The Conversation

The hate-crimes narrative

In response to RE Hate Crime Hypocrisy :

I should clarify that if the sort of "tit for tat" reporting we're discussing consists of quickie blog posts with a photo of the perps in the Lane and Belton murders, accompanied by a paragraph or so of Nelson Muntz laughter, then yes, that's just lazy and pointless.  I mean to defend serious analysis, not random link-hunting artillery barrages.

"Besides, like he said - everyone already knows there's a huge crime problem in black urban areas," you wrote.  "And hopefully everyone knows that blacks commit interracial violent crimes at a much, much greater rate than whites."

Do you really think "everyone knows" that?  I don't.  Especially not the latter fact you mentioned.  Everyone's probably familiar with the broad outlines of the urban crime problem, but have they really internalized how bad it is, especially if they don't live in crime-afflicted urban areas?  And what do they think the source of those problems is?

News reaches the Low Information Voters through emphasis, repetition, and the construction of narratives.  None of that is present in the reporting on urban crime, hate crimes committed against white people, gang culture, etc.  The problem with the media's handling of the Zimmerman case wasn't just the excessive volume of straight news reports - it was also the editorial content of those news reports, the influence activists had over reporting, the repetition of outright falsehoods until they congealed into conventional wisdom, and the narrative that made this distorted image of George Zimmerman into an avatar of the cruel racist System, culminating in the dopey crusade against Stand Your Ground laws.  We're into topsy-turvy territory with that one, because doing away with SYG would get plenty of innocent people from every racial background killed, as would success for the larger gun-control movement backing the anti-SYG crusade.

But no deeper meanings are sought in the murder of Chris Lane, aside from yet another nonsensical effort to turn it into a gun control fable (as if the teenage shooters weren't already breaking a boatload of existing gun laws!)  There's no "narrative" context, no critique of the gang culture his murderers were into, no effort to dig into their backgrounds.  Bloggers are doing all that, and occasionally shaming the mainstream media into reporting it... but they'll never report it with emphasis and context.  

What we need is a full frontal assault on gang culture, something on the scale of the media-savvy full-spectrum assault on George Zimmerman's imaginary racism, and the phantom brigade of Stand Your Ground-enabled lawn-jockey killers he supposedly represents.  We're not going to get it by sitting quietly and waiting for it.  The quote from Jesse Jackson you mentioned is often recalled by conservative bloggers at moments like this.  Does anyone else in the left-wing media ever remember it?  Has Jackson said anything further on the subject in the past 20 years?


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