hate crimes weirdness

Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Mar 2 10:03:04 PST 2000

>>> Wojtek Sokolowski <sokol at jhu.edu> 03/01/00 03:52PM >>>
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.


CB: You still don't understand racism. With respect to the phenomenon you are discussing, it is the DIFFERENCE between white rates of criminality and black rates of criminality is explained by racism, past and present. In society , such as it is, a certain percentage of people are going to be criminals. But the social mechanisms that create criminals impact the black population more than the white population BECAUSE OF RACISM. Black unemployment , poverty, homelessness, broken families, lost opportunities , etc. are higher because of racism. These are the root causes of criminality.

The fact that the vast majority of Black people hate Black crime , of which they are the main victims, does not contradict this in the least. The fact that Black criminals are the result of the racism of the society as a whole does not make the average Black victim of Black crime comfortable with being a victim of that crime. But that doesn't mean the higher rate of Black crime is not caused by racism.

How do YOU explain the higher rate of Black crime in the U.S. ? Certainly not because of "Black culture" hip hop etc. That would be a symbolic explanation. It is the racist socio-economic structure, the racist division of labor and relations of production that cause higher Black crime. Gangster hip hop/rap was not the only or main rap created by Black youth. It was the white music company moguls who chose "gangster rap" to promote. They suppressed the politically progressive and radical rap, for they didn't want Black anger against racism to be directed against the racist system. It was capitalist music industry decisions that polluted the minds of millions of Black youth with "gangster rap".

Race and analysis of racism is not analysis of irrelevant symbolism. Racism is material condition (infrastructural, not superstructural ) as much as class oppression is. Your claim that it is "symbolism" gives you a distorted, not clearer , understanding of race and racism in the U.S.


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