Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

Wow--so much comes to mind about this. But to attempt to compare some small rural-ish town with a major urban centre... my mind boggles. Urban life, particularly in areas of poverty, lack of (decent!... as in "life-sustaining!") employment, etc... just cannot be compared. I'm writing from living within Canada's most impoverished postal code, where I see poverty--tents on streets at Main St. and Hastings St.--all the time; Canada's shame.

Poverty just does something deadening to people. Working too many hours, too much time away from loved ones and creating connection, nourishing what needs to be nourished in human life... Then the lure of making money without the madness of trying to scrape $$ together for education--that is, drug-related life. I could go on, but have to stop. But the socio-economic MUST be looked at. It IS what makes ALL the difference.

Mega-rich people commit crime all the time--mostly that of not paying attention to the real world around them. And not caring.

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"Poverty just does something deadening to people."

It really does. And stretched out over a few generations, especially in proximity to other people living in prosperity, it creates crime. The best example I can think of is the Favelas in Brazil. Immense poverty piled up next to relative prosperity for generations. And unsurprisingly, violent crime is out of control. It's not black vs white (they're all the same colour), it's hopelessness and poverty vs prosperity.

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Discouragement. The piece about living shoulder to shoulder with prosperity, yes.

Thank you for your work--I appreciate the thought that you put in.

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What are people talking about when they speak of "black culture"? The subculture of s twenty square block area in Chicago? I don't think it fair or proper to think of the cultural norms of black people in general as that sunset. That's too much like claiming the Proud Boys represent white people in general.

The average black person is not a part of the gangsta subculture even if they are poor. I'm going to pimp Thomas Sowel's book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" again because he explains that subculture and where it came from, along with a long list of groups who have been both poor and persecuted and not only did not resort to crime but surpassed their persicuters because they had a different ethic.

Racism (the real thing) exists but it has less power than people are giving it and people have lost touch with what it actually is.

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"What are people talking about when they speak of 'black culture'"

This is the million dollar question. Broadly I think it's a "polite" way to blame the poorest, most disenfranchised African Americans for the situation they find themselves in. When black people succeed, or (as in the majority of cases) just live happy, normal lives, it's never credited to black culture. Barack Obama becoming president *absolutely* wasn't black culture. In fact, those same people lost their minds when he and Michelle fist-bumped.

I always have to be clear when I talk about things like this, yes, there are cultural issues affecting the black community. That's going to be the topic of an article this month. They come from within and without the "black community."

But it's really telling when an issue that affects a tiny, tiny percentage of African Americans (specifically the poorest, least educated and most marginalised by things like red-lining and ghettoisation), is framed as a problem caused by "black culture."

The thing some people (white and black) seem to really struggle to understand is that racism is asymmetrical. Not all black people are affected equally by it in 2022. Especially the legacy of past racism. If you grew up in South Glendale, for example, the impact of historical racism (thanks to redlining) is far more life-shaping than if you grew up in Forest Glen. And surprise, surprise, crime is a bigger problem in Glendale.

That people look at that correlation and say, "ah yes, it's because black people live there," and not, "ah yes, it's because of the poverty and lack of facilities and education and community and opportunity," is wild to me.

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"𝘐 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘐 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴, 𝘺𝘦𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵'𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘤 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘩. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 "𝘣𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺.""

Prepare to be accused of blaming the victim.

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Haha, yep, I’m always prepared for a little fuss when I publish an article.

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I question the utility of the phrase "black culture". I get the desire to put the positive aspects of the Afro-american experience under one heading. But it does tend to get subsumed by the negative aspects that are hard to pin down to well understood reasons. And when it gets used as a blame mechanism rooted in race, well...it makes it hard to see its continued value as a label.

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"I question the utility of the phrase 'black culture'"

Yeah, I literally question the *meaning* of the phrase "black culture." The people who throw it around, both white and black, always struggle to actually explain what they mean by it. It always ends up being silly stereoytpes or context-free statistics.

Treating "blackness" as if it's this essential charateristic is so ingrained in some people's minds, whether they're for or against black people, that they feel like their world is ending if they try to look beyond it.

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Just added the Sowell book to my Christmas wish list.

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I think that you'll be glad you read it. Some of the ideas in the book:

* Gangsta culture has nothing to do with Africa.

* Northern black and white people did not want either Southern black or white people around.

* Racism more likely followed slavery as a balm for conscience, rather than leading to slavery.

* Slavery is an ancient worldwide practice involving all races as the slavers and slaves.

* Slave trade in the west was with African slavers because that was who was doing business.

* Trans Saharan slavery left a different legacy because of the horrendous death rate of the Saharan crossing, the fact that most of the slaves were women and of the men who were enslaved, many were castrated so they were not reproducing to increase the wealth of the slaveholders like in America.

* Many of the sailors who crewed the slave ships died of tropical diseases which was fine with the slavers since that meant that they didn't have to pay them.

* It took the force of the British Navy to end slave trade outside the US and Brittan by stopping slave ships.

* Some of the most successful groups have been the ones facing discrimination, racism and poverty.

* The Federalist founders had to make compromises to have one nation, rather than two.

* The Southern states wanted the census to count slaves. The 3/5ths was a compromise to reduce the Congressional power of the slave states by reducing the number of Congressmen they would obtain from the Census rather than the gotcha accusation of racism.

* Estates were passed down thru the generations and to give up slaves was to deprive your heirs of wealth that was to be passed down to them.

* Some number of slaves were slaves in name only because freeing them subjected them to being shipped to the south and enslaved again.

* Many who opposed slavery despised the abolitionists desire for a sudden end out of fear of a race war (think Nate Turner) and felt like they had a wolf by the ears that they could neither hold nor let loose. It could be argued that that didn't happen with abolition because of the Northern troops stationed in the South for years.

* There were highly successful black schools that were ruined by court rulings.

* Black people were making faster gains before the civil rights activity of the 60s and there was even regression. If the woes of black Americans is all due to slavery, why did it skip a generation?

* Modern SJWs are too intent on making history about white people victimizing black people and other minorities while neglecting the history of accomplishments of black people.

* Everything is more complicated than the simple gotcha arguments floated today, and Sowell presents a great deal of balance missing today.

* He does not let the slavers off the hook.

* He presents evidence for these ideas.

You can see why some activists hate the book.

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"* Black people were making faster gains before the civil rights activity of the 60s "

Whoa. I would like to see that corroborated. I remember black people with doctorates who could not advance past janitorial work. There was nothing iffy about discrimination, and without affirmative action I think this would be back in a generation.

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Neither he nor I deny the gains brought by the civil rights movement. Sometimes things that happen in the same time frame may or may not have a causal relationship. He actually puts a great emphasis on the problems brought with the legacy of slavery, but an aspect mostly ignored. The redneck culture absorbed and carried away which have nothing to do with race. He does not deny the influence of poverty but provides evidence that with a different mindset, impoverished people can come out on top.

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Check out what Tulsa was like before the infamous Black Wall Street Massacre.

That's the one example I know of. I'll have to read the book to learn more I guess.

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American slavery was likely the cruelest the world had ever seen. Even Roman slaves had some rights.

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Those of us who subscribe to this forum are aware that your titles are quotes from discussions elsewhere, presumably Medium.

But I think it would be prudent to at least put quotes around them so shallow readers don't come away with the impression that you are endorsing these views.

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I still think this all stems from the Democrats failing the people in the poorest areas of our major cities. They've done nothing in the sixty years they've run these cities. Yet sorry to say the folks in these areas will just vote the same people back into power, over and over again.

I know, let's not call out the Dems for anything, that's forbidden.

Just to be clear I am not a Republican.

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Well then, if that's the case, then the rest of Democrats are to blame for electing these do nothing politicians.

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Steve you can’t just pivot the conversation to “why do poor people commit more crimes” (btw is that even true?) because you don’t want to deal with the “why do black people commit more crimes” question. The latter IS the relevant question to ask; not because melanin makes people commit more crimes but because something about black culture does. But we can’t have that desperately needed conversation. If we try to we get shouted down and called “racist” because God Forbid we actually admit that, in fact, blacks commit more crimes (not “they’re disproportionately represented in the prison population because racism). The question is WHY. My bet is the incredibly high percentage of fatherless households. But there are other factors too. We need to be honest and have a conversation about those factors, whatever they are, and work to get them corrected. But I guarantee you none of that will happen in my lifetime.

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Sep 5, 2022·edited Sep 5, 2022Author

"Steve you can’t just pivot the conversation to “why do poor people commit more crimes” (btw is that even true?) because you don’t want to deal with the “why do black people commit more crimes” question."

Come on Michael, seriously? How did you read this post and not understand this?! I didn't "pivot," I asked questions about factors that actually explain the problem.

I won't go into the connection between crime, especially violent crime, and poverty. As well as being well-known, it's incredibly obvious. Do you really think people from all income brackets are equally likely to commit muggings or other robberies? Do you not think a lack of money (especially coupled with a lack of education) correlates with a desperation to get it by illegal means? If you do a Google search about the link between poverty and crime, you'll get decades worth of research.

But regarding my not wanting to deal with the question of "why black people commit more crime," my asking what factors cause black people to commit crime *IS* dealing with the question.

Black people commit more violent crime. This is a fact. I'm not denying it. It would be idiotic for me to try. But when you ask *why* do black people commit more crime, if you don't think this is a melanin issue, aren't you asking, what is it about the criminals that makes them more likely *than everybody else* to commit crime? When I answer with things like poverty, social disenfranchisement, cultural influences, etc, this isn't me avoiding the question, it's me trying to answer it.

"Something about black culture" causes crime? Okay, I'm not even arguing. What is the "something"? As I wrote in the article, 0.008% of African Americans were responsible for all "black homicides" in 2019. What aspect of "black culture" is responsible for that? What element of "black culture" is affecting that tiny fraction of the black community but not the other 99.99% of African Americans. Plenty of that 99.99% come from fatherless households too.

But what percentage of the "poor community" commits crime? What percentage of the "undereducated community" commits crime? What percentage of the "mentally-ill community" commits crime? I suspect you don't even think of these as communities. Which is my point.

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"When you ain't got nuthin,

You got nuthin' to lose"

—Bob Dylan

People with materially comfortable lives are less likely to take risks (crime) that would cost them that comfort. This is elementary.

Decades ago I read a study of young black girls having babies out of wedlock in their late teens. Grim stuff. Easy to pass off as careless and wanton behavior but ... if they waited until 35 their health would be shot, and there was no point in deferring childbearing until having a career because they knew, as with their health, that they didn't have any such opportunities in their future.

Poverty grinds people down.

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Well being poor doesn’t cause you to commit crime. Nor does being black, or mentally ill. What leads you to commit crime is bad values. The question is why, where did you get those bad values and why didn’t you get good ones instead? I don’t know what aspects of black culture lead to their kids growing up with bad values at higher rates than other demographics. But clearly something there is at work. Melanin is a non-issue but the culture 100% is, and blacks definitely have their own unique culture.

I suppose it would be interesting to compare black kids raised in the inner city vs black kids raised in the suburbs or other places, or by white adoptive parents, etc. IDK how you pin it down. But my point was I definitely don’t think our society is interested in having that conversation. There are too many charlatans out there blaming it all on racism to make a buck.

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Sep 6, 2022·edited Sep 6, 2022Author

"Well being poor doesn’t cause you to commit crime. Nor does being black, or mentally ill. What leads you to commit crime is bad values"

I mean, what do I even say to this? If you were starving, or had no education, or lost everything you had, or never had anything in the first place, you'd just die quietly by the side of the road because of your "good values"? If you were bi-polar or schizophrenic you'd never have any episodes because of your "good values?"

Has your life been so idyllic and sheltered that you can't imagine any circumstances where your values would come second to your survival? Or where your values came second to a mental health condition? I assume all the poor people in the world just didn't work hard enough too? And that all the rich people got there through good old-fashioned elbow-grease? That life is a pure meritocracy and the people with good values always end up wining in life? I can't believe anybody, including you, truly thinks like this.

But it's the line about the issue being "100% black culture" that reveals the real problem. I just got through pointing out that only an absolute maximum of 0.008% of African Americans are responsible for 100% of murders attributed to "the black community". Yet this is a problem with "black culture" in your mind.

For reasons that aren't entirely clear, you want to believe that the only issue affecting black Americans today is "black culture". And it seems you'll cling to this no matter what evidence is presented to you that highlights how simplistic that is.

Again, yes there are people out there who aren't willing to have the conversation about the various sociological and cultural issues that affect black people from within their communities. I agree. They want to blame racism for everything. But on the other side, there are people who aren't willing to have any *other* conversation. And who simply won't acknowledge that racism, past and/or present, is responsible for anything. You're both as wrong as each other.

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"I suppose it would be interesting to compare black kids raised in the inner city vs black kids raised in the suburbs or other places, or by white adoptive parents, etc."

I can only wonder how difficult it would be to find such comparisons on the internet.

I have no doubt that it would show a far stronger correlation between poverty and crime than between race and crime.

I wonder how much having white adoptive parents would suppress those criminal instincts (that was sarcasm).

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Connection, but correlation may or may not indicate causation. I'm not denying the connection, I shouldn't feel a need to say that.

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I'm an educated man, Dave, and a student of scientific method. But we aren't talking about sunspots and the price of wheat here. The causal relationship behind the correlation between poverty and crime is not at all mysterious. It includes such indisputables as despair and hunger.

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I'm going to end up writing more than I care to.

I went to a vocational high school with kids from the projects. Poor or impoverished I can't say. They were there to get a marketable skill. Some ended up defeating themselves with "why you tryn' to be white studyin'" others succeeded. Attitude and desire, they all came from the same shithole.

I was from a bottom of the middle class/poor, up to you what you want to call it, neighborhood. There was another way out, the military. That is something some were willing to do, and others weren't. You might be lucky and get a skill but there was GI Bill educational benefits if you did or didn't. There was a price. One guy from my neighborhood was killed in Vietnam and one who didn't enlist or get drafted was killed in street violence. Two came back amputees, three who stayed behind went to prison. Some of us got out, some didn't.

You could stay local to family, or you could move away. There's a price and I paid it, being separated from my extended family for most of my life.

I understand the old saying, "Wherever you go, there you are" but some who want to make a better life for themselves do by doing whatever it takes to escape their toxic environment.

Poverty? I walk past it every morning on my morning walk. Homeless encampments. People with no roof over their heads and all their stuff in a stolen grocery store cart or baby buggy. I politely greet them and most of them return the greeting. But the Neighborhood ap has daily reports of burglary and children's bicycles being stolen, assault, strong arm robbery, etc. Is that criminality associated with that poverty? Of course it is. But as best as can be determined they are mostly homeless because of drug addiction. I understand that some people are more prone to addiction than others. Without getting too personal, I'll just say that I know the tragedy of drug addiction all too well. Other than killing all drug dealers where they are found without a trial, that problem isn't going away.

My point is that I understand the association of poverty and crime quite well, maybe more than you on a personal level, I don't know, but it is not an unbreakable shackle. I'm in no way saying that it is always easy or equally accessible to all. But if you don't try and sometimes make hard choices, that is an unbreakable shackle.

Race? It's often easier to be a white man in America. That's always been common knowledge although largely not given thought to until the 60s. But I know black people who have been more successful in life than me. They worked for it and made good choices.

Life is hard, but it is harder if you choose to hold onto an excuse for your failure instead of doing the work to succeed.

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I agree the bottomline factor explaining the crime statistics is that boys who grow up in homes without fathers are at a significantly higher risk of falling into criminal behavior. Obviously skin color (ie. being black) does not correlate with fatherlessness in any intrinsic cause-and-effect relationship, but I'd say fatherlessness is a bigger problem in urban black communities than in suburban black families, and this shows up both in much higher poverty and violent crime rates in urban black communities. One confirmation of this, per Thomas Sowell's research I believe, is that prior to the 1960s, when the two-parent black family was traditional and largely intact, American cities did not have a notable problem with criminal violence among black youth despite the poverty of the black community across the board. The expansion of the welfare state, which penalized marriage at essentially the same moment the "free love" movement gained momentum in society, changed all that. Out of wedlock births skyrocketed generally, and most negatively impacted our black population due to the income/wealth disparities which were the legacy of discriminatory practices. So I agree that we absolutely need to focus on fatherlessness if we're serious about tackling the problem of urban violence. But as the institutional push in society right now is to continue dismantling the nuclear family, (even BLM seeks to "disrupt" it), that seems sadly highly unlikely.

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I live in an area with a high number of homeless people. Within that population there are victims of financial circumstance but more often they are drug addicted and/or mentally ill. There is a disproportionate amount of crime associated with their presence - burglary, strong arm robbery and assault. So much so that there is a growing lack of compassion for them and their plight. They are mostly white people. See a parallel?

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Michael, would you please demonstrate how you deal with this data.

81% of white‐collar criminals are white

89.9% of those convicted of sexually abusing children are white men.

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deletedSep 10, 2022Liked by Steve QJ
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“The violence plaguing poor black communities is a VICTIM rights issue, NOT a criminal rights issue.”

*Thank you!* It’s so frustrating to have to continually point this out. And worse, the voices of those victims and their families are all but silenced in mainstream discourse because one side only wants to talk about white cops and the other only wants to talk about black criminals.

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