The Real Problem with Memphis
Yet another young black man is beaten to death by police in a major city. So what is the response by the political class?
From the left comes the predictable pablum: systemic "racism," etc., etc. — even though all the policemen were black, and so is the chief policeperson.
But what do we get from the right? Mostly their own predictable pablum: "It is not systemic racism." Oh, yes, and "not all police are bad," etc., etc.
But this time, we get a little something more, or at least I thought we did. During an interview with Tucker Carlson, Jason Whitlock put his finger right on it. His words are too good not to be quoted in full:
I would examine the racial element, because there is a racial element. ... Everybody involved in this ... was ... 24–32 years old. ... It looked like gang violence to me. It looked like what young black men do when they're supervised by a single black woman. And that's what they've got going in the Memphis police department. They've ... put some black woman in charge of the police force. And we're getting the same kind of chaos and disunity and violence that we see in a lot of these cities that are run by single mothers. If we want to discuss the breakdown of families that leads to disrespect for authority, that causes you to resist the police and run from the police ... because you resist authority at all times, because there was no male authority in your home, let's have that discussion. But that's not where they want to take us. ... It's the breakdown of families and the buying in of these left-wing things that have nothing to do with promoting families.
This kind of honesty is extremely rare in the media. (Note that the chief of police in Memphis is actually married, but that doesn't hurt Whitlock's point about violence in black culture.) I know nothing about Jason Whitlock except that he is not a politician, because if he were, we would not be hearing this kind of truth-telling.
So are we going to have that discussion now? Are we going to ask why the fathers are gone from the black households? Are we going to get a real discussion, an honest discussion this time? Because an honest discussion will inevitably lead us to the corrupt, feminist-driven welfare machinery, which systematically drives black fathers out of their families and destroys the lives of black children by handing control of them and their communities to single mothers and gangs. An honest discussion will also lead us to the corrupt family courts, which routinely steal the children of black men (and white men, Hispanic men, Asian men...) and throw the fathers in prison without trial. An honest discussion will also ask why Republicans and conservatives steadfastly refuse to challenge any of this.
Is Fox News going to sponsor this discussion? Until now, the conservative as well as the liberal media adamantly refuse to "go there."
We have indications that Carlson himself wants to. For some time now, his commentaries have been sprinkled with asides hinting at what Whitlock now makes explicit. Not long ago, while expressing the usual outrage over the explosion in carjackings and other violent crimes, Carlson blamed leftist mayors and Soros-appointed prosecutors. Then, suddenly, he paused to remind us that savage violence by 15-year-olds has deeper causes: "disintegrating families, that's the real reason". And a few minutes later, "Maybe these people need a father at home, the nuclear family." But that was the end of it. Subject changed. No more discussion. No follow-up reports. No investigation. But if that is "the real reason," why are we not talking about that on Fox News and what to do about it?
Carlson is not the only commentator stepping up to the line but not crossing it. Following George Floyd's death, Heather Mac Donald explained why "savagery is spreading with lightning speed across the United States, with murderous assaults on police officers and civilians and the ecstatic annihilation of businesses and symbols of the state." At first, she followed the standard conservative line, taking pains to exculpate the police from unfair accusations of racism: "Why are the Minneapolis police in black neighborhoods" in the first place? "Because that`s where violent crime is happening." But then she adds "the breakdown of the black family that drives it."
Having identified the deeper cause, did Mac Donald then explore it further or suggest that others do so? No — she too abruptly changed the subject. But if that is what "drives it," why are we not discussing that? Mac Donald's Manhattan Institute, which claims to specialize in urban social pathologies, seems to ignore what she herself identifies as the principal cause.
(Incidentally, Carlson just interviewed Mac Donald about the death in Memphis, and neither mentioned family destruction.)
Here is one more: The Epoch Times ran an interview with actor Greg Ellis on how, when they confiscated his children, they also locked him in what amounted to a psychiatric prison, all without any charges of legal wrongdoing. Yet here, too, there is no follow-up investigation.
So I repeat my challenge to Fox News and other conservative news organizations. Will we now hear the truth, or will we hear the usual mumbled untruths about how fathers are "abandoning their children"? Will we get more calls for more "child support" enforcement that only worsens the problem by providing a subsidy on single motherhood — and astoundingly, by the way, a stream of extra-parliamentary revenue that fills the coffers of state governments?
Or are we just going to hear more nothing, as before? It looks as though Fox News (or someone) may have just answered that question, because the video is quite difficult, if not impossible, to find. Perhaps it is censorship by YouTube. Or perhaps what Whitlock says of the liberal media is equally true for Fox News: "That's not where they want to take us."
None of this is Carlson's fault, though it certainly would be an insult if Fox did indeed take down an interview with a man he praised so highly. Whitlock is the exception whose "canceling" would prove the rule. Perhaps Fox did the right thing, and the video is there somewhere. This would be an encouraging development. Or perhaps the time is not too far off when it'll look as though Whitlock never said any of this, and I made it all up. Whoever said that media blackouts are limited to the left?
Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.