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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Neanderthals Next Door?

There are so many news stories about former drug “czar” and US education secretary Bill Bennett’s revolting comments the other day, it was hard to find just one to link. I used this one, from MediaMatters.org, because it includes a transcript of the call, an audio clip, and his attempts at rationalization yesterday. I'm dizzy just imagining a rational person suggesting, much less defending, the termination of an entire generation of people.

Now, I don’t know Bill Bennett. Just as well, because I tend to have trouble controlling my reactions (and my big mouth) when I come across racists as overt as this one. It’s lucky for everybody, no doubt, that he lives far away (er…. doesn’t he?) – although I do feel sorry for his neighbors.

For some totally irrational reason, I usually assume that raving idiots like that are far from me. Surely, if I encountered somebody who thinks genocide is a reasonable solution (to anything!), I’d know this, right? I mean, wouldn’t they have fangs, or red eyes, or something?

Wrong. I’m amazed how many
bloggers are speaking out in support of Bill Bennett’s asinine remarks. Who are these people? Are they shopping, dining, laughing in my community? Are their children going to school with mine? AAaaack!

No – not everyone discussing Bennett’s nastiness (makes me shudder) is in the defensive position. I just don’t see how anybody could be!


  • At 2:19 PM, Blogger Lee Keller King said;


    I must respectfully disagree with your position.

    For one, I think that too many people are making too much of Bennett's statement, and taking it out of context (although I am happy to see that you provided a link to the clip, in context).

    I think that what he was attempting, in his inartful way, was to point out the absurdity of some arguments which don't take into account the moral ramifications the means of accomplishing a worthy goal. I am sure that he WAS NOT advocating genocide.

    Nowhere in his statement does Bennett support the "termination of an entire generation of people." He merely puts forth a hypothetical, which he then labels as an "impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing" to do.

    Furthermore, although unpleasant, I think the hypothetical that Bennett advances is a true statement. If that portion of (1)the cadre of youth that committes crimes and (2) is African American, was aborted, then the crime rate would go down.

    For what ever reason, it appears that the crime rate (not total crime, but per 1,000) is higher in the African American community than in the community at large. Arguing that Bill Bennett is a racist (and I think branding him a racist from one remark is taking too big a logical step) doesn't solve the problem. Ignoring the problem, or refusing to discuss the problem because it is not polite or "PC" will also not solve the problem.

    Or, are you suggesting that there are some subjects which cannot be discussed in our modern society? If that is true, then I fear that many of our problems will continue to fester. I would prefer that we have open discourse so that we can solve those problems which have solutions, and reduce the effects of those which are not solvable.

    God bless,


  • At 5:45 PM, Blogger Polimom said;


    You bring up some interesting things.

    I agree that Bill Bennett was not calling for action. And of course you’re correct – it was a big leap of logic to label him racist. If Mr. Bennett had framed his statement in other ways, I might not have done so. However, opening the entire hypothetical with, “But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could…”

    To say that one knows something to be true implies a belief system. It appears, in this case, to be a belief that blacks are the reason the crime rate is what it is.

    Nor can I interpret “...you could abort every black baby in this country” as anything other than a hypothetical genocide. The use of the word “every” makes it so.

    You said,
    "If that portion of (1)the cadre of youth that committes crimes and (2) is African American, was aborted, then the crime rate would go down."

    Leaving aside the required time lapse for the expected result, which crime rate would go down? If you’re using a national average, then what would happen to the crime rate in areas that are overwhelmingly white? Is your assumption that all crimes are disproportionately committed by black people?

    I don’t think crime and race should not be discussed; they absolutely should be. But since the subject of race – and race relations – in this country is so very sensitive (on all sides), people need to be sensitive of both the audience, and their own underlying belief systems.

  • At 6:41 AM, Blogger Polimom said;


    From this morning's Washington Post. Relevant to us both.
    A Specious Experiment

  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Lee Keller King said;

    Mr. Robinson writes:

    "I have a thought experiment of my own: If we put our racial baggage on the table and talk about it, we'll begin to take care of a lot of unfinished business."

    I think he is right. But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen (My faith in human common sense is not what it used to be).

    We are all products (or victims, as the case may be) of our upbringing. I was lucky enough that, although I grew up in Texas during the 50s and 60s, I had enlightened parents who discounted race, instead focusing on character. My father was probably unique in our town as having both black and white friends at a time when the process of desegregation was just beginning.

    Now, I cannot say that I never have a race-based thought. But as a Christian, I must overcome those thoughts and attempt to treat my brothers and sisters as what they are -- children of God. (I am reminded of the bumper sticker -- "I'm not perfect, but I'm saved.")

    I guess what got me interested in this whole furor is that Mr. Bennett is being pilloried for a single statment in an unscripted conversation on his radio show. Have we not each spoken words in haste, or off the cuff, that caused hurt to others? I know that I have, generally through no ill will, but just forgetting to "engage mind before opening mouth."

    Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, are Mr. Bennett's words so important? It is not like he is continually spouting racist nonsense like, say, David Duke and Cindy Sheehan. Personally, I would be more concerned about those (white, black, brown and yellow) who talk a good game, but whose ACTIONS don't live up to their lip service.

    Don't we have other more pressing things to deal with in this world? Recovery from Katrina and Rita? Finishing (one way or another) the Iraq War?

    Regarding the crime rate issue, I would imagine that the overall crime rate would go down, but I can't prove it. The crime rate in predominantly "white" areas would probably go unaffected, barring some other factors.

    Thinking about it, many criminologists think the decrease in the crime rate is from the increased incarceration rate, not from abortion. But that is a subject for another day.

    God bless,


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