I worked this thru with some students, suggesting that the
key is to understand that , yes, this is gutter racism, but why? These
are some notes I made....on a sabbatical and not supposed to be doing
this....more writing, less students...the cry of academia...
Sure he is a racist. But it is important to specify HOW
Criminals come disproportionately from certain groups. On
one level, that's all he is saying. People classified as "black" are
convicted of _certain kinds of crime_ in higher proportion than their
proportion in the population. The same thing is true of other groups.
Working-class people commit certain kinds of crime in
higher proportion than their proportion in the population too. So you
could say:: "Abort all the babies of working-class people, and the
crime rate would go down."
If Bennett were concerned about "white-collar crime," he
could have said: "Abort all the _white_ babies, and the crime rate for
white-collar crime would go down."
(Of course, there is no "crime rate." There are
rates -- ratios -- for each type of crime, but not for "crime" in
general. What he probably means is "violent crime". This is an
important issue too.)
So what Bennett is saying is: Get rid of all the black
people, and crime rates would go down.
So what is wrong -- incorrect -- about that statement? A
Bennett's statement is an incorrect extrapolation from
statistics, because it assumes that the statistical crime rates
indicate the _causes_ of crime. And that's not true.
The causes of crime are social -- societal. Crime is
caused by capitalism, relationships of exploitation / production.
Wealth causes poverty, degradation, misery -- and crime.
So somebody -- not Bennett, because Bennett is an elitist,
racist apologist for capitalism -- but SOMEbody could have said: "Get
rid of poverty", or "capitalism", "and the crime rate will go down."
Wonder why Bennett did not say that!?
Back to what he _did_ say. If you "abort every black baby"
-- then who is going to do all this work -- all the work the black
working class (and "middle class" and others, but he is not talking
about them).is now doing?
Without a change in production / exploitation relations --
i.e. without a change in capitalism -- some other group would do that
work. And the crime rate would be very high _for them_.
Rates of violent crime -- murder, for example -- are
highest in the South of the US. They are highest for _whites_ there.
Why didn't Bennett say: "Abort every baby born in the South, and crime
rates would go down"?
Probably Bennett realizes, somehow, that crime is not
caused by the "genes" of Southern people, but by social conditions
there, and related to the fact that people are poorer in the South than
in other areas. Crime rates have _always_ been highest in the South.
So this is why Bennett's statement is racist. It is true
that rates of certain kinds of crime are higher for people marked as
"black" in the US; higher for working-class people generally; higher in
the South. And, that for other kinds of crime (white-collar crime),
they are higher for white people.
1. singled out black people. That's racist.
2. did not point out that you could say the same for other
groups (whites, Southerners, workers of any "ethnicity"). That's racist.