Media Stifling Racial Violence Coverage
Race matters if we want to understand the current wave of racial mob violence. Flash mobs have a lot of people talking, no thanks to PC journalists who have refused all along to help us understand this emerging social problem.
For those who care about language and the truth, Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune has done a great service. She openly admits that her newspaper refuses to report the race of violent criminals responsible for an outbreak of racial mob violence in Chicago, which mirrors similar violence around the country. So Schmich has proven the old adage that you don’t need to muzzle sheep.
Schmich admits that there is a fact about the flash mob attackers that readers “haven’t read in the Tribune or seen explicitly stated by most of the official media: The young men were black.” Schmich wants to keep it that way. This resolute dishonesty is shared by the Tribune’s editor, Gerould W. Kern. Kern wrote, “We do not reference race unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.” Of course, if you’re PC, race is never central to a story when misbehavior by approved minorities is in question. Thus, the Tribune will evade race when whites are the victims of interracial crime. Kern and Schmich have demonstrated what self-censorship looks like in our Conversation about Race.
The title of Schmich’s article asks, “When a news story omits race, do we really know any less?” with her instinctive response being no. She is wrong. Flash mobs are the product of attitudes which are directly connected to racial group membership in American society.
The racial mob violence is probably rooted in three factors arising from the post-Civil Rights-era black experience in America: a sense of entitlement, a sense of grievance, and fatherlessness. Those factors are neither exclusive to nor reflective upon the black community as a whole. The black community is not uniform or monolithic. That being said, the three factors are present in the black community to a greater degree than they are in other communities, with major consequences for group behavior.
A sense of entitlement makes people think that they deserve things they have not earned. A sense of grievance leads to anger and a greater willingness to use violence. Fatherlessness means that there will be few restraints on greedy, impulsive behavior. According to Popenoe, fathers are needed to teach self-control and empathy, tendencies which antisocial and criminal people lack (1). Taken together, these factors foster the propensity to commit crime. Those factors are not rooted in biology, and were not present in earlier generations of black Americans, as Bill Cosby pointed out.
The entitlement mentality and thug culture emerged relatively recently, beginning in the late 60s and early 70s. Former Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver wrote in “Soul on Ice” that racial injustice drove his desire to rape women (2). Professor Marvin E. Wolfgang, regarded as the most influential criminologist in the world, would write in 1973, “I am increasingly convinced that among many black teen-agers and young adults there is a systematic diffusion of the Soul on Ice ideology that ripping off whites as a kind of compensatory behavior is acceptable, tolerated and even encouraged” (3). Wolfgang was a brilliant scholar; he opposed the death penalty and was independent minded. His insight about criminal attitudes should be taken seriously, and the attitude he described is directly tied to race.
Contrary to Schmich, when a news story omits race, we know less — less about our society, less about the mores shaping the lives of our fellow citizens, less about the identity of perpetrators of violent crimes, and less about the nature of a social problem that could affect any of us.
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