The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Aborting Babies...a Modest Proposal

Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd propose a rebuttal to Mr. Bennett, and toss it out for you guys to criticize.
REALLY want to drop the crime rate? Abort all male babies.  Really, though, what I'm suggesting is that in large part blacks commit more crimes (proportionately) than whites for some of the same reasons males commit more than females.  Now, that reason (males-females) is generally considered to be a combination of physical (hormonal) and cultural factors.  Let's assume that the physical factors between whites and blacks are relatively constant.  Do the cultural factors change?  Let's look at the ones I can think of off hand...

1) poverty.  Certainly a stresser.  Men have much of their self-identity tied in with being "breadwinner".  Deny them an honest way to make money, and they seem more likely than women to resort to violence.  Increase poverty, and you increase crime--all other things being equal.
2)  Perception of unequal justice.  Someone who BELIEVES the justice system is unequal (whether or not it is) will be less likely to obey it.  Throughout most of our history, men get more time in jail, are arrested more often, and prosecuted more often for the same crimes women commit.  the same is true of poor versus rich, and black versus white.
3) Perception of unequal opportunity.  Get a white guy who believes "they" are in control and "they" kept him and his daddy down, and you certainly create an outlaw.  Since for 3/4 of black history in America this was a demonstrable, inarguable fact, even if one believed the opportunities are equal now (!), it is clear to see that cultural mythologies, which take generations to mold or break down, would lag behind reality.
4)Gee, I'm having fun.  How about cultural images?  If males are shown dying in film and books to "bring home the bacon" or "protect the homefront", and this affects behavior, then what are we to make of images of blacks?  They are clearly presented in most film and television prior to 1990 as second-class, subservient, violent and/or stupid.  From my own personal experience, I can tell you that this was beyond disheartening--it was an horrific betrayal of trust.  I was taught to love America, and it was clear America didn't love me. What do you make of that?  What happens when a young boy loves his father, and there is neglect, abuse, or conflicted emotion?  Violent and criminal behavior is often considered to be associated with such.  I suggest a social parallel to this psychological, family dynamic.  Not all abused children become abusers, but most abusers were abused.  Or so the theory goes.
Anyway, just doodling, and thought I'd throw that out.  At the very least, statistically, the proposal to abort all male fetuses is sounder than the proposal to abort black babies.  And if some left-wing feminist had proposed such a thing, even jokingly, it would be considered hateful, sexist, and anti-male. 


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