African Americans, Chicago, cities, crime, District of Columbia, gaslighting, gentrification, homicide, Im-Politic, inner cities, law enforcement, Mainstream Media, minorities, murder, policing, race relations, racism, Washington Post, white fragility, whites
If you still doubt that Mainstream Media coverage of the last year-plus’ national crime wave – which inevitably affects how Americans overall think about this issue – has gone completely off the wall, check out last weekend’s long Washington Post piece about the contrasting views of Black and White residents of the District of Columbia about homicides in city neighborhoods where they make up majorities.
I should actually say “supposedly contrasting views,” because there’s no reason to think that the opinions reported amount to a representative sampling of any segment of the public. In fact, it’s far more likely that these selected views reveal how this premier newspaper’s journalists (including of course editors) regard these matters.
Specifically, the article makes painfully clear how they and the rest of a disturbingly woke national media are now regularly turning cognitive somersaults in order to pin the blame for urban violence – which takes place overwhelmingly in minority neighborhoods and claims overwhelmingly minority victims – on anyone except the criminals who overwhelmingly come from these same precincts. Heading this article’s list of the truly guilty are White Americans, who allegedly only care about such violent crime when it starts threatening them and their neighborhoods.
As written by authors Rachel Chason and Emily Davies (and approved by every editor with authority over the article):
“From the majority-Black neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River that have long been afflicted by gun violence to wealthier, Whiter parts of the city that have only sporadically experienced it, there is a sense that the issue is receiving more attention now in part because the violence is touching gentrified areas like 14th Street NW.”
Especially unhinged (or “less hinged”?) – the White residents so charged by the Post live in the District, which is one of the most Democratic Party-leaning areas of the country.
But don’t think for a minute that the Post believes this alleged hypocrisy is confined to the District. After all, this is a publication that since the May, 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis, Minnesota policeman has launched a big new news beat preachily called “Race and Reckoning.” And it’s no accident that this truly national newspaper, read assiduously throughout the D.C.-based federal government and broader national policy and political establishments – ran the article on the front page of its print edition.
The glaring irony should be lost on no one: There was actually no shortage of Americans who have been calling attention to the violence-prone nature of these minority neighborhoods and its causes for years before the Floyd murder, and who have continued to flag the issue since then. And whether they’ve been indisputably liberal or progressive (as was the case with former President Barack Obama) or, more recently, conservative, (see especially any number of episodes of the Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham talk shows on Fox News, or the years of studies by Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather MacDonald, or some of former President Donald Trump’s remarks), the reaction has been typically the same. They’re pilloried as fear-mongering racists. (See, e.g., here, here, and here.)
Another favorite response to decrying the so-called obsession with Black-on-Black crime: what can only be called gaslighting. My favorite example of such “Nothing to see here” claims came here in 2016, when an apologist for inner city crime (writing, not so coincidentally, in the Washington Post) went so far as to suggest that the idea of “war-torn” South Side Chicago was nothing but a myth.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that last week’s Post piece took gaslighting a big step further that was not only downright looney, but obviously racist – except to the hopelessly woke. It came in a description of a digital exchanges among residents of D.C.’s upper 14th Street neighborhood (which has been rapidly gentrifying in recent years and recently was the scene of a shooting that stunned its newest, more affluent residents in particular) and the nearby Shaw district (in which gentrification has been slower). It’s worth quoting the Post‘s account of it in full:
In the conversation “about violence, rowdy behavior near bars, noise from ATVs, trash and illegal parking, [White 14th Street-er Jeffrey Willis wrote] ‘We have lost control of the streets here & apparently elsewhere’….
“Shortly after came a terse reply from a woman who said she grew up in Shaw and was angered by what she saw as a desire to over-police Black communities and a refusal to understand the Black culture long at the heart of Shaw.”
In other words, “violence, rowdy behavior near bars, noise from ATVs, trash and illegal parking” should now be seen as part of “Black culture.” In addition, it should be preserved against an onslaught of White Fragility. Now it’s always possible that this woman’s frustrations about inherently difficult changes in residential patterns momentarily overcame her common sense, and that she didn’t really mean to praise such behavior. It happens to everyone. But it’s still remarkable, and in my view revealing, that her claim went utterly without comment in the Post.
Although its origins are fuzzy, I’ve always thought that one of the most compelling ideas ever advanced is the contention that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Last week’s Post piece, and the overall direction of American thinking on race, racism, and crime, makes clear that the only thing necessary for the triumph of arrant, dangerous, and indeed racist claptrap to triumph is for sensible folks to respond just as passively.