Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Reply to Professor Lynch

Academic journal article Mankind Quarterly

Reply to Professor Lynch

Article excerpt

It is difficult to take seriously the arguments of anyone who imputes base motives to those with whom he disagrees. When Professor. Lynch calls the paper I co-authored with Glayde Whitney "purposefully misleading or completely naive," he has abandoned scientific discourse for emotionalism. It is perhaps this emotionalism that accounts for the surprisingly elementary errors in his own analysis.

Lynch makes essentially the following points:

Whites are more likely to suffer violent crime at the hands of whites than of blacks.

Professor Whitney and I say there is more black-on-white than black-on-black violence but the reverse is true.

It is meaningless to compare the rates at which blacks commit violence against whites with the rates at which whites commit violence against blacks because there are more potential white crime victims to begin with.

Whitney and I justify racial profiling on the basis of inter-racial violent crime.

Arrest data may give a distorted picture of racial differences in crime rates because the police are biased against blacks.

Racial profiling violates important principles of democracy.

Let us take each point in turn.

Lynch announces with great fanfare that most violent crime is intra- rather than inter-racial, suggesting (a) that Whitney and I were unaware of this and that (b) any interest in inter-racial crime is misplaced. First of all, we presented these data in our original paper. It is tedious to quote oneself, but Lynch's off-the-- mark criticism makes it necessary:

We find that in 1994 6,830,360 whites were victims of violent crimes, and that 16.7 percent (1,140,670) reported that the perpetrator was black. Blacks were victims of 1,100,490 violent crimes, of which 12.3 percent (135,360) were committed by whites.

It is obvious from these numbers that inter-racial crime is less frequent than intra-racial crime, and Whitney and I saw no reason to call attention to anything so well known or obvious. At the same time, it is clear there is far more inter-racial crime than the two percent Lynch cites several times in an attempt to persuade the reader that Whitney's and my interest in such crime is somehow unwarranted. Lynch offers no source for the two percent figure, and it is contradicted by his own summary of 1999 figures for inter-racial violence in his Table 1, where we find that no fewer than 13.3 percent of violent crimes are interracial. His two percent figure remains a mystery.

In a multi-racial society in which ethnic friction can give rise to resentment, demonstrations, and even rioting, it is imperative that we understand the nature and extent of inter-racial violence. If we are serious about resolving racial conflict we should investigate all areas in which such conflict arises. Congress itself has recognized the importance of at least one aspect of inter-racial violence in its requirement that the Department of Justice collect national statistics on bias crimes and issue annual reports.

Lynch next investigates the question of whether there is more black-on-white or black-on-black crime. He goes to a great deal of trouble to construct a hypothetical City X of 100,000 population that has the same racial proportions as the nation, and determines - from a partial analysis of 1999 data - that City X would have had 260 black-on-black crimes and 243 black-onwhite crimes. In City X, blacks choose blacks as victims 51.6 percent of the time and whites as victims only 48.3 percent of the time. Taylor and Whitney are refuted!

There are two problems with this analysis. First, there is no reason to invent City X. Lynch has done nothing more than take national crime and population figures and apply them to a statistically representative sample of 100,000. Why not just use the national figures? Nothing is gained by scaling the nation down to a population of 100,000. What is more, despite much indignation at Whitney's and my supposed methodological errors, the method Lynch uses for 1999 data is essentially the same as the method we used for 1994 data. …

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