September 6, 2009

"A Mugging on Lake Street"

Continuing my recent Chicago nostalgia-fest, here's an article from Chicago Magazine by liberal investigative reporter John Conroy, whose career has been dedicated to exposing the use of torture by Chicago area cops on black suspects. In "A Mugging on Lake Street," however, the muggee was Conroy. While riding his bike westbound on Lake Street under the El tracks through the West Side of Chicago (which my in-laws were driven out of by violence in 1970) to his home in Oak Park, he was knocked unconscious by a 16 year old black kid. No robbery, no apparent motive other than racial hatred.

Not long after, I was talking about the incident with my neighbor and fellow journalist Alex Kotlowitz, interpreter of racial maladies in There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River. I mentioned the coincidence of hearing the same thing from two such different sources. “I don’t think there is any question that it had to do with race,” Kotlowitz said. (Our initial conversation was over the fence, and I recently asked him to reconstruct his perception.) “There is some surmising here, but what other explanation is there for it? It is not like they had some animosity toward bikers.”

But he found the notion of a hate crime problematic. It presumes, he said, that the assailant acted out of racism, which by Kotlowitz’s definition requires a belief that one’s race is superior to another’s. “In this instance, I don’t think he felt superior. I think probably he felt diminished in some way and that was part of the lashing out.”

Modern liberal thought consists largely of dressing "Who? Whom?" up in sophisticated-sounding verbiage.

Speaking of the Lake Street El, my paternal grandfather used to ride the Lake Street Elevated Line everyday from his home in Oak Park, which native son Ernest Hemingway famously called a town of "broad lawns and narrow minds." Despite Hemingway's put-down, Oak Park produced perhaps the two most celebrated American artistic geniuses of the first half of the 20th Century in Hemingway, and Frank Lloyd Wright, who developed his Prairie Style while living there from age 22. Wright designed about a dozen houses within a block of my grandfather's (non-Wright) place.

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

36 comments:

Bn said...

"“Say that they called you ‘honky,’” a fireman told me."

I'm sure that fireman knew that it was racial, but also knew that since the victim was white there was no way it would be charged as a hate crime unless something like that was said.

I just love the excuses given to these thugs: In my case on the West Side, “it might have been like, ‘Goofy white dude, what’s he doing here?’” Hunwick suggested. “Not necessarily, ‘We hate this guy.’”

Gee, you try to fracture my skull, I don't much care whether you think I'm a goofy white or a hated white.

Dutch Boy said...

White people still live in Oak Park?

Anonymous said...

"But he found the notion of a hate crime problematic. It presumes, he said, that the assailant acted out of racism, which by Kotlowitz’s definition requires a belief that one’s race is superior to another’s."

I guess we should change the name from "hate crime" to "belief-in-superiority crime", then. Or something.

Anonymous said...

For younger blacks in the SF Bay Area, smashing bike riders is SOP: given their smaller stature and strength, it's helpful for the rider to supply momentum for his own catastrophic injury. In Berkeley, CA, for instance, bicycle trails cut through lots of small parks with plenty of vegetation. Groups of young black kids crouch in the foliage, with one sitting lookout on a bench or a picnic table. If it's a white on a nice bicycle (usually some self righteous Critical Mass hippie), they jump out and smash the rider in the face with a baseball bat, and rifle the stunned victims pockets for money while wrenching the bicycle away.

The cyclists resulting injuries invariably require open reduction surgery on the nose and the zygomatic arch. The upside is that this happens so often, there are a large number of plastic surgeons in the Bay Area that can do this kind of reconstruction in their sleep. But it's key for the victim to have a wallet size picture of himself stashed separately from his wallet (which presumably will be stolen) on his person. Otherwise, the surgeons send will send him home with Donny Osmond's nose.

Dan Kurt said...

re:" ...he [John Conroy] was knocked unconscious by a 16 year old black kid. No robbery, no apparent motive other than racial hatred."

Happened to me on the edge of the campus of an Ivy Fall 1963 and Spring 1967. First time I was threatened by a screw driver wielding young, tall black teenager and then during the second episode a few blacks actually knocked me down from behind rifled my wallet and kicked me a number of times cursing me and said something such as "Whitey keep out of here." WTF, I had been within the shadow of the campus near where I lived on both occasions and today the actual campus has expanded into that area.

That was my initiation to REAL contact with blacks as until then I had no direct contact with any blacks. The visceral hatred that was demonstrated to me on those two encounters showed me the reality of race relations. For sure Kumbaya, yea, really.

Dan Kurt

Truth said...

"If it's a white on a nice bicycle (usually some self righteous Critical Mass hippie), they jump out and smash the rider in the face with a baseball bat, and rifle the stunned victims pockets for money while wrenching the bicycle away."

Hey, look on the bright side; they won't have to waffle about a month in Provence, or a rhinoplasty anymore.

bjdouble said...

That was a powerful article.


Larry Johnson is an educator, and he was teaching a lesson.

"Life sucks, and if you don't believe me, here is a blow to the head."

Did Conroy really believe this kid would return his calls or emails?

"Dear Mr. Conroy,

thank you for your note. Does 9:30 on Tuesday work for you? See you then.

Regards,
Larry Johnson"

Not gonna happen, John.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

I read Conroy's piece a couple of days ago and thought he merits at least a nomination for White Person of the Year.

l said...

I'm guessing that if some other random white guy had been knocked unconscious by a black teen, Conroy would have "understood" how it happened.

Anonymous said...

Reading through the comments on the original article, I was stunned by one in particular. The sad thing is she doesn't sense the irony in what she is saying: "And I almost expect that, one day, something like this will happen to me." My first thought was how lucky she will be if a severe beating is *all* that happens to her. Also, she and the author misread the whole "karma bank" thing. They spend their whole careers making excuses for thugs, only to be bewildered when the crime finally happens to *them*. I wonder if the author will feel any remorse for turning this thug loose when he is caught victimizing the next person. Lastly, she closes with the thought that she is glad it happened to the author because it will "inspire others to think". From her post, all she learned from the incident is that the author "got what was coming to us [whites]."

Here is the post:

Posted by megancottrell Sep 2, 2009 04:58 pm

Hi John - thanks for this incredible article. I really appreciated how honest you were and how much you thought this incident through, instead of just reacting.

I'm a reporter too, although I don't nearly have your experience. I cover public housing in Chicago, so I spend time in lots of neighborhoods where I "don't belong." To be honest, I almost always feel nervous. And I almost expect that, one day, something like this will happen to me.

I was thinking about your words near the end - about your "karma bank." It's hard to think about, because when something like this happens, it's Larry hitting John, not blacks hitting whites. But I think a certain amount of our collective karma does catch up with us sometimes. For the two hundred years of slavery, of lynchings, of making a intellectual justification for subjugating a group of people, of white flight, of Jim Crow - maybe you didn't get what you deserve, but maybe you got what has been coming to us.

I certainly don't support any sort of physical violence as a way to solve problems. And it's terrible that this happened to such a great, engaged, thoughtful person. I can't imagine how horrible the pain that you've been through, both physical and mental, has been.

Is it wrong to say though that, if this had to happen, I'm glad it could happen to someone who would then use the experience to share it with others and make people think?

Anyway, thanks for writing. Your work is an inspiration.

Jerry said...

What a disgusting article, or at least painful to read. Makes me think that this fellow was not hit hard enough. We used to say that a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged. Not any more! This guy was in a near-death situation, and he comes back to manufacture excuses for why he deserved to be a victim. In a few decades, the thought process he illustrates will be studied by Chinese historians of America. It is a perfect example of the everyday pathology of self-hate that's roiling our civilization. I might even give it to my college students to read here in Korea.

Anonymous said...

Robert Anton Wilson wrote about the murder of his daughter Luna in these terms - the blind workings of karma. She was murdered by a crazy Indian. Somehow it gave him comfort to think that her murder was caused by white people, who were no relation to him or her, treating Indians badly.

Wow, the lengths people will go to keep from moving out of Berkeley, huh? I guess one daughter is a small price to pay to stay within walking distance of Chez Panisse and your weed connection.

Anonymous said...

"I might even give it to my college students to read here in Korea."

Please do. I would like to hear about how they react.

Svigor said...

Modern liberal thought consists largely... "Who? Whom?"

It's the best distillation I've seen. If you have to reduce the beast to one sentence, that beats all, hands down.

In a word: War.

It's ironic that this most amoral of religions is so adamant about its moral superiority. One one hand it can be deliberate, on the other, an inevitability; if the Devil didn't intentionally wrap himself in sanctity, he'd wind up doing so as a matter of course.

Anonymous said...

Not any more! This guy was in a near-death situation, and he comes back to manufacture excuses for why he deserved to be a victim.

Nihilists don't love life - they are infatuated with Death.

OlaAmigos said...

" explained what I did for a living, hoping to impress on Larry that if he ended up in prison someday for a crime he didn’t commit, people like me might help get him out."

Wow. The level of self delusion here is astounding. If Larry is ever convicted for a crime he *didn't* commit, think of it as punishment for this crime, which he got away with.

David Davenport said...

(usually some self righteous Critical Mass hippie)

What is a Critical Mass hippie? Define this, please.

Anonymous said...

"The upside is that this happens so often, there are a large number of plastic surgeons in the Bay Area that can do this kind of reconstruction in their sleep."

I've never heard this before, & I think it needs to be widely known. Headlines, please, national ones.

Though, I have heard something similiar: that the surgeons in northern Ireland became experts in knee reconstruction during the "troubles," because knee-capping was such a popular form of making a point.

So now I wonder: what else aren't they telling us...?

Anonymous said...

So now I wonder: what else aren't they telling us...

The amount of crime and general awfulness of life in the Bay Area seems to be unknown outside of the Bay Area. "They're" not telling you a lot.

John Seiler said...

'Modern liberal thought consists largely of dressing "Who? Whom?" up in sophisticated-sounding verbiage.'

Steve, that's your next book. The title is in your quotes.

In Hell, Lenin is cringing that you tagged his descendants.

Robert said...

"White people still live in Oak Park?"

Oak Park today is a very liberal enclave in the mostly blue collar West Suburbs. It is home to everybody from artsy ex-hippies to gays, to radicle ex Weathermen. Also tons of yuppies have driven house prices way up. Austin Avenue is the boundary between Chicago and Oak Park and even though the houses are the same style on each side of the street, it is incredible how run down the Chicago side is and how clean the Oak Park side is.

jack strocchi said...

I travelled accross the US twice, once during the height of the Crack Wars (mid-93) and once during the height of the Bubble (late-06). Never got mugged once, even though I spent a bit of time hoofing it through "dangerous" areas (Tenderloin in SF, Central Park in NYC, Watts in LA, off-the Strip in LV).

I did notice that the occasional black person would warn me about venturing into some places at certain times. One guy in a convenience store on the Upper West side suggested I pack some heat for the walk. Another black dude - shaved head with (filled-in) tear drops - advised us to move to a more salubrious neigbourhood.

So I guess the take-home message is that the majority of black people are reasonably civic minded most of the time. Its just a minority of a minority for a minority of the time who give the rest a bad name.

JoeShipman said...

Here is what I posted in the comments to that article:
****
John, I am sorry for your traumatic experience and I think most of what you say you have learned from it is correct. However, there are two major themes you did not really explore which, to my mind, are far more interesting than the article you actually wrote.

1) The most infuriating thing about the community "Larry" comes from is that there seems to be NOBODY in it who will tell him off or tell his parents off. Not a single respected older person or church leader was capable of delivering to Larry and his mother and his father (his father does exist after all even if he is no longer with Larry's mother) the simple message "you're a problem for our community", nor do respected African-American figures from outside Chicago tell the thugs and their parents what a disgrace they are. The reason no such figure exists in the community is probably that anyone with basic competence at life or anyone whom social programs are able to help gets out, so what remains is a concentrated pocket of dysfunction. Even if many of the rappers and athletes who did escape glorify violence or live public lives full of drugs and crime, there ought to be more people like Bill Cosby who will tell it straight (unfortunately Cosby's celebrity is of an earlier generation and has little impact today).

2) It's bad enough that so many of you white liberals can't think straight about race because your views are based on your feelings instead of logic -- there is no need to have to associate any FEELINGS at all with the simple FACT that lots of black youths are violent thugs who hate white people. There are white youths who violently hate black people too, and recognizing that fact doesn't make you feel so confused and disturbed, because you have been brought up to have bad feelings about any facts that make black people look bad and to feel guilt or responsibility when you don't have any. You're perfectly capable of the mental distinctions necessary to avoid stereotyping black people in general based on the actions of a minority of thugs, and of treating everyone fairly, and yet you imagine that the rest of the white people in America are so bigoted and stupid that they're not capable of making the same distinctions you are and therefore it's better to ignore/deny/suppress the facts (and unfortunately when you lose touch with social reality like this you guarantee your social initiatives will be ineffective). But I'm not even criticizing you for this since you have learned better; I'm criticizing instead the denigration by liberals like you of conservatives like me who are capable of learning from OTHER people's experience and figuring things out unencumbered by liberal guilt trips as "racist". Liberals who have been "mugged by reality" rarely seem to get around to apologizing to conservatives who didn't need to be.

tommy said...

"In this instance, I don’t think he felt superior. I think probably he felt diminished in some way and that was part of the lashing out."

There isn't any scientific support for this assertion:

Race and "self-esteem" are inextricably bound in the popular imagination. Thanks to racism and discrimination, the theory goes, a core of self-doubt lurks in the heart of every black child and young adult. If we could only raise black self-esteem, academic and economic achievement would follow.

The evidence for this line of thinking is everywhere. At Detroit's public, all-black Paul Robeson Academy, students start the day by standing up and proclaiming: "I feel like somebody. I act like somebody. Nobody can make me feel like a nobody!" Last fall, the organizers of Denver's Black Arts Festival described their mission as, in part, "building self-esteem" in young people. And newspaper profiles of black leaders invariably point out that these people possess self-esteem -- taking for granted that it is an odd quality for an African-American to have.[...]

Making use of a technique called meta-analysis, the study culled data from many studies and treated them as if they were part of one giant study -- a method that increases the odds that the findings are not the result of chance. Gray-Little dices up the research in provocative ways. The self-esteem gap seems to vary along socioeconomic lines, for instance. Low-income blacks show higher self-esteem than low-income whites. The gap, however, disappears at higher income levels.


This was from Salon in 2000. Nearly a decade after these results received significant publicity from leftist/mainstream media sources, liberals still cannot part ways with the pseudoscientific "black self-esteem" meme. I think even creationists devise new arguments faster than the SWPLs.

CJ said...

David Davenport, you have never heard of Critical Mass? Are you living in Paraguay or something?

Anonymous said...

The real shame is that Conroy didn't have a chance to inform 'Larry' that he is one of the good whites who doesn't deserve to get cold cocked.

Truth said...

"So I guess the take-home message is that the majority of black people are reasonably civic minded most of the time. Its just a minority of a minority for a minority of the time who give the rest a bad name."

You don't really believe that ridiculous nonsense do you?

Larry said...

Mr. Conroy:

I didn't hit you in the face with a lead pipe because I hate you. I hope that helps.

Sincerely,
Larry

Svigor said...

Eventually you become like the cop quoted above and pretty much assume it is all affect and that no one is remorseful about their actions. And really, who wants to be that person?

Duh. How hard is it to figure out the stupidity of assuming that blacks are whites with differently-colored skin?

Assuming we're all white on the inside is racism.

Svigor said...

They spend their whole careers making excuses for thugs, only to be bewildered when the crime finally happens to *them*. I wonder if the author will feel any remorse for turning this thug loose when he is caught victimizing the next person.

Yeah, I was thinking something similar; did I miss it, or did Conroy totally miss the part where he should show remorse for letting that piece of trash off the hook, so he could start at square 1 with his next act of violence? I guess he was a "juvenile" at the time though, so it probably doesn't make a difference.

I find Conroy's complaints of unrequited pain amusing, since he did everything he could to bring that situation about. His repeated theme of assuming that psychopath would feel guilt or shame or regret for more than ten seconds is hilarious. How did he manage to stay ignorant that long?

Jeff008 said...

Steve,

I always love driving down Lake Street under the el, from about Western to Central Park (right near the Garfield Park Conservatory). I pretend I'm Jimmy Doyle in the "French Connection" (and yes, I know it took place in New York...if you want a great Chicago movie go see "The Dark Knight").

Mr. Anon said...

Interesting article. This guy has clearly had a lot of his liberal assumptions challenged, perhaps more than he has let on about in print. Or can let on about. He's a journalist afterall, and he still has to earn a living.

I wonder if in future, he will continue to follow 'Larry's exploits. He might be able to get a few more articles out of it - after 'Larry' is sent up for robbery, rape, assault, or murder, as seems likely.

Thomas said...

Here's the Onion headline for you: "White liberal who spent professional life as advocate for underclass blacks is shocked when they act like underclass blacks."

Richard Hoste said...

I found the guy's website and wrote him an E-Mail the other day. Still no response.

Mr. Conroy,

I was disturbed by your reaction to getting mugged. I'm sure you're one of those that think that crime is caused by poverty and racism. In truth, it's in the genes. Blacks are vastly overrepresented in crime not only in America, but Canada, Britain, Japan and Brazil. Look at this chart.

http://hbdbooks.com/2009/08/black-crime-around-the-world/

And that's to say nothing about Africa.

You talk about a "karma bank." Liberal apologists for black crime like yourself have blood on their hands. Just look at the crime rate in the 60s and today. This "we're all equal, criminals need understanding" attitude has been responsible for the death and rape of millions. From a karma perspective, that you would be a victim of those whose crimes you've spent your life abetting is just.

And then after the attack your reaction, trying to save this loser who could've killed you, was downright pathetic and unmanly.

I hope you've learned a valuable lesson from all this and will spend the rest of your life making a positive contribution to civilization, rather than seeking to destroy it.

Richard

Matt G. said...

Richard, if he responds to your e-mail will you give an update? I'd be interested to see how he responds. I'm guessing you won't get a response.

Anonymous said...

I have much experience with violence at the hands of young blacks in Berkeley, though not while riding a bike. If anyone's interested in the details (especially you, Truth) just mail me.

department11@gmail.com