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Thursday, September 29, 2005

The three piece suited Klan

Charles Murray and friends discuss how black
people are animals.

This ran in theProspect

OP-ED PAGE TRENDS. Over at Duncan Black's place yesterday, historian Rick Perlstein, now at work on a book on Richard Nixon's southern strategy and the political dimensions of recent racial tensions, finally gave up circulating his post-Katrina op-ed to newspapers and put it to pasture on the blogs. That Rick, who'd never before failed to place an op-ed, couldn't seem to find this one a home was odd. It was timely, counterintuitive, sober, considered, and even important. It argued that reports of marauding bands of blacks were way overstated, that horror stories from the Superdome and tails of post-deluge drivebys were largely myth, as were similar fables that circulated after similar disasters in the past. That struck me as an important topic, the sort of thing we keep historians around for, but clearly the nation's op-ed page editors thought hysteria and reawakened racism were better for circulation.

Which brings us to today's Wall Street Journal atrocity. Penned by Charles Murray, he of The Bell Curve fame, it argues that what we're seeing post-Katrina isn't poverty but a once-again visible "underclass," a sort of shadow society of unsocialized black men with no appetite for work, no capacity to hold jobs, and no ability to be helped through conventional methods. They are, quite literally, savages, unable to function in the world the rest of us inhabit. They are, as he puts it, the "looters and the thugs," not to mention the "inert women doing nothing to help themselves or their children." And government attempts to craft helpful policy will fail because, after all, it doesn't matter if you give a gorilla a college loan, it's still a gorilla.

I've no idea where Murray got the idea that the New Orleans evacuees lacked jobs rather than cars and social skills rather than transportation -- from deep within his own prejudices, I'd guess. And where he got the concept that these men and women are somehow incapable of holding jobs and unwilling to send their children to school -- that's all similarly obscure. The absence of autos affects the social and the unsocialized alike; the folks you see on buses are often en route to jobs they hold, contra Murray, perfectly well.

But if his argument is flawed, its aim is clear. All those stories of urban anarchy were, to Murray, accurate, everyday manifestations of the Black people we'd hidden from sight. The normal explanation, that their assumed bad behavior was a reaction to extraordinary circumstance -- that was the wrong part. This had nothing to do with Katrina; it was part and parcel of an inferior race, an incorrigible culture.

The difference between he and Perlstein couldn't be starker. Where Perlstein set out to debunk the racialized hysteria, Murray embarked on a campaign to rationalize it. Where Perlstein brought historical insight to the issue, Murray simply asserted policy failures without offering a way forward. And where Perlstein found his op-ed universally rejected, Murray got published in one of the nation's largest papers. As has happened so often in the past, racial fable proved far more attractive than fact.

--Ezra Klein

You know, it's like a sewer opened up and all the racists are floating to the top like shit. I mean, this is just disgusting, and shows what a lack of minority managers in the news media leads to.

Murray doesn't want a way forward. He's a racist who wants blacks to disappear. I mean, I want to know what the hell the editors of the WSJ editorial page are thinking.

Murray knows nothing of black life, nothing about black people. Most of those people were low wage workers, not animals. Yet, this racist tripe ran on the pages of the nation's leading financial paper.

You know, if I was Bob George, I'd worry about these words. This isn't secret, or muttered in a chat room. You would get hammered for that in Free Republic. Even they don't tolerate racists like this.

I wonder how many Black Republicans will denounce these words? Or will they make yet more excuses for this.

Bill Bennett yesterday, Charles Murray today.

posted by Steve @ 8:13:00 PM

8:13:00 PM

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