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wake up white people
September 29, 2005 1:09 AM   Subscribe

Two white Republicans spoke about race yesterday. First Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) upon hearing that his membership to the TN Black Legislative Caucus was denied complained, "My understanding is that the KKK doesn't even ban members by race."

Meanwhile on his syndicated radio show, former drug czar Bill Bennett speculated on how roe v. wade could actually fight crime, "if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Color me speechless.
posted by tsarfan (119 comments total)

 
Abort every baby in the country and crime would cease within a generation or two.
posted by teppic at 1:31 AM on September 29, 2005


Bennett goes on to say "That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."

In other words, he wasn't advocating doing this. The whole premise of the conversation was goofy so I'm not surprised it arrived at an outlandish and illogical conclusion.
posted by quadog at 1:41 AM on September 29, 2005


quadog: "Bennett goes on to say 'That would be an impossible, ridiculous, andmorally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.'

In other words, he wasn't advocating doing this. The whole premise ofthe conversation was goofy so I'm not surprised it arrived at anoutlandish and illogical conclusion.
"


Umm. What.
posted by panoptican at 1:48 AM on September 29, 2005


Abort every baby in the country and crime would cease within a generation or two.

That's what Judge Death and his friends did -- well, something like that.
posted by gsb at 1:53 AM on September 29, 2005


I think the second quote is from misunderstanding Stephen Levitt's claim that legalized abortion lowers the crime rate by reducing the number of unloved children.
posted by srboisvert at 2:08 AM on September 29, 2005


quadog, I think you miss the point. The point is that he implied that killing all black children would reduce crime because black people commit the most crimes.

I don't know if statistics show that black people commit the most crimes. I don't know how that relates to geography, economics, or anything like that. What I do know is that you don't say something like that unless you're trying to make a point about black people. And if that's the kind of point you want to make, that says a lot about you. (not you personally. Bennet, I mean.)

In other news: after hearing bennet say that, the caller replied: "wait... are you... hold on, you're kidding, right? Do you... I mean..." Immediately following this came the sound of the phone dropping and the sound of what experts have identified as the caller's head exploding.
posted by shmegegge at 2:15 AM on September 29, 2005


Hey, does that mean if you abort all the white babies, all the other races will have an equal chance at having a decent life and a good job?
posted by deusdiabolus at 2:20 AM on September 29, 2005


Could be that The Republicans have realized - post New-Orleans - that it is hopeless to court the Black vote and instead they have taken the Lee Atwater route of alienating it in an active effort to court the white racist vote.
posted by zaelic at 2:20 AM on September 29, 2005


I think the second quote is from misunderstanding Stephen Levitt's claim that legalized abortion lowers the crime rate by reducing the number of unloved children

I never udnerstood how Levitt could infer that nurture had an effect of crime rates but not SAT scores... or was he implying that women knew when to abort genes for criminal tendancy?

sorry - I digress
posted by missbossy at 2:25 AM on September 29, 2005


Hey, does that mean if you abort all the white babies, all the other races will have an equal chance at having a decent life and a good job?

Zing!
posted by Jairus at 2:28 AM on September 29, 2005


I'm an advocate of only aborting ugly babies, regardless of race or criminal proclivity.
posted by chasing at 2:28 AM on September 29, 2005


Oh man, has Bill Bennett been dreaming out loud about a world with no blacks again? I can't wait until the "but some of my best friends" speach comes out.

Why don't we ever keep track of these people when they leave office? It's amazing that Bennett, North, Liddy, and others can still have any influence on this country (let alone lobbyists like Livingston). I shudder to think about the talk show deals Lynndie England will get.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:41 AM on September 29, 2005


i'm with quadog; i think people are misinterpreting bennett. now, he could have done better than to talk about black babies -- whoa, race! -- but this is the danger of rapping off the top of one's head on the radio.

the crime rate would go down if we aborted every black baby. the crime rate would also go down if we aborted every white baby. heck, if we aborted all babies, soon there'd be no crime rate at all!

what it seems he's going for here is to point out that either way it's not a useful argument (non-aborted babies would fund social security vs. abortion reduces crime) because we can't actually posit some of the things which are posited by the people behind those arguments; things are not that simple. and he's trying to do so without telling the caller off as a total dimwit, entangling himself deftly while doing so.

i feel sorry for him. this is gonna get misinterpreted all over the effing blogosphere, and lots of spew is gonna get generated over a non-issue.
posted by piranha at 2:46 AM on September 29, 2005


piranha: If the crime rate would go down because of aborting black babies, that means that black babies are disproportionately likely to commit crimes.

If this assertion is true, then aborting white babies would increase the crime rate, because you'd be aborting upstanding citizens, not thugs and hoodlums.

Perhaps you should spend more time thinking, and less time feeling sorry for racists.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:53 AM on September 29, 2005


The crime rate would go down, piranha? Not the overall crime levels, but the rates? Basically, you're saying that babies, whatever their colour, commit the most crimes per head of population?
posted by flashboy at 2:57 AM on September 29, 2005


Or, you know, what the other guy said...
posted by flashboy at 2:59 AM on September 29, 2005


"Jesse Jackson has a history of being one of the worst racial polarizers in this country." --Bill Bennett, big fan of racial sensitivity
posted by allen.spaulding at 3:02 AM on September 29, 2005


No one is misinterpreting Bennett. The implication of his statement is that black people = more crime. That is a premise of the argument "If there were less black people, then there would be less crime." It is a racist argument, pure and simple.
posted by graymouser at 3:06 AM on September 29, 2005


I seem to recall from Freakonomics that poor white mothers' babies were the ones that were aborted the most and seemingly responsible for the crime rate dip.
posted by mathowie at 3:17 AM on September 29, 2005


I don't know if statistics show that black people commit the most crimes.
									
Table 2.1.  Demographic characteristics of persons
convicted of felonies in State courts, by offense, 2002
									
  	         Male	Female	White	Black	Other
All offenses	83%	17%	60%	37%	3%

It is a racist argument, pure and simple.

Indeed it is, yet the stats show that blacks are convicted of felonies at a ~3:1 ratio to their demographics.

Bennet would have been better off stating "... all male babies" or "... all poor people" tho.

The fpp takes his quote out of context, alas.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:23 AM on September 29, 2005


Heywood: in order to make those statistics meaningful shouldn't you be listing the population breakdown for each demographic below them so that we can get a sense of proportion?
posted by Ryvar at 3:29 AM on September 29, 2005


But the important question is, is his statement incorrect? If eg. all racially-black-looking people became sterile would the crime rate go down over the next 20-30 years?

I think so. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark. It is partially racial prejudice, counter-productive Great Society safety-net welfare that encouraged & rewarded repeat single-mother baby-making (at the expense of the traditional nuclear family), our piss-poor deployment of educational & recreational opportunities in poor areas, and the general endemic/hereditary cycle of poverty.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:31 AM on September 29, 2005


population breakdown for each demographic below them so that we can get a sense of proportion?

blacks make 10-15% of the population.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:33 AM on September 29, 2005


And the Balkanization of America continues…
posted by Jatayu das at 3:39 AM on September 29, 2005


blacks make 10-15% of the population.

Then how come Spencer Tracy can't have a dish of ice cream without running into one of them?
posted by Optamystic at 3:42 AM on September 29, 2005


Here's California's stats of homicide victims by race:

White: 18.5% of victims, 48.5% of population.
Hispanic: 43.5% of victims, 32.1% of population.
Black: 29.7% of victims, 6.6% of population.

Median household income from 2000 Census:

Asian: $55.3k
White: $53.7k
Latino: $36.5k
Black: $35.0k
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:52 AM on September 29, 2005


I never udnerstood how Levitt could infer that nurture had an effect of crime rates but not SAT scores... or was he implying that women knew when to abort genes for criminal tendancy?

I can understand why people turn to crime when they feel unloved and disenfranchised - that makes perfect sense to me. Not an excuse at all - I just understand that crime is very much a nurture issue.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 3:53 AM on September 29, 2005


Heywood:

The problem is, if there is a bias (and while I don't have statistics at hand, I believe there is) within the police that disproportionately prosecutes blacks for crimes, and particularly for drug crimes, there are two flaws in the notion that "blacks = crime." First, there is the selection problem where whites are charged less, and convicted less, but do not necessarily have a lower rate of commission of crimes. Second, there is the problem of drug use or dealing as a "crime," which although it's a foregone conclusion among politicians is a serious societal difficulty. So even if the statistics superficially support Bennett's point, there are underlying problems with what is reflected in those statistics.
posted by graymouser at 3:55 AM on September 29, 2005


So even if the statistics superficially support Bennett's point, there are underlying problems with what is reflected in those statistics.

I don't think, given the /victim/ stats above, that there's ~that~ significant of an unfairness factor in the criminal justice system.

Certainly it exists, but I think Bennet's point, whatever it was, was more than superficially supported by the facts on the ground. It's not *just* poverty -- Mexicans on the whole are just as poor, if not poorer, yet do not have the same crime rates.

I think it has to do with hope and shit, combined with ghetto reality. If you're a black guy with an average IQ-as-measured-by-the-SAT your prospects to get ahead in life are the NBA, rap, and/or dealing drugs AFAICT. Not too many Starbucks in South Central.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:10 AM on September 29, 2005


If anyone needs me I'll be in the sci-fi/fantasy thread trying to escape the Bill Bennets, the Wolf Blitzers, and the Barbara Bushes of the real world
posted by poppo at 4:27 AM on September 29, 2005


Bill Bennett speculated on how roe v. wade could actually fight crime, "if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Color me speechless.

The author of Freakanomics does make a tie to Roe VS Wade and the long term crime rate.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:30 AM on September 29, 2005


Black Like Bill Bennett's Heart.
posted by loquacious at 4:58 AM on September 29, 2005


Metafilter: I think it has to do with hope and shit.
posted by lodurr at 4:59 AM on September 29, 2005


I never understood how Levitt could infer that nurture had an effect of crime rates but not SAT scores... or was he implying that women knew when to abort genes for criminal tendency?
I don't think Levitt was arguing any of the above.

First, the data from which he observes trends suggests the hypothesis he concludes. Is he biasing the data? Maybe. Is his data not representative? Maybe.

Second, though Levitt writes a lot about his abortion theory, out of defense and ego, I don't think he is implying that women, through socialization, learn to know whether or not they are going to give birth to criminals. Instead, he concludes that women having abortions cause lower crime rates. He does not say that women have abortions to cause a lower crime rate.

Furthermore, he writes that the number of aborted pregnancies is many times greater than the number of murders it prevents and thus is an incredibly inefficient crime prevention technique.

You could even say that he's arguing a matter of access, not a matter of women's nature or nurture.

As far as SAT scores, one can argue that it is not a measure of the genetic inheritance of intelligence, but the heritability of social class. Levitt's argument may agree with the data, but his observations can still be wrong.

There are some excellent comments on heritability, minus the snark, in this thread.
The author of Freakanomics does make a tie to Roe VS Wade and the long term crime rate.
That's Levitt.
posted by sequential at 5:01 AM on September 29, 2005


The Great Moral Compass/gambling addict/hooker customer supports the GOP Southern Strategy. Big surprise. Why the f**k would anyone ever lsiten to this windbag on the radio?

Heywood, give it up, you're wrong and on very thin ice. And don't ever start a post with "I don't think." It's so tempting when it is obviously a true statement all by itself.
posted by nofundy at 5:03 AM on September 29, 2005


I'm not saying that Stacey Campfield went about making his point in the best way - but spin it around. What would be said if there was an exclusive whites only club? Exclusion is unhealthy and will usually lead to confrontation in the end.
posted by DrDoberman at 5:05 AM on September 29, 2005


Heywood is pulling out the statistics, but note that although blacks make up 13% of the population, almost 50% of all violent crime (murder, rape, armed robbery) is committed by blacks. I understand why people want to dance around the numbers, and certainly poverty and a history of oppression are related. But when don't want to get carjacked, there are areas of town in which you are not going to drive.

The Black Caucus stunt is pretty dumb, but there is something about not allowing people entry based on their skin color. There was a Black Social Worker convention in New Orleans 6 months ago, and three white social workers were denied entry based on skin color alone, which is ridiculous.

Such a difficult subject, maybe one day skin color will be just like hair color, and community will be based on location and ideas, not pigment or melanin.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 5:16 AM on September 29, 2005


i feel sorry for him. this is gonna get misinterpreted all over the effing blogosphere, and lots of spew is gonna get generated over a non-issue.

Ooh let me try that approach with this too:

“My understanding is that the KKK doesn’t even ban members by race,” said Rep. Stacey Campfield, adding that the KKK “has less racist bylaws” than the black lawmakers’ group.


Now I don't remember the title of that film where a young Jewish guy becomes the leader of a far-right racist group that targets Jews but whether it was pure fiction or not, I guess it's possible to become a member of the KKK or any neonazi group even if you're Jewish or black or Asian or anyone else they love to hate. Just as long as you hate yourself and all your people too, but technically, no, I guess they don't discriminate for entry. So that makes Campfield's statement factually correct and any outraged reactions a pure matter of partisan misreading. Yay!

There you go, apology for racist idiocy in less than 100 words.
posted by funambulist at 5:17 AM on September 29, 2005


Heywood: More white people are on welfare than black people. It's always been this way.
posted by raysmj at 5:23 AM on September 29, 2005


For some stupid reason, I will jump onto Heywood's thin ice and say that in some bizarro way, Bennett's stunning and nauseating statement could also be seen as an absurdist indictment of America's continual racism that is stuck in economic, social, and geographic realities. We like to pretend here, you know, that racism is over because we have admired and successful black people -- "see it is a meritocracy, they just grabbed their little bootstraps and pulled and pulled".

But it isn't over, and maybe New Orleans shook some people out of denial. But probably not too many.

Now believe me I am uncomfortable making this argument, but I think it is an interesting one to follow. But if we (meaning, roughly, liberals, or people who are angry about the disparity between rich and poor and how it also correlates to race) want to argue that poverty and the social structures that map to it (such as the crappy schools the poor end up with because of how uneven funding is) lead to loss of opportunity (and yes, hope and shit) and that correlates with an increase in crime because, well, it is a concrete opportunity for profit, pleasure, etc. then well yes, gads, Bennett has with a little tweaking an absurd, disgusting little argument: mandatory abortions in poor, crowded, undersupported, areas of the country would reduce crime. It's a damn nasty way of saying our country has people living in some crapass conditions and people shouldn't live that way: so instead of fixing it, get rid of the people.

Bennett says black people, though, and that's where it gets generalized and horrifying.

I'd also like to point out mandatory abortions for Evangelical Christians would help reduce mind-bogglingly stupid destructive legistation. Is that a horrible thing to say? Not sure if I care anymore.

I'm doomed.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 5:40 AM on September 29, 2005


Not too many Starbucks in South Central.

Somebody's listening, Heywood.
posted by shoos at 5:49 AM on September 29, 2005


PS:

I live in New York and had a lot of my feelings that back my discussion above formed a few years ago when my girlfriend become a teacher in Brooklyn. She was a Fellowship teacher and ended up in a failing school -- her first days and the news she brought back were literally jaw-dropping.

For example: almost no books, certainly not enough for everyone. She was teaching English and didn't have books for everyone. The school didn't do much but went bananas over bulletin boards because that's what inspectors see.

There are no music programs, no athetics, no art.

There is no detention and nothing to take away, so kids who are disruptive just keep on disturbing class. The kids are trying to learn get far less attention because of the disruptions (of course she is better at managing classes now but the structural problems are still there).

Finally, broken computers bolted to desks. One day someone comes in to fix them. My girlfriend is excited. She returns to class the next day to see, written on the desk "this is broken."
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 5:52 AM on September 29, 2005


Well not only is Campfield a racist, he's a liar too:
The bylaws say, "The regular membership shall consist of those black elected officials serving in the state Senate and House of Representatives."

Another provision says that "honorary membership" can be granted to "those persons whose belief and actions contribute to the purpose for which this caucus was formed."
He can be a member of the LBC if he really cared about working with them or helping in their endeavors. Except he's merely interested in being a racist asshole. I guess this is the beltway equivalent of trolling or something. Maybe the "Affirmative Action Bakesale" gag got boring or something.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2005


Oops, link to story ^
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:53 AM on September 29, 2005


It's a damn nasty way of saying our country has people living in some crapass conditions and people shouldn't live that way: so instead of fixing it, get rid of the people.

Bennett says black people, though, and that's where it gets generalized and horrifying.


In context, Bennett agrees with that in bold. And I agree with what you said.

To make thing clear, as far as explaining the unfortunate crime stats, I my own SWAG a breakdown as to root causes:

+ Growing up in a single parent household: 10%
+ Growing up poor: 15%
+ Lack of acculturation into "whitebread" strip-mall America: 25%
+ Unsafe/substandard schools: 25%
+ (Apparent) Lack of (non-crime) opportunities: 25%
+ Inherent intelligence/personality differential: 0%

Wealth begets wealth & opportunity -- I've had countless work opportunities thrown at me thanks to who I know ... I expect it works the same in the ghetto, but with more of a criminal bent. It's easy for me to postulate on this but I should recognize that even tho I've lived for 8 years in LA the the closest I've gotten to South Central is the In & Out on Venice.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:05 AM on September 29, 2005


Ah, Bill Bennett... everyone's favorite genocidal, drunken gambling "virtues" man.

If one must look at only one person to illustrate aptly just how completely morally bankrupt the Republican Party is, well, ol' Bill is the image of a party in all its corrupt glory.
posted by clevershark at 6:11 AM on September 29, 2005


+ Growing up in a single parent household: 10%
+ Growing up poor: 15%
+ Lack of acculturation into "whitebread" strip-mall America: 25%
+ Unsafe/substandard schools: 25%
+ (Apparent) Lack of (non-crime) opportunities: 25%
+ Inherent intelligence/personality differential: 0%


If you want it to be at least plausible you need to bring down your R^2 to well below 1.0.
posted by duck at 6:13 AM on September 29, 2005


I'm going to defend Heywood, here. His claim is that the post takes him out of context unfairly. This is not an unreasonable thing to claim.

He also claims (as a point of order, as far as I can tell) that the statistics unfortunately point to the fact that (unless i'm misreading the provided statistics.) the ratio of black males convicted of felonies to total black males is higher than the ratio of white males convicted of felonies to total white males. He does this because I say that I don't know the statistics. He then goes on to say that social factors, in his opinion, lead to this unfortunate statistic, specifically social factors of oppression.

I'm going to go ahead and say that's not skating on thin ice. Not even remotely. It's a reasoned and reasonable point of order brought up to inform the discussion. I think it's a laudable thing to do, and not based in anything remotely resembling racism.

Please don't pile on him.
posted by shmegegge at 6:43 AM on September 29, 2005



Hey, does that mean if you abort all the white babies, all the other races will have an equal chance at having a decent life and a good job?


Well played.
posted by surferboy at 6:44 AM on September 29, 2005


Come on people, do I need to whip out my race card? (it's an impenetrable defense against accusations of racism)

What Bennett is saying, as many people have said before me, is that the argument that abortion lowers crime is a really bad one. If any of you have ever taken a class in logic or rhetoric you'll recognize reductio ad absurdum. He takes the argument to its logical extreme to demonstrate how ludicrous it is.
posted by Octaviuz at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2005


Actualy, aborting all babies would reduce the overall crime rate, because crime is disperportionaly caused by young people.
posted by delmoi at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2005


Ah, the internets. A new outrage by the hour.
posted by fungible at 6:53 AM on September 29, 2005


Anyway benett was trying to make a 'proof by reducto al absurdom'(sp?) which means that to disprove something, you show how it would lead to something absurd. Like that if aborting one class of babies (unwanted ones) is good why not abort another arbitrary class (black people). Unfortunetly, statstics show that young black men are more likely to comit crimes. (Black babies are also more likely to be aborted, acording to Alan Keys, anyway).
posted by delmoi at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2005


That said, the comment was certanly race baiting. Benett certanly could have said "poor babies" and made the same point.
posted by delmoi at 6:59 AM on September 29, 2005


Stephen Levitt's claim that legalized abortion lowers the crime rate by reducing the number of unloved children.

Yes, there's something elitist going on here. Provide free and easy abortions to the lower classes so they're not birth'in so many cirminals. Not eugenics but not far removed.
posted by scheptech at 7:00 AM on September 29, 2005


This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

--Philip Larkin (1974)
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 7:06 AM on September 29, 2005


Diagramming his logic is not a defense.

Look, you see this all the time whenever some idiot blurts out that the Jews control the media. Suddenly, you get drawn-out defenses about the overrepresentation of Jewish people within certain fields of business and socio-historical reasons for the way things are now. That's not a defense either. People who debate that "Jews control the media" are just as anti-semitic as people who start debates with "Blacks are one of the main causes of crime." The existence of statistics doesn't excuse the motivation of bringing it up in such a manner, nor does it excuse the effect such statements have.

Bill Bennett has no problem talking about what would amount to racial genocide as a thought example. He has a million listeners. Stop defending this man and start campaigning against those who advertise on his show.
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:11 AM on September 29, 2005


Weak.

(Yes, I'm trolling on purpose.)
posted by daq at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2005


I'm not surprised by Rep. Campfield's statement or that he was denied entry to the Black Caucus. East Tennessee and Knoxville are extremely racist areas compared to the rest of the state. I grew up in a town just south of Knoxville that as of the year 1997 still had a law on the books forbidding Black people from being within the city limits after dark. The bad thing about that area, is that most white people there don't even realize that the system is corrupt. They don't *see* black people, therefore they don't even think that they are racist and discriminatory. Thing is, they don't see black people at their schools and churches because the community is so very segregated it's possible to never see a black person unless they are serving you dinner.

As to the abortion comments, I don't have a problem admitting that Black people are more likely to be convicted of a crime. But then again, the less resources you have financially, the more likely you are to be convicted. The way the system is set up, particularly in the area of drug laws, the more wealth you have the more likely you are to get out of further jail time.

For example, my ex was convicted of simple possession a while back. His sentence was 30 days and $2000. He had the option to pay the fine in a lump sum or pay it over time. He didn't have the cash to pay it at once so he took the over time option. He was required by the court to pay $200 a week for a year and half. He was required to have a phone and to be drug tested weekly. Halfway through his probation he was given the option to pay $800 to completely pay off the fine and be done with probation. He took the option.

At anytime during his probation had he missed a payment, he would have gone back to jail. If his phone was cut off and he missed the PO's call, he would be sent back to jail. If he lost his job, back to jail. Now imagine that you only make $250 a week after taxes and see if you can figure your odds of going to jail.

Luckily he had a family to support him and people to help him out, but many folks don't have that and thus end up serving time. If he had the $2000 at the time of sentencing he would not have had any probation time. He would have walked away with a slap on the wrist and no drama.

I still think Bennett's a turd though.
posted by teleri025 at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2005


Bennett is wrong. The crime rate wouldn't go down. The slack caused by the loss of potential black criminal's spots would just be taken up by illegal immigrants. </sarcasm>
posted by spock at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2005


Chicago economist links abortion to falling crime rates "... more women at risk of having children who could later engage in criminal activity––teen-agers, those living in poverty or those with unwanted pregnancies, for example––opted for abortion ..."
posted by fourstar at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2005


Right, the criminal justice system is way fucked up. Public defenders aren't nearly as good as paid-for defense lawyers.

And even more then they commit crimes, black people are the victims of crimes. No victims, no crime right?

--

But really, it is a somewhat racist statement, because it's like the "first thing" he thought of when he thought of "group that commits a lot of crime" was "black".
posted by delmoi at 7:37 AM on September 29, 2005


Look guys, chill out!

I, for one, have never seen a baby, black or white, commit a serious crime. I don't know what this Bennett guy is talking about.
posted by drpynchon at 7:41 AM on September 29, 2005


Color me speechless.

Why? I assume that you use hyperbole to express the idea that you're suprised by this. But why on earth would you be surprised?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:42 AM on September 29, 2005


In his book, as I recall, Levitt is pretty careful about the dangers of confusing correlation with causality. Bennett's statement is correct stricto sensu (yes, being black is positively correlated with crime), but many people will understand it, incorrectly, as meaning that black people are criminals because they're black. Bennett's statement reinforces racist beliefs. Dangerous. He is not naive, and my opinion is that he deserves no indulgence.
posted by bikerdriver at 7:55 AM on September 29, 2005


Those are the kind of conversations people should really keep private, I think.

drpynchon, there was the 18 month that ran over his family last week in Australia but I think that was more accident than intentional.
posted by fenriq at 8:07 AM on September 29, 2005


I read Freaknomics and it really rocked my world. His arguement about the abortion rate lowering crime was really well thought out. I am as liberal as it gets and the book made me really step outside my comfort zone.

What he said is that most crimes are committed by those who are born poor: people who don't have a stable family, home life, or high expectations that they succeeed, or education...which is most often the poor. Richer women could afford abortions when they were illegal...poor women couldn't. So they had children that they didn't want and couldn't afford to take care of. So when those kids grew up, the crime rate ended up going up.

Conversely, the crime rate went down when those women weren't forced to have children they didn't want and couldn't take care of so there were less criminals. Yes, more poor people are black, but it wasn't focused on race. It was focused more on ecomonics and the life that is experienced by those who end up becoming criminals.

No one likes the argument. Conservatives don't like abortion and don't like it linked to lowering crime rates. Liberals don't like the inferance that poor people (and therfore black) are most likely criminals. But he provides the numbers and it's hard to disagree with him.
posted by aacheson at 8:07 AM on September 29, 2005


The blind black white supremacist, from chappelle's show...

"Kent Wallace: [Kent Wallace and Jasper are in the gas station and Jasper is paying for gas] Sir, you're a friend. Why not tell him he's African American?

Jasper: Listen man. He's too important to the movement. Tell him that he's black, he would probably kill himself. Just be one less nigger around. His commitment is that deep.

Kent Wallace: I'm overwhelmed by the irony.

Skin Head: [four guys are outside banging on the car and Jasper runs out to the car and save Clayton from trouble] Hey, monkey! You lost, boy!

Skinhead: Run, boy, we don't like your kind around here!

Skin Head: You better get out of here before something bad happens.

Clayton Bigsby: That's right!
[shouts]

Clayton Bigsby: That's right! Tell that nigger. That dirty nigger!

Jasper: Come on, Clayton, we got to go.

Clayton Bigsby: Jasper, there's nigger around here. That damn monkey was beatin' my hood

[then Clayton gets back in the car and they drive off]

Clayton Bigsby: [shouts] White power! Nigger! "


"[Clayton Bigsby's truck pulls up next to a group of white kids listening to rap]

Clayton Bigsby: Hey, niggers! Turn that jungle music down!
Woogie boogie, nigger! Woogie boogie!

Hip-Hop Fan: Did he just call us niggers?... AWESOME! "

"Kent Wallace: In the past few weeks, Clayton Bigsby accepted the fact that he is a black man. And three days ago, he filed for divorce from his wife. When we asked "Why after 19 years of marriage?" He responded, "Because she's a nigger lover."

Sorry, that skit is all I could think of when the topic of the KKK accepting other races came up...
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:23 AM on September 29, 2005


No one likes the argument. Conservatives don't like abortion and don't like it linked to lowering crime rates. Liberals don't like the inferance that poor people (and therfore black) are most likely criminals. But he provides the numbers and it's hard to disagree with him.

I don't think it's true that no one likes the argument. It's been accepted for a long time as one of the causes of the drop in crime rate. It's certainly been mentioned in every talk I've ever seen that discusses explanations for dropping crime rates. I don't think there's anyone working in the area who has any political beef with the argument. For that matter, I don't think there's anyone in the area who disbelieves the data indicating that poor people (most of whom are not black, so the "and therefore black' statement is incorrect) are more likely to commit crimes, or that black people are more likely to commit crimes (particularly street crimes in both cases).
posted by duck at 8:53 AM on September 29, 2005


No one likes the argument. Conservatives don't like abortion and don't like it linked to lowering crime rates. Liberals don't like the inferance that poor people (and therfore black) are most likely criminals. But he provides the numbers and it's hard to disagree with him.

You illustrate the racist fallacy exactly. Freakonomics talks about poor people. There are five times as many poor whites as blacks, but you immediately jump to the conclusion that blacks are the problem.
posted by JackFlash at 9:06 AM on September 29, 2005


As tbogg points out if you really wanted to take a slice out of crime you would just sterilize all the Bush women.
posted by JackFlash at 9:11 AM on September 29, 2005


What he said is that most crimes are committed by those who are born poor

And I would posit that most CONVICTIONS for crimes are on those too poor to know or afford what proper defense representation means.
I would also posit that the majority of poor blacks are serving prison sentences for drug sales and actually had a customer base of wealthier and whiter persons, who were also committing crime in larger numbers but will NEVER see the inside of a jail.

Statistics are damnable things.
posted by nofundy at 9:20 AM on September 29, 2005


In 1994, a black was 64 times more likely to attack a white than vice versa.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:21 AM on September 29, 2005


"I don't know if statistics show that black people commit the most crimes. I don't know how that relates to geography, economics, or anything like that. What I do know is that you don't say something like that unless you're trying to make a point about black people. And if that's the kind of point you want to make, that says a lot about you."

Then you also don't know that he could be right, and you prefer your ignorance over an objective analysis of the situation. That says a lot about you. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:23 AM on September 29, 2005


No one likes the argument. Conservatives don't like abortion and don't like it linked to lowering crime rates. Liberals don't like the inferance that poor people (and therfore black) are most likely criminals. But he provides the numbers and it's hard to disagree with him.

Levitt is saying something obvious in a slightly complicated way which makes it seem both more insightful and controversial than it is or needs to be. He's not making an argument, all he's doing is making an observation which nets out to: reduce the number of future poor people and you reduce future crime. Seems like common sense. Any factor that reduces poverty reduces certain types of crime.

However, at least one controversy derives from it: does this future reduction in crime justify roe v wade?

Hmm, I wonder if roe v wade has been allowed to stand as-is for so long because it's been a factor in keeping poor (maybe black?) populations in check... nah, couldn't be... the rich and powerful elite such as Mr. Bennett surely can't have this sort of thing in mind?
posted by scheptech at 9:29 AM on September 29, 2005


"In 1994, a black was 64 times more likely to attack a white than vice versa."
How much more likely was a white to fire a black man from his job? Or deny him benefits? Or stop him for driving the wrong car in the wrong neighborhood?
From doing a little door-to-door canvassing and hearing how some white people talk about black people (particularly in the context of Katrina, and how "those people" deserved what they got), I'm surprised more black people aren't attacking white people. I mean, hell, I nearly decked a white guy because he thought my skin color made us buddies enough for him to start spouting about lazy niggers.
posted by klangklangston at 9:41 AM on September 29, 2005


Ignore the right-wing trolls that front as progressive American thinkers/politicians.
posted by vannsant at 9:45 AM on September 29, 2005


funambulistsaid : I guess it's possible to become a member of the KKK or any neonazi group even if you're Jewish or black or Asian or anyone else they love to hate.

Well, that would be a great way to destroy the KKK once and for all...get a million or so black Americans to join it and show up to every meeting :)
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:46 AM on September 29, 2005


I just understand that crime is very much a nurture issue.

I was being facetious when I suggested women were aborting criminal genes... but your simple statement of the obvious has reminded me I have to lay off the genetics books from time to time. Thanks... unscrews top of head, rinses off brain, leaves out to dry for a while.
posted by missbossy at 10:02 AM on September 29, 2005


I think it's obvious what Bennett is saying.

What’s also interesting is the reactions trying to parse it so it sounds fair or insightful. But that doesn’t matter.

As a fr’instance:
In my lilly white suburb some black guys (younger guys) were drinking at the train station. It was the 4th of July (I think - it was a warm holiday) and Metra has a rule against drinking on the train on the 4th. There were 5 or 6 guys drinking.
So I watched as the fine upstanding officers (no irony) swarmed like locusts around these guys. About 10 on either side of the train station and as 5 officers approached them they’re eyes went wide.
One officer said: “Do you know you’re not allowed to drink on the platform or on the train?”
They said nothing. Obviously scared. One of them worked up the courage to say “No.”
The officer said: “Didn’t you read the sign?”
Understand, our department is one of the cleanest in the country. Nationally ranked for professionalism. Plus there were suit and tied taxpayers nearby. Not one damn thing was going to happen. Absolutely no impropriety. But these guys didn’t know that of course.
The same guy swallowed and answered: “I didn’t see a sign.”
The officer pointed at the ticket window and was about to point out the sign there, but there wasn’t one.
So he walked over to the window and looked closer. Then he looked around the platform. No signs.
The officer said: “You’re right. I don’t see one either. Well, just dispose of the open beer you have, please. Have a good holiday.”
And they left.
The black guys were stunned.
None of us were suprised. In fact we were reassured that our cops were fair.

I’ve seen a number of situations in less favorable circumstances to the suspect that mirror that. Very fair and straightforward.
But the thing is, there is always an overwhelming initial response. People of color are typically approached in much greater numbers than white folks dressed similarly in similar circumstances.
No matter how fair the intent or the outcome, the appearance is that they are expecting trouble from these people. More than they are from white suspects.

I don’t know what Bennett may or may not have had in mind, but it seems similar to me.
Even if he had the best of intentions in meaning, it’s clear he’s expecting trouble.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:41 AM on September 29, 2005


Upon further reflection, in the mid-90s, the statement "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," the sentiment if not exactly in those words, was the liberal argument supporting abortion.

What goes around, comes around.
posted by mischief at 10:48 AM on September 29, 2005


I love how everyone's referencing Leavitt's work, but no one has taken the step of linking to it.
Discussion on the Freakonomics blog
"The impact of legalized abortion on crime" (PDF), published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2001.
posted by me3dia at 11:04 AM on September 29, 2005


I'm surprised more black people aren't attacking white people.

You may get your wish. If the below quoted text is correct. (and it gets to blame Bush!)

Here is someone else's comment:

"Ever since New Orleans I have seen what appears to be a concerted effort to fan racial tensions in this country. At first I thought it was merely to cast the Victims of the hurricanes as unsympathetic, in order to deflect anger from Bush for slashing flood control funding to pay for his illegal war in Iraq. But as Bennett's idiocy proves, that campaign to fan the flames of race hate is still continuing, and I think i know why.

Right now George Bush knows that the country is starting to hate him and the government that backed his lies. Bush is trying to figure out a way to declare martial law. Race riots in multiple cities would provide such an excuse, and even better, the Neocons would feel safer if they can trick the American people into fighting each other, instead of uniting to fight a corrupt and illegal government that continues to lie us all into wars.

So, you think about this as you see more and more media efforts to pit one race against the other. It's just another government scam against We The People. If we are fighting each other, we cannot fight the tyrant, and the tyrant knows this. If you pick up a rock or a stick and aim it at your fellow American, you are doing EXACTLY what George Bush and his Neocon perpetual-war-for-Israel thugs want you to do."
posted by rough ashlar at 11:14 AM on September 29, 2005


In 1994, a black was 64 times more likely to have a cross burned in his yard than a white, not vice versa.
posted by nofundy at 11:14 AM on September 29, 2005


I just want to know who'se gonna come in heah an bust up this chiffarobe???
posted by stenseng at 11:23 AM on September 29, 2005 [1 favorite]


Upon further reflection, in the mid-90s, the statement "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," the sentiment if not exactly in those words, was the liberal argument supporting abortion.

What? Where the heck was I in 1994? I never heard any such thing, and I'l pretty liberal and pro-choice these days. I'd love to see supporting materials for that, because otherwise you're just being inflammatory.

But the important question is, is his statement incorrect? If eg. all racially-black-looking people became sterile would the crime rate go down over the next 20-30 years?

I think so.


Let me try an edit on that statement:

But the important question is, is his statement incorrect? If eg. all racially-black-looking poor and disenfranchised people became sterile would the crime rate go down over the next 20-30 years?

I think so.


There, now I can agree with you. Now, can you pull out statistics that show the proportion of races in context of being poor and disenfranchised? If you did, I suspect they'd show that the problem is that poverty leads to crime, and more African Americans are poor and disenfranchised proportional to their overall numbers than any other race.

And that could start a useful conversation.
posted by davejay at 11:24 AM on September 29, 2005


I'll have what mischief is smoking. The liberal argument supporting abortion in the 90s had as its sentiment aborting black babies to lower the crime rate. Yes, that's some good shit.
posted by fleacircus at 11:34 AM on September 29, 2005


"In 1994, a black was 64 times more likely to attack a white than vice versa."

Hmmm... 64...that rings a bell.
Given a misleading cue, adults over age 64 were 10 times more likely than younger adults to falsely remember something wrong as right.
http://www.apa.org/releases/misinformation.html


White men! White women! The swastika...is calling...you.
I hate Illinois nazis.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:44 AM on September 29, 2005


In Defense of Bill Bennett by Brad DeLong.
posted by ambrosia at 11:47 AM on September 29, 2005


Davejay: While it's true that there's nothing about having a darker skin colour that causes one to commit crimes, it's still the case that controlling for poverty and education, a black person is more likely to commit a crime (and far more likely to be convicted of a crime) than a white person. The differences shrink controlling for poverty, of course, but they don't go away (similarly, because poverty and race are correlated, the effects of poverty shrink when you control for race).

Surely you don't imagine that none of the researchers working in this area have thought to control for that, or that any research that didn't control for that sort of thing could get past peer review.

Of course that doesn't make it ok to suggest that aborting black fetuses would lower crime rates, since we have no idea whether or not crime rates among the remaining population would remain unchanged after such radical social upheaval. The fact is that the niche will be there to be filled and explaining who filles a niche is not the same as explaining the size of the niche. Preventing a certain portion of the population from filling it may or may not shrink its size.

And of course regardless of whether or not aborting black babies would reduce crime rates, it's still an asshole thing to say.
posted by duck at 12:01 PM on September 29, 2005


Upon further reflection, in the mid-90s, the statement "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," the sentiment if not exactly in those words, was the liberal argument supporting abortion.
posted by mischief at 10:48 AM PST on September 29


You are totally full of shit, mischief.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:18 PM on September 29, 2005


the sentiment if not exactly in those words

Red flag indicating a straw man.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:27 PM on September 29, 2005


It's interesting how if you travel far enough left you circle around to common ground with the extreme right.

Left: supportive of free and easy abortions, characterized as right to chose. Think of all the lives improved...

Right: gotta keep the underclass under control - the number of abortions (32% of them) performed on black women is way out of proportion to the number of childbearing-age black women (14% of the population). Think of all the property crime avoided...
posted by scheptech at 12:37 PM on September 29, 2005


It's just another government scam against We The People.

Here's an alternative theory: could it be that perhaps among "We the People" there is genuinely a lot of racism going round and racial tensions and unresolved legacies from the past and people in the government/media are exploiting that to stir some shit and get themselves in the news and get the votes of those who'll clap their hands?

Of course that theory would require accepting that not all the bad stuff is created out of nowhere by some governing superstructure to manipulate the good-hearted people of the country who would live together in such perfect harmony, ebony and ivory, if it wasn't for the racist outbursts from some idiot politicians or media personality.

I know it's not as comforting as thinking there's some conspiracy masterplan behind it, but it's probably a little more realistic, no?

(and it's not just something that happens in America, populists all over the world just reinforce and exploit what is already there, it's a two way thing but it certainly doesn't originate from the top down)
posted by funambulist at 12:44 PM on September 29, 2005


In Defense of Bill Bennett by Brad DeLong.

Oh I see, the "Bennett is attempting a reductio ad absurdum argument" argument.

So this Bennett dude is the new Jonathan Swift, yes?
posted by funambulist at 12:48 PM on September 29, 2005


Or, his masterful use of the tools of logic was too sophisticated for his talk radio audience. Riiight.

God forbid anyone suggest he said what he said because he knew exactly which buttons it was going to press. That would be so incredibly cynical to say.

On another note - when is the entertaining Rep. Stacey Campfield going to apply for the Women Caucus?
posted by funambulist at 12:52 PM on September 29, 2005


Eric Rudolph and Bill Bennett have some things in common.

Both oppose abortions, for white women.

Both are supporters of the GOP "Southern Strategy."

Both support blowing people up they disagree with.

Both claim the prideful "moral high ground" that Jesus loves them best.

And that Knoxville jerk? Ha! What a maroon!
posted by nofundy at 12:55 PM on September 29, 2005


I remember someone getting nailed for saying black people have a different buoyancy.
Which, generally speaking, is true. In fact everyone’s buoyancy is different and depends on factors such as body fat percentage, etc. Also people get the bends at different percentages. So if you’re ever diving, don’t expect to use the same weight belt as another guy, if he just so happens to be black.
Does this mean that this is what that guy meant?

No.

Same thing here. It was a shitty thing to say.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on September 29, 2005


In fact everyone’s buoyancy is different and depends on factors such as body fat percentage, etc.

I wish I could more easily reverse the trend in my buoyancy, which currently is rising.
posted by caddis at 2:19 PM on September 29, 2005


Actually, I'm with Stacey Campfield. Any thoughtful person with a mind to improve race relations and help the black community should be considered for the Black Caucaus. Otherwise, it is a racist institution.

Perhaps Campfield is a huge racist asshole out to make trouble; I'm not really familiar. But if he earnestly wanted to be part of the solution and thought that the implied "no whites" sign on the door was discriminatory, I agree with what he was doing.

Course, it seems that you folks all think he is a pretty big asshole. Anyway, I'll concede that Bennett is a jerk.
posted by es_de_bah at 2:29 PM on September 29, 2005


Sorry, but I have to get back to teleri025's story...

"His sentence was 30 days and $2000. He had the option...to pay $200 a week for a year and half."

So, because he didn't have $2000, he had to pay $15,600 over 18 months?!? ($200*78 weeks)
posted by jaronson at 2:45 PM on September 29, 2005


es_de_bah,

the representative's blog might give you some insight as to his intentions. although they might seem geniune to some, to me, he comes off as an idiot trying to draw some attention to himself.
posted by tsarfan at 2:56 PM on September 29, 2005


different bouyancy

That was Al Campanis in the mid-late 1980s, but earlier in the Nightline interview he put his foot in with this gem:

"blacks may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager.'

'course, we should not forget Rushbo in the parade of Stupidity, I suppose.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 3:15 PM on September 29, 2005


One defense for abortion during the flamewars of the mid-90s was that fewer unwanted babies would lead to lower crime rates. Quite often, the joke was 'Yeah, the christians would accept abortion if they didn't have to be afraid to come downtown anymore."

This was long before the "black shit don't stink" meme that is currently so pervasive among today's young white liberals. Maybe if you all would accept, like the older libs before you, that some of the facts are ugly, you could do something about racisim and poverty.

As some of you are fairly well acquainted, step 10 is "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." But no-o-o-o, instead of admitting personal and cultural failures, you got sucked into the Right's tactic of namecalling and ignoring reality, and in the interim, accomplished absolutely zilch.

You blast those of us who say that each poor person must take personal responsibility to better themselves, but if the poor keep waiting for you guys, they are going to die in even worse shape.
posted by mischief at 5:23 PM on September 29, 2005


"black shit don't stink"

Perhaps because it has a different buoyancy?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:40 PM on September 29, 2005


damn, only took 105 posts. Smedleyman wins.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:52 PM on September 29, 2005


so, as I understand it, mischief just looks to piss people off, right?
posted by shmegegge at 6:24 PM on September 29, 2005


Most people do get pissed off when confronted by their character failings.

Liberals haven't done shit for blacks since the early 60s. Maybe it's time you all put down the weed. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:42 PM on September 29, 2005


Mischief's contribution to civil rights: claiming without evidence that in the mid-90s, the statement "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," the sentiment if not exactly in those words, was the liberal argument supporting abortion.

Keep on fighting that good fight, big M.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:13 PM on September 29, 2005


Late to the party, but maybe he meant that the crime rate would go down because there would be less crime victims.

Check out the rest of the BJS for some other interesting stats victimization in relation to income, marital status, and race.
posted by betaray at 5:53 AM on September 30, 2005


HUD chief foresees a 'whiter' Big Easy--.... Other members of the caucus said the comments by Mr. Jackson, who is black, could be misconstrued as a goal, particularly considering his position of responsibility in the administration. ... His agency will play a critical role in the city's redevelopment through various grant programs, including those for damaged or destroyed properties. ...
Many evacuees from the Ninth Ward will likely never be able to return, Mr. Jackson said....

posted by amberglow at 5:54 AM on September 30, 2005


Am I remembering wrong, or did Mischief used to be cleverer?

One defense for abortion during the flamewars of the mid-90s was that fewer unwanted babies would lead to lower crime rates. Quite often, the joke was 'Yeah, the christians would accept abortion if they didn't have to be afraid to come downtown anymore." [emphasis added]

I like how you retract from "the liberal argument" to "one defense", and from "black" to "unwanted."

This was long before the "black shit don't stink" meme that is currently so pervasive among today's young white liberals. Maybe if you all would accept, like the older libs before you, that some of the facts are ugly, you could do something about racisim and poverty.

I was not aware of that meme. Thank you for informing me that there are some folks who don't think shit stinks. And that all them youngsters is iggernent punks.

As some of you are fairly well acquainted, step 10 is "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." ...

Man, you sure pegged all us moral reprobates there, Mischief. (Should we assume that you are also "well aware" of what step 10 is, and if so, for good reasons?)

You blast those of us who say that each poor person must take personal responsibility to better themselves, but if the poor keep waiting for you guys, they are going to die in even worse shape.

Persnally, I blast those of "you" who believe that free choice is as simple as choosing. It's useful to educate your imagination with a little experience, then exercercise it. You might then be able to recognize that it's difficult to take personal responsibility when powerful people have a big stake in making you think like a victim.
posted by lodurr at 6:13 AM on September 30, 2005


The 12 steps, I'd missed that.. Poverty Anonymous! brilliant! I hope no one has patented the brand yet, I'd like to make me some bucks selling self-help books to the poverty-addicted.
posted by funambulist at 7:58 AM on September 30, 2005


Bennett’s remarks on blacks, crime stir outrage.
posted by ericb at 8:05 AM on September 30, 2005


If William Bennett Had Been Aborted--
I do know that it's true that if you wanted to free up a high-roller suite at Mandalay Bay, the Keno breakfast at Circus Circus and four-pounds of roast beef au jus at the $9.50 all-you-can-eat “Emperor’s Buffet” at the Imperial Palace --
-- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort William Bennett. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do -- and casino operators in Las Vegas and Atlantic City would be over $8 million dollars poorer.

posted by amberglow at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2005


dear i love tacos. thank you for your concern about my thought processes, but i think they're working alright despite this damn flu. of course you can help me out if i am wrong. here's what i've been thinking (and remember, this is quickie math; real populations don't work like this, what with ornery people intermarrying, moving, offspring having babies too, etc., and nevermind changing economic factors):

the crime rate is defined as the number of crimes per unit of population of 100,000.

let's say we start with 120,000 people, of whom 80,000 are beige, and 40,000 pink.

this is a nasty and brutish population, 1% of both groups commit a crime:
1200 crimes total, 800 committed by beige perps, 400 by pink perps

that's a crime rate of 1200/120000 * 100000 = 1000

for 20 years babies are conceived and people die. except we abort all the pink babies.
1000 babies a year are born to beige people = 20,000
5% = 600 people die each year, 400 beige, 200 pink = -12000 (-8000/-4000)

after 20 years we now have a population of
128,000, of whom 92,000 are beige, and 36,000 are pink

there's still 1% of beigies who commit crime. but 5% of the pink criminals have died off, so percentagewise fewer crimes are committed by pinkies:
1262 crimes, 920 by the beige breeders, 342 by pinks

1262/128000 * 100000 = 986

lower crime rate, see?

(and no, i do not hate pink people, nor do i think their babies should be aborted, nor does this sort of exercise hold anywhere but for reductio ad absurdum arguments, and somebody will now pop up and show that i can't add. or divide. or something. yes, it was a stupid thing of bennett's to say.)
posted by piranha at 6:31 PM on September 30, 2005


If you aborted all Republican babies there would be less hatred and bigotry.
posted by thefreek at 8:54 PM on September 30, 2005


ignore me, i can't do math when i am sick (nor when i am healthy, unless i write a program to do it).
posted by piranha at 12:16 AM on October 1, 2005


The author of Freakonomics delivers his opinion.
posted by Gyan at 4:09 AM on October 2, 2005


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