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American Interest magazine on growing black on white crime.


American Interest magazine justifies the censorship of black on white crime by the media, saying that more coverage would inspire copycats. Their article does however point out the rapidly deteriorating state of black youth. As CofCC.org has been pointing out for years, the behavior of young blacks seems to be getting much worse even as more blacks rise to prominent positions in society.

From American Interest Magazine…

For some time now, residents of some US cities have noted occasional incidents of seemingly random, racially motivated violence in which young Black males are involved.  The hot weather and bad economy seem to be combining to generate a small but possibly significant uptick this year.  The national media are doing their best to avoid looking too closely at this disturbing phenomenon, and perhaps for good reason.  What the United States doesn’t need is a media firestorm that triggers copycat violence.

Finally there is the urban underclass; in many respects it is significantly worse off than in the 1970s.  Social conditions in the inner city (as assessed by measures like public health, the percentage of illegitimate births and the percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion, achievement on standardized tests, high school and college graduation rates, unemployment, HIV prevalence, drug usage and the incarceration rate) are appalling and many indicators are worse than they were a generation ago.

The lines of communication between the Black poor and the Black elite have largely broken down.  (A similar process has taken place among whites.) President Obama has had little to say in the White House about the desperately deteriorating situation of Black America — much less about the disproportionate effect cuts in government spending will have on African Americans looking to government to provide jobs or to deliver services.  The personal and individual triumphs of highly visible African American public officials and business and intellectual leaders does not resonate with young people who see no road from where they are to where Oprah Winfrey or Colin Powell stand.

The same thing is true at a local level.  As more successful families have moved out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, the ability of the national and local “Black Establishment” to intervene in moments of tension is dropping.  Many inner city kids today grow up feeling abandoned by Black leaders as well as by whites.  Should flash mobs or other disturbing phenomena catch on more widely (and the combination of social media and idle youth can lead to very rapid shifts in behavior), it is not clear that either local or national leaders could do much to calm things down.

Given the toll the Great Recession has taken on what were already poor job and life prospects for inner city youth, and given the divide that increasingly leaves poor and marginal Black youth feeling abandoned by Black as well as white leaders, there is reason for concern about the potential for disturbing and violent developments.  Add to this the prevalence of weapons in some circles, the organizational base that gangs provide and the ubiquity of social media, it is not unlikely that future violence in the cities would look more like flash mobs and less like the urban riots of the 1960s.  Those riots targeted Black neighborhoods, Black owned stores and much of the property destroyed in the riots belonged to Blacks; any new trouble would likely be more effective at spreading the pain beyond the inner city.  Link ups in some cases with religious radicals or foreign interests who seek to do us harm cannot be excluded.

The 2005 riots in France and the more recent riot in London tell us that youth and unemployment can be a bad mix; violent flash mobs should remind us that the same thing can happen here and in the age of social media, violent crowds can appear where and when law enforcement can’t cope.

Traditional liberals come in at this point to argue for spending more money on the traditional social intervention programs in the inner city.  This is unlikely to happen; there is not much evidence that these programs accomplish very much — and there isn’t any money.  Even taxing “millionaires and billionaires” to the eyeballs won’t manage out of control entitlements — much less inaugurate yet another “Marshall Plan for the cities”.