Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Correcting the Record

Heard a couple interesting misconceptions from a Republican friend of mine over the holidays that I thought might be worth correcting here.

First of all, crime-wise, while 2016 did see an uptick in violent crimes, it wasn't the most violent year in decades.  You have to go back to the Reagan administration for the most violent year in decades.

People do seem largely unaware of that fact, however:

As Pew has reported in recent years, in fact, the American public is "unaware" that the homicide rate in the United States has fallen by 49 percent over the past twenty years. And while Pew doesn't report on it, it's also a safe bet that the public is also unaware that homicide rates have collapsed as total gun ownership in the United States has increased significantly.

(The article linked-to above will displease both the left and right.  Leftists will be unhappy to know that as gun ownership has skyrocketed, violent crime has largely diminished.  Right-wingers will be unhappy to know that crime was at historic lows under the Obama administration.  Turns out black people can be in charge and gang warfare doesn't necessarily flare up.  Sorry!)

Also, there's apparently some talk that Michelle Obama was disbarred, or that she "surrendered" her law license to avoid ethics charges.  This claim is, flatly, bullshit.  And, given that this claim is bullshit, it's possible that the people who originated this claim, or actively circulated it, are bullshit artists.  It seems to have circulated mostly via chain email.

Finally: most African-Americans prefer to be called "black" people these days, not "negroes" or "colored".  It's true that these terms used to refer to African-Americans, but they haven't applied in many decades and shouldn't be used anymore.  I don't really think this point needs a lot of elaboration, but in case you remain baffled, here's a fine article from 1967 discussing the issue.  Speaking as a white man, I have no problem referring to African-Americans by whatever term they prefer be used, and should, within my lifetime, black people no longer prefer to be known as "black people", I will extend very basic human respect, adopt whatever term they prefer for themselves, and not lose a moment of sleep over it. 

Tomorrow I'll return to economics, the ecology, foreign policy, or something along those lines.  For today, I hope this post is helpful to those who are confused.

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