I thought your response was great, and I think we’re mostly on the same page.
I have trouble using “The black population ratio” since I believe it is a misleading label as is the wealth inequality label, which is why I choose the “culture” label.
Well, those labels are explicitly correct. But as you point out, none of this is necessarily causal.
The black population ratio can be misinterpreted as a “causal” contributor to violence versus a correlated variable. Poverty or wealth inequality are a bit more predictive at the community level less at the individual level. At a personal level I see no predisposition to violence among my African American grandchildren most of whom are growing up in affluent communities.
After unpacking the AA issue both at the research level, and at the personal level, I think your specific use of the word ‘culture’ is not only correct, it’s not going far enough.
I think the male AA community is trapped in an honor culture society, for dispute resolution, and honor cultures erupt historically when the participants in a society don’t trust the authority.
You see it in Major League Baseball, where a pitcher will wing a ball at the opposing pitcher as retribution for hitting a fellow teammate, because he doesn’t trust the umpire to appropriately punish the other pitcher. Honor culture.
You see the same thing with a subset of the black male community. They have no other route for dispute resolution, as they see it, due to a combination of (sporadic? systemic? probably varies by region) individual racism and the drug war, so they must resolve disputes among themselves. Sometimes with guns.
That’s my read. I don’t have great numbers to support it, but I have a lot of anecdotal evidence.
African Americans live disproportionately in “social groups” where high crime rates prevail because they live in “poor communities” that are prone to violent cultures.
I agree with a lot of what you said, but I want to point out something specific. The study in the root article we’re discussing did a multivariate analysis, so AA ratio and GINI coefficient were split apart mathematically. Each was a control against the other, and both were found to have a significant independent effect.
Various sociology studies have found culture rather than race or individual income status as the biggest predictor of violence. While violence among the poor is dramatically higher than other economic classes, it is concentrated among the poor living in “poor” cultures. So whites living in Appalachia or African Americans and Hispanics living in isolated urban ghettos share consistent cultural characteristics that are good predictors of violence. A high percentage of single parent household dominate these violent communities; joblessness is high; and education is poor. These are some identifiers that help to predict where “violent” cultures are likely to exist.
Again, this was a multivariate analysis, so you’re correct that you see violence in these communities, but then you see another layer in primarily AA communities, and the effects of the two could even compound.
But while we might use different labels for different reasons, it is the conclusion I mostly disagree with. I do not think legalizing drugs would dramatically reduce violence in those areas with high levels of violence today. Appalachia whites have been “feuding” for centuries, long before drugs were an issue in this country. Again it is a cultural issue, not a drug issue.
I don’t think legalizing drugs will have much impact on the Appalachian whites, but I do think it might do wonders to start restoring the relationship between inner city police and inner city African Americans, which is essential to untangling the honor culture issue. Appalachian whites probably distrust authority for deep cultural reasons related to their ancestors expulsion from England, or perhaps even from genetic predispositions for being Scottish.
It’s all about dispute resolution. Silicon Valley has a high GINI coefficient, but everybody there trusts the cops, so disputes are resolved with lawyers instead of Glocks.
Historically, when looking across successful attempts to change a “violent” culture to a less violent one, there has been several proven strategies. The first is a massive increase in law enforcement for nearly a generation. In effect, a whole generation of children must grow up in a “safe” environment. As such, to insure safety, individuals who commit acts of violence should not be allowed to return to their home communities. This imposition of “safety and security” needs to be matched with an emphasis on education designed to raise this “new” generation with a new set of values which reject violence as a tool and insures children graduate with the tools needed to access college or a trade. Finally, the community leaders must work hand in hand with the various organizations that promote peaceful social interaction… like churches, the Boys and Girls Club of America, after school sports, etc. The culture must “learn” a new way of resolving disputes…
I agree 100%. But I think you may be able to get to the end from two paths, more cops, or less laws. And more specifically, the goal is to restore faith in the police as an arbiter of disputes. So we also need better police.
As an aside, I do not dismiss your assertion that we need to find a way to make two parent families the norm, but it will be hard to do that given our current entitlement system which rewards the opposite.
I think this is an artifact of the sexual revolution itself. I think it’s impossible to put that genie back in the bottle, and I have no solution for it except perhaps for religion to take hold again. But for that to work, we’ll need to see some dogma updates, and quickly.
But it all starts with making the community safe… until it is safe, progress is limited… interestingly, if it is made safe, the biggest threat will come from higher income individuals moving into these poor neighborhoods and displacing the poor… but that is a different issue…
I’m not sure gentrification is all that bad, quite honestly. In Atlanta it happens a lot, but it also means more money coming into those neighborhoods to try and establish the programs necessary.