“Disparate Impact”

Under the “disparate impact” theory of discrimination pushed by today’s Democrats (especially their new Chairman, Tom Perez), there is a violation of civil rights if a favored minority group has less than what our masters in government consider “fair” or “representative.”

So, for example, if the population of a wealthy suburb does not exactly reflect its minority percentages, that’s evidence of a civil rights violation. Like, say, Tom Perez’ political launching pad in Maryland: Montgomery County, home to well-off bien pensants whose smugness is topped only by their disdain for us plebeians.

So, I’ve got to ask: why aren’t professional sports also governed by this “disparate impact” theory? Take the NFL, whose players are now about two-thirds black. Or the NBA, three-fourths black. Sounds like whites (and Hispanics and Asians, for that matter) are way under-represented.

What, you say? Aren’t the best players who you want, regardless of the color of their skin or ethnicity?

Indeed.

“Absolutely unacceptable”

These are the ringing words of the Montgomery County, Maryland Superintendent of schools, Joshua P. Starr. What is the apparently non-negotiable educational problem in Montgomery County? Why, according to this story in the Washington Post, “disproportionality.”

In English, this means that all racial and (presumably) identifiable ethnic groups (but only the right sort of ethnic groups) must perform in all aspects of school in direct proportion to their presence in the student population.

That is, if a school is 15 percent black, then no more than 15 percent of disciplinary actions may be handed out to blacks. I don’t know if the bien pensants of Montgomery County would be incensed or even care if blacks were disciplined at a rate lower than their presence in the population. But if more than that magic percentage are disciplined, then there is a major, major problem.

According to the great minds who run MoCo’s schools, as it is (un)affectionately called, this can only be the result of racism. And, in classic lefty fashion, the reductio ad absurdum racism of the Bull Connor, KKK variety. Jim Crow is in full force, there in upscale and progressive MoCo in the 21st century.

Look, we all know that some students get picked on. And there’s no doubt in my mind that there is some racism. But perhaps the MoCo worthies could step back, take a deep breath, and perhaps, just perhaps, acknowledge that race is no longer a controlling factor.

What may be controlling is socio-economic status. In simplest terms, children from poor homes, from homes without two parents, from homes that don’t provide safety and comfort, are going to be much more likely to get into trouble. White, black, or any color or creed.

Thus it was when I went to school; thus it will always be. To say that an unequal result in “absolutely unacceptable” is to proclaim that the schools will do anything to eliminate it. Right now, it appears the MoCo’s actions are to simply reduce punishment across the board. And then to declare victory if the “suspension gap” is narrowed. Nevermind that there is still a gap, and that it got smaller only by changing some disciplinary actions.

Akin to making standard tests easier if the wrong people fail them, I would suggest. Also, although I’ve no direct evidence, common sense tells me that certain students more leeway than others. Based solely on their race.

Such is it always with those who are offended by the fact that we are not all equal in every aspect of life. That root causes may not lie in racism for every perceived or actual wrong.

Profile this

Whenever a favored minority group is, pick your verb, arrested, convicted, or incarcerated, the mainstream media and their liberal enablers go into overdrive. A recent and continuing cause célèbre is the alleged profiling by police of one or more of those favored groups. Typical story? Here’s one.

“Racial profiling,” in the Left’s usage, means that innocent people are harassed by police for the “crime” of being black, Hispanic, Muslim, homosexual, or some mix of all of these. It’s a great myth, and, like many a myth, has its origins in reality. If you were black and driving through Louisiana when I lived there in the 1970s, there was a pretty good chance some parish (county) deputy would pull you over for any infraction, however minor.

That was then, but forty years on, there’s a pretty good chance that parish deputy in Louisiana will be black. And, especially in major metropolitan areas like New York City, there isn’t “profiling” in the sense of stopping citizens merely because of their skin color.

The real profiling is when police act according to the actions of someone whose behavior fits a profile of proven criminality*. And, sadly, in New York City as elsewhere, blacks are vastly over-represented in the criminal classes. My training (which included federal law enforcement and criminal behavior) emphasized that it is the actions of the individual first, last, and only that are relevant. But, just as Willie Sutton is alleged to have said, he robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” Which is why police tend to arrest more people in areas where crime is more prevalent.

Well, in large cities such as New York, if you want to catch criminals, you go to areas where more crimes occur, and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior on the part of people who fit the profile of those who have been convicted of crime. As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute has written, in New York City,

Blacks, who constitute 23 percent of the city’s population, committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in 2011, according to victims and witnesses, and 73 percent of all shootings—but they were only 53 percent of all stop subjects. By contrast, whites, who constitute 35 percent of the city’s population, committed 6 percent of all violent crimes and 3 percent of all shootings. They made up 9 percent of all stops.

This is sad, but it’s not racial profiling. Unless of course one considers the stopping of whites 50% more frequently than their criminality would indicate to be profiling.

One may argue that blacks are over-represented in the criminal class because of, take your pick, poverty, past racial injustice, lack of a two-parent household, lack of personal responsibility, etc. Any or all of which may be true, but is not relevant for police. Police are not social workers. They are there to protect all citizens from crime. And that, of statistical necessity, means that if blacks commit a disproportionate percent of crimes, they will be arrested disproportionately.

To do anything less would be a dereliction of duty by those sworn to keep the peace.

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*Examples: wearing a long coat on a hot summer day to conceal a weapon; excessive looking all around as if to avoid detection, especially while standing in one spot near a target.

Diversity uber alles

There is a lengthy report on diversity in MLB from, who else, something called the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The report is chock full of statistical goodness, and continues to add to our national obsession over diversity.

There are a lot of stats, but the one that some folks may worry about (why I haven’t a clue) is that during the 2012 season, 8.8 percent of players were African-American. Or about four percent less than their representation in the population at large.

On the other hand, Hispanics account for just over 27 percent of players, about double their proportion of our population.

Are either of these stats grounds for worry? Should a baseball team not hire a hard-hitting Dominican in favor of a less-skilled black? How about bringing whites up to their level in the general population? After all, the study shows only 61 percent, when they make up 72 percent of the population as of the 2010 census. Clearly something amiss, here.

What to do? Here’s a modest suggestion: do nothing. Let’s have the best players fill the rosters. With zero regard to what the color of their skin or their ethnic background or anything else besides their skills at the plate and in the field.

I might’ve added that they should be clean and sober, but that would have deprived us of some of baseball’s all-time greats.

You’re welcome, Babe.

Racial progress?

This seems to be the advice of an Obama partisan writing in the Obama, sorry, Washington Post. The author’s premise is summed up by the heading:

An Obama Win Will Improve Race Relations

Racial tensions might have increased in his first term, but history shows that’s just temporary.

“History.” Love the inevitability of that word. Can’t oppose Obama; it’s “history.” The author is, however, correct in noting that “racial tensions might have increased.” Whether “history” dictates that we’ll all just be singing kumbaya after a second Obama term is something we really can’t afford to test.

That Obama has been racially polarizing should not be in doubt. When even hyper-partisans acknowledge this, there’s not much point in belaboring the point. Did Obama set out to be a black president? No, I don’t believe so. He set out to be a socialist president. And he’s succeeded.

As a conservative, I don’t see Obama as black. I see him as red, as in Soviet. The rest of the nation may not be so inclined. They see the outward manifestations of blackness, the fist bumps, the hanging out with gangstas, pimps, and Nation of Islam lovers such as Jeremiah Wright. Perhaps that’s just the Chicago Way.

To fire Obama after one term would be color-blind: the man has failed. His biggest “success,” Obamacare, is nothing but a government takeover of health care, and at huge costs in higher fees, taxes, and debt.

To re-hire Obama, just so guilty whites can feel good about race relations, would be foolish, bordering on stupid.

Who wins this race?

The race in question is that elephant that’s always in the room whenever “progressives” are in charge. That pachyderm is exemplified by both skin color and culture.

The problem is that the current crop of progressives, led by our “You didn’t build that” community organizer-in-chief, believe that we all must be equal: equal in opportunity; equal in results.

Any deviation from this vision of a perfect world must be attributed to racism. But only whites may be racist, and, perhaps, Asians as well. Who do those bright Asian kids think they are, excelling at all things academic?

Now, via the Daily Caller, we get an accurate headline: Obama backs race-based school discipline policies. From the story:

[Obama’s] July 26 executive order established a government panel to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”

Nice and vague, of course. “[A] positive school climate” could mean almost anything, but bet your bottom dollar is doesn’t mean the temperature in the classrooms. It’s true meaning is that regardless of behavior, blacks will be coddled, others not.

The “disparate use of disciplinary tools” can mean one of two basic things. First and most likely in this day and age, it means that one group, in this case blacks, commit more offenses that require discipline.

Second, there is actual racism, where, for some reason, blacks are treated as second-class citizens in the schools, and whites and Asians are privileged. Nice bed-time story, but this isn’t the 1950s. Jim Crow is dead and long buried.

Of course it’s possible that there’s racism. But, given the hugely disproportionate rate of crimes committed by blacks, isn’t it much more likely that blacks are disciplined in schools because they misbehave?

Yes, there are underlying cultural trends that tend to produce more black miscreants in proportion to the population at large. The fact that almost two out of three black children live in a single parent home might have something to do with it. As contrasted with just under one-fourth of white children (Annie E. Casey Foundation).

Then there’s the related higher incidence of poverty, and the “thug culture” in some black communities that seems destined to produce criminals.

The larger point isn’t the disparity of punishment. It is the question of how to best address that disparity. Enforcing a bogus equality of results, i.e. ensuring that blacks are punished at the same rate, regardless of behavior, is unsound and does nothing to improve the likely root causes.

Racist data?

From Heather Mac Donald at City Journal, more evidence that the police are strongly discouraged from fighting crime. Not because the mainstream media and their liberal enablers are pro-crime. No, not at all. Rather, for the simple reason of being unable to acknowledge that blacks and Hispanics commit a hugely disproportionate percentage of crime.

This political correctness has consequences. If actually implemented, as appears the case in New York City, it places the innocent population at greater risk because criminals are less likely to be stopped before they commit their crimes. It also would tend to work against solving the problem of black and Hispanic criminality: you can’t solve a problem if you can’t admit there is one for reasons of political correctness.

Some population and crime data, taken from the City Journal article:

Here are the crime data that the [New York] Times doesn’t want its readers to know: blacks committed 66 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009 (though they were only 55 percent of all stops and only 23 percent of the city’s population). Blacks committed 80 percent of all shootings in the first half of 2009. Together, blacks and Hispanics committed 98 percent of all shootings. Blacks committed nearly 70 percent of all robberies. Whites, by contrast, committed 5 percent of all violent crimes in the first half of 2009, though they are 35 percent of the city’s population (and were 10 percent of all stops). They committed 1.8 percent of all shootings and less than 5 percent of all robberies. The face of violent crime in New York, in other words, like in every other large American city, is almost exclusively black and brown. Any given violent crime is 13 times more likely to be committed by a black than by a white perpetrator… (emphasis added)

These numbers should be shocking to anyone who thinks that blacks or Hispanics are stopped disproportionately for the mere fact of being black or brown.

That’s pure and simple nonsense. Blacks and Hispanics are not criminals because the police stop them. They’re criminals because they commit crimes, and the City Journal article illustrates that, if anything, blacks are not stopped enough.

It will help not one bit to blame the police and accuse every cop who stops a black or Hispanic of being a racist. This only hurts as it deflects attention from addressing the root causes of black and Hispanic criminality.