Re: Is white racism nec. all bad?

Sicco Naets (
28 Apr 1995 09:59:00 GMT (Gerold Firl) wrote:

> >: I think that people believe that blacks commit more
> >: crime for one of three reasons:
> >
> >: 1) direct personal experience: they work in a business where they interact on
> >: a daily basis with large numbers of people, and are thus able to form a
> >: statistical model of group behavior.
> >People make very poor estimates of these kinds of things. A basic error
> >in judgment that people make is called the illusory correlation. It
> >describes the fact that people see relationships between two variables
> >when none actually exists.
> Good point, albeit overstated. In the case of the differential crime rates
> in american subgroups, a real difference exists.
> This ties in with the whole problem of stereotyping. Stereotyping is
> endlessly denounced, yet poorly understood. A stereotype is a *caricature*,
> which exagerates the deviation from the norm. Think of the caricatures in
> political cartoons. It takes a skillful artist to render a face so as to be
> recognizable, unless the features are caricatured. Caricatures are a useful
> device, and will continue to be used for that reason, even if they are not
> "accurate".
> >Blacks are arrested and convicted at higher rates, true. Blacks have
> >generally lower economic resources. When arrested, few have the ability
> >to defend against the charges as well as the typical white person.
> >Of course, once anyone gets a record, they are more likely to become the
> >target of future investigations.
> Just as a stereotype will exagerate the true magnitude of the deviation
> from the norm, the processes you describe will boost the differential crime
> rate. But it sounds like you're making excuses here. We need to keep in
> mind that the ultimate cause of all the effects you describe is an actual
> disparity in the commission of violent crime. All the handwaving in the
> world won't make that go away. The black community will have to make a deep
> and serious committment to change, a change that comes from within,
> stemming from an honest appraisel of the true costs of criminality.
> American black culture has suffered deeply for the transgressions of their
> criminal minority. The police can't change that, and white americans can't
> change that. Only the black community can change it. But as long as they
> continue to deny this fact, and to place all the blame on others, it will
> be very difficult to make any progress.
I'm Belgian, and my knowledge of American crime and the problems you have
with the colored community is limited. But I am also a student of the social
sciences and recently did a half-year study about criminal behaviour among
immigrants who live in Belgium. You may or may not knwo this, but in Belgium
there are many problems with immigrants from Marocco and Turkey, and these
are generally thought by the public to be the main source of immigrant-crimes.
During this study, one of the things that came to the fore, is that while the
particulars of the actual crime-rate may vary from country to country, and
ethnic group to ethnic group, the causes of a higher crime-rate among minority
groups are universal. One cannot deny that there is a higher crime-rate among
the ethnic minorities in question, yet all too often, when statistics are quoted,
the underlying context is not held in account. Study has shown that the difference
in crime-rates between the ethnic minority and the native population OF THE SAME
SOCIAL STRATA and under the same circumstances, is by far smaller then is commonly
thought. What difference remains can be explained by a general sense of opression
and a lack of opportunities. It is my sincere belief that while, yes, the colored
community will have to make a personal effort to halt and reduce the crime-rate
among their numbers, it is folly to expect this is going to happen without at least
some change in attitude, both from the side of the goverment as from the side of
the general populace. There is a direct relation between education, poverty,
unemployment and crime, all elements that are influenced by the social program
that the state promotes. If you say that the white population can't change that,
you are just plain wrong. Let me give you a little example. I read a sociological
study of the American mailing service (don't remember exactly which one, but can
get the title if you want it). Goverment employment is generally thought to give
the most opportunities for colored people. They will reach higher, better paid
positions in goverment employment than their "brothers" in private enterprises,
and in less time. Yet even here, it turns out that Americans of a colored origin
are more easily fired than whites, despite the fact that on a hole they work harder,
are far less absent, and commit fewer mistakes while at work. If that isn't discrimination,
then I don't know what is. A change in this situation, and in many like it, is likely to
have a serious effect on crime-rates. It is folly to expect these people to do it all by
themselves, and frankly sounds a lot the same like "if there's a high unemployment among
colored, the main reason is that they are lazy: they want more work, they should work harder.".

Sicco Naets.

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