On Racism: Emotion or Reason

Red Devil-128x128In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin scene, one may ask if reason is ever used when emotions are so high.  When politicians get into the mix one must then add power and influence to the emotional recipe.  Shortly thereafter Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton arrive with drums and speeches designed to whip the gatherings into a frenzy.  They may be the only folks who profit from such shenanigans.  Most all of such early gatherings are driven by emotion, and reason is left out in the cold.

The point of this is that such gatherings represent primarily a subset of folks who have an emotional axe to grind.  Others who do not feel so keenly simply watch on TV, or don’t watch at all.  Actual knowledge of the precipitating incident is little better than a collection of isolated facts, innuendo, inferences, assumptions, deceptions, rumors, and outright lies.  Our national media is masterful at taking large gatherings, such as Trayvon Martin’s, and turning them into attention gathering affairs for liberal political spin.

Injecting some reason into alleged racism, two issues come readily to mind.  The first is the “stop and frisk” police policy that has been practiced in New York City over the past many years.  Politically correct media drum beating suggests that this policy is clearly racist, and follows from racial profiling or targeting.  If, in fact, the focus of police is to improve the safety of folks within high crime areas, then black folks will be profiled, because they are the ones living in “high crime areas”.  The clearest evidence from these many years of profiling (ie stop and frisk), is that crime is down significantly in these neighborhoods and the residents are far safer than before.

Given the outcry against policies that work famously, one must ask who, exactly, is complaining.  Of course, the criminals on the streets don’t want to be stopped, questioned, and frisked.  “Racial profiling!  Racial profiling”.  You really can’t have it both ways.  Do you want safe black neighborhoods or not?  If the wrong folks’ voices are heard the loudest, increased crime may well return to the streets.

A second issue focuses on the current controversy over criminal background checks in screening job applicants.  These voices, beating the racial drums, assert that such checks discriminate against black job applicants, because black folks are more likely to have criminal records. This is undeniable, and discriminates against black folks overall.  The question is whether, or not, such policy discriminates against those who apply for jobs.

A perverse finding shows that criminal background checks have a beneficial influence on black job applicants.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal (Jobless Blacks Should Cheer Background Checks, WSJ 8/22/2013);  Those employers who use background checks in employment are more likely to hire black job applicants than those who dont  use criminal background checks.  The issue then is clearly re-cast in view of this data-based, emotion-free finding:  As job applicants, are you in favor of becoming employed, or do you prefer to cry “profiling” in employment.  Do you want to work, or become a victim?

These two real-life issues bring to a clear focus that the emotions which attend media hype about alleged racism may be dead wrong.  Raw emotions may serve neither the black communities, nor black job applicants very well.  If those with the loudest voices prevail, it will be those in the black communities that suffer the most harm.

Reason, not emotion, would seem to be the preferred choice for improving the lives of many who may be screaming the loudest.

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