Friday, April 19, 2013
Why I Call David Sirota a Racist Idiot
He wrote, paraphrasing a TV appearance:
I said that because most of the mass shootings in America come at the hands of white men, there would likely be political opposition to initiatives that propose to use those facts to profile the demographic group to which these killers belong.For support for his statement, he referred to the Mother Jones article on mass shootings in America which analyzed 62 mass shootings between 1982 and 2012. It is not a complete list for reasons difficult to fathom. 60 of the profiled mass shootings were by lone gunmen and two had two guys shooting. So the total number of shooters was 64 of which 44 were white men (only 1 was a woman) and 19 were men of another race. For guys of Sirota's ilk, with the stupendous intellects, that means that white men are doing most of the shootings and it must be some defect of character latent in their race that causes them to be the most. Or it might just mean that the number of pathetic and/or crazy white psychopaths who do mass murders represents roughly the number of whites in America as opposed to other races. Let's see.
44 divided by 63 (I left the one woman out of it) is 69.84%. What is the percentage of white people in America? Well, according to the 2010 census, it's 78.1% in 2011. Just over half of white Americans are women, of course, but I've left out women so the percentage of white men would be very similar, comparing apples to apples, that is, only American males. So actually the number of white male mass murderers is a small distance below the number expected of that demographic, assuming the desire to shoot a lot of people is equally distribited across the races. What about black mass murderers? There were 9 or 14.3% of the 63 murderers. Blacks made up 13.1% of Americans in 2011. So they're a little under-represented in the mass murder category according to Mother Jones. What about the rest, who are Asians? They're above 15% of the mass murderers but Asians only represent 5% of the American population. That ain't so good.
But you see the problem with Sirota's assertion right off the bat. There are so many white mass murderers, not because of something wrong with them, but because there are so many whites in the population. Nothing more.
If Sirota had talked instead about why women are so under-represented in the list, I would have listened--yeah, what's up with that? But he didn't. He made a facile and specious analysis of numbers, came to a wrong conclusion, and then proceeded to be even more foolish as he continued writing. Really.
Any honest observer should be able to admit that if the gunmen in these mass shootings mostly had, say, Muslim names or were mostly, say, African-American men, the country right now wouldn’t be confused about the causes of the violence, and wouldn’t be asking broad questions. There would probably be few queries or calls for reflection, and mostly definitive declarations blaming the bloodshed squarely on Islamic fundamentalism or black nationalism, respectively.As an honest observer I guess I would analyze the incidence of muslim or black shooters just as I have above to see if the numbers involved in mass shootings had any relation to their numbers generally in the population before I would ask any questions or throw out any blame. Sirota skipped that step. It's a basic first step only a moron would skip. And I still don't throw out any blame for the 300% above expectation representation of Asians on the list. I just go hmmmm? Sirota's not finished being stupid though.
...the conservative movement has exposed its desperation — specifically, its desperation to preserve its White Victimization Mythology.The reason no one, but Sirota, is calling for profiling all white males for potential security threats (specifically for mass shootings) is that white males commit such horrible crimes less often than one would expect for their representation in the population. It would be stupid to profile those who are less likely to commit the crime you're seeking to prevent. It's probably stupid to profile for mass shootings as they are very rare events, althoug more sad and tragic, it seems, than single murders, which are also rare in America compared to many other countries.
In this mythology, the white man as a single demographic subgroup can never be seen as a perpetrator and must always be portrayed as the unfairly persecuted scapegoat. In this mythology, to even reference an undeniable truth about how white privilege operates on a political level (in this case, to prevent a government profiling system of potential security threats even though such a system exists for other groups) is to be guilty of both “injecting divisive racial politics” and somehow painting one’s “opponents as racist” — even when nobody called any individual a racist.
What Sirota has stupidly done is assert that white men are defective in some way because they commit so many mass shootings (but at a rate less than their representation in the population). That's racism, saying a race is different and worse than other races. So that's why I call Sirota, and always will in the future, a stupid racist. He is.
UPDATE: Mr. Cook came to the same conclusion (with slightly different numbers) earlier than I at the NRO. Money quote:
In his book Race and Crime, Anthony Walsh joins Jenkins in taking apart the “myth” that whites are over-represented, noting that “white (Anglo) males are actually slightly underrepresented in the serial killer ranks in terms of their proportion to the general male population.”