I’ve noticed that some of my white acquaintances who swear they aren’t racist will sometimes talk about the ‘sketchiness’ of an area of town. Usually those areas are mostly black people. But when they say sketchiness, they mean a perceived risk of being a victim of a crime.
And the joke one of my friends said is that if it’s the area of town with Martin Luther King Blvd, it’s probably the wrong area of town.
So I wonder about this. There’s South Chicago, there’s Detroit, there’s South Atlanta, there’s parts of inner city Houston…all areas with a strong African American community. Are any of them, well, good places to be?
And is this correlation or causation? Are the black people still there because they just don’t have the money to leave, and the actual cause of all the crime is a systemic police-force failure?
I’ll extend the question. Are there any majority-black countries that are finally prosperous and peaceful?
Prince George’s County in Maryland is a majority-black county. The crime rate is slightly above the national average, but it isn’t far above the national average. It’s the richest majority-black county in the U.S. and is quite a bit richer than the national average for all counties in the U.S. of any racial mix. Somebody’s going to Google on the county and say, “But, hey, it has a higher crime rate than nearby counties like Montgomery County and isn’t as rich as them either.” Yeah, and Montgomery County is one of the richest counties in the U.S. and has a crime rate well below the national average. (Note that by richest county I’m measuring by the average personal salary or the average family salary.
Everyone is so worried about being perceived as “racist”.
The urban “sketchiness” you’re friends are talking about is largely a product of “white flight” mostly from the 70s and 80s. More affluent white folk moving away to the suburbs while poorer black folk stuck in the cities, often in project housing. So those black neighborhoods tend to be poor and with that comes higher crime.
In other words, calling those neighborhoods “sketchy” is not racist, however they are often the product of racial policies.
To answer the OPs question, many neighborhoods in New York City that were once “sketchy black neighborhoods” are becoming gentrified. Although this is more of a result of affluent white hipsters and professionals moving in. Often the poor people get priced out and have to go somewhere else.
Here is a list of the ten most prosperous nations in Africa (which I assume are mostly black)
Black people are concentrated in poor communities because of systematic social and governmental efforts to do so. When the government started backing mortgages, they refused to issue them to white people in “mixed” neighborhoods. Real estate agents and others redlined neighborhoods to push black people into homogenous neighborhoods.
Black people were already extensively discriminated against, so on average were poorer than white people. Forcing them out of white and mixed neighborhoods created hyper concentrated poverty, which, in turn, made black people even poorer and more subject to discrimination.
There are actually many causes of more crimean those neighborhoods, but the original cause is the discrimination that created those neighborhoods in the first place.
Within the US it’s gonna be darn hard to disentangle the effects of SES with the effects of race. That chicken is so covered with that egg it’s ready to be breaded and deep-fried.
The other significant thing is the effect of culture. There is a middle class white culture and a poor white “trash” culture. They’re different. There is a middle class black culture and a poor black “ghetto” culture. They’re also different.
Neither skin color nor any putative under-the-skin differences directly cause any of these 4 cultures. But just like you inherit 100% of your racial makeup from your parents, you also inherit about 90% of your cultural makeup from your parents’ culture and the other 10% from your neighbors’ culture(s).
To the degree culture is what really matters here rather than brute genetics, Progressivism says we can, slowly and painstakingly over decades of sustained directed effort, improve culture if we can muster the will to do so.
It’s also the case that in today’s US, you inherit about 80% of your lifetime SES from your parents. Progressivism also says we can, slowly and painstakingly over decades of sustained directed effort, improve economic mobility and achieve a more meritocratic and productive society if we can muster the will to do so.
Some West African countries have lower murder rates than we do. Niger, Burkina Faso, Ghana and (surprisingly to me) Sierra Leone.
The common rejoinder is “poor countries don’t have accurate crime statistics” but I don’t believe that works for murder. As they say, murder is the one crime that can’t really be ignored or covered up, a dead body is a dead body, so for murder statistics id expect that what you see is what you get.
I have heard that Muslim African countries are generally safer than Christian ones. Niger is overwhelming Muslim, Burkina and Sierra Leone majority Muslim (though only within the last half century) and Ghana is about even I think.
That depends on exactly what you mean by “your parents’ culture”, there’s an important distinction to make here. Decades of twin studies have shown consistently that behavioral differences are roughly half explained by genetics and half by environment; but that, counterintuitively, the home environment has almost no effect at all. In other words, parental nurture explains almost none of your behavior, except in rare extreme cases of parental abuse. It’s principally the environment outside the home that matters - presumably that means the peer group.
…and excuse the misleading clickbait headline here, but this article contains many useful references:
If you brutalize a specific group for almost 300 years, then Redline them for another 50, then over police them till this date, you cannot then complain that or pretend that you aren’t the cause of a higher crime rate than the norm or wonder why they’re having a very difficult time assimilating into your very “egalitarian, and peaceful crime-less culture and society”
BTW, are you really a peaceful crime-less society better than say Tanzania or Kenya? How many countries on Earth today are those countries imposing their will on with soldiers and drones? How many countries on Earth today have anywhere the crime this country has? How many countries on Earth today have the number of citizens in prison as this country? How many countries on EARTH TODAY possess the ability to destroy every human being within 24 hours? How many countries on Earth today kill their poor citizens at the rate this country does through sheer medical negligence?
In all seriousness, I know I can name several mostly-black, middle-class neighborhoods in Queens that are no more dangerous than Astoria/Long Island City, where I grew up. But I don’t know the official stats so I can’t be 100% sure the OP would accept them as low crime.
But I know I could (and I have) walk through say, Hollis or Jamaica Estates or Far Rockaway without fearing for my safety. Is that good enough?
If you’re relying on official crime statistics you’re in the wrong game.
There is vastly more crime in poor areas, in areas of low value rental properties - inc. single parent households, in areas of low school ratings, in areas of higher unemployment, in areas with a high youth population. More than one factor may be present.
etc, etc, etc.
The largest single crime committed in the USA in the past decade was the 2007-8 banking crisis.
According to the Atlantic, only 8% of blacks live in concentrated areas of poverty in a large city.
So the other 92% of black people live above the poverty line, in suburbs, rural areas, etc.
I would ass-u-me that when people say a certain neighborhood is sketchy, they mean a concentrated area of poverty in a big city (Chicago south side, south central Los Angeles, etc).
I don’t know enough about the subject to say where the good neighborhoods are, but again the vast majority of blacks do not live in poverty in a big city anymore. So the poor parts of town in a large city are just a small percentage of how and where modern blacks live.
It doesn’t have to be “racism is correct” or “cops are racist”.
The bigger factor is simply poverty. Crime and poverty are strongly correlated, and black people in the US started out as the children of uneducated slaves. Even after slavery was outlawed, it was a long time before the playing field got anywhere near level, maybe just the last couple of generations, if at all.
Even if jobs are truly equal opportunity now, in a country with such low social mobility as the US we’d still expect the majority of blacks growing up in impoverished neighborhoods to never make much of themselves and for some to turn to crime.
Those studies they seem to be talking about ‘personality’. Seems to me two people with similar personalities could be in one case socialized to ‘play by the rules’ (not get into crime, finish school, postpone having kids till economically established, etc.) and in another case not. Whether a neighborhood has lots of crimes is not necessarily a direct function of the residents’ ‘personalities’. Which I guess is what you mean by ‘depends what you mean’ but not clear to me ‘personality’ in twin studies is really that relevant to macro social patterns.
Also abuse and neglect aren’t that rare, especially since a relatively few people account for a lot of serious crime, and here the discussion started at least with crime.
With due (not a whole lot) respect for the attempts of social ‘science’ at quantification, 90% of success coming from ‘culture’ imparted by parents seems high, but ‘almost none’ seems very low. For example, speaking of US society, if the typically high academic achievement of Asian kids doesn’t come from behavior or ‘culture’ imparted by parents at all, but just their peers, where did the peers get it? It came from somewhere that’s not fully reflected in white communities or the white or other kids in mixed communities with Asians. I don’t personally hold a secular-religious type belief that group genetic differences couldn’t possibly be any part of the explanation for such differences. But I recognize there’s no solid proof for group genetics as a cause, and I’d personally guess it’s not the whole reason, if any.
But saying achievement (as opposed to ‘personality’) differences have nothing to do with culture, which comes in part from the home in a diverse society, doesn’t seem to me consistent with some basic observations about achievement differences among various groups.
IOW the comfortable old saw repeated by Mijin ‘it’s all about poverty’ as a cause is pretty clearly untrue if you look beyond the old US divide of ‘white and black’ to the current more diverse US.
Likewise LS_Guy’s construct of ‘meritocracy’ by which he seems to mean equality of outcome by group. That would be nice. But the inconvenient fact is that success in objective measures of performance (excelling in school, finishing school, etc) is what really tracks most strongly with success in American life. ‘Connections’ help some people sure (always have, always will, everywhere). But the idea that academically incompetent young people with ‘connections’ push higher achieving kids to the margin, wholesale, is not the main US social reality. The ‘limited social mobility of the US’ is mainly kids of the higher echelons tending to perform better and kids of some groups (and areas, it’s not all about race either) performing worse. It would be an easier target for social reform it was really mainly direct inheritance of privilege regardless of demonstrated merit.