This Christmas season there have been numerous riots over Air Jordans, fights in the food court, and other low stakes conflict. This may not exactly be new, but it seems a little worse this year. People go to malls to relax, shop, and enjoy themselves. They’re clean, self-contained, and generally orderly environments. But if too many unemployed and thuggish kids begin to hang around, things begin to go south fast. People with money looking to shop–mostly women, moms, couples–just won’t go there anymore. I’ve seen it happen to malls near where I’ve lived after they became hangouts for losers.
One of the most important requirements of a human being is to live in accordance with the truth and to speak the truth. There is something degrading about not being able to say what is happening and, instead, to say what one knows is not true. Abuse victims know this well, as they are threatened into shutting up or renaming abuse as something more palatable, i.e., Jerry Sandusky’s frequent talk of “horse play.” Communists demanded that mass starvation be relabeled sabotage, even by the victims who were dying! And politically correct commissars today–in the media, at school, on the job–demand that we not notice the race of wrongdoers even when the images are seen with our own eyes. To do so instantly makes the victim now the perpetrator, the perpetrator of the worst crime imaginable: racism. Thus, the victims of violence are compelled not to notice a pattern other than their age. It’s teenagers. “Yutes.” This description, as if they have no clothes, style, swagger, hairstyles, gender, and, yes, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The facts spoken in good faith should be spoken. It is a moral imperative. If the facts are wrong or need context, then so be it. This is not the first riot in history. Nor is rioting something unknown to whites, particularly of a certain age and when alcohol is involved. But when the media, individuals, and a whole society cannot state the obvious about what happened this Christmas season, or what is happening at the varoius illegal flashmobs, then we are degraded, and our collective ability to address reality is broken.
What has happened at these Air Jordan sales and at the Mall of America riots is obvious to everyone that was there and is obvious from every frame of video footage: black kids committed crimes in a characteristic way, that they are particularly dangerous when huge throngs of them misbehave together, that this kind of thing is really scary and quickly goes out of control, and this happens fairly often, predictably, and disproportionately. This is why respectable people of all races live certain places, are fearful of certain people, and want to send their kids to certain schools while avoiding others. It is a reality that denying will do no good to all of the victims of every background.
I’m skeptical of our ability to restore order, however. Most of this problem has been avoided with geographic isolation of one kind or another: whites and Asians moving to the suburbs, young professionals having doormen and security at apartments, living in gated communities, sending our kids to private schools. As respectable people are forced to interact less and less with the underclass, and as the upper class define that respectability in part by their unwillingness to state out loud who belongs to that underclass and how that underclass misbehaves, then the two groups are increasingly separate. The out group is increasingly unmoored from reality and standards. They are emboldened and fearless and more brazen and nasty than ever. The middle and upper classes have disarmed themselves morally and practically. The more respectable sorts have an increasing unwillingness simply to call out bad behavior by the underclass as disreputable, and their opportunities for doing so are fewer and fewer due to their mutual isolation.
We are becoming as if two different types of beings, divided like the helpless Eloi and ravenous Morlocks of HG Wells’ The Time Machine.