's a great Twain essay.
So sad that such a brilliant author is so widely misunderstood, even despised.

Tommy Duncan said...

Bears repeating:

Freeman Hunt said: We taught a kid over and over that there were no consequences, and he kept acting like there were no consequences until there were. Surprise!

mockturtle said...

Achilles claims: Leftists clearly want poor people to remain uneducated, locked in poverty, and forced to criminal activity.

Sorry, Achilles, but no one is 'forced to criminal activity'. And locking up repeat offenders does solve the problem regarding those offenders.

Dude1394 said...

Race crap, change the channel.

pdug said...

Why is "Bree" a person convicted of manslaughter have their name changed in the article. I'd love to read more about "Bree" and see what was said about her arrest in the news but I can't find anything. It would be easier with her real name

JAORE said...

All you upscale honkies, pretending you haven't got a racist bone in your bodies, know perfectly well which parts of town to buy a house in, and which parts to stay the hell out of. You know which schools you want your kids to attend. You may call Derbyshire a racist, but you follow the Derbyshire Rules.

Wait, let me go two doors down to ask Reuben, or four down and across the street to ask Sully about whether them being black means this is the wrong part of town. Or should I talk to the principle of the public school our last child attended - with a substantial percentage of minority students - to see if it is one he should have attended. Nice neighborhood, but far from rich. Decent school but I felt the need to supplement his formal education with home tutoring. Of course I have also tutored kids that were going to private school.

I do know what parts of town to stay the hell out of. It is those with high crime. If that makes me an upscale honkey, so be it. I think itmakes me someone with common sense. But tell me the truth, do you hang out in the high crime areas of the city where you live? By choice?



Jupiter said...

Dude1394 said...
"Race crap, change the channel."

There are places where the channel changes you, Dude. I'm guessing you don't spend much time in those places, so you can afford to pretend the problem doesn't exist. Is there much car-jacking in your neighborhood?

Unknown said...

There is actually an explanation: without a father in the house to provide stability and discipline and a role model it is very very hard for a young poor male to resist crime. He will turn to the gang as a tribal strength and we know how that turns out. The welfare state destroyed the black family (and does the same to poor whites in England). The black kids that shoot people are not "innocent"--they lost their innocence long ago. But not because of racism, it is because of the welfare state.

CWJ said...

"As long as white children are constructed as innocent,..."

Constructed?!? Constructed!?! What's wrong with "viewed" or "seen" or "defined" of any number of other words ordinary people understand? But she's a social studies academic so the question answers itself.

Althouse, you're going to have to add a lot more words than "garner" to your list.

Achilles said...

Blogger mockturtle said...

"Sorry, Achilles, but no one is 'forced to criminal activity'. And locking up repeat offenders does solve the problem regarding those offenders."

I can't for the life of me understand why republicans have such a tough time connecting with people in cities.

Michael said...

Another observation about the Michael story. It seems he quit his job after being called the N word by some Hispanics. Now, young Michael hung with gang members in South Central L.A. (which, btw, is like Beverly Hills compared to what we think of as "slums"). Are we to assume that the Crips do not fling the word around constantly? That they don't address each other with that? Please. That bit was either a lie made up by the author to gain a tiny bit of cover for her criminal cousin or a lame excuse to quit a job seen as demeaning to an ex-con soon to be a South Central dealer of drugs.

Michael said...

There are dozens of South Central rappers. I would offer fifty dollars for every "song" that doesn't contain the N word in their lyrics if I can get one dollar for every time it does appear.

Ann Althouse said...

"Constructed" is incorrectly derived from "construction," as in "race is a social construction." but that kind of "construction" is based on the word "construe," which means to understand or to interpret. It's not "construction," the building metaphor.

mockturtle said...

In later years I lived in a few rural areas where most of the white population was below the poverty level. Single parent [female] families were at least as common as two-parent families. Race has little to do with these problems. Life choices and the destruction of the family unit do. And perhaps the conspicuous absence of religious beliefs and practices.

Yes, I'm Inga, no I'm not Trumpit. said...

"Leftists clearly want poor people to remain uneducated, locked in poverty, and forced to criminal activity."

Delusional.

Yes, I'm Inga, no I'm not Trumpit. said...

"I love the poorly educated."

Donald Trump

Yes, I'm Inga, no I'm not Trumpit. said...

So why do leftists want free college, if they want to keep poor people uneducated? Seriously Achilles, start using your own brain. Stop with the ignorant mischaracterizations of what the left "wants". Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about.

Sebastian said...

""Constructed" is incorrectly derived from "construction," as in "race is a social construction." but that kind of "construction" is based on the word "construe," which means to understand or to interpret. It's not "construction," the building metaphor."

But not everybody construes it that way. Googling around, I find:

"The Social Construction of Reality is a 1966 book about the sociology of knowledge by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann.

Berger and Luckmann introduced the term "social construction" into the social sciences and were strongly influenced by the work of Alfred Schütz. Their central concept is that people and groups interacting in a social system create, over time, concepts or mental representations of each others' actions, and that these concepts eventually become habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. When these roles are made available to other members of society to enter into and play out, the reciprocal interactions are said to be institutionalized. In the process, meaning is embedded in society. Knowledge and people's conceptions (and beliefs) of what reality is become embedded in the institutional fabric of society. Reality is therefore said to be socially constructed."

DavidD said...

This makes my head hurt.

In what way is the idea of childhood innocence for whites only?

Jupiter said...

Achilles said...

"I can't for the life of me understand why republicans have such a tough time connecting with people in cities."

I lived in NYC back in the 80's. I was down in Alphabet City, the Puerto Rican ghetto, but I never had any major problems. I spoke Spanish, and after I got to know some of the locals, they told me that everyone figured a big white guy walking around down there after dark had to be a cop. Heh.

Anyway, I used to go to a lot of parties in those days, and people at parties tell a lot of stories. There was a fairly common story that started out sounding like an account of going to a movie, or a concert or whatever, until the narrator said "and then two black guys walked up to us," and you knew it was not a story about going to a movie. The narrator was always a woman. I think guys did not like admitting they stood there and watched some black piece of shit take their girlfriends' purses and didn't do a thing about it. "At least they didn't rape us!", she'd say, and smile around the table, while he turned just a little bit paler. Of course, some times they did rape her. No smiles around the table with those stories.

Yeah, Achilles, it's actually pretty simple, connecting with those "people in cities". Just dress nice and carry a purse.

Drago said...

"So why do leftists want free college, if they want to keep poor people uneducated?"

Creates an army of Social Justice Warriors paid for by tax dollars and allows additional tax dollars to be money laundered thru the colleges/leftist professors straight into the dem coffers.

David Baker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

We need free college. Who else will have the education necessary to train the upcoming Transgendered All Amazon Battalion?

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Ann Althouse said...
Constructed" is incorrectly derived from "construction," as in "race is a social construction." but that kind of "construction" is based on the word "construe," which means to understand or to interpret. It's not "construction," the building metaphor.


That sounds wrong, which might be why Oxford thinks otherwise:

Origin
"Early 20th century; earliest use found in Journal of Philosophical, Psychological and Scientific Methods. From social + construct."

Fernandinande said...

Allison said...
It was not naive of her cousin to steal money from a white family in Georgia.


That kid was probably a born criminal.

Do you think being killed by his trans boyfriend was a coincidence?

Fernandinande said...

Sebastian said...
But not everybody construes it that way.


Which is good, because "construe" as an origin is incorrect.

I think their pretense and conceit is that "socially constructed" means or implies "false stereotype".

CWJ said...

Althouse, you explained "constructed," but you didn't explain why that was the best word to use in this context other than as academic posturing by the writer. BTW, I understood the word as you described it. Just as you understand but object to the word garner.

Balfegor said...

When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy

I think it's highly unfortunate that Black youths "read" as threatening in a way that White youths do not, but this is nonsense -- the sort of nonsense you can only believe if you forget there are races other than Black and White. The dividing line isn't White youths vs. everyone else -- it's Black youths vs. everyone else: Asian and Hispanic youths don't read as threatening in the same way.

And while the ultimate reason may have to do with embedded racism and the legacy of slavery and all that, the proximate reason is a lot more humdrum. Statistically speaking, Black Americans commit violent crimes in vast disproportion to their percentage of the population. Those crimes are mostly committed by young men.

Here's the FBI statistics on murder for 2014 (incidentally, I think this may be the underlying data that somehow got turned into the erroneous claim that Blacks murder 81% of White homicide victims -- that's, uh, obviously wrong). The FBI doesn't total up offenders by race across all the different categories, so let me do that for you:

White: 2,756 (48.3%), Black: 2,693 (47.2%), Other/Unknown: 254 (4.5%).

Meanwhile, the proportion of the US population of those categories (conflating "unknown" with "other") is:

White: 72.4%, Black: 12.6%, and Other: 15%

Looking then at the ratio between the proportion of the population and the proportion of murder-offenders, on the assumption that as a baseline, if one group is 10% of the population, it should produce 10% of the murderers, you get this:

Whites committing less than their equitable share of murders (66.75%), Other race committing way less than their equitable share of murders (29.69%), and Blacks committing more than 3 times as many murders as you would expect from their share in the population (374.77%).

The chance, obviously, of any young Black person being a murderer are extremely small. There's 39 million Blacks in the US, so 2,693 murderers is a miniscule (0.007%) proportion of the African American population. Even if you limit the denominator to young men between the ages of 16 and 26, you're still not going to get even as high as 1%.

But you can call it "irrational" all you like -- or try to cover up crime suspect races all you like -- people are still going to notice that difference. Indeed, if anything, the effort to obscure that difference in rates of criminality, to avoid frank discussion, probably causes a lot of people to overestimate the gap substantially. You're just not going to solve the problem of peoples' gut reactions to young Blacks being unfairly negative until that wildly disproportionate crime rate comes down. That's not something you can paper over.

Balfegor said...

I should caveat my numbers there by noting that since one murderer can kill multiple people, it's not quite a one to one -- the perpetrator totals are going to tend to be overstated, particularly for mass murders. Also, multiple murderers can have victims of multiple races. To the extent Whites are more likely than Blacks to commit mass murder, then their share of the murders is somewhat overstated. There's probably data available to untangle this, but the trend is clear enough without it.

Achilles said...

Yes, I'm Inga, no I'm not Trumpit. said...
So why do leftists want free college, if they want to keep poor people uneducated? Seriously Achilles, start using your own brain. Stop with the ignorant mischaracterizations of what the left "wants". Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about.

The left wants "free" college so everyone can go and be yelled at by leftist professors and conservatives and libertarians can learn to keep their heads down and shut up or they get attacked by tolerant shitheads like Inga.

The "free" college would be worth every penny too. By the time someone finished with their XXXXX-studies degree the only jobs available would be diversity counselor positions at colleges where they spend their time harassing people who don't follow the group think.

"Free" college just means taking money away from other people who earned it and paying off a bunch of leftists to add another 5-7 years of indoctrination to the K-12 public education system that rich leftists never send their kids to.

William said...

I grew up in a housing project within a disrupted family. The kids in the projects were never innocent. Here's a snippet from Auden: "Like children lost in the wood, who were never happy or good."......I wasn't particularly wise either, but one thing I did know was that I wasn't smart enough or strong enough to be a successful criminal. Whatever psychological or social forces that were at play, you can't ignore the fact that her cousin was fucking stupid..........Also, I'd sooner play poker with a man named Doc than bet on a having a happy romance with a transgendered convict.

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

Balfegor said...
To the extent Whites are more likely than Blacks to commit mass murder, then their share of the murders is somewhat overstated.


Blacks are somewhat more likely to be "mass shooters" than whites (Asians have the highest rate, which is strange), and either somewhat or far more likely to be serial killers.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/27/us/mass-shootings/index.html

http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/Serial%20Killer%20Information%20Center/Serial%20Killer%20Statistics.pdf

http://www.businessinsider.com/a-surprising-look-at-the-average-serial-killer-2015-5

https://www.amazon.com/Rise-Black

Fernandinande said...

Last link got hosed:
Rise of the Black Serial Killer: Documenting a Startling Trend
"On the other hand, black serial killers have been overrepresented 2.68 to 7 times their portion of the population, with a 150 year average of 4.18."

Fernandinande said...

Should add that mass and serial murders are a small share of all murders.

Balfegor said...

Re: Ferdinande --

That's surprising to me -- I'd always thought Asians and Whites were the highest. Asians having the highest rate isn't actually particularly surprising to me. I suspect that if you break it down, Koreans are massively overrepresented among mass murderers, although there's a bit of a small numbers problem there, with at least two large mass shootings in comparatively recent years (One Goh and Seung-hui Cho) and a small population of Koreans in the US.

I think one thing that has helped insulate Korean Americans from those incidents is that rather than getting combative about "backlash" or protesting that "he would never do that" and all the usual rubbish, the families of the perpetrator -- at least in the case of the Cho family -- responded to the incident with a heartfelt apology to the victims.

Freeman Hunt said...

A group of privileged white boys at a school I went to thought they could get away with anything. They did a bunch of shoplifting and got caught. There were major consequences meted out by the justice system. According to Facebook, none of them have gone on to do worse thingsand land in prison.

Balfegor said...

That said, taking into account what Ferdinande says, the White share of murderers is thus probably slightly overstated, and the Black share slightly understated. But it's a slice in time -- one year of data -- so a single mass murder could sway the totals one way or another, I think. Anyhow. The point stands -- you can't make those numbers disappear by complaining about racism. We have to get the crime rate down.

Jupiter said...

Balfegor,

2700 murders is no big deal in the scheme of things. It's the assaults, rapes and robberies that have convinced most Americans to stay the Hell away from young black males. You want to know why over 30% of young black males are in prison or on post-release supervision? Because the criminal justice system is racist, right? No it's because the fucking criminal justice system is underfunded, that's why. Otherwise the number would be higher.

EMyrt said...

"A kid from a troubled home, trapped in poverty, without a stable world of adults coördinating care for him, starts pilfering, mostly out of an impatience to have things. In Michael’s first fourteen years, his story includes not a single incidence of violence, aside from the usual wrestling matches with siblings. It could have had any number of possible endings. But events unfold along a single track. As we make decisions, and decisions are made for us, we shed the lives that might have been. In Michael’s fifteenth year, his life accelerated, like a cylinder in one of those pneumatic tubes, whisking off your deposit at a drive-through bank. To understand how that acceleration could happen, though, another story is needed...."

Just add testosterone...

David Baker said...

Nonetheless, I think my previous post on the subject was itself poorly constructed. Sorry. Took it down.

EMyrt said...

"Blogger Yes, I'm Inga, no I'm not Trumpit. said...

"Leftists clearly want poor people to remain uneducated, locked in poverty, and forced to criminal activity."

Delusional.

7/26/17, 5:28 PM"

Fifty years ago I was a lefty, so I'll cut you some slack here.
I don't think most leftists WANT colored people to be ignorant, poor and criminal. But Leftist ideology is so fundamentally wrong about human nature/primate psychology that it produces those consequences. The big cities have been Blue for fifty years and things aren't getting better. What's delusioanlmis not questioning the consequences of your politics, as they are shown to be destructive.

EMyrt said...

At the moment I'm on a jury.
In Oakland.
Can't say anything about the case at trial, obviously; maybe after it's all over.

But I did notice during voir dire, that out of 100 prospective jurors there were far too few blacks and only one young black man.
Read recently that there's a 50% no show rate for jurors.
Of course, some of them are in jail or, as convicted felons, have lost voting rights and don't get called.
Got me thinking that underclass blacks don't participate in the polity much at all.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Blogger Ann Althouse said...
"Constructed" is incorrectly derived from "construction," as in "race is a social construction." but that kind of "construction" is based on the word "construe," which means to understand or to interpret. It's not "construction," the building metaphor.


The "social construction" phrase has become meaningless. If everything important is a social construction (including the death of other people), the phrase is useless. "Money" is a social construction. That doesn't mean it can be reconstrued in anyway "we" desire. Racism and anti-racism are both social constructions. That does not tell you if one or the other, or neither, or both, are right.

Ann Althouse said...

People have misconstrued "construction" and used the wrong verb, "construct," and then they have been influenced by a new metaphor and have begun to think of building reality rather than interpreting or understanding reality. It makes a difference because if you think people build reality, it may seem that reality is only imaginary. But if you interpret reality, there is reality, but your idea of it is subjective.

openidname said...

We have arrived at the point where Harvard professors can't write.

mtrobertslaw said...

Ann is correct. The progressive left says all concepts are merely an interpretation of "reality". There may be such a thing as "reality" but but we can't ever know anything about it. We're left only with our subjective concepts. Applied to political power, the ruling class (capitalists, the military-industrial complex and right wing politicians) force their subjective and artificial concepts (concepts such as the nuclear family, sexual identity and even the distinction between male and female) on the rest of us and we don't even know it. And it is those concepts that keep them in control. Until the oppressed overthrow the ruling class along with their artificial concepts, they will be prisoners of the subjective world view of those who rule them.