by Conor Friedersdorf
Jack Dunphy writes:
The real tragedy of this episode is that the genuine danger faced by blacks in America is not posed by racist police officers but rather by other blacks, particularly blacks armed with guns and lacking any moral constraints on using them. Black men make up only about 4 percent of the nation’s population, but in 2004 they accounted for 35 percent of its homicide victims, a figure I suspect has changed little since then. And the great majority of these black victims, as Mr. Gates surely knows, are killed by other black men.
But such facts just aren’t “box office” for Mr. Gates, who feigns indignation at his arrest but must be inwardly gleeful that his victim ticket has now been punched, courtesy of the Cambridge Police Department.
Several aspects of Mr. Dunphy's argument puzzle me. It is certainly a tragedy that many black people are murdered at the hands of other black people, but why is that "the real tragedy of this episode"? Whether or not it was justified, what does the arrest of a black Harvard professor on disorderly conduct charges have to do with the black murder rate?
Mr. Dunphy is right to assume that Professor Gates knows a great majority of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. So what? Why does Mr. Dunphy expect that a man being arrested in his own home -- rightly or wrongly -- would use the incident to draw attention to the utterly unrelated issue of black on black violence? What exactly would've been the transition in that press conference? "After being arrested today, I just want to say that black people should stop killing each other." Huh? I suppose if Mr. Dunphy thought himself wrongly arrested he would choose whatever social problem regards as most destructive for whatever racial group he belongs to and inveigh against it instead?