Will no one step up and protect the white people?
Old news here, but the Daily News reported last week that white people made up 10 percent of people stopped, questioned and/or frisked by the NYPD in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last year.
I didn’t know exactly what to say about this when it came out. I don’t think the News is using this as an excuse for the NYPD tactic, although there is some bit of ridiculousness in using the quotes “it matters what you wear, just don’t look like a hoodlum” and “maybe if we dress nicer people will leave us alone” by the one black guy in the story. But if you just look at the numbers it paints an interesting picture of where we are as a city/country.
That 10 percent figure is pretty much in line with the rate of the entire city: white people made of nine percent of the stops in New York, although precinct-by-precinct it’s often much lower. Now let’s look at the demographics of that neighborhood: according to the article, 59 percent of the 90th precinct is made up of white people.
An old stereotype we’ve had as a society is that people in the minority, by their very nature, are more prone to crime than white people. If you’re white and have grandparents you’ve probably heard all about it. Even Geraldo Rivera thinks so: he recently told the hosts of Fox and Friends, “when you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street.”
A variation on this has come up in the stop-and-frisk debate. People who are supportive of stop-and-frisk say that we’re just targeting high-crime neighborhoods, point to the results and proclaim its effectiveness. Hey, we’re just going after the criminals, and if they happen to live in black or hispanic neighborhoods, what are you gonna do?
But here is an example of a neighborhood — Williamsburg — where there are tons of white people walking around. And yet 88 percent of those stopped were black or hispanic. Suddenly the compelling argument by Nate Morgan, the mohawked, 20-year-old guitarist in the story, that it’s “not about race,” it’s “about class,” doesn’t really hold up.
Now, I don’t think Morgan was trying to make some broad statement about how racism doesn’t exist. And classism is an issue often confused with racism. But his assertion — “white people get messed with too!” — came to mind when I saw this cartoon:
That was published in the Daily Texan, a publication printed by my girlfriend’s alma mater, the University of Texas in Austin. She was a reporter there, and as she said, the Texan has a long history of fighting the good fight, running articles about integration on the sports teams, in the dorms, school-wide. And now they’re running thoughtless nonsense like this.
Let’s analyze this cartoon. First, the artist (Stephanie Eisner) spells Trayvon Martin’s name incorrectly. And it’s obviously race-baiting: white has arrows pointing at it, stressing the importance. The liberal media, its clear, just can’t help vilifying white people— except that George Zimmerman is not white, and no one in the media reported it that way. Finally, the use of the word colored is a nice touch, and a clear indicator of this artist’s mindset before drawing the cartoon.
But what is the cartoon really trying to say? By putting so much emphasis on white, Eisner is trying to make a very specific point that is central to much of what conservatives have believed over the last 20-30 years: white people are under attack. Is it by affirmative action? Al Sharpton? The Black Panthers? Liberalism? Eisner doesn’t say, but I’d imagine it’s any or all combinations of those things.
This isn’t the only racial controversy to come out of U.T. this year. Last month the Supreme Court agreed to take on a case about affirmative action that started when Abigail Fisher, a white woman, said she was denied admission to the university based on her race.
This, too, is an old refrain: affirmative action allows less-qualified minorities to achieve something that a white person deserves. But this is only actually true if you believe that, overwhelmingly, a white person is more qualified than any other person for literally any job or school. That is the only way you can make work the staggering numbers of white people in these institutions.
And what is U.T.’s admissions policy? Well, to start, if you place in the top 10 percent of your Texas high school class, you’re automatically in. Clearly, Fisher did not qualify. Once those spots are filled, there are a number of other factors that come into play, including academic achievement and, yes, race. But to imagine the University of Texas accepting so many minority students that white people have no shot at getting in? It just doesn’t stand up to even ten seconds of scrutiny.
As late as 2010, there were 25,662 white students at U.T. The next closest demographic was hispanics, who numbered 7,781 (a 4.1 percent increase from the year before and surely a reflection of Texas’ shifting demographics as a whole.) Black students numbered a whopping 2,146.
So what does this mean? Is it in any way possible that Fisher just wasn’t qualified enough to get into the University of Texas, a very good school with high standards? Or how about the possibility that she was borderline qualified, but the school happened to choose an equally or more qualified person based on the desire to make their learning environment more diverse?
No, the answer for Fisher is that she didn’t get in because she’s white. The answer for white conservatives is that affirmative action is unnecessary, and unfair to white people. The answer to conservative pundits and politicians is that mentioning race in any way actually makes you the racist, because, hey, we don’t see race, we think everyone should have a fair shake, ignoring the fact that we see white as the default in any situation.
The answer, to small-minded white people, is that we are the real victims. Will no one protect us?