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(British PM) Blair "blames rise in murders in the UK on black culture"

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(British PM) Blair "blames rise in murders in the UK on black culture"

Old 04-11-07, 09:32 PM
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(British PM) Blair "blames rise in murders in the UK on black culture"

Definitely provocative stuff that no US politician would ever say.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homea...054958,00.html

Blair blames spate of murders on black culture
Patrick Wintour and Vikram Dodd
Thursday April 12, 2007
The Guardian

Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem.
One accused him of misunderstanding the advice he had been given on the issue at a Downing Street summit.

Black community leaders reacted after Mr Blair said the recent violence should not be treated as part of a general crime wave, but as specific to black youth. He said people had to drop their political correctness and recognise that the violence would not be stopped "by pretending it is not young black kids doing it".

It needed to be addressed by a tailored counter-attack in the same way as football hooliganism was reined in by producing measures aimed at the specific problem, rather than general lawlessness.


Mr Blair's remarks are at odds with those of the Home Office minister Lady Scotland, who told the home affairs select committee last month that the disproportionate number of black youths in the criminal justice system was a function of their disproportionate poverty, and not to do with a distinctive black culture.

Giving the Callaghan lecture in Cardiff, the prime minister admitted he had been "lurching into total frankness" in the final weeks of his premiership. He called on black people to lead the fight against knife crime. He said that "the black community - the vast majority of whom in these communities are decent, law abiding people horrified at what is happening - need to be mobilised in denunciation of this gang culture that is killing innocent young black kids".

Mr Blair said he had been moved to make his controversial remarks after speaking to a black pastor of a London church at a Downing Street knife crime summit, who said: "When are we going to start saying this is a problem amongst a section of the black community and not, for reasons of political correctness, pretend that this is nothing to do with it?"
Mr Blair said there needed to be an "intense police focus" on the minority of young black Britons behind the gun and knife attacks. The laws on knife and gun gangs needed to be toughened and the ringleaders "taken out of circulation".

Last night, British African-Caribbean figures leading the fight against gang culture condemned Mr Blair's speech. The Rev Nims Obunge, chief executive of the Peace Alliance, one of the main organisations working against gang crime, denounced the prime minister.

Mr Obunge, who attended the Downing Street summit chaired by Mr Blair in February, said he had been cited by the prime minister: "He makes it look like I said it's the black community doing it. What I said is it's making the black community more vulnerable and they need more support and funding for the work they're doing. ... He has taken what I said out of context. We came for support and he has failed and has come back with more police powers to use against our black children."

Keith Jarrett, chair of the National Black Police Association, whose members work with vulnerable youngsters, said: "Social deprivation and delinquency go hand in hand and we need to tackle both. It is curious that the prime minister does not mention deprivation in his speech."

Lee Jasper, adviser on policing to London's mayor, said: "For years we have said this is an issue the black community has to deal with. The PM is spectacularly ill-informed if he thinks otherwise.

"Every home secretary from [David] Blunkett onwards has been pressed on tackling the growing phenomenon of gun and gang crime in deprived black communities, and government has failed to respond to what has been a clear demand for additional resources to tackle youth alienation and disaffection".

The Home Office has already announced it is looking at the possibility of banning membership of gangs, tougher enforcement of the supposed mandatory five-year sentences for possession of illegal firearms, and lowering the age from 21 to 18 for this mandatory sentence.

Answering questions later Mr Blair said: "Economic inequality is a factor and we should deal with that, but I don't think it's the thing that is producing the most violent expression of this social alienation.

"I think that is to do with the fact that particular youngsters are being brought up in a setting that has no rules, no discipline, no proper framework around them."

Some people working with children knew at the age of five whether they were going to be in "real trouble" later, he said.

Mr Blair is known to believe the tendency for many black boys to be raised in families without a father leads to a lack of appropriate role models.

He said: "We need to stop thinking of this as a society that has gone wrong - it has not - but of specific groups that for specific reasons have gone outside of the proper lines of respect and good conduct towards others and need by specific measures to be brought back into the fold."


The Commission for Racial Equality broadly backed Mr Blair, saying people "shouldn't be afraid to talk about this issue for fear of sounding prejudiced".

Mr Blair spoke out as a second teenager was due to appear in court charged with the murder of 14-year-old Paul Erhahon, stabbed to death in east London on Friday. He was the seventh Londoner under 16 to be murdered since the end of January, and his 15-year-old friend, who was also stabbed, remains in hospital.
I'm not sure I agree with him that it's necessarily a "black culture issue" or has economic or simply bad parenting roots, but it's fairly amazing to see the leader of such a huge country speaking so bluntly. We could use a little more of this over here.

Last edited by Hiro11; 04-11-07 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 04-11-07, 09:52 PM
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Who knows how long the guy will stay in office. He probably will say more stuff like this to go out with a bang.

I do wonder how accurate his comments are. I don't think there are too many black people in the UK.

New Orleans has already had 55 murders by the end of March. It is apparent that there is a serious violence problem there. Wish there was some simple solution.
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Old 04-11-07, 10:10 PM
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Wow, I must be dreaming. Kudos to Blair for having the courage to speak honestly about the problem.

Sadly, the statistics in the U.S. are pretty similar:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Pretending that one ethnic group is disproportionately represented in almost every category of violent crime won't make the problem go away. Neither will pretending that the criminal justice system is "racist" just because blacks are disproportionately incarcerated.
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Old 04-11-07, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
I do wonder how accurate his comments are. I don't think there are too many black people in the UK.
I think it's about 2%. I'm too tired to back that up with facts, though.
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Old 04-11-07, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Wow, I must be dreaming. Kudos to Blair for having the courage to speak honestly about the problem.

Sadly, the statistics in the U.S. are pretty similar:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Pretending that one ethnic group is disproportionately represented in almost every category of violent crime won't make the problem go away. Neither will pretending that the criminal justice system is "racist" just because blacks are disproportionately incarcerated.
The criminal justice system may not be itself racist, but there's certainly major race issues in incarceration and prosecution (especially with regards to the drug war).

We imprison more blacks (abour 4400/100K) than Apartheid South Africa (~800/100K). Blacks tend to be prosecuted and imprisoned more for drug offenses than their white counterparts as well.
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Old 04-11-07, 11:12 PM
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Yeah, Louisiana has something like for every 100,000 people, there's about 900 of them in prison, which is the highest rate in the country. Even higher than Texas.

But how about some stats from the UK?
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Old 04-11-07, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Wow, I must be dreaming. Kudos to Blair for having the courage to speak honestly about the problem.

Sadly, the statistics in the U.S. are pretty similar:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm

Pretending that one ethnic group is disproportionately represented in almost every category of violent crime won't make the problem go away. Neither will pretending that the criminal justice system is "racist" just because blacks are disproportionately incarcerated.

I think I read that the differences in the US statistics would be even greater if the governent didn't lump the white and hispanic statistics into one. I don;t know if thats true though.
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Old 04-12-07, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Puzznic
I think I read that the differences in the US statistics would be even greater if the governent didn't lump the white and hispanic statistics into one. I don;t know if thats true though.
The statistics I saw had hispanics (around 1100/100K) and whites (around 700/100K) seperated, they were US Dept of Justice figures. I'll look for the link.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11
I'm not sure I agree with him that it's necessarily a "black culture issue" or has economic or simply bad parenting roots, but it's fairly amazing to see the leader of such a huge country speaking so bluntly. We could use a little more of this over here.
Yes, that's just what we need. For Bush to start talking bluntly about black kids.
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Old 04-12-07, 01:50 AM
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Tony Blair yesterday claimed the spate of knife and gun murders in London was not being caused by poverty, but a distinctive black culture. His remarks angered community leaders, who accused him of ignorance and failing to provide support for black-led efforts to tackle the problem.
Does that not seem odd? It is as if the community leaders admit that he is right, blame it on the lack of funding of "black-led efforts," but are angered that he said the problem is what they are trying to fix. Am I reading that wrong?

Anyway, I think there is a distinct difference in what is called a "black culture" and race, anyway. If he were here, he would have used a term like "rap culture," or "gang culture," or something similar, and we would have know what he meant as well. Just like the term "urban" often refers to young black males.

Bill Cosby would probably agree with him, though. But there are enough people that would rather feel good than tackle the problem, so I don't see this going anywhere....except negatively for Blair.
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Old 04-12-07, 02:59 AM
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As much as I HATE to admit it, I can totally believe some of Blair's statement having seen what I've seen and lived what I've lived here in the States.
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Old 04-12-07, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Puzznic
I think I read that the differences in the US statistics would be even greater if the governent didn't lump the white and hispanic statistics into one. I don;t know if thats true though.
The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports do lump most hispanics and caucasians into the same "white" group, yes. Most national criminal stats are derived from these reports.
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Old 04-12-07, 07:30 AM
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Long, but this editorial is worth the read:

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2007-04-02hm.html

Time for the Truth About Black Crime Rates
The lessons of the Sean Bell case
Heather MacDonald
2 April 2007

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has the chance to transform not just New York, but all American cities, by breaking the taboo on talking about the connection between race and crime. Doing so would take courage that no politician has yet mustered. But after the manslaughter and assault indictments of three New York police officers for fatally shooting Sean Bell last November, Bloomberg has an opening: acknowledge that police officers may react too precipitously to perceived threats in charged urban settings, in exchange for a wide-open discussion about the sky-high black crime rates that encourage that reaction. Crime, not police racism, drives negative police-community relations in black neighborhoods. And until the crime rate comes down, tragedies like the Sean Bell shooting may reoccur.

After the Bell shooting, which occurred outside a Queens strip joint, critics of the NYPD followed the usual script: increasingly ugly charges of police bigotry (despite the fact that several of the officers involved were black); deployment of the threat-of-black-riots weapon; calls for convictions of the officers on the most severe murder charges; and the transformation of the highly aberrant Bell shooting into the very symbol of the NYPD. To his discredit, Mayor Bloomberg joined the rush to prejudge the officers. The day after the shooting, he declared: “It sounds to me like excessive force was used.” Even more irresponsibly, he deemed the incident “inexplicable,” thus fueling the belief that the officers could not possibly have perceived a deadly threat and all but guaranteeing that any acquittal of them would be viewed as proof that the criminal-justice system was antiblack.

Carefully omitted from the swirl of media coverage and the denunciations of the NYPD was any discussion of black crime rates. The New York Times did its usual best to shroud the issue. A March article, for instance, devoted itself to charges that the police were preying on the black community. After noting that more than half the people whom cops stop and frisk are black, Times reporter Diane Cardwell added: “City officials maintained that those stopped and searched roughly parallel the race of people mentioned in reports from crime victims.” No, actually, there is no “rough parallel” between the proportion of stops and the proportion of alleged assailants: blacks aren’t stopped enough, considering the rate at which they commit crimes. Though blacks, 24 percent of New York City’s population, committed 68.5 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city last year, according to victims and witnesses, they were only 55 percent of all stop-and-frisks. Of course, the Times didn’t give the actual crime figures. Even a spate of vicious assaults on police officers in the week before the indictments didn’t change the predominant story line that officers were trigger-happy racists.

But the context of the Bell shooting suggests a different picture. The undercover officers and detectives involved had been deployed to Club Kahlua in Jamaica, Queens, because of the club’s history of lawlessness. Club patrons and neighbors had made dozens of calls to the NYPD, reporting guns, drug sales, and prostitution, and the police had recently made eight arrests there.

The night of November 24, undercover officer Gescard Isnora, who fired the first shots at Bell, had observed a man put a stripper’s hand on his belt to reassure her that he had a gun and would protect her from an aggressive customer. Outside the club, Isnora (who is African-American) and his colleagues witnessed a heated exchange between Bell’s entourage and an apparent pimp over the services of a prostitute, during which the pimp kept his hand inside his jacket, as if holding a gun. After the hooker refused to have sex with more than two of the group’s eight members, Bell—presumably referring to the pimp—said, “Let’s fuck him up,” and Bell’s companion, Joseph Guzman, said, “Yo, get my gun, get my gun.” Isnora reported these exchanges over his cell phone to his colleagues in the area.

Feeling the danger level mounting, Isnora retrieved his gun from his unmarked car. When he returned to the scene, Bell and his two companions had gotten into their car, ready to drive away. Isnora thought that a drive-by shooting of the pimp could be imminent, and so moved to question the car’s occupants. He held out his badge (by his account), identified himself as a police officer, and told the car to stop. Instead, Bell drove forward and hit Isnora and a police minivan, backed up, and then slammed into the minivan again, nearly hitting Isnora a second time.

Isnora, who was standing on the passenger side of Bell’s car, claims that he saw Guzman reach for his waistband. Believing that he faced a deadly threat, Isnora opened fire. The four other undercovers and detectives at the scene also started shooting, killing Bell and wounding Guzman and Bell’s other companion in the car, Trent Benefield. No gun turned up in Bell’s car. (Benefield alleges that Isnora began shooting before the car started moving, which is absurd. The barrage of 50 bullets was so fast that no witness at the scene remembers hearing more than eight rounds fired off. Bell was undoubtedly killed as soon as the shooting started, and so wouldn’t have been able to move the car forward and back and forward again, as he did. None of the officers had ever used their guns before, moreover, despite making hundreds of arrests, including for gun possession. These were not trigger-happy cops.)

Without question, the results of this episode are horrific. And the tactics stank—Isnora should never have left himself as exposed as he was. But was the officers’ perception of a deadly threat so unreasonable as to make their shooting a criminal homicide? If a judge or jury finds that they did not reasonably believe that they faced an imminent use of deadly force, then, according to the woefully inappropriate criminal code, their actions fall within the literal definition of manslaughter. (Showing what appears to be arbitrariness, the grand jury indicted two of the officers for manslaughter and assault—even though one of them, Isnora, did not even hit Bell—and a third for reckless endangerment, but didn’t indict the remaining two officers, even though all had fired their guns.)

Isnora and his colleagues knew the following, when they saw a car racing toward them whose occupants they believed could have guns: shootings at after-hours joints like Club Kahlua are by no means uncommon. Just the previous month, a patron had been fatally gunned down outside another Queens club, the third lethal shooting there in three years. This March, a club customer in Brooklyn tried to blast an off-duty cop’s head off after the two had unintentionally bumped into each other on a crowded dance floor.

Isnora and his colleagues did not know the following, but it’s a further indication of the reality of crime in New York: Bell, Benefield, and Guzman had all been arrested for gun possession in the past, according to the New York Times. Further, Guzman had a long prison record, including a sentence for an armed robbery during which he shot at his victim. And Bell and his entourage were dealing drugs, an activity highly correlated with violence.

These specific facts about the Bell shooting are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of data points that reveal a hard truth: any given violent crime in New York is 13 times more likely to have a black than a white perpetrator. While most black residents are law-abiding and desperately deserve police protection, the incidence of criminal activity among young black males is off the charts. “A black kid between the ages of 18 and 24 is the scariest thing to cops,” says a police attorney, “because they know how crazy it can get.” And this is true whatever the officer’s race.

The “public doesn’t get how frightened cops are,” says a former NYPD commanding officer. “Cops are reluctant to articulate everything that goes into a shooting incident,” says another former officer, retired assistant chief Jim McShane. “They’re afraid to say: ‘Are you kidding me? I was terrified. The guy was drinking; I told him to stop; I was afraid that someone was going to get shot.’ ” When an officer thinks that he is under deadly threat, he knows that any hesitation could cost him his life. NYPD officer Steven McDonald was staring down the barrel of a small gun in Central Park in the summer of 1986, held by a 15-year-old whom he had stopped to question about a stolen bicycle. Rather than immediately responding with deadly force, he paused—and was shot twice in the head and once in the arm, paralyzing him from the neck down.

Because of these realities, it’s possible that officers are quicker to perceive—and react to—a deadly threat when dealing with young black men than they would be with other demographic groups. (Even so, fatal shootings by the NYPD are extremely rare; fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, even rarer.) And it’s undeniably true that the much greater incidence of crime in black neighborhoods means that the police activity there will be higher, leading to a greater risk of the use of force.

The NYPD’s goal at this point—understandably and rightly—is to do everything it can to prevent the death of another Sean Bell. The department’s recently announced tactical review is more than justified. But the police can only go so far in ensuring that tragic errors, when they inevitably happen, do not happen to black males. Mayor Bloomberg has already pandered enough to antipolice activists. He should now cash in his political chips and speak the truth: the black crime rate is the most important determinant of how the police interact with the black community. Unless black leaders—real or media-created—muster the will to address the crime epidemic among black youth (most of it inflicted on other blacks), the ongoing carnage will almost inevitably include an infinitesimal number of accidental police shootings of unarmed men. Criminal activity among young African-Americans is the poison of cities and of race relations; if Bloomberg can force a conversation about it, he could help reclaim urban America.
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Old 04-12-07, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Birrman54
The criminal justice system may not be itself racist, but there's certainly major race issues in incarceration and prosecution (especially with regards to the drug war).

We imprison more blacks (abour 4400/100K) than Apartheid South Africa (~800/100K). Blacks tend to be prosecuted and imprisoned more for drug offenses than their white counterparts as well.
Factor in the income of the defendents in a sampling of these cases and then compare the average sentences of people who, for example, retain public defenders versus private attorneys. Review each case and look for true, specific comparatives, such as prior criminal records.

When you truly compare apples to apples in these cases, I think you will find that the disparity, if it exists at all, is far less marked than the high-level trend you stated would actually imply.
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Old 04-12-07, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
Yes, that's just what we need. For Bush to start talking bluntly about black kids.
That's not what I'm saying. You'll notice first of all that I don't necessarily agree with Blair's conclusions. My comments are not about the particulars of Blair's comments.

I was talking about how amazing it is that Blair is clearly expressing his opinions in a matter-of-fact way. The fact that he did it in such an inherently controversial topic and that his comments are virtually guaranteed to be taken out of context and overblown (as they are in this article) makes it even more impressive.

Given the opnion-poll-driven, focus-group-tested approach all US politicians seem to use these days, we never know what our "leaders" actually believe. They only tell us what their research indicates a statistically majority wants to hear. It's refreshing to hear someone speak their mind without checking with their "camp" first.
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Old 04-12-07, 10:24 AM
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Brits value intelligence in their leaders, and they don't seem to have much of a problem voting for people who are obviously intellectual in their outlook. I have my doubts that we in the United States share that approach.
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Old 04-12-07, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Tracer Bullet
I think it's about 2%. I'm too tired to back that up with facts, though.
Pretty close to what I found:

Black Caribbean: 1.14%
Black African: 0.97%
Black Other: 0.2%
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