Are You A Racist If You Believe Something That Is True?

Hillary Clinton has gotten some rather unfavorable publicity in recent days because of her comment that at least fifty percent of Donald Trump’s supporters belong in a ‘basket of deplorables.’ Some of the media, being at times less than unbiased, has decided to back up her claim. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today illustrating how easy it is for the media to use statistics to create a totally false impression.

The article cites the reporting of a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll which measured the views of Americans toward blacks.

This is how the poll was reported at Slate Magazine:

A significant slice of Americans expressed racist views against blacks, and those who identify as Donald Trump supporters are more likely to fall into that group, though Hillary Clinton supporters are definitely there too.

Well, that’s not exactly what the poll showed.

The article at Power Line reports:

What were the “racist views against blacks” that so many Americans expressed? The only ones that garnered anywhere close to 50 percent assent from Trump supporters (and 33 percent from Clinton’s) were that blacks are (1) more criminal and (2) more violent than whites.

But these opinions are true. Crime statistics show that the rate of criminality per capita, including violent criminality, is much higher among blacks than whites. In fact, blacks commit as many murders as whites even though they represent only a around 12 percent of the U.S. population.

It’s obviously unfair to infer racism among those who hold the correct view of the comparative criminality and violent criminality of blacks and whites. Some who hold this view may be racist, but they aren’t racist by virtue of holding the view.

A fairer statement would be that those who believe blacks and whites are equally criminal and equally violent are poorly informed.

Shouldn’t we be more interested in finding the cause of the problem than calling those who acknowledge the problem racists? Until we correctly identify the cause of the fact that blacks commit more crimes and are more violent than whites, we are not going to solve the problem.

As usual, I have a few ideas on the subject–we need to look at the breakdown of the family in the black community (and in the white community, but to a lesser degree) and the lack of fathers in the home. We also need to look at a culture that has somehow turned its back on setting a goal for its young people to be law-abiding, productive members of society (also a problem in the white community, but to a lesser degree). We need to look at what we are feeding our children on television, in music, and in video games. We need to make it fashionable for all young people to be a good student and find a way to provide a good education for promising students regardless of their family’s financial situation. We need to find a way to make being a successful black person (both in life and business) a desirable goal. I am not sure the federal government can do this, but local governments could be helpful in encouraging church and community programs to help children do better in school. These can be done with volunteers, retired teachers, and other adults who want to help.

Meanwhile, it accomplishes nothing to skew statistics in order to label your political opponents racists.