Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Bennett's 'experiment' deserves no defense
How someone could back up the comments of Bill Bennett is beyond me. I was surprised that people in the mainstream media attempted to do so (Fox News anchorman Brit "The only black people I see are on TV" Hume). However, Scott Patterson's recent column "Bennett owes no apology" did just that.
Bill Bennett served as the secretary of education under President Reagan from 1985 until his resignation in 1988, and often ridiculed (heaven forbid) multicultural courses. In the conversation, which Bennett describes as a "thoughtful experiment about public policy on national radio," he was speaking with a caller about abortion and lost revenue from the aborted babies, who in life would have become consumers and eventually taxpayers.
He and the caller hypothesized about it, "assuming they were all productive" (i.e. did not sponge off the government). Bennett asked the caller about the "disproportionate" occurrence of abortions with single mothers. However, one could not link all single mothers to poverty, but that "fact" is assumed in this instance.
Of course, everyone knows the age-old equation "poverty = crime." Thus if you abort black babies, his argument claims, the crime rate would go down. There is no differentiation between poor or wealthy blacks, but it is only insinuated on the belief that a woman could not possibly support a child financially by herself - not with what their "traditional values" would allow anyhow. But that's beside the point.
Bennett's "thought experiment" is laden with the "traditional view" (i.e. conservative view) of American society, which is, of course, always right. His argument is an "extrapolation," as he puts it, of the "poverty = crime" equation. In it, he's saying because black children are typically born into broken homes, the child is raised by a single mother who is, of course, poor and unable to raise her child properly. Thus the child is going to commit crime. The result? An "unproductive" delinquent who, if aborted, would cause the crime rate to go down.
Well since we're making "morally reprehensible" suggestions, I suppose if you aborted every white baby, race-related hate crimes would go down, because every white child is predisposed to hating every other ethnic group and culture on this planet. Right? I'd like to see Mr. Patterson come out of the woodwork to support that comment as "factually accurate."
political science senior
Wildcat wrong to discuss issues of race, segregation
Scott Patterson is extremely short sighted in his support of William Bennett's comments last week ("Bennett owes no apology"). The outrage directed at Bennett was not only proper, it also wasn't severe enough.
Patterson states that Bennett's comment was factually accurate and goes so far as to endorse its conclusion. Unfortunately the syllogism is incorrect. Aborting babies of any race does not lead to a logical conclusion that crime will go down. Crime is the result of an economic system that unequally distributes wealth and education. The remaining babies while they grew would still be subject to society's
inequities and a resulting percentage would still turn to crime as a means of survival. People don't choose to become criminals; they are forced into that choice (and it is indeed a choice) through a lack of opportunities to better themselves.
Patterson's second point is also an incorrect assumption. Bennett's comment was racist. He singled out a class, blacks, in an attempt to make an absurdum. By using blacks as a race, any critical race theorist would point out that he is using "blacks" because of the fear in the minds of his white audience. He picked them simply because they were readily identifiable as "different" to whites. That in itself is a racial assumption coming from a white, Christian and Republican commentator. It may not have been meant as objective racism, but Bennett's motivations were all too clear.
And even though Bennett did not advocate it as a policy it does not make the statement any less racist.
Shame on Patterson for being so short minded, shame on Bennett (for as experienced as he is both as a veteran commentator and gambling addict he should know when to keep a poker face), and shame on the Wildcat.
The issue is so minor in the political realm that this article did no more than serve to fan the flames of racial tension on this campus, which is already subtly segregated and underinclusive. Please be more responsible in your editorial capacity. I would recommend that Patterson take a critical race theory class and gain a little diplomacy and experience in his political rants.
second-year law student