Michael Brown Shooting

Ferguson Shows Blacks Live in a Different America

Black Americans still live in a country with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards.

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LBJ
Library of Congress

Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, it was reasonable to expect that by 2014, America would be a fully integrated nation in which equality prevailed. But as the events in Ferguson, Mo., dramatize, the country still resembles what a presidential commission described in 1968: "two societies, one black, one white— separate and unequal."

There is a big difference in the routine experiences of the two races. White teens have little fear of police, but black teens generally view them with mistrust. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 24 percent of young black males said they have been treated badly by cops because of their race just in the past 30 days.

In conversations with black high school students in Chicago who have visited the Tribune, I've been struck by two things. The first is how hard it is for them to navigate their lives in violent neighborhoods plagued by gangs.

The second is how negatively they regard cops. Being stopped and frisked is a common experience for the boys. They are acutely aware that encounters with police can be humiliating, dangerous, and even fatal.

Law-and-order types will respond that blacks have more of these encounters because, as a group, they are more likely to commit crimes. But innocence is no protection. In New York City, in 2012, 90 percent of the people stopped and frisked were not arrested or ticketed. Blacks were more likely than whites to be searched for weapons—but less likely to be carrying them.

All this gives extra pertinence to a magazine article published recently in The Atlantic. Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Case for Reparations" makes a powerful argument that the economic and social ills afflicting many African-Americans stem from pervasive mistreatment and discrimination that continue even now. Behind it is a toxic combination of entrenched practice, private prejudice and deliberate government policies.

Even after the major civil rights laws were passed, blacks faced discrimination by real estate agents and lenders. Just two years ago, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a Justice Department complaint that it pushed black homebuyers into subprime mortgages even when they qualified for regular loans.

There is persistent racial bias in hiring. A 2009 study in the American Sociological Review found that "black and Latino applicants with clean backgrounds fared no better than white applicants just released from prison." Criminal justice is rigged: Blacks make up 14 percent of drug users but more than a third of those imprisoned on drug charges.

In many places, most blacks have been consigned to inferior schools. They face high obstacles in trying to escape blighted neighborhoods. They are more often exposed to pollution that harms brains and bodies.

Many whites doubt that discrimination matters anymore because there are laws against it and because they personally don't engage in it. They see that many blacks have ascended to the middle class. They assume what holds blacks down are pathologies rampant in many poor minority neighborhoods: criminality and family breakdown.

But how did these neighborhoods become so dysfunctional? Coates says they are "precisely what you'd expect of a community that for centuries has lived in America's crosshairs."

Conservatives blame welfare. But if public aid programs are so powerful in discouraging productive behavior, it's curious that, as the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, "A majority of poor families are poor despite work."

How are children raised in places where such conditions prevail supposed to learn responsible habits? How fair is it to blame children raised in poor, lawless communities for turning out badly as adults? How would your kids do if they had been raised in those circumstances?

Nor does positive behavior necessarily pay off. Minority workers have suffered badly from stagnant wages and the departure of inner-city factories—which were not caused by the people who showed up at the plant every day.

Participating in self-government is a hallmark of citizenship. But Republican legislators in state after state have adopted laws aimed at preventing blacks from voting. The African-Americans marching peacefully in Ferguson, exercising a constitutional right, were confronted by cops in riot gear pointing rifles at them.

Black Americans still live in a different country, with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards than those faced by others. It's easy for whites to forget that. What has happened in Ferguson is a bleak, sobering reminder.

NEXT: Brickbat: Without a Prayer

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  1. Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    And fifty years later these kind of stories are starting to wear pretty damn thin.

    1. We went from a bad system where the government forced some Americans apart to a worse system where the government forces all Americans together.

  2. Fergudon has nothing to do with race. Chapman, as usual, fucks things up.

    1. I grew up in a Majority black lower class neighborhood near gang infested territory. The difference between who made it out and who didn’t was more strongly correlated to who cared enough to put the effort in. Police presence was negligable, as they tended to only show up when there were bodies to be piucked up. Having gone to the same schools woth the same peers as the people who didn’t make it out, I have severe doubts about most of the factors blamed in this article.

      1. I grew up in a Majority black lower class neighborhood near gang infested territory.

        Well, there’s your problem. If you’d grown up in a wealthy suburb, gone to a wealthy school, then a wealthy college, and graduated into an upper middle class job that afforded you the opportunity to live in a wealthy suburb and start the process all over again, then maybe you’d be able to comprehend the African American experience, as all right-thinking SJW’s do.

        1. LOL.

          Yes.

          Hey, Chapman, I’d like to offer a startling piece of information. There are poor whites in America. Also poor Hispanics and even poor Asians.

          More shocking information: These poor people frequently live in crime infested neighborhoods with generational poverty – sometimes even rural areas – with gang and drug violence. They have higher rates of teen pregnancy, abortion, incarceration and drug addiction. Ever hear of Appalachia?

          Ever been to Britain?

          1. I’d also like to add: culture, culture, culture, culture, culture, fucking CULTURE.

            1. Ockham’s Butterknife, that’s the ticket!

            2. Agreed, Lady B.

          2. That reminds me of that article I saw on the American Thinker written in January 2014. http://www.americanthinker.com…..ories.html

          3. “There are poor whites in America. Also poor Hispanics and even poor Asians.”

            I don’t see them protesting like the people of Ferguson. And furthermore, I don’t get the sense that the people of Ferguson are protesting over their “poverty.” They seem to be focused on other issues like justice, dignity and the freedom to assemble.

            1. Free shoes and f*ck tha police. Yeah, that’s “dignity”.

              1. If you think the passivity of White, Hispanic and Asian Americans is more dignified you should say so. Otherwise, you haven’t addressed my point, that these protests are not about poverty. I assume you agree.

    2. This guy might disagree.

      I’m not linking to the Daily Beast this item cites, but it’s a good read.

      1. In Soviet America, crime commits you.

      2. Somehow, a federal magistrate ruled that the perjury and Davis’s injuries were too minor to sustain his due-process and excessive-force claims.

        And we see once again that the root of the problem lies not with institutionalized racism, but with systems of entrenched power that have no respect for individual rights.

  3. “Ferguson Shows Blacks Live in a Different America
    Black Americans still live in a country with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards.”

    As long as we are generalizing it should be pointed out that that different world is one of their own making.

    1. How, exactly, is the world of a 15 yo black kid in Ferguson MO “of his own making”? Because unless we’re saying that the ‘sins of the father’ should legitimately be visited on the son (in which case you’ve just made the case for Mr. Coates) the outlines of this world was formed long before most of the young ppl getting punched in the face by it were born.

      1. The existence of those who despite their circumstances, don’t become adult sociopaths with no respect for other people’s rights to their life and property, disproves the theorem that the universe is to blame instead of the person.

        Black culture does a lot of glorifying of basketball players, rappers and criminals while denigrating the value of hard work and education. That’s the part of their own making. A great deal of it is the fault of statists, but at the end of the day every family has themselves to thank for the generational stagnation they’re experiencing.

      2. How, exactly, is the world of a 15 yo black kid in Ferguson MO “of his own making”?

        Because the black people of Ferguson can vote and run for office in their town and they obviously aren’t bothering to do either. With a voter turnout of 6%, don’t complain if your police force isn’t to your liking.

        1. Like democracy solves police abuse? When security is treated like public good, expect it to not be to your liking.

        2. With a voter turnout of 6%, don’t complain if your police force isn’t to your liking.

          With a voter turnout of 6%, why do any of the officials in Ferguson MO, elected, appointed, or career have any claim to legitimacy?

          Because that looks to me like 94% of the population voted “no confidence” in their government.

          1. An interesting form of silent protest. MLK would be proud.

  4. This is nothing but white guilt writ large. What a bunch of horse shit. Chapman, you piss me off nearly every time you put pen to paper.

  5. Republican legislators in state after state have adopted laws aimed at preventing blacks from voting

    [cite needed]

    1. Everybody knows black people can’t get ID cards in America. Seriously, ever seen a black person driving a car? He’s doing so without a license, ga-ron-teed.

      1. Requiring ID for voting presents an insurmountable obstacle for African-Americans. At the same time, it makes perfect sense to require people to produce ID for everything else, and anyone who disagrees is a paranoid loonytarian.

      2. “Republicans are keeping the black man down.” It’s like something from Salon or Aman-duh.

    2. “Republican legislators in state after state have adopted laws aimed at preventing blacks from voting”

      Add gun ownership to voting. Cite: legislation passed in California under Ronald Reagan with support of the NRA.

      1. Cite: legislation passed in California under Ronald Reagan with support of the NRA.

        Ah, I see why you have so much trouble understanding when somebody asks you to back up your claims. You do not, in fact, know what it means to cite information.

        1. “You do not, in fact, know what it means to cite information.”

          You want to discuss the issue, I expect you to be up to speed. If you are not up to speed, or have no wish to discuss the issue I expect a lot of pleading for me to educate yous. Waste someone else’s time. Your ignorance is not my concern.

          1. PUT UP OR SHUT UP MTRUEMAN.

            Stop shitting up the threads with claims you are unwilling to prove.

          2. I’m sorry, but you can’t just claim “you should know this” when you cite evidence. You have to be willing to provide the evidence. If you’re going to cite legislation, then don’t just say “a bill that was signed that said [so and so].” You need to provide some kind of unique reference to the bill (e.g., H.R. 3162). You can’t simply claim that the other person should know what you’re talking about.

            These sorts of shortcuts are what cause the propagation of errors in scientific research. One person alludes loosely to something, and it gets picked up by subsequent scholar after subsequent scholar, who doesn’t bother to check the source material.

            1. “You have to be willing to provide the evidence.”

              I only want to discuss these issues with people who are at my admittedly high level. If those reading are truly ignorant of the Californian legislation I’m talking about, I would advise them to read up on it. Ask their teacher or librarian for assistance if they feel they need it. I’ve had enough discussions with whining ignoramuses here.

              Is nobody else here struck by the absence or reversal of the usual libertarian prescriptions? Nothing about the need for an armed citizenry, MORE government control and restrictions over who gets to vote. I know that libertarians are just as frightened of blacks as anyone, but this abandonment of principles is surprising to me at least.

              1. Fuck off, you narcissistic, lazy asshole.

  6. Nearly every ill you mention is caused by the state. The exception being employment. But when blacks come from inferior schools, and probably have had less experience. What is the black teen unemployment rate – why is that? I would also lay the blame for the rate at the alter of the state and minimum wage – but that is an indirect effect. I will add one anecdote, my son got his first job this summer through a government/private partnership called the PIC program. The company that he worked only hired from 2 schools in Boston (Boston Latin where he attends was one of those), the government tracked the kids in school and the company used that to select the ones that need the least amount of help. Part of this program has the students taking part in all sorts government propaganda bullshit every friday, I always tell my to ask what sort of opportunities do the kids in Boston English receive. He has not yet, I hope he does before the end of summer.

  7. So what, if any, responsibility do people have for their own circumstances? If anything, I think that blacks have been disporportionally harmed by the welfare state but I hear black politicians calling for more welfare everyday. The blame whitey game has gotten old. It is time to look inside the black community for answers rather reflexively treating black people like they are incapable of making the same decisions that the rest of us have made.

    1. If this were a 100% black country, the welfare state would still plague generations of families. In that circumstance, who would they have to blame but themselves?

      Now back in reality, upwards of 85% of them support the expansion of the welfare state every single election. Contrary to popular opinion, the black vote is a monolith, and it has routinely, repeatedly and absurdly come down on the side of expanding government power that effectively keeps them on the plantation of their own making. Politically they hang themselves with welfare statism. Socially they ruin their families with bad life choices and condemn their children to the same stagnation. Not all by any means, but a shockingly large proportion of black families are utterly dysfunctional.

      1. Of all the things that have left me dissatisfied with the Republican Party, nothing has pissed me off more than “compassionate conservativism”. You can’t lift people up with you are standing with your foot on their throat. We have generations of people that have never had a working person in their immediate family and few working people in their extended family. We have to transition away from the welfare state. But transitioning away from welfare is something that neither party has the backbone to do. I’m afraid that we will literally have to run out of money before people pull their heads out of their asses.

        1. Anti-welfare statism is democratically untenable. The staunchest reformer that is politically possible would be someone who eliminates maybe 10% of spending on a budget that will inflate at least that much again within 3 months of his successor’s term. Democracy is our lives, liberties and property circling the drain of populism. The outcome is inescapable.

  8. White teens have little fear of police

    Things have changed since I was a teen…

    24 percent of young black males said they have been treated badly by cops because of their race just in the past 30 days

    And they know that this was the cause, how, exactly?

    1. By virtue of being black, and a victim class, they are automatically correct and beyond reproach. Rightness is determined by who has the moral high ground which is in turn determined by who can lay claim to being the biggest victim.

      1. Let me rephrase for accuracy:

        By virtue of being black, and a victim class, they are automatically correct and beyond reproach. Rightness is determined by who has the moral high ground which is in turn determined by who can lay claim to being the biggest victim.

    2. And they know that this was the cause, how, exactly?

      Chapman told them so.

    3. to be fair, most blacks are bamboozled into thinking that any ill treatment of them is “because of their race.”

  9. Its all racism, Chapman, just racism. There, now we know why all these ills abound. What is your prescription then, to fix this?

    1. Oh,Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations”.

      So, making your check out now, Chapman?

    2. Take money from other races at gun point and give it to blacks. What could go wrong?

      1. It will surely create racial harmony.

      2. Even take money from families who moved here after 1865 to pay recent African immigrants.

        Behold the nuance and complexity of social science.

        1. I know I for one, coming from a family that immigrated to the US in 1901, feel most personally responsible for the downfall of the black family, community, and culture…

  10. Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Fuck LBJ and his Great Society.

    Chapman, too.

  11. What a surprise, Chapman buys into identity politics and misses the entire point.

  12. SOunds like some serious busines to me dude.

    http://www.AnonWays.tk

  13. The only way to end this sort of police violence, is to convince white suburbanite moms that there kids are just as likely to get shot as a black kid in the inner city. Apparently Chapman is more interested in bullshit white guilt, and pushing a racial narrative, then actually helping black youths.

    1. Chapman wants to keep his regular job at the Chicago Tribune, so he’s not going to say anything that will get him in trouble with the DNC machine.

    2. The only way to end this sort of police violence, is to convince white suburbanite moms that there kids are just as likely to get shot as a black kid in the inner city.

      Of course, you can’t convince the white suburbanite mom of this because she knows it’s not true. She teaches her kids to be respectful to cops, she votes in local elections, and she follows city council meetings.

      Her main worry is going to be to keep drug dealers and robbers out of her neighborhood, and she is going to vote to give her local police all the guns and raises they ask for. And because her neighborhood is nice and non-violent, she gets non-violent cops with a good education and a good disposition.

      1. Her main worry (fueled by the media and candidates who stand to benefit from it) is going to be to keep drug dealers (except her “pain” doctor) and robbers (except the tax collectors and HOA assessors) out of her neighborhood, and she is going to vote to give her local police all the guns and raises they ask for (payed mostly out of other people’s pockets). And because her neighborhood is nice and non-violent she gives the armed thugs whatever they ask for, she gets non-violent cops with a good education and a good less menacing disposition.

        FTFY

        1. Look, you can be cynical about it all you want, her neighborhood doesn’t have the problems Ferguson does. She isn’t responsible for what’s happening in Ferguson, and she can’t change it either.

          1. She isn’t responsible for what’s happening in Ferguson, and she can’t change it either.

            That is true only insofar as this is a local issue. The role of the state and federal governments has to be accounted for as well, and that means voters outside of Ferguson and outside of Missouri have some impact on the events, even if it is small compared to the role of local actors.

            1. And what specific and demonstrable “impact” have voters outside Ferguson have on the events there?

              1. Nobody is responsible for Michael Brown’s actions but Michael Brown. The same goes for Officer Wilson. But unless you are going to argue that government actions like taxes, regulation, and welfare have no impact at all (in which case, surely we can abolish them?), then you can’t deny that they play a role in setting up economic and political climates. The residents of Ferguson are beholden to the laws of the state of Missouri and those of the United States. They may support some of those laws, but the enforcement of those laws depends on resources outside of their locality, and thus on the support of voters outside their locality as well.

                You can’t have it both ways. Either voters are responsible for the actions of their governments, or they aren’t. If they are, then they are at all applicable levels, not just the one that’s most convenient for the narrative.

  14. “Blacks were more likely than whites to be searched for weapons?but less likely to be carrying them.”

    Because people who are carrying guns are the ones who deserve to be searched?

    1. This part was even better:

      In conversations with black high school students in Chicago who have visited the Tribune, I’ve been struck by two things. The first is how hard it is for them to navigate their lives in violent neighborhoods plagued by gangs.

      Being stopped and frisked is a common experience for the boys.

      Call me crazy, but I can’t help but think there might be a correlation between the “my neighborhood is infested with gangs” problem and the “people get stopped and frisked a lot in my neighborhood.”

    2. “Because people who are carrying guns are the ones who deserve to be searched?”

      Are you saying that if Blacks took the trouble to arm themselves in greater numbers, that would improve matters? Isn’t that the Libertarian solution? It usually is, but you are the only one here to bring up the gun issue. It’s not really clear what you think about it.

  15. White teens have little fear of police, but black teens generally view them with mistrust.

    Only because their parents haven’t been a victim of a crime or accused of a crime. Had they, then they would know that cops don’t do shit except harass and intimidate, and they would teach their children not to trust the police.

    But Republican legislators in state after state have adopted laws aimed at preventing blacks from voting.

    Yeah, sure. Blacks need ID when buying cigarettes and beer, but asking them to show ID when voting is racist. Whatever.

    1. Voter fraud is just a right wing meme.

      1. Oh of course, we don’t require any tracking of voter fraud, so the fact we have no records of voter fraud means there is no voter fraud.

        Of course, all those dead people who vote every year for thirty years after death in Chapman’s home town does not constitute fraud, they WOULD have voted that way if they were still alive … right?

        Jackass

        1. “we don’t require any tracking of voter fraud”

          If you want to track voter fraud, then go right ahead, there’s nothing stopping you. If you want to require me or anyone else to track it for you, then you haven’t really understood Libertarianism.

          1. If the state cannot be bothered to provide proof of the accuracy of its elections, then it has lost the moral authority to conduct them.

            Also, good luck trying to get ballots and voting records for your election precinct. If they weren’t destroyed soon after the “results” were announced, then they’ll be privileged and exempt from FOIA for one reason or another.

            1. “If the state cannot be bothered…”

              Sure, but I’m just surprised to see self-styled libertarians here seemingly calling for MORE action on the part of the state. Usually it’s the opposite.

              1. The “more state action” comes in the form of possibly fraudulently elected officials appropriating themselves and their favored constituents more money from other people’s pockets and more power at the expense of all.

                If voting is a right then the state has a duty to protect that right faithfully. The two go hand in hand as a single exercise of power. Saying that conducting an honest election requires more power than simply conducting an election is to argue that voting is not a right worth protecting.

                1. “If voting is a right…”

                  But voting isn’t a right, is it? At least not in the sense of the right to freedom of speech and assembly etc.

                  1. It is not a natural right, but it is a procedural one. Of course, if you’re going to argue that voting is not any kind of right, then you surely would have no problem with poll taxes, literacy tests, or other restrictions of the franchise.

              2. but I’m just surprised to see self-styled libertarians here seemingly calling for MORE action on the part of the state

                Let’s abolish the legislatures and courts so the executive can rule by fiat. It will eliminate almost all government action, no?

                1. “Let’s abolish the legislatures ”

                  That’s going way too far. The obvious libertarian solution is more laws and more regulations to make sure only the right people can vote.

                  1. What the fuck does that have to do with conducting an honest election?

                    1. More laws more regulations = more honest elections

                      Is that the point you’re struggling to make?

                    2. Only in mtrueman-land is requiring accountability from the state “more laws[,] more regulations”.

                      The state has unlimited authority to regulate itself. Nothing in libertarianism requires the state to be an unruly warlord.

                    3. “The state has unlimited authority to regulate itself”

                      They are not merely regulating themselves if they are putting up barriers with the idea to prevent people from voting.

                    4. Is voting a right? You keep dodging the question. If it’s not a right, then what do the barriers matter? If it is a right, then surely it should be protected faithfully?

      2. you mean “Voter fraud is just a right”

    2. Chapman is a small minded progressive. We can expect dumbfuck arguments from him.

  16. Law-and-order types will respond that blacks have more of these encounters because, as a group, they are more likely to commit crimes. But innocence is no protection. In New York City, in 2012, 90 percent of the people stopped and frisked were not arrested or ticketed.

    Wow, this is pretty derptastic. If you’re going to criticize profiling, at least understand how it works.

    Even after the major civil rights laws were passed, blacks faced discrimination by real estate agents and lenders. Just two years ago, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a Justice Department complaint that it pushed black homebuyers into subprime mortgages even when they qualified for regular loans.

    Given that subprime terms were generally better ***in the short term*** (e.g. 120% LTV so you can get more home, no money down, low initial APR), how are you going to claim that this is “discrimination” somehow? I don’t get it.

    How fair is it to blame children raised in poor, lawless communities for turning out badly as adults? How would your kids do if they had been raised in those circumstances?

    Somehow, despite the fact we were PWT in the middle of D.C., I turned out OK. So did many of my black peers. It’s about family life, not “the village”.

    This article is a goddamned trainwreck, and I’m a SYMPATHETIC member of the audience.

    1. Very few people had to be “pushed” into a loan with no down payment. I wholeheartedly agree that granting mortgages with a a 120% LTV was bad business, and only a complete chucklehead would fall for it, but I see that there is no mention by Chapman about the CRA and the part it played in the creation of such ridiculous loan practices. Well’s Fargo and other institutions were forced to make their mortgage terms more lenient for unqualified buyers and then punished by the same government that pushed the programs when, lo and behold, it turned out the unqualified buyers didn’t pay their mortgages.

  17. What a lazy fucking article.

    First third of it is “Survey Says…”

    The last 2/3s are “Here’s what an Atlantic article that is asking for reparations says”.

    Fuck! Can I be a journalist? Or should that be “journalist”?

    BOO!

  18. Perhaps, just perhaps, if a 1/16th or greater black man could own and operate a casino….then…..then maybe we could make amends for the reputed past bad behavior of people long dead and get beyond all this.

    1. We’ll never get beyond. People have too much to gain from not moving on.

  19. More BS from he race baiters… Does that mean I can start shooting at my Black Neighbor because he is living in a primarily White Part of town. OR maybe should I remember that he and his wife get up every morning, go to work, and are fine neighbors. This has nothing to do with race except for the UNDERCLASS BLACKS who have not ever developed a skill to compete in the real world and get everything from their DEMOCRAT MASTERS. These riots usually occur in places controlled by the Democrats because the Democrats have reinforced the mentality that they are being held back because of the color of their skin. This is a reminder from these Ghetto People that they are not getting enough stuff from the government and that they want more.

  20. Conservatives blame welfare. But if public aid programs are so powerful in discouraging productive behavior, it’s curious that, as the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, “A majority of poor families are poor despite work.”

    You can work and still receive welfare; you just have to game it out so you don’t make above a certain amount.

    1. THIS. We once had an employee (white, by the by) who complained about receiving a raise because it was going to affect his kids’ Medicare qualification.

      On the other hand, we now have a young black woman working for us who is a single mother of two young daughters. She’s an absolutely marvelous employee and is intent on working her way up the socioeconomic ladder – she welcomes advancement, both in her employment and salary, because she is determined to better her life, as well as those of her children. She’s gleefully reported not being able to qualify for government assistance to me on more than one occasion.

      It’s about character, not skin color.

      1. Or maybe it’s a matter of having a sick kid and he can’t afford insurance or treatment.

  21. There is a big difference in the routine experiences of the two races. White teens have little fear of police, but black teens generally view them with mistrust. A 2013 Gallup poll found that 24 percent of young black males said they have been treated badly by cops because of their race just in the past 30 days.

    Fuck you Chapman. Is this not reason, where countless reasons, anecdotal and otherwise, to fear the police are presented here constantly? I had a cop treat me badly just last week, too bad I didn’t claim a racial component to the cops dickheadedness or I could’ve had a Steve Chapman article written about my oppression.

    Conservatives blame welfare. But if public aid programs are so powerful in discouraging productive behavior, it’s curious that, as the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, “A majority of poor families are poor despite work.”

    If you’re denying that the welfare state has resulted in perverse incentives and diminished economic opportunity, or that nearly 70% of black kids grow up without a father, it’s time to just switch to the Socialist Party. Why do you even write for Reason?

    1. Gotta lay off the Fatherless part, this is Chapman. He could watch the docking of the Hindenburg and think the problem was gravity.

    2. After some reflection, I think his articles are only published as part of Reason’s “We’re evenhanded — we bash Republicans and conservatives, too!” quota. Because I can find no other (at least immediately obvious) reason for a liberty-oriented magazine to publish an article that dismisses “positive behavior” as something inapplicable to a significant portion of the population.

      1. He completely tosses individual responsibility aside. Libertarians will bitch about a rigged system from start to finish, but we use rational analysis to do so. Yes the blacks in the US are in dire straits compared to other ethnic groups, but at what point can people take responsibility and improve their own lives? Chapman just gives one poorly reasoned argument after another that leads to the conclusion of racial socialism and state enforced racial injustice.

  22. How are children raised in places where such conditions prevail supposed to learn responsible habits? How fair is it to blame children raised in poor, lawless communities for turning out badly as adults? How would your kids do if they had been raised in those circumstances?

    First, guilty whites like you need to stop writing articles that are so nonsensical they should only be published at The Nation. How reasonable is it that everyone with shitty parents deserves no responsibility in how they behave as adults?

  23. This pretty much sums up the situation with black america – they were indeed kept down, measures were put into place to compel a path to pull them up, some made it, some didn’t, only to have the culmination of socialist policies (environmental, labor, welfare) push the overall economy back down for everyone, and pushing the marginal-area blacks back downward first and foremost.

    As for being responsible for how one turns out given surroundings, surroundings do play a large part in how people are conditioned. The question is, is “society” to blame? The notion seems to be, instead of seeing reality as the sum total of individual decisions but instead a “failure” of some ill-defined super-ordinate Force. It’s this belief in this Force which unleashes interventions which ultimately makes things worse instead of better. In other words, growing up in a shit hole may certainly contribute to a person being shitty. Or it might not. But throwing other peoples money at the “problem” certainly makes things worse instead of better. Once a solution for ANY ill revolves around the Super-Ordinate throwing other peoples money around, the results are just that much worse, all things considered.

    1. The question is, is “society” to blame?

      Even if this is the case. Then every black individual is just culpable in this society driven epidemic as every white individual is, since blacks are a part of society. And since they vote overwhelmingly for welfare statism and as a monolithic racial voting block at that, tells me that they are far far more culpable for their present situation than most people are willing to admit.

  24. Oh, lord. Chapman.

    If race and racism was the determining factor in the destinies of black Americans there would be no black middle or upper class. There is, and it’s been growing at an increasing rate for decades. “White guilt” leftists get stuck on skin color when the real issue is a combo of socioeconomics and culture.

    The Michael Browns of the world grow up in public housing surrounded by people who’ve given up (or never even started) trying to find a place in the world for themselves and have decided to blame their lot on society at large. They feel they are owed a living via public welfare and are contemptuous of the government that pays it to them. By the same token, the government isn’t overly concerned with the people it’s allegedly trying to help out of poverty as long as they don’t riot and keep voting the right way. There are good, hard-working, honest families who live in poverty, but they aren’t the dominant subculture in the projects. And your precious LBJ signed the law that props up the dominant culture, one that rewards theft, dishonesty, and violence, and disdains responsibility, good parenting, self-improvement, and industry.

    1. You see that dynamic in rural areas, and we call the results “white trash”, and no one wrings their hands on MSNBC and castigates the one percenters for not doing enough to help. Nobody says that having polls too far for carless poor in Appalachia to reach by foot is discriminatory. They renew Honey Boo-Boo for a second season and laugh at the stupid rednecks. Steve Chapman doesn’t write volumes about how we have failed white Americans who struggle with crushing poverty and discrimination, because, by definition, judging poor white trash by appearance and denying them opportunities afforded to people who wear polo shirts in casual settings isn’t discrimination by the standards of the left, because the skin color’s all wrong.

      So, Steve, if you really do weep for the Michael Brown’s of the world, start by dismantling the Great Society. Or shut the fuck up and spare us your shallow, racist, crocodile tears.

      1. You might add:
        – the oppressive drug war
        – the regulatory state
        – gubbermint schools

        It’s hard for me to decide which most hinders access to the free market by the poor: victimless crime laws or the regulatory state?

        I think probably the regulatory state, although I know victimless crime laws and the police state are more visible.

        1. None of the other injustices would be possible without those gubmint schools to teach lies and false morality that support immoral and stupid policy.

          1. According to today’s CS Monitor cover story – the rise of Federal involvement in schools is all due to Reagan…

            http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/E…..-are-today

            1. I’m not in love with Reagan or the popular conservative construct of what it is that constitutes “Reaganism”. With literally 2 or 3 notable exceptions, I readily accept that every US president utterly fucked shit up.

        2. I’m going with regulatory state. Victimless crime laws eliminate a few possible avenues of wealth generation, but if the products weren’t prohibited, they’d be significantly less lucrative, I suspect. The regulatory state puts a molasses wading pool in front of every economic opportunity.

    2. “If race and racism was the determining factor in the destinies of black Americans there would be no black middle or upper class.”

      You don’t appear to have given this much thought. You also appear to be confusing being on the wrong side of the race issue with poverty. You are not listening to what the protesters in Ferguson are saying. Instead you are putting your own words and feelings into the mouths of others. What you are doing here is dishonest and hateful.

      1. You are not listening to what the protesters in Ferguson are saying.

        Which is what, exactly? And are we talking about looters or peaceful protestors? The peaceful protestors are asking for more accountability from their government and police, something everyone here even if they think the initial shooting was justified is in agreement with.

        Instead you are putting your own words and feelings into the mouths of others. What you are doing here is dishonest and hateful.

        Well, Brown is dead so it’s a little hard to get his input on this matter. But there have been some looters captured on tape justifying their actions on the basis that property owners are responsible one way or another for what happened, so this is totally acceptable retribution.

        Which doesn’t contradict what wwhorton said.

        1. “Which is what, exactly?”

          You can see for yourself at various other places on the net. Try twitter.

          “And are we talking about looters or peaceful protestors?”

          You seem to be implying that the looters are protesting too, only not peacefully. Am I correct?

          “Well, Brown is dead so it’s a little hard to get his input on this matter. ”

          It’s not hard at all. Just read wwhorton. He knows the thoughts and feelings of the Michael Browns of the world, and he tells us what they are.

          1. Don’t play “google it” games with me. You made the claim, now show your work.

            1. ” now show your work.”

              If you want to learn something, ie what the protesters are demanding, it’s YOU who have to do the work. I can’t do it for you. I suggested you try twitter. Check out the Ferguson page, or don’t.

              1. Prove your own damn claim, stop telling me to do it for you.

                1. What claim of mine needs proving? You seem confused. I’m not telling you to do anything. If you have no interest in learning what the protesters of Ferguson are demanding, fair enough. I just don’t see what it is you want of me. If you disagree with anything I’ve said, you are doing a good job in hiding it.

                  1. WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY DEMANDING, MTRUEMAN?

                    Jesus Christ, just copy and paste if nothing else for fuck’s sake.

                    You called somebody dishonest and hateful but couldn’t even provide one piece of evidence to show dishonesty, nevermind hatefulness.

                    Here you are again, making vague and substance-free claims and accusations, and when called on it refuse to back them up.

                    1. “WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY DEMANDING, MTRUEMAN?”

                      I keep repeating myself. You really want to know what they are demanding, ask them yourself. I’m not a spokesperson for the Ferguson protesters. Don’t want to check with the protesters directly? Try asking our resident psychic, wwhorton, who knows the thoughts and feelings of America’s dark skinned ones.

                      Hope you got it. I’m not here to hold your hand. If you lack the commitment to actually look into the issue yourself, there’s no point in discussing. You can continue to beg for cites and links from me, however, if that’s how you want to spend your time.

                    2. Goddamn you are weaselly good for nothing son of a bitch.

                      Don’t call people dishonest if you can’t bother to show what the truth is.

                    3. For the nth time, if you are curious to see what the protesters at Ferguson are demanding, go directly to their twitter page. You really don’t need me to mediate for you. Or wwhorton, either. He dangles his psychic powers before us, and you go ahead and believe his lies if it suits you.

                    4. Fuck off, you lazy, narcissistic asshole.

      2. You are not listening to what the protesters in Ferguson are saying.

        As far as I can tell, they are unhappy with the policies of their PD and they are unhappy with their city government.

        What are people outside Ferguson supposed to do about it?

  25. Sounds like Chapman has a powerful case of Passover Syndrome.

  26. How exactly did this article make the cut to be featured on this site? I’m used to such sub-par quality writing with a clear lack of argument and research and an overabundance of generalizations, platitudes, and emotional appeals from the likes of the Chicago Tribune or the Washington Post, but Reason should be well above that bar.

    If you think you have a point, use logic and reasoning to argument it and support it with factual and objective data.

    1. I’m wondering the same thing. I’ve read Reason since 1990-ish, and over the past couple years I’ve noticed a precipitous drop in the quality of its print articles. And the online articles fare even worse.

  27. White children may not fear the police – but they SHOULD…

      1. Especially if they have a dog.

    1. Freight trains are stupid and easily kill you if you get in their way or get stuck in a railway crossing. Do you fear them? I don’t. I just make sure I deal with them carefully when I encounter them. Same with police.

  28. The American Thinker posted an blog post about why no rioting over these deaths in Chicago http://www.americanthinker.com…..eaths.html That look almost like the movie “Boyz n the Hood”.

  29. White teens have little fear of police, but black teens generally view them with mistrust. I quit reading there as a white person in a white town you still have to fear the police because your the only people to be suspected.

    1. Maybe white teens own fewer dogs.

    2. Not only that, the problem with cops isn’t racism. That dead horse just can’t get beat enough. The problem with cops is their qualified immunity. They are unaccountable state protected thugs. That a cop is or isn’t racist is so peripheral it’s irrelevant to the issue of police aggression.

  30. Steve, thanks for the thoughtful article. It would be nice if we didn’t throw hundreds of thousands of people in jail for drug offenses. That’s the first step for me. The next would be to stop spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense spending and use the money to build better schools, community centers, etc. and definitely not to put more police on the street.

    The comments for this article are wery illuminating–straight out of Der Stormfront. Most of you guys belong there it seems. Pathetic. Black people are responsible for drug laws that we’re put in place by social conservative scolds? Yeah, sure.

    1. Up until recently, the drug war was enthusiastically supported by both sides of the political spectrum and by all races. Even now, the racial difference between support for the drug war is insignificant and in some polls is more favored by blacks than whites.

      The reality is that people who aren’t directly affected by the drug war don’t give a shit about those who are, because just like you they are “doing what’s right” to help those who “can’t help themselves”.

      They are acting on the same instinct that inclines you to say “build more schools and community centers in poor black neighborhoods!” If you had ever been to an actual inner city, you would know that they are chock full of schools and community centers, all built by well-meaning good-intentioned people who gosh darnit just want to help.

      Never at any point is the underlying premise that some people are subhuman truly examined.

      Yet anyone who points out the paternalistic and condescending nature of this attitude belongs at Stormfront. Truly, a feat of mental gymnastics.

      1. Never at any point is the underlying premise that some people are subhuman truly examined.

        To clarify on this a bit, if education and community matter to people, then they will provide those things for themselves. Outsiders rushing in to build schools and community centers does not magically create the conditions in which education and community will be valued.

        There is always a mixture of internal and external factors playing a part in the decision making and outcomes of people. But absent a natural disaster or serious calamity, people can be expected to do the things they want to do, and conversely the things people are doing can be inferred as the things they wanted done.

        So if they’re not doing the things you think they should be doing, then it must be because they don’t want those things. We can look at the reasons why, but to say that you must “help” them is to treat their own decision making ability as inferior to yours.

        This is how the progressive-socialist worldview treats certain people as subhuman. In our country, there is a racial/ethnic aspect to it, but in many other places the same dynamic exists without the racism as a convenient excuse.

        1. I’m glad you clarified– lest someone think that a person using the term subhuman in the context of a discussion on race spends at least a little time on their weekends wearing a white robe with a pointy hat.

          I’m saying that I don’t want people who are buying, selling, or using drugs to go to jail. And that I like the 14th amendment’s equal protection clauses. Your embarrassingly simplistic notions of what progressives want is laughable. American Socialist is not the ghost writer for joe Lieberman, fyi

          1. I should have known you would lack the reading comprehension to understand that I was accusing you of treating others as subhuman, not implying that I think anyone is subhuman.

            You also failed to respond to any of my points, which again is also unsurprising.

            But please do enlighten me to the progressive agenda, which apparently is misrepresented by your own words.

    2. For a guy with so much ideologically in common with the NSDAP, it’s funny that you’re calling a bunch of libertarians Nazi supporters.

      1. Yeah, right, I support social security and like to camp in national forests that I think should be free of private sector exploitation– ergo, I’m a Nazi. Sure.

        What does the term “racial socialism” mean, mr. Frei Korps? Is that like when someone thinks that CEOs aren’t that great and should have their taxes raised? Sign me up for that club? Is it led by racial pimp hustler (h/t bill o’reilly) Jesse Jackson?

        1. Sorry, got my foxnews right-wingers confused. I meant tucker Carlson , not bill oreilly. Is he still wearing a bow tie?

        2. Regulation, taxation, and welfare. That is your agenda.

          This trifecta affects different groups of people disproportionately because they live in different situations. Rural white trash lives out in the boonies, where the laws are fewer and their enforcement is laxer. Inner city blacks live under the boot of urban governments, where the regulations are beyond comprehension, the taxes are astronomical, and the welfare runs like water from a fire hydrant.

          If you had a coherent ideology, you would draw the line at one aspect of the agenda. But you just can’t help yourself and see the jackboot as the solution to every problem.

  31. If I wanted to read complaints about institutional racism, systemic discrimination, the ‘pertinence’ of articles favoring reparations, dismissing ‘positive behavior,'” and gratuitous bashing of unnamed Republicans and conservatives, I’d just apply for another bachelor’s degree.

    Why is this in reason, again?

  32. I can’t decide whether Chapman is a useful idiot for race baiters or simply too stupid to recognize that he is a racist elitist himself.

    1. That was not meant to be the entire substance of my comment, but apparently Reason is trying out a new feature of randomly swapping the preview and submit buttons. Anyway…

      I normally do not attack the writers of this magazine, but this article is indefensible.

      According to Chapman, libertarianism is a white ideology. The Iron Laws only apply to white people. Black people are special snowflakes who can’t be held responsible for their actions, and who are immune to the results of state action as long as it has been magically washed clean by the good intentions of white liberals and stamped with the imprimatur of race hustlers.

      You are a fucking paternalist who infantilizes people based on the color of their skin. You are part of the problem, and until you are willing to own up to that fact, and either explain yourself as a racist or recognize the consequences of the policies you support and oppose, you really don’t belong writing here.

  33. Yeah, they live in a world where it’s okay to charge a policeman or a neighborhood watch guy and try to smash their brains in. Or a world where it’s okay to strong-arm the Pakistani guy at the market for a box of cigars. Or a world where it’s okay to loot the Payless Shoe Store. A world where it’s okay to threaten witnesses. A world where it’s okay to hang out a polling place dressed up like Huey Newton and twirling a nightstick.

    I hear they have a maps app that will help you avoid that world.

    1. “Yeah, they live in a world…”

      It’s not, as Chapman says, a different America, but rather, according to you, a different world. Yet more muddled thinking.

  34. Participating in self-government is a hallmark of citizenship. But Republican legislators in state after state have adopted laws aimed at preventing blacks from voting.

    Lack of voter participation in Ferguson is obviously a choice and not due to voter ID laws: turnout among blacks for Barack Obama was 55%, but for municipal elections, it was only 6%.

    1. I will say this again, how does an election with only 6% of the population casting votes have any legitimacy?

      If 94% of the population does not participate in the election, then it’s safe to say they have no confidence in their government and thus it has no claim to continued existence.

      1. Of course, the government of Ferguson doesn’t have legitimacy; Ferguson is obviously in a state of chaos and anarchy.

        But that is nobody’s fault other than the residents of Ferguson. It’s their responsibility to run for city council and to go out and vote. That’s how government in the US works. If you can’t be bothered to get active, you’re going to live in a dump.

        The city is 67% African American, it could easily have an all-black city council and police force, and outlaw the use of deadly force, if that’s what its residents want.

        How do you think Ferguson should get a legitimate government? Should Obama helicopter in a city council? Should the Almighty send down a choir of angels to run the city?

        1. The city government should disband. Localities have disincorporated before. Ferguson is still part of a state and that state is still part of a nation. If the people can’t be bothered to participate in their city government, then it’s clear they have no interest in having a city government.

          This isn’t some appeal to anarchy, either. Every state has unincorporated communities, and none of them to my knowledge have turned into Somalia.

          1. And how is discincorporating going to fix their problems? The people of Ferguson wouldn’t have voted for the other government either, and it is going to be even less representative.

            Besides, what makes you think the county or state want these problems and these people on their hands?

            1. Somehow I doubt the police are going to be out in force if nobody is paying them. The mayor can’t threaten to arrest protestors if there is no mayor. The chief of police can’t stonewall if there is no chief of police.

              If the State of Missouri doesn’t want Ferguson to be part of the state, then it can stop collecting taxes from the residents of Ferguson. The same goes for Saint Louis County and the United States as well.

              To say that the government must remain in place despite a lack of interest from the people because people in other localities want it to stay is to admit that the government is not representative and exists to control rather than to serve.

              In which case, why hold elections at all?

              1. Ferguson is representative of the blacks who voted and the portion of the 33% of non- blacks that voted. It’s idiotic to discount the minority that live there. Are you going to let an angry mob go into the 33% of homes and kill them and take their belongings? Your point is very weak.

  35. It sure would have been nice if Chapman had maybe included some citations to other sources. Guess we’ll have to just take his word for it.

  36. Black America just wants to be treated with the respect due a peaceful law-abiding citizen just like Whites.
    And they’re going to keep rioting and burining down buildings until they get it…

  37. “Black Americans still live in a different country, with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards than those faced by others. It’s easy for whites to forget that.”

    Black Americans live in a newly self created different country, with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards. It’s easy for rich, white, self-important know-it-alls to impute that black people as a group share the same values as white people, then claim that any group differences noted must be due to racism. It’s difficult for rich, white, self-important know-it-alls to admit their ignorance of other people’s motivations, when they are so self-important they can’t possibly fathom that some cultures really are different and worse than others because to understand this basic fact destroys their multicultural and morally relativistic fantasies.

  38. Mr. Chapman sides with the white apologists that are middle and upper class that have bleeding hearts (3rd generation). While he listens to black kids going into his downtown office, while other whites are Big Brother to a hood rat for a day, in the neighborhoods there are generations of blacks living in filth, in houses that have NEVER been cleaned with a single disinfectant product. In chicago they call the Jewish mayor a racist for closing half empty schools, and bleeding hearts agree that whites are the problem. At times there are not enough police, then sometimes there are too many police, depending on who the black community needs to assign blame to for that particular piece of violence.

  39. I’m a recent imigrant to America. I’m white. Came here in 2005 . Am I also required to feel guilty? Or am I getting a special treatment here?
    People in this country do not realize what they have. Immigrants like me starting with few hundred dollars built businesses here and are hiring Americans (white and black). They came here with nothing. Somtimes not even language and they thrive. How so? How come they can make living and be happy and people born here have “problems”and “can’t deal with the stress anymore” and “can’t find a job”. Excuses.
    It really bothers me – there’s an entire society demanding from the other society give aways just because. How did it work out for Liberia? It NEVER works.
    I don’t follow this story closely but this is my impression of and my thoughts about this situation: I would gladly get rid of police and can’t stand them most of the time but fighting because a black grown ass MAN was shot after he stole from hard working person and humiliated this person in front of people by showing him like he was a dog- no way! I don’t actually give a shit about this thug. I would like to find out though how is the owner of the store and his family.
    *coment to my coment- I’m voicing my opinion and I’m willing to talk about it and discuss it. These above are actually not rerhorical questions. I would be very happy if somebody gave me an answer.

  40. “Black Americans still live in a different country, with different rules, different dangers, and different rewards than those faced by others. It’s easy for whites to forget that.”

    Dude, what effing country do you live in? It is absolutely impossible to go a damn day in this country without hearing how tough black people have it. It is on the news daily, politicians constantly bring it up, it is slammed down our throats while in school, and activists and community organizers constantly lament it.

    Maybe the real problem is that you are beating a dead horse. When the facts don’t match the narrative you get apathy and it is apathy you are seeing, not blissful ignorance.

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