In the U.S., as we have seen, Afro crime has always and everywhere been higher than Euro crime. For progressives today, the culprit in this befuddling situation is 'institutional racism.' As discrimination subsides, so the theory goes, black criminality will converge with white.
The U.S. government began its regular census of prison populations in 1926. For its first ten years, the ratio of black to white imprisonment rates looked like this:
That is, in 1930, the black imprisonment rate was 2.7 times the white rate. In a blank-slatist world, all other things being equal, this number would always be 1.
If the equalist theory holds true, then, seeing as institutional bigotry has greatly diminished in the past century, this coefficient should have already reached 1 or nearly 1. As here:
In reality, the last ninety years have looked like this*:
As institutional racism has lessened, relative black criminality has increased. Could it be that this group's misbehavior is in fact influenced by other factors?
We at Those Who Can See propose that in a Euro society, Afros on average need stronger social controls than other groups in order to conform to behavioral norms. Where these controls are tightest, such as a slavery system, black criminality will be lowest; where these controls are loosest, black criminality will be very high. We also hypothesize that when a new freedom or right is obtained by Afros, a statistically significant number of them will respond by 'acting out' in ways that include antisocial and criminal behavior.
We suggest four periods in U.S. history in which to test our hypothesis:
- Reconstruction South in the years after Emancipation
- Northern cities absorbing waves of southern Blacks fleeing Jim Crow during the 'Great Migration' (1910-1950)
- the post Civil Rights-era U.S. of the 1960s and 1970s
- the period following Barack Obama's inauguration as first Afro president of the U.S.
Today we will examine period (3), for which we have the most data at hand. While we would prefer to see types of crime broken out by ethnic group, the most complete data we have for the 20th century is that of incarceration rates. Starting in 1926, the federal government began collecting data on yearly admissions to state and federal correctional facilities from all state governments (data for 1926-1986, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, also 1979 and 1984). While an imperfect measure of crime, it can give us a rough idea of the antisocial tendencies of groups.
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There are several ways to quantify the question. One of the most common is the number of prisoners per 100,000 of the population. For example:
In the above graph, in 1926, for every 100,000 white people in the country 63.1 of those Whites will be in prison. For every 100,000 black people in the country, 277 of those Blacks will be in prison. In a Utopia where no one commits any crimes, this number will of course be 0 for all groups.
According to blank-slatist theory, as noted above, these numbers should be the same for every ethnic group in a given country (all else being equal), because all groups are behaviorally and cognitively identical. We should all commit the same types of crimes at the same rates.
In the small graph above, we see that in the 1920s, when Jim Crow raged in the south and de facto segregation in the North, the black crime rate was higher than the white rate by a factor of 2 to 3. Blank-slatist theory predicts that as legal discrimination falls away, Afros should begin to commit crimes at rates closer to the majority Euro group. The last century, then, should look something like this:
After the civil rights milestones of the 1950s and 1960s, especially the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the end of restrictive covenants (and thus of de facto segregation) in the North, we should see a slow convergence of black and white crime rates. As affirmative action begins to spread in the 1970s and 1980s, the two lines on the graph should eventually meld into one.
Does reality gel with this counterfactual example from a blank-slatist parallel universe?
Stranger than fiction.
For comparison, here is the same chart with Hispanics added. (Pre-1990 'White' numbers here include Hispanics, post-1990 numbers do not.)
We see that even though Afro crime is higher than Euros' in absolute terms, during the period from the 1920s up until 1964 they seem to stay somewhat 'in sync.' Here is a blow-up of just those years:
While in the Depression Whites' imprisonment rate went up just a bit while Blacks' spiked, both groups seem to follow a roughly similar course. (Note the strong dip for both during the war years.)
And the second half of the century?
Since Afros first landed on North American soil some four hundred years ago, they have never known a period of such freedom and civil liberty as the one shown above. The post-1960s U.S. judiciary has not only overturned every piece of state, federal, and municipal legislation segregating Blacks, but has begun to discriminate in their favor in jobs, education, and the civil service.
Yet Afro criminality has exploded. The editor of the Bureau of Justice Statistics 1926-1982 report remarks simply, 'A major trend in the admission series is long-term growth in the size of the black prison population....This growth is not explained by general population trends.' He leaves the question there.
How to explain this reversal of the expected?
Another way to consider the matter is by looking at the ethnic breakdown of the state and federal prison population:
With Hispanics post-1990, to compare:
(Note that in our pre-1990 demographic statistics, 'Whites' includes Hispanics. Post-1990 numbers are 'non-Hispanic Whites' only.)
As we can see, these two streams have not only met but crossed. In the mid-1980s, for the first time, the percentage of white prisoners fell below that of blacks. A comparison with actual census numbers is helpful:
In blank-slatist theory, the blue solid and blue dotted lines should of course be at exactly the same level, as should the red solid and red dotted lines. For no ethnic group can possess inherent traits which push it to higher or lower criminal activity; only outside forces such as racism can do that.
But the graph shows, paradoxically, that the time of harshest social constraints on Afros is precisely when their crime levels most closely neared demographic parity. Since then, their prison population has skyrocketed.
Here is the data with Hispanics added for the last twenty years:
Remember that this chart shows pieces of a pie: Post-1990, notice that both Whites' and Blacks' share of the 'crime pie' goes slightly down as Hispanics' begins to go up.
Here is a blow-up of just the last part of the graph:
As we know the ethnic face of America is changing rapidly...
...It will be interesting to see what form the 'crime pie' takes in the years to come. Our Hispanic newcomers seem to have found a place somewhere between Euros and Afros in terms of absolute criminality:
100 years from now, one can only imagine what these graphs will say.
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In 1910, Scottish journalist William Archer travelled through the southern United States to give his read on the famous 'race problem.' A health official he met along the way warned:
"The negro is with you for all time. He is what you will make him, and it is 'up to' the white people to prevent him from becoming a criminal, and to guard him against tuberculosis, syphilis, etc. If he is tainted with disease, you will suffer : if he develops criminal tendencies, you will be affected." (1)
It is no coincidence that observers of the Afro have through history so often compared him to a child. Dutch criminologist Adrien Bonger quotes Von Hentig, who says, "The Negro is ... sensitive to praise, and even more sensitive to blame. The Negro also manifests a juvenile characteristic in his natural frankness and truthfulness." Bonger adds:
If one would express the general impression of those who know the North American Negro, then one would say: He is childlike. He does not look very far ahead, he is not very accurate, he is fond of bright colors and finery, is easily distracted. These characteristics may, naturally, be inherent, but this is not necessarily so. (2)
Darwin's correspondent Sir John Lubbock said simply, '[The negro] unites with the character of a child the strength and passions of a man.' Saint Paul, Minnesota's [black] police chief John Harrington said as much recently while describing the typical Afro criminal in his city (where the 10% of Blacks commit 70% of violent crime):
"'It is the behavior of a child who doesn't get their way,' he says. 'But it's being acted out by people who are six feet tall and 240 pounds. So when they have a tantrum, that tantrum ends up with broken bones and closed eyes and split lips, and sometimes ends up with people being buried.'"
He who cannot police himself must be policed by others.
Washington, D.C. and Florida school boards, who have this year for the first time published scholastic achievement goals for their students which differ by ethnic group. It is only by aligning our expectations with what reality has to offer (and not our fantasies) that public policy in the U.S. will hope to begin to accomplish its goals.
[*Some graphs modified 29/10/2012, so as not to confound prison intake data with prison census data.]
(1) Archer, William. Through Afro-America, An English Reading of the Race Problem. London, Chapman&Hall, 1910.
(2) Bonger, Willem Adriaan. Race and Crime. Trans. Margaret Mathews Hordyk. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.
(3) Data sources for graphs: Bureau of Justice Statistics and Bureau of the Census reports 1926-1986, 1979, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010.