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Bill Bennett and Racism: Who Really Has the Problem?

Bill Bennett a racist, or some embarrassed over a community problem?

By Bob Ellis


The Left has developed a wide-ranging policy of demonizing arguments they find impossible to dispute: if you can’t combat the logic of a statement, then mischaracterize it as saying something reprehensible that the speaker never intended. This has also been quite effective in cowing people who might otherwise support the argument into denouncing it themselves. After all, no one wants to be seen as “outside the mainstream,” or “not traveling with the herd.” And I realize that I risk ostracism and mischaracterization by doing this piece, but then that’s never really been a concern for me.

The politically correct gnashing of teeth over Bill Bennett’s recent statement about black babies and abortion is the latest example of this. For those who may not be familiar with the controversy, Bennett (former Secretary of Education, author and talk show host) said on his Sept. 28 radio show “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America” that "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

The Left is predictably running ahead mindlessly condemning Bennett’s statement with no regard for the context or intent of the statement. In our racially charged, politically correct society, to say anything negative about a minority—regardless of its truth or accuracy—is simply unacceptable. It’s worse that cussin’ in church used to be. In fact, Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) is hassling Bennett’s radio network, Salem Radio Network, and their sponsors to drop the program

As with all things, context is critical. Below is a transcript of the exchange, courtesy of Cybercast News Service (emphasis mine):

CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I've read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn't—never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they're all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don't know what the costs would be, too. I think as—abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

CALLER: I don't know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don't know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don't know. I mean, it cuts both—you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well—

CALLER: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.

BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know. But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could—if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

On its surface, it’s hard to figure out why the Left is so upset by this. After all, the Left so idolizes abortion that one would think that everybody, regardless of skin color, should be killing their babies. Let’s all do the macarena! Let’s do the timewarp again! Let’s go crazy; let’s get nuts! Let’s all abort our babies!

But perhaps the problem they have with it is the implication that only BLACK babies should be aborted! We’re talking genocide here! White Bennett is trying to wipe out all those unpleasant black people!

The statement is more egregious yet to the Left because of the inference that the crime rate would go down if more black babies were aborted. Never mind that Bennett disavowed such a practice himself in his next sentence, the idea that black people could be committing more crimes that white people is unacceptable! But as “unacceptable” as it might be, could it be true?

An examination of Department of Justice statistics sheds some interesting light on what Bennett said:

  • The 2000 U.S. Census indicates 12.69% of the U.S. population is black; 2004 estimates show little change at 12.77%

  • FBI 2002 crime statistics indicate black people committed 38.0% of all violent crime in the United States. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 38% of all violent crime.

  • FBI 2002 crime statistics show that black people committed 29.6% of property crimes in the United States. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 30% of all crimes against property.

  • FBI 2002 crime statistics show that black people committed 50.0% of murders in the US. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 50% of all murders.

  • FBI 2002 crime statistics show that black people committed 34.0% of forcible rapes in the US. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 34% of all forcible rapes.

  • FBI 2002 crime statistics show that black people committed 54.1% of all robberies in the US. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 54% of all robberies.

  • In what should be a stunning statistic, FBI 2002 crime statistics show that black people committed 21.8% of hate crimes. This means a group comprising 13% of the US population committed 22% of all hate crimes. But I thought hate crimes were only white crimes against blacks—how can this be???

I know liberals aren’t used to dealing with facts and logic, so if any can read and are reading this, I’ll spell it out. If Group X made up 13% of the US population and Group X committed 13% of the crimes in the US, then Bennett would have been unfair and factually incorrect in stating that aborting the babies of Group X would reduce crime. However, if Group X made up 13% of the US population, but committed 30% of the crimes in the US, then he would be factually correct in stating that aborting the babies of Group X would reduce crime.

Another way of putting it would be that if one group made up 13% of the total population, and that group was no more or less likely to commit a crime than another, then that group would account for 13% of the crimes committed in America. It’s a simple mathematical fact—but I know, facts are anathema to liberals, and very hard for them to deal with. Yet their dislike for the facts, nor the fact that these mathematical facts reflect shame upon ALL Americans, changes the existence of those facts.

It would be no less accurate to say that aborting every male child would reduce crime, because most crimes are committed by males. But that would be okay to say…as long as we were talking about white males.

I am, of course, also forgetting the tired old racist explanation continually carted out by liberals that black people are found guilty of crimes more often because of racist bias against them, a legal system that’s out to get them, and of course the fact that white domination makes blacks so angry and disadvantaged that they must commit crimes.

Okay, go ahead and try to come up with any explanation other than dealing with the truth: that a sense of feeling sorry for yourself and wanting payback has let to a moral breakdown with the black segment of our population--encouraged by Race Pimps like Je$$ie Jack$on. Before you vilify me, you might recall that successful and wealthy (black) actor and comedian Bill Cosby has been saying much the same thing recently.

Beginning with his speech at the NAACP gala last year, Cosby has been placing the responsibility for the problems of the black community on the black community itself. (Notice I didn’t say “African American;” as Bill Cosby said, “We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a damned thing about Africa.”)

Without for a second excusing slavery or the genuine institutional discrimination blacks have been subjected to in ages past, the following comments which Cosby made at the NAACP gathering speak to the problem of crime in the black community:

“Looking at the incarcerated, these are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake! Then we all run out and are outraged: ‘The cops shouldn’t have shot him.’ What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand? I wanted a piece of pound cake just as bad as anybody else.”

“It’s not what they’re doing to us. It’s what we’re not doing. 50 percent drop out. Look, we’re raising our own ingrown immigrants. These people are fighting hard to be ignorant. There’s no English being spoken, and they’re walking and they’re angry. Oh God, they’re angry and they have pistols and they shoot and they do stupid things. And after they kill somebody, they don’t have a plan. Just murder somebody. Boom. Over what? A pizza? And then run to the poor cousin’s house.”

“You got to tell me that if there was parenting—help me—if there was parenting, he wouldn’t have picked up the Coca Cola bottle and walked out with it to get shot in the back of the head. He wouldn’t have. Not if he loved his parents. And not if they were parenting! Not if the father would come home. Not if the boy hadn’t dropped the sperm cell inside of the girl and the girl had said, ‘No, you have to come back here and be the father of this child.’ Not ..’I don’t have to.’”

Again, Bennett never argued in favor of aborting black babies to reduce crime—he stated in the strongest possible terms that such a practice is morally reprehensible. We need to deal with facts, not hysterics.

So let’s quit the race-baiting and the politically correct attempts to avoid rhetorical defeat, and address the real issues. We can do that, or we can continue the decades of decay that hurts all Americans, black and white.

We’re all God’s children, regardless of the color of our skin. God calls His children to love one another, and He also calls them to take responsibility for their own actions and own up when they’ve done wrong. Our whole country would be much better off if everyone lived that way.

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