Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On clarification

Okay, so in Friday's post, I examined the lunacy of Bill Bennett's aborting-black-babies theory and his wonderment that the public didn't throw him a parade for it. But discussion since then has made me want to clarify my objections just a bit.

Yes, fantasizing about genocide is wrong. And that's pretty much what he was doing; even if he followed it up with "and that would be wrong, wrong, bad wrong," he still opened with "aborting every black baby would lower crime rates." Bill, even if you do actually harbor such thoughts as you sit in your bathtub at night, have the good sense not to say them out loud. You're supposed to be a reasonably smart man.

But my objection goes farther than that. The heart of his comment is the connection between African Americans and crime. His wasn't an idle comment; Bennett made the connection because in his mind, black babies grow up to be criminals, and gettin' 'em when they're young would be an effective way of lowering the crime rate. I don't care what your views are on crime and race (although this article makes for some nice light reading on the subject); if Jesse Jackson ever suggested that aborting all white babies would cut down on corruption and cronyism in the federal government, his career would be over.

I'm not so naive as to think that we live in a perfectly colorblind society. It might not be as blatant as a "whites only" water fountain, but I recognize most people do unconsciously (or sometimes consciously) notice skin color, and sometimes treat others differently because of it. I guess I was naive, though, in my assumption that someone as (fairly) intelligent and educated as William Bennett would fall back on the outdated "crime is a-'cause of the blacks" meme.

Sidenote: Commenter Vince1157 had some interesting contributions on the subject, and when I say "interesting," I mean "intriguing but largely incomprehensible." All I was able to drag out of it was "white people don't care that their wars kill people, except for the anti-war white people, who do care," which makes sense, in an utterly tautological way. Vince, I think I kind of got the gist of what you were trying to say, but if you're still reading, I'd love it if you could come back and expound just a scootch.

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