You probably know that, over the past few decades, crime rates in America’s major cities have dropped sharply. New York, which was once a symbol of urban menace, is particularly safe, and tourists freely roam Bed-Stuy and Central Park at night. Even historically troubled Oakland has recently seen its crime rates fall.
Plain as this change may be even to casual visitors, rightbloggers don’t seem to notice it. Instead, they’ve taken to telling readers that crime in America is actually spinning out of control — and it’s all the fault of black people.
Remarkably, not only is crime down in our cities — it’s down everywhere. The FBI reported in May that “in 2010, all four of the violent crime offense categories — murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — declined nationwide compared with data from 2009.” Even the crap economy seems not to affect it.
For normal people, that’s good news. But for rightbloggers there’s no percentage in anything going right so long as That Man is in the White House. So some of them have started obsessing on urban crime stories, usually dug up on the Drudge Report.
In May, for example, when a bunch of kids rampaged through a Dunkin’ Donuts on Christopher Street in New York, Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit sneered, “Apparently, it’s racist to note that all of the youths involved in the attack were black just like the flashmob that attacked the Milwaukee Mayfair Mall in January, the mob that attacked a Dupont Circle store in Washington DC in April, and the flashmob that ransacked a Las Vegas convenience store in early May.”
The Milwaukee, DC, and Las Vegas incidents were unfortunate, small as they were. But they have about as much to do with black youth in general as Marlon Brando in The Wild One had to do with the average 50s teenager.
Still, Hoft wasn’t the only rightblogger to find race the salient point of the story, nor even the worst. “I knew before I saw the video ‘who’ those rioting punks were going to be” in the Christopher Street incident, said Urban Grounds. “And so did you. And… yep…they’re a bunch of black kids, acting like animals and criminals while terrorizing the public… That’s because in Black Run America, there are no rules of civility or decency.”
Black Run America? We know a lot of people who’d like to know how to get there; why won’t it show up on our GPS?
“Only a ‘gonna get mine’ attitude born from generation-after-generation of blacks in America being given handouts after handouts,” continued Urban Grounds. “So really, it’s not their fault that they have this entitlement mentality where they believe they can destroy and take anything they want…”
That’s a lot to get out of a couple of incidents, but these guys are motivated imagineers.
Other rightbloggers rushed to tell the world that the dusky hordes were in riot and rut. “More Senseless Riots at Fast Food Chains Targeted by Black Teens,” headlined Randy’s Right. “The missing word” from news reports of the Christopher Street incident “is ‘black,'” cried Bill Quick. “These aren’t ‘kids,’ they are black kids…” Quick seems to believe, along with some district attorneys, that African-Americans attain their majority at an earlier age than white people. Blackness of perps “seems to be the case with almost all of these sorts of attacks popping up on YouTube,” added Quick.
“America consigns itself to a slide toward savagery in the name of Hope & Change,” said Moonbattery — the “Hope & Change” presumably included in case readers hadn’t yet realized who’s the real Head Negro in Charge of this imaginary black crime wave.
“The Frankenstein monster of perpetually aggrieved blacks,” added Moonbattery, “who have been brainwashed into considering themselves entitled to anything and everything is breaking loose from the liberal social engineering laboratory.” Like Hoft, Moonbattery mocked anyone who might find his painstaking analysis racist.
After Memorial Day weekend, Drudge pumped out some more crime stories with the word “urban” in them. Some Guy at RedState knew how to react: he pointed out that “the offenders portrayed were primarily young, black males,” then dismissed “those who listen intently for dog whistles” for assigning racism to blameless noticers of negritude such as himself.
Some Guy lamented the murder of a Vietnamese man by a black assailant in St. Louis over the weekend, adding, strangely, that “the Saint Louis PD seems to view Hoang Nguyen as just another Redshirt.” Actually, St. Louis police arrested and have apparently gotten a confession out of their prime suspect in that case, but law enforcement doing its job isn’t a good angle for an ooga-booga story like this, so Some Guy reminisced on older crime stories (“This reminds me of a particularly vicious gang rape in Houston, Texas that I blogged about several months back”) before declaring, “whether our best and brightest want to admit to it or not, law and order disintegrates daily in America.”
Law and order disintegrates daily? Is that really what these anecdotes prove? In the immortal words of Otter in Animal House, forget it, he’s on a roll: “Thus, I believe that the eventual GOP candidate for President has to ignore the accusations of racism and make this an issue,” intoned Some Guy. “…The blood of innocent people cries out from the stained and filthy alleys of our lawless urban streets.” And we’re just to guys to do it!
(Around the same time, a rightwing operative put out a hallucinogenic attack ad against California Democrat Janice Hahn featuring black people who toted rifles, spanked some chick, and performed a rap song called “Give us your cash, bitch!” Wonder who the target audience was for that?)
Over the July 4 weekend, some black teens robbed a store and hit some white people in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee. The incident has been exhaustively followed up on by the Milwaukee PD, and some parents of the malefactors have even been turning their kids in. Rightbloggers didn’t notice, though, being too focused on the coming anti-white holocaust which, in their view, the crime portended.
“It’s really not that difficult to understand that whereas small minorities usually conform, more or less, to the behavioral patterns of the majority that outnumbers them, they cease to do so once they become the numerically dominant population,” gibbered Vox Day. “And to be fair, why on Earth should they? It’s now their territory by ancient right of conquest and modern right of self-determination.” (From the Wikipedia article on Vox Day aka Theodore Beale: “Beale has argued that the notion of ‘women’s rights’ has led to an overall decrease in the social well-being of women… Beale has labeled ‘women’s rights’ a ‘disease that should be eradicated.'” Gee, what were the odds?)
Coming to Day’s pre-emptive defense was Robert Stacy McCain: “Writing something like that should elicit accusations of ‘raaaaacism’ — from white liberals who wouldn’t dare set foot in Milwaukee after dark,” said McCain, who clearly thinks the post-sundown population of Brew City consists exclusively of black people and gutsy white right-wingers intent on bucking unfortunate stereotypes. (By the way, Milwaukee’s crime rate is also dropping. Soon maybe even liberals will hang out there!)
At the Daily Caller, Jim Treacher had the brilliant idea of rewriting the story with the racial identities of the perps and victims reversed, then revealing the switch and talking about racism. Really makes you think!
This kind of reversal is depressingly common these days among conservatives, who are aggrieved when anyone talks about white racism (or “raaaaacism”) and who seize upon tales of black misbehavior as grounds for vindication. For example, columnist Mona Charen read Ying Ma’s book Chinese Girl in the Ghetto and was pleased to learn from it that, horrible as was life for the girl in Communist China, it was nothing compared to being around black people in Oakland. “Her mostly black and Hispanic classmates and neighbors engaged in daily racist taunts and sometimes violence,” wrote Charen; thus Ying Ma was “a victim of racism — though not in the way Americans are comfortable dissecting and condemning.” In this view, noticing anti-black racism is merely smug, while noticing blacks being unfair to anyone else constitutes a brave acknowledgement of an endemic condition that receives too little attention in our white-hating culture.
Still, this laser focus on crimes involving black people is something we normally expect from forthrightly racially-motivated aggregators like Diversity is Chaos, not from regular rightbloggers. What gives? Most likely it’s strategic, a signal to a certain conservative constituency — pace Some Guy, let’s not call it a dog whistle; how about “hog call”? — to come out in 2012 and vote out Obama lest things get a little too dark around these parts, if you know what we mean.
As usual when people play with racial dynamite, though, some of the brethren take things a little too seriously — The Red Robin Chronicles‘ complaint about “the combined power of Disingenuous White Liberals, white guilt, and subservience to Black people and accommodating their every whim and desire” is just one recent example of the kind of talk they get up to, under the influence of the you’re-the-real-racist crowd. (Red Robin also refers to “Black-Run America” — apparently it’s become a real rightwing thing without, alas, becoming an actual jurisdiction.)
And their scary stories aren’t only for the lumpen; Walter Russell Mead, a bona fide intellectual and editor of The American Interest, last week uncorked an essay called “The Shame of the Cities and the Shade of LBJ.” In it, Mead talked about American cities, not as the extraordinary redemption stories we know them to be, but as hellholes out of old Death Wish movies — collectively, an “urban quagmire,” “a holocaust of youth and hope on a scale hard to match,” and “an unsustainable drag on the national economy.” Mead offered no statistics supporting these judgements, but indicated that he had seen The Wire or at least heard of it, and was convinced that “there is no light at the end of the urban tunnel” unless America finds the guts to do away with affirmative action programs and fatherless households.
Mead’s vision of the “inner city” may seem comically old-fashioned to you, but as long as there are a few folks up in the hills and hollers who still think New York and all the other big bad cities are ruins full of black people in pimp suits peddling crack, you can depend on hearing the story told over and over and over again. Ungawa, y’all!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 11, 2011