Obama, however, marched on, leveraging the bloodshed to confirm other liberal tropes regarding a racist America. “Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.” Obama is yoking together disjoint realities. Even were the standard liberal narrative about poverty true, its alleged malefactors would still bear no responsibility for the Charleston horror.
But the standard liberal narrative is not true. The notorious “we” that has allegedly permitted “so many of our children to languish in poverty” and “attend dilapidated schools” has spent decades trying to eradicate black poverty. Welfare reform was a good-faith effort to break the cycle of intergenerational dependence. Republican politicians regularly churn out earnest policy wonkery and programs in the hope of raising more black children out of poverty. Black uplift remains an obsessive concern of white Republican philanthropists. I don’t know a single conservative donor who is not fervently trying to improve urban schools or provide scholarships in order to liberate pupils from that educational wasteland. That the educational establishment desperately and ludicrously caricatures those efforts as an attack on children does not make those initiatives any the less heartfelt.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof anticipated Obama’s speech with his own leap from the shootings into liberal bromides. America’s greatest shame in 2015 is not the persistence of the Confederate flag in the South, Kristof wrote, but the fact that “almost two-thirds of black children grow up in low-income families.” Kristof saw this statistic as a manifestation of racism: “The larger national disgrace,” he said, is that “so many children still don’t have an equal shot at life because of the color of their skin.”
(The Bureau of Justice Statistics stopped publishing its table on interracial crime after 2008, perhaps not coincidentally, the first year of the Obama presidency. The agency explains its decision on the ground that some of the estimates in particular crime categories, such as sexual assault, are based on sample sizes that are too small to be statistically reliable. But that is no reason not to tabulate data on the crimes for which reliable estimates are available.)
A black boy “has a life expectancy five years shorter than a white boy,” notes Nicholas Kristof as part of his litany of persistent white racism. A considerable part of that gap is due to the black homicide-victimization rate — six times higher than the white homicide-victimization rate. It is not whites who are responsible for that homicide death gap; it’s other blacks. Blacks commit homicide at close to eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined; among males between the ages of 14 and 17, the interracial homicide commission gap is nearly tenfold. Rare is the national protest and media blitz over those routine killings.
— Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal.