Friday, October 07, 2005

All Bennett Did Was Say It Changes made November 1,2005
All Bennett Did Was Say It
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mr. Bennett, a secretary of education in the Reagan administration and drug czar in the first Bush administration who has become an author and radio host, said in a broadcast this week that "you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." He said that would be a "morally reprehensible thing to do."

Under fire from Democrats and civil rights groups, Mr. Bennett defended his remarks on Thursday as a hypothetical argument that moral questions like the abortion debate could not be linked to pragmatic issues like the crime rate.

"One could just as easily have said you could abort all children and prevent all crime to show the absurdity of the proposition," he said in his broadcast.”

A lot of America thinks it.

They think most people on welfare are black when most are white.

They think most rapists are black, when the average rapist is a white male in his twenties.

Most of them think they know someone who has lost a job to affirmative action, or even believe they've personally lost out.

Yet the relative unemployment ratios haven't changed since we've been measuring them.

Category for category, blacks are, and always have been, unemployed at twice the rate of whites.

But that's not what people know.

So what did Bennett know and where on earth did he get his information?

Does this have anything to do with the response to Katrina?

I could talk all day about the difference between racism and bigotry, but I'd rather use an analogy.

White people react to the label ‘racist’, the way victims of Katrina reacted to the label ‘refugee.’ The connotation of the word, it's implicit intentionality, has made it so offensive that it's lost its usefulness as a description of behavior. It's useless to say that you're not talking about peoples' intentions.

Bennett wasn't trying to be bigoted.

He did, indisputably, have a set of assumptions about black people that drew his foot into his mouth as relentlessly as gravity draws a damaged plane to earth. Like most of us, he'll defend his assumptions ferociously. After all, we're not just questioning his judgment, but, however indirectly, his oldest, most cherished , relationships and memories.

Alfred Ingram
con·cept: October 2005