hate crimes weirdness

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at jhu.edu
Wed Mar 1 12:52:13 PST 2000

At 05:37 PM 3/1/00 +0000, Daniel wrote:
>Yeh, but the statistic mentioned doesn't measure that probability, which
>was the point of my hokey desert island thought experiment. The
>probability of an individual being charged can be estimated from the
>frequency of individuals actually charged if you assume a homogeneous
>population. But the population isn't homogeneous. The global statistic
>measures propensity and opportunity to commit (or be charged with) hate
>crimes jointly. Since there's a fairly huge white population with no
>opportunity, this swamps the measurement. As I said, county-level figures
>might be more meaningful.

But that works in both directions - there are also blacks who have no opportunity to commit hate crimes against whites and it is a far fewer number of blacks than whites required here to keep those proportions equal, because of 5:1 white/black population ratio. Of course nobody would seriously argue that all blacks or all whites ahave an equal probablity of being involved in a hate crime, but even if somebody tried the probablities are simply too small to be meaningful, even if the eaqual opportunity ratios for blacks and whites were more or less equal (again I am not particularly swayed by your argument that they are very much different - we simply do not what they are).

A broader point I tried to make that violence has become "the black thing" a standard of respectablity and that encourages violent behavior, especially among the youth. I did not realize that until I moved to an empowerment zone in inner city. This is a predominantly black neighborhood, mostly middle age people, who aboslutely resent the ghetto culture and behavior - some even organize citizen patrol to chase away hoodlums. I was first surprised by that, but then I got the point. I would not want to be perceived mainly by an ethnic stereotype, but I would absolutely hat eit if my ethnic group adopted that stereotype as the standard of coolness (e.g. a cool Pollack is a drunk Pollack).

>I dispute that these are the facts, and strive to recall any rock songs
>about scholars, activists, politicians or professionals. "Doctor Love" is
>the closest that comes to mind :-)

Ah trust me, they are facts, I can see that every day. But unlike most US-ers, I do not associate that behavior with race, past discrimination etc.. I've seen enough of that in my native Poland, with all white population, where the state literaly pushed everyone to go to school or get a job. I can assure you that if I described to you scenes I saw in many Polish towns without mentioning the skin color of the people, you would think I am talking about South Bronx or Baltimore. But these people are all-white and had every opportunity to live a decent life, but they did not take that opportunity. I am not that naive to explain that as their "free choice" - to a certain degree they were victims of their own subculture and behavior it enouraged - but it would be foolish to deny their own agency and will in pursuing their way of life. Trust me, I know that from the experience of someone in my family (and many like him), who became a drunk and an unemployable hoodlum despite frantic efforts of his relatives to help him start a new life. There is nothing in his backround that can explain his failure other than that he enjoyed this life style. After all, he did not have to work or take any responsibility - just bum off spare change, get drunk, and sleep.

I do not think this is much different here in the US, with one exception - you have a whole bunch of symbol manipulators who glorify and glamourize this way of life for money.


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