The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bill Bennett bears his soul

Well.  I suppose I'll have to deal with this one.  Bill Bennett, former Reagan Secretary of Education, said on his radio show this morning:

I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. "

might help a bit, but not much.  There it is.  Might I ask our more conservative readers how they might want me to interpret this?  My initial thoughts:

1) The crime rate would go a lot further down if you aborted all the white babies.  But I don't think he was speaking of absolute numbers, now was he?

2)  I believe no one would say such a thing, or indeed excuse such a statement, unless in his heart he believed the problem was intrinsic to race, biologically.  In other words, deep in his heart, he believes black people are intrinsically not the moral equivilent of whites. 
A person who felt that blacks are, statistically, more apt to commit and be arrested for crimes, but that that tendency is due to social conditions simply wouldn't have said something like this--even if they believed it to be true.  Such people tend to phrase things a little differently.

So, my conclusion is that deep in his heart of hearts, he thinks blacks are barely educable heathens.  The fact that he was Secretary of Education is terrifying--because he had the ability to determine how tax dollars would be spent.  A person who deep down thinks that blacks are less is also going to believe it is pointless to support programs to effect social and educational change because, after all, like THE BELL CURVE says, nothing can help. 

Am I reading this wrong?  Is there anyone out there who can defend these statements as anything other than a racist attitude (Racist: my definition.  A person who ascribes significant intellectual or moral differences to different racial groups.)

I would like not to be utterly enraged by the barely submerged venom in a comment like this.  Any thoughts besides the obvious.  God, I'm trying to be polite here, and I'm not feeling polite at all.


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