March 5, 2014

President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative

Filed under: Government, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:16

Jonah Goldberg thinks that Obama’s proposed “My Brother’s Keeper” should pass constitutional muster despite grumbling from the usual suspects:

The statistics are gloomy and familiar: One out of 15 black men is behind bars; one out of three can expect to be incarcerated at some point in his life.

The simplistic talk about how this is all the result of white racism misses the scope and nature of the problem. The vast majority of interracial violent crime is black on white. But most violent crime is actually intra-racial (i.e., black on black or white on white). Still, blacks are far more likely to die from homicide; half of murder victims are black, which may partly explain why black men in prison have a higher life expectancy than black men out of prison. And this leaves out all of the challenges — educational, economic, etc. — facing black men that don’t show up in crime statistics.

Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, also thinks the program is unconstitutional because there is no “compelling” government interest here: “It may be that a disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos are at-risk, but many are not, and many whites, Asians and others are. This is just another kind of ‘profiling.’”

Yes and no. Obviously there are at-risk youth of all races, but the problems facing young black men are so disproportionate, the difference of degree becomes a difference in kind. Yet, I also think Clegg is obviously right that this is another kind of profiling.

There’s an intriguing double standard that tangles up the Right and the Left. We’re told it is outrageous for government to assume that a young black male (in some contexts) is more likely to commit a crime; we’re also told that government should target young black men for help because they are more likely to commit crimes. Most liberals hate law-enforcement profiling but support — for want of a better term — social-justice profiling. For conservatives, it’s vice versa (though Clegg opposes both kinds of profiling, it’s worth noting). Yet the empirical arguments for positive and negative profiling are the same: The plight of young black men is different.

1 Comment

  1. This is not a race problem but a socio-economic problem, and also a family problem. Without strong role model and family figures children do turn to others that they see as successful. That may be the local gang leader, drug dealer or pimp. These criminals become the role models, and not a hard working figure in the house. The dysfunctional family then contributes to the problem by not providing sound guidance, no structure or discipline, etc.

    The only way to work this out is to find a way to stop the government dependency and get people on their feet, or back on their feet, even if they don’t want to be on their feet. You force them to find work by providing training and assistance. You don’t hand them a cheque and send them home, you bring them into a classroom and teach them something and then send them home with their cheque.

    I despise the do gooders out there who don’t allow the government to create work-fare programs that would lift people out of the welfare treadmill. There are good people out there who have lost faith and don’t care anymore, and there are bad people out there who will pump the system dry. As I have read elsewhere, if you reward people for not working, they will not work. Why should they?

    Comment by Dwayne — March 5, 2014 @ 10:27

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