March 13, 2009

Two, Three, Many Detroits ...

Economist Glen Loury writes on Will Wilkinson's Cato Unbound:

I wish to discuss a preeminent moral challenge for our time — that imprisonment on a massive scale has become one of the central aspects of our nation’s social policy toward the poor, powerfully impairing the lives of some of the most marginal of our fellow citizens, especially the poorly educated black and Hispanic men who reside in large numbers in our great urban centers. ...

Here, as in other areas of social policy, the United States is a stark international outlier, sitting at the most rightward end of the political spectrum: We imprison at a far higher rate than the other industrial democracies ...

The demographic profile of the inmate population has also been much discussed. In this, too, the U.S. is an international outlier. African Americans and Hispanics, who taken together are about one fourth of the population, account for about two thirds of state prison inmates.

I think, Glenn, that if you stop and think about it, you'll see that you kinda answered your own question right there. (The other differences are that America has way more guns that Europe so more people wind up dead in altercations and the other parties spend longer in prison. Also, the U.S. is tougher on things like burglary and assault and battery, so we have a lot less of it than, say, Britain when adjusted for race.)
The extent of racial disparity in imprisonment rates exceeds that to be found in any other arena of American social life: at eight to one, the black to white ratio of male incarceration rates dwarfs the two to one ratio of unemployment rates, the three to one non-marital child bearing ratio, the two to one ratio of infant mortality rates and the one to five ratio of net worth.

Actually, there is one other arena where the racial disparity ratio is the same as in imprisonment: in committing crimes.

James Q. Wilson wrote:
Estimating the crime rates of racial groups is, of course, difficult because we only know the arrest rate. If police are more (or less) likely to arrest a criminal of a given race, the arrest rate will overstate (or understate) the true crime rate. To examine this problem, researchers have compared the rate at which criminal victims report (in the National Crime Victimization Survey, or NCVS) the racial identity of whoever robbed or assaulted them with the rate at which the police arrest robbers or assaulters of different races. Regardless of whether the victim is black or white, there are no significant differences between victim reports and police arrests. This suggests that, though racism may exist in policing (as in all other aspects of American life), racism cannot explain the overall black arrest rate. The arrest rate, thus, is a reasonably good proxy for the crime rate.

Black men commit murders at a rate about eight times greater than that for white men. This disparity is not new; it has existed for well over a century. When historian Roger Lane studied murder rates in Philadelphia, he found that since 1839 the black rate has been much higher than the white rate. This gap existed long before the invention of television, the wide distribution of hand guns, or access to dangerous drugs (except for alcohol).

Loury acts ignorant of the fact that America cut its imprisonment per crime rate sharply back in the later 1960s. There were more people in prison in 1960 than in 1970. How'd that work out for us?

How many more Detroits do we want going back to the forest?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

45 comments:

nit said...

Loury is full of shit. Obviously western standards of public morality are (still) higher than in Africa or Mexico, even though a horde of organisations and individuals are trying to bring them to parity.

This morality accounts for lower corruption, less crime, roads without potholes, clean drinking water, stable electricity supply, hospitals without infections, secure food supply etc. It touches on everything in life which is why in decolonised countries every facet of life crumbled.

By US standards you could probably imprison a large sector of any African country. They deal with the problem by simply lowering the bar for crime (South Africa, Zimbabwe). In those countries crime is that which threatens the ruling class and its interests. Apart from that crime is not taken seriously.

Another point is that in Britain, France and Germany immigrant crime is exploding. The media there in collusion with the government and police hide this behind bland factoids. Legal standards there have been easy because up till mass immigration you were dealing with a by and large educated and mature population. Crime was a local hassle but nothing which threatened the public peace. That's changing now but the cover-up makes it impossible to discern properly. By US standards prisons in those EU countries would probably also be much more populated than they are now. In EU countries a lot of felons are sitting in psychiatric institutions, juvenile institutions or in some form of house arrest.

Andy said...

Very simplistic and glib response there Steve. This IS the racial discussion we as a society need to have, and Loury's essay by no means fails to address the facts of black crime rates (as you imply). He puts his biases on the table and challenges them. Do you?

I've read lots of your stuff over the years, and you love to think of yourself as being blunt and saying things that others won't. And I'm sure you can point to links where you've addressed these topics in more depth before. But put your own biases and policy preferences out there now - continue our massively failing path of more and more punitive action and segregation? Encourage more racial self-segregation that you seem quick to recognize? Accept that genetic racial differences are so great that black/white integration in America is doomed to permanent failure? On the big questions, you're the one who's often coy.

Jeff Burton said...

I don't think Loury would necessarily disagree with you on the stats. He's just a believer in the efficacy of social programs to attack those "root causes."

I am so tone deaf to this argument about prison populations. I actually think its a triumph of compassion, not a tragedy that we care so much for victims of crime that we will spend gobs of money locking up malefactors. One per cent of the population? Sounds about right to me. Maybe if the rest of the world followed our example, some of those sky high murder rates overseas would come down (check out Latin America).

Anonymous said...

There was a recent usenet post to soc.culture.usa that is on topic. To quote:

Here is a look at correlations between murder rates and some demographic parameters in the USA by state. The raw data are below. A quick summary first. Shown are
linear correlation coefficients (r) and, in parenthesis,
respective determination coefficients (r^2). Note
that r^2 can be viewed as a proportion of the observed variation that is "explained" by the correlation.

Murder rate vs % blacks: 0.737 (0.543)
Murder rate vs % latinos: 0.210 (0.044)
Murder rate vs % (blacks+latinos): 0.710 (0.504)
Murder rate vs median household income: -0.033 (-0.001)
Murder rate vs % living at < poverty: 0.519 (0.269)
% blacks vs % living at < poverty: 0.407 (0.166)
% (blacks+latinos) vs living at < poverty: 0.353 (0.125)

So it looks like just the % of black population in the state can account for the 50% of the overall statistics of the murder rates in the USA. In contrast, things like how rich the state is and the proportion of poor people are nowhere near as predictive. Wow. Talk about racial profiling...

teacher.paris said...

I am sure that our very own President Barack Husein Mugabe will solve this problem.

TGGP said...

I've got an old post on Glenn Loury & The Bell Curve. I'm a bit dissapointed at the path he's taken as one would hope he'd know better and would apply more reason.

RWF said...

Loury notes that 90% of prisoners are male but doesn't consider that to be evidence of the nation's sexism wheras the disparity between black and white inmates means that the USA is "arguably, racist".

AC said...

Excellent response to an all-too-common fallacious complaint.

Argent Paladin said...

Why is the fact that NAMs are much more likely to be in prison prima facie evidence of systemic racism when the fact that men are much, much more likely to be in prison than women NOT prima facie evidence of rampant systemic sexism?

Probably for the same reason that rape is a horrible, unspeakable crime, unless it happens to men (especially in prison), then it's a punchline.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think you're giving Loury an unduly hard time. He acknowledges differences in IQ, values, work, and criminality:

"It is a central reality of our time that a wide racial gap has opened up in cognitive skills, the extent of law-abidingness, stability of family relations, and attachment to the work force. This is the basis, many would hold, for the racial gap in imprisonment. Yet I maintain that this gap in human development is, as a historical matter, rooted in political, economic, social, and cultural factors peculiar to this society and reflective of its unlovely racial history."

What he's rejecting is genetic explanation of those gaps.

dearieme said...

Wildly OT, Steve, but I do like this photo of you and your African friend.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01364/kevinRichardson_li_1364837c.jpg

Ron Guhname said...

The role of guns is more complicated. Survey estimates put the number of self-defensive uses of guns as high as 2.5 million per year, so those are crimes prevented. Do guns lead to more suicides and accidents? Yes. With homicides, the net result is not so clear.

We do lock up folks for a long time if they use a gun while breaking the law, an uncommon type of crime in many countries.

jody said...

i wonder what effect making handguns illegal has had on the UK. also, the growing, dysgenic, underclass of white chavs have starting carrying knives in response to this. this might have a mitigating effect. when people know anybody could have a handgun, as they do in the US due to proliferation of concealed carry, they might be less likely to start a serious fight. but when they know nobody can have a handgun, they might start stabbing right away. which seems to be happening.

Evil Sandmich said...

This is that same tired libertarian tripe where they put on a face of saying that no ideology is friendlier to the lower tiers of our country, but then fail to mention that they're also opposed to paying for bad personal judgment.

Both of those are tenable positions, but if I had to guess I’d think that if given a choice blacks and hispanics would rather have the 'war on drugs' and government welfare rather than the ‘no drug laws and no welfare’ plan that libertarians advocate.

travis said...

Loury said...

"Civic inclusion has been the historical imperative in Western political life for 150 years. And yet — despite our self-declared status as a light unto the nations, as a beacon of hope to freedom-loving peoples everywhere — despite these lofty proclamations, which were belied by images from the rooftops in flooded New Orleans in September 2005, and are contradicted by our overcrowded prisons — the fact is that this historical project of civic inclusion is woefully incomplete in these United States."

The deaths of 600,000 men prevented 13 states from leaving this "beacon of hope" 150 years ago. I hold no animosity toward black Americans, I've simply lost all concern with their plight. Loury is just trotting out the same ol' complaints and solutions that haven't worked and that we've learned to shrug our shoulders at and ignore.

But while we're on the subject of black people, of the eleven contestants remaining on American Idol, only one is black. I think this is symptomatic of the decreasing desire of blacks for inclusion in the mainstream of American life, a factor that Loury ignores in his analysis.

Anonymous said...

One of the things I often wonder about is why so many writers use the terms "black and Hispanic." I assume it is because they don't want to put the spotlight on a black pathology and would rather hide it is a result of "white racism" or at least a problem of "the system." The Hispanic crime rate is nowhere near as high as the black crime rate (though it is higher than the white rate).

It could be worse, however. Some journalists sill refer to the "minority" crime rate or the "minority" prison population. As if Asians don't have lower crime and imprisonment rates than whites.

Mack said...

There is yet another arena where the racial disparity ratio is the same as in imprisonment: AIDS rates. Black men have AIDS at 8 times the rate of white men.

Think of that as you watch the incessant promotion of black male/white female pairings on TV shows and commercials.

Stanley Ann would be playing russian roulette today - and the odds would not be in her favor.

The stats for other VDs are even more disparate:

"The highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are those for blacks. In 2005, blacks were about 18 times as likely as whites to have gonorrhea and about 5 times as likely to have syphilis. *** The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black adults and adolescents was 10 times the rate for whites and nearly 3 times the rate for Hispanics. The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was nearly 23 times the rate for white women. The rate of AIDS diagnoses for black men was 8 times the rate for white men."
http://www.cdc.gov/HIV/topics/aa/resources/factsheets/aa.htm

Of course, all this is clearly the fault of whites. America is nothing but a gigantic Tuskegee Experiment, and blacks are the innocent victims.

RKU said...

One of the things I often wonder about is why so many writers use the terms "black and Hispanic." I assume it is because they don't want to put the spotlight on a black pathology and would rather hide it is a result of "white racism" or at least a problem of "the system." The Hispanic crime rate is nowhere near as high as the black crime rate (though it is higher than the white rate).

Yes, this is exactly right, and "rightwingers" seem to generally do exactly the same thing, presumably for exactly the same reason.

Up-thread, someone posted some statistical data claiming that the "black percentage" in a state determines 54% of the murder-variance in a state, while the "Hispanic percentage" determines 4%. Someone should obviously verify these numbers, but they sound reasonably plausible to me.

And if they are state-level, I'd suspect that the statistical impact for smaller geographical areas such as counties, cities, or zip-code blocks would be enormously greater...

agnostic said...

Are there incarceration data for the early half of the 20th C?

There was a crime wave before the recent one -- the homicide rate increases from 1900 to 1933, then declines until 1957. Then comes the recent one we all know about.

Maybe people did get mushy-headed from 1900 to the late 1920s (the Progressive Era), and got tough-minded from the '30s through the '50s.

But that's all conjectural. Having some data would help us figure out if incarceration rates account for the rise and fall in the crime rate over the decades.

greenrivervalleyman said...

Auster's First Law of Majority-Minority Relations. I now no longer even bother to mentally refute such articles; simply chalk them up to Auster's Law and move on (much as if I'd seen any instance of Newton's laws in action).

albertosaurus said...

Accept that genetic racial differences are so great that black/white integration in America is doomed to permanent failure?

In other words you can't dare to think about the truth of racial differences because to do so would be to accept permanent failure.

Not so.

It is radical environmentalism dooms the nation to permanent failure. If low IQ and all its consequents (crime, poverty, etc.) were solely environmental we would indeed be doomed. What more could we do that we haven't yet done. We have confered unequal advantages and spent trillions. Nothing seems to have worked.

But I'm bouyed up by the certainty much of the differences in IQ is genetic and thus subject to amelioration. Does anyone doubt that our mental mechanism is physical? And yet we understand very little about how it works. That is changing. When we understand the physiology and genetics of IQ, race problems will at melt away.

In the meantime our prisons will hold a lot of NAMs.

rast said...

of the eleven contestants remaining on American Idol, only one is black

That isn't statistically meaningful. Blacks are about 1/8th of the population, so 1/11 is close enough anyway.

Dave R. said...

Civic inclusion has been the historical imperative in Western political life for 150 years. ... This is why we have a progressive federal income tax and an estate tax in this country, why we feed, clothe and house the needy, why we (used to) worry about investing in our cities’ infrastructure, and in the human capital of our people. What the brutal facts about punishment in today’s America show is that this American project of civic inclusion remains incomplete.

This, from the end, I think is central to understanding Loury. The left-liberal dogma of welfare and inclusion necessarily rejects self-improvement and individual responsibility. It cannot even co-exist with individual virtues. It rejects even an African-American such as Bill Cosby pointing out that the way out of poverty is with middle class values. The modern liberal mindset cannot ask if rap music, gang culture, "keeping it real" or "not acting white" are useful tools for black children to get ahead without risking thoughtcrime. So it has to seek systemic causes and sins to explain reality.

One solution to the problem of disparate imprisonment rates would be to target and reduce black crime rates. I think this is possible. The long term rate you cite dates back to the post-slavery era and extreme poverty, which explains at least part of it. In fact we saw, with the rise of the black middle class in the mid-twentieth century and the subsequent destruction of the black family, that there is some plasticity in response to economic and government (dis)incentives.

Another partial solution would be to decriminalize drugs. For that to be succesful, we'd need to retain current tough-on-crime laws and sentencing, to keep weeding out the drug users who commit property and violent crimes. But it's workable.

Ironically, both solutions would have to be carried out in spite of Loury and his side, not along with them.

Peter said...

Agnostic - didn't the US crack down on immigration from the 1920s until the early 1960s? It may not be a coincidence that the crime rate fell during that same period. It seems to me that that period was also in many ways a golden age for the black population in retrospect - blacks were able to find good paying jobs in industry during that time, and that period created a real educated black leadership class. Is it a coincidence that blacks did this at a time when there was less competition from Hispanic and Asian immigrants? Stop immigration and it becomes much easier to reintegrate African Americans into mainstream American life, and reduce the black crime rate.

Anonymous said...

"...central aspects of our nation’s social policy toward the poor, powerfully impairing the lives of some of the most marginal of our fellow citizens, especially the poorly educated black and Hispanic men who reside in large numbers in our great urban centers."

So they are putting people who make less than $10,000 a year and are bad readers in jail?

Anonymous said...

"...central aspects of our nation’s social policy toward the poor, powerfully impairing the lives of some of the most marginal of our fellow citizens, especially the poorly educated black and Hispanic men who reside in large numbers in our great urban centers."

So they are putting people who make less than $10,000 a year and are bad readers in jail?

Assegai said...

The only purpose, ever, of any conclusion from the "social sciences" is to discredit and undermine Western Christian civilization. This is the work of the Frankfurt School, and Loury is a student thereof. Steve makes a strong case on the facts contra Loury, but that will get you nowhere with these people.

Ask yourself this: have you ever heard a sociologist or the like conclude that a set of facts DID NOT indicate "racism"? What kind of a science provides the same conclusion every single time on every set of facts?

Ronduck said...

nit said...

This morality accounts for lower corruption, less crime, roads without potholes, clean drinking water, stable electricity supply, hospitals without infections, secure food supply etc. It touches on everything in life which is why in decolonized countries every facet of life crumbled.

Tell that to California, with its' unstable electrical supply, and its releases of prison inmates.

DK said...

The people who believe that blacks are disproportionately punished must likewise believe that the majority of blacks in prison are good essentially non-criminal people, in which case people people like Loury should have no trouble going into prison, masquerading as a prisoner, and mingling with the black inmates (I realised that Loury is black too). When I see someone like Loury, especially one of the white versions of Loury, actually do this, I'll start giving these people more respect, even if i still refuse to believe them.

When I see depictions of prison on TV I immediately fall under the impressions that prisons are not nice places to be and that the prisoners are not exactly nice guys, and the black ones may well be the meanest.

As for the personal responsibility thing that someone brought up, I deem it irrelevant. You don't have to have free will to justify justice. However, justice is mocked if one segment of the citizenary is infantilised.

One other thing is that I'm not one of those people who wants to brutalise people and perform mass executions. (I'm personally against the death penalty but I'm getting off-topic). I'm against all that stuff but believe that society has a right of self-protection. It has the right to protect its moral-order as well as its physical well-being (both of which correlate over time). That is my own vaguely Confucionist notion of the purpose of jails and punishments.

Fernandinande said...

Slightly off-topic, but sciencedaily.com reports that "High IQ Linked To Reduced Risk Of Death"; I doubt if Linda Gottfredson will be surprised.

Anonymous said...

To RKU:

"black percentage" in a state determines 54% of the murder-variance in a state, while the "Hispanic percentage" determines 4%. Someone should obviously verify these numbers, but they sound reasonably plausible to me.

When I saw the post, I did a quick check running correlation between two columns and by going to the links and verifying provided numbers for several states. It checks out. Here is the rest of the post for anyone wanting to check the veracity (not sure how columns will come out in the blogger layout):

Columns below for 50 states (in alphabetical order)
1 - murder rate in the state in 2007, per 100,000
2 - % blacks in the state, 2007
3 - % latinos in the state, 2007
4 - median household income in the state, 2007, US$
5 - % living below poverty level, 2007
6 - % of (blacks + latinos), 2007

Murder rate data:
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-1996-2007
All other numbers:
http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/


1 2 3 4 5 6
_____________________________________________
8.9 26.5 2.7 40596 16.6 29.2
6.4 4.1 5.9 62854 9.8 10
7.4 4 29.6 49923 14.1 33.6
6.7 15.8 5.3 38239 17.6 21.1
6.2 6.7 36.2 59928 12.4 42.9
3.1 4.2 19.9 55517 11.5 24.1
3 10.3 11.5 65969 7.9 21.8
4.3 20.9 6.5 55988 10.3 27.4
6.6 15.9 20.6 47804 12.1 36.5
7.5 30 7.8 49080 14.3 37.8
1.7 2.9 8.2 62613 8.5 11.1
3.3 0.9 9.8 46136 12.1 10.7
5.9 15 14.9 54141 11.9 29.9
5.6 9 5 47422 12.3 14
1.2 2.6 4 47324 11 6.6
3.9 6.1 8.8 47341 11.2 14.9
4.8 7.7 2.2 40299 17.2 9.9
14.2 31.9 3.2 40866 18.8 35.1
1.6 1 1.2 45832 12.2 2.2
9.8 29.5 6.3 67989 8.3 35.8
2.9 6.9 8.2 62383 10 15.1
6.7 14.3 4 47931 13.9 18.3
2.2 4.5 4 55664 9.5 8.5
7.1 37.2 2.1 36424 20.7 39.3
6.5 11.5 3 45012 13.3 14.5
1.5 0.6 2.8 43000 14.1 3.4
3.8 4.4 7.5 47072 11.1 11.9
7.5 8 25.1 54996 10.6 33.1
1.1 1.2 2.5 62048 7.3 3.7
4.4 14.5 15.9 67142 8.5 30.4
8.2 2.8 44.4 41509 17.9 47.2
4.2 17.3 16.4 53448 13.8 33.7
6.5 21.7 7 44772 14.3 28.7
1.9 1 1.9 43936 11.8 2.9
4.5 12 2.5 46645 13.1 14.5
6.1 7.9 7.2 41551 15.8 15.1
1.9 2 10.6 48735 13 12.6
5.8 10.8 4.5 48562 11.6 15.3
1.8 6.3 11.2 52755 11.9 17.5
8 28.7 3.8 43508 15.1 32.5
2.1 1.1 2.3 43507 13.2 3.4
6.4 16.9 3.5 42389 15.8 20.4
5.9 12 36 47563 16.3 48
2.2 1.2 11.6 55220 9.8 12.8
1.9 0.8 1.3 49698 10.1 2.1
5.3 19.9 6.6 59575 9.9 26.5
2.7 3.6 9.4 55628 11.4 13
3.5 3.5 1.1 37057 17.1 4.6
3.3 6 4.9 50567 10.8 10.9
3.1 1.2 7.3 52433 9.5 8.5

Anonymous said...

So blacks are 8 or 10x more likely to kill than whites; but which types of blacks are 8 or 10x more likely than the black average to kill? Racial social science seems to stick with the averages by and large, but, on a practical note, suppose you are venturing down to the ghetto in the night and want to avoid getting killed. who's extra dangerous, who less?

one type in the extra dangerous category is the moderately overweight mesomorphic 35-40 year old. this type has above-average fast-twitch muscle/testosterone and older age (together yielding overweight) and naturally greater (though probably not often clinical) psychopathy characteristic of the mature male. throw in a bit of impulsiveness with the testosterone factor and a will to dominate with the psychopathy factor and you've got potential trouble.

true, this is a hypothesized counter-example to the general statistics where the young tend to kill at above average rates and the over-30s have supposedly mellowed. however, shug knight would fit the description and may be representative of a multiple crime type that has a significant impact on the stats. these may also be a little more sophisticated about covering their tracks than younger blacks, and so may be responsible for a disproportionate number of unaccounted for murders.

from a tourism angle it may be wise to make an early migration out of a late-night downscale environment with a paunchy 40 year-old mesomorph on the scene.

I remember one of this type in downtown minneapolis who was arguing with someone between the curb and a bar doorway while being ushered toward a black 7-series bmw--half resisting the ushering like a racehorse in the post parade straining against the bridle--and it was just intuitively obvious that the dude was dangerous, that the dude had killed people.

RKU said...

So blacks are 8 or 10x more likely to kill than whites; but which types of blacks are 8 or 10x more likely than the black average to kill? Racial social science seems to stick with the averages by and large, but, on a practical note, suppose you are venturing down to the ghetto in the night and want to avoid getting killed. who's extra dangerous, who less?

Actually, another thing to keep in mind when examining these statistics is that something close to 40% of all the adult urban black males in America are *already* dead or in prison. Since these presumably are/were the most violent and dangerous ones, just imagine what the crime stats would be like if they were instead currently "roaming free"...

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, there ARE cultural changes that could reduce the black crime rate to below that of the white one.

Such changes are probably not what Loury has in mind, though. In fact, they would probably make even the rillest* race realist blanch.

Something should be written, someday, about how every leftist change to the culture has actually had the opposite of the stated effect. Mencius Moldbug is very good on this.

* pronounce as per rap lingo, viz. a \"rillest and illest\"


http://books.google.com/books?id=sCg7P2c3W5MC&printsec=titlepage#PPA41,M1

A physician, relating his experience in his rides at night, said that in solitary places, the sudden appearance of a white man generally excited some apprehension with regard to personal safety, but the sight of a black man was always cheering, and made him feel safe. Husbands and fathers feel secure on leaving home for several days, even where their houses are surrounded by negro cabins and the dwellings of the whites are much scattered. The reading of this would awaken a smile in many a southerner, for it is far below the truth.
On reaching the Great Pedee River near midnight, on the way to Wilmington, North Carolina, the passengers leave the cars and go down into a rude scow or raft, to be pulled over the stream. It is a dismal place. Small piles of the pitch pine light wood are burning here and there in place of lamps or moonlight; negroes stand within twelve or fifteen feet of each other, holding aloft a blazing knot, the reflection of the blaze on their dark skins giving them a fiery-red look; while twenty or thirty of them are seen each with baggage on his shoulders, transferring it to the boat. It seems just the place for some fearful catastrophe.\'The locomotive is far above you on piles, looking over like a frightened horse into the gulf; the yellow water is in the swamps on either hand, with its brood of amphibious creatures ; you strike your cane, or foot, against a log, and pieces of phosphorescent wood fly about; all is stagnant and deathlike; you are at your wits\' end as to any way of escape from the doleful place without help. The few white male passengers, with a large number of women and children, would be very much at the mercy of those brawny slaves, should they be disposed to assert their power; but the patient looks of the negroes, the silent manner in which they perform their work, the care which they take in properly disposing the smaller pieces of baggage so as not to be crushed by trunks, and their whole appearance of cheerfulness, awaken feelings of affection and gratitude instead of alarm or thoughts of danger. There is something in the apparent meekness of slaves in their work at such times that makes one love them greatly and feel an in- tense desire to protect them from imperious, unfeeling words and treatment. Their natural passions and propensities sometimes get the mastery over them, because they are men; but they are not predisposed to violence and insubordination.

Mr. Anon said...

"Argent Paladin said...

Probably for the same reason that rape is a horrible, unspeakable crime, unless it happens to men (especially in prison), then it's a punchline."

That's certainly true. Casual allusions to homosexual rape have become so common as to become unremarkable - both in popular culture as well as in everyday life. Remember how Bill Lockyear, the former Attorney General of California, made a veiled reference to it in connection with his prosecution of Enron executives?

Why is this? Partly, I assume it is due to the general corrosion of decency in our society. But that isn't all of it - as you pointed out, humorous references to the rape of women would still be considered taboo.

Can it be that it has something to do with the normalization of homosexual culture and black thug culture over the last twenty years?

Mr. Anon said...

"Dave R. said...

Another partial solution would be to decriminalize drugs. For that to be succesful, we'd need to retain current tough-on-crime laws and sentencing, to keep weeding out the drug users who commit property and violent crimes. But it's workable."

You seem to be saying that you DON'T want drugs de-criminalized, so that these laws could still be employed against habitual criminals. If that's what you mean, I would agree - don't decriminalize drugs, but end the War on Drugs.

I don't want law enforcement agencies to be militarized (as so many of them now are), to make profit from the proceeds of their seizures, to have license to surveil and harass citizens, and break into people's homes (as they now have). However, I do want policemen to be able to bust someone for possession if they also believe that they've committed some other crime (which crime perhaps could not be proved in court). That was more-or-less the status-quo before the whole WoD was initiated by Nixon. And but for the soft-headed judges, and Prisoner-Rights activists of the 60's, it seemed to work pretty well.

d.c. watcher said...

"Their natural passions and propensities sometimes get the mastery over them, because they are men; but they are not predisposed to violence and insubordination."

Many old southerners are quite familiar with this alternative reality. Claim they remember it.
I suspect the time and place and extreme social "controls" had a lot to do with that. Slaves and quasi-slaves always did outnumber the non-slaves and slave-owners in most cultures where it has existed, from Africa to China to serfs of Europe; and yet slave revolts have always been the exception, not the norm. It is when people must control themselves that group differences become significant.

Svigor said...

Can it be that it has something to do with the normalization of homosexual culture and black thug culture over the last twenty years?

Maybe. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the culture war doesn't issue warnings to white women, but to white men.

Think this has no effect on crime rates in the white population?

(What's really hilarious is how often the threat is connected with a cellmate named "Bubba," as if prisons are full of casting rejects from Deliverance)

Svigor said...

It is when people must control themselves that group differences become significant.

I think that was his point.

Anonymous said...

"one type in the extra dangerous category is the moderately overweight mesomorphic 35-40 year old. this type has above-average fast-twitch muscle/testosterone and older age (together yielding overweight) and naturally greater (though probably not often clinical) psychopathy characteristic of the mature male. throw in a bit of impulsiveness with the testosterone factor and a will to dominate with the psychopathy factor and you've got potential trouble."

What kind of gibberish is this? Most of the serious violent crime is commited by males between the ages of 16 and 30.

master_of_americans said...

Steve, you should do bloggingheads.tv. Most of the bloggers who show up there spend their time on the boringest sort of mediocre mumblings, such that Glenn Loury is somewhat likeable by comparison. You would be 6 times more interesting. Razib and Gregory Cochran did a show a couple weeks ago, which was excellent.

Mark said...

I think prison rape jokes are generally non-taboo because of the sense that if you're in prison, you deserve what's coming to you.

Off the top of my head I can think of one female prison rape joke from our popular culture. In the X-Files episode "Bad Blood," when Mulder is trying to convince Scully that they should get their stories about how Mulder ended up killing a teenage boy (who later turned out to be a vampire) straight before the hearing that might end with them going jail...

Scully: You mean you want us to get our stories straight? I'm not comfortable with that, Mulder."

Mulder: PRISON, Scully! You're cellmate's name will be "Large Marge." She'll read lots of GERTRUDE STEIN...

Scully: (after a moment). It started yesterday morning, when you arrived at the office your characteristically exuberant self...

Mr. Anon said...

"Mark said...

I think prison rape jokes are generally non-taboo because of the sense that if you're in prison, you deserve what's coming to you."

Still, there weren't a lot of prison rape jokes just thirty years ago, although there was consideration of it in serious movies (Midnight Express, for instance). I do think there is something else at work here.

Svigor's point is also apt: in comedies at least, a prison rapist is usually portrayed as a large, white redneck. In the actual case, the large part might be true, but I think the racial demographics are typically somewhat different.

David said...

Anonymous said

One of the things I often wonder about is why so many writers use the terms "black and Hispanic."[...] The Hispanic crime rate is nowhere near as high as the black crime rate.[...] Some journalists sill refer to the "minority" crime rate or the "minority" prison population. As if Asians don't have lower crime and imprisonment rates

Steve came up with the term NAM, which is an acronym for "Non-Asian Minority." In the South, we used to be able to get away with "colored people," an evil term which was replaced by a good term, "people of color."

Gene Berman said...

Steve:

Have you ever given thought to recommending that he (Loury) spend some time reading Griffe?