1. Last month, James White kicked a beehive when he uploaded dash cam footage onto Facebook, accompanied by his social commentary on the antics of a juvenile delinquent.
He deleted it, but due to screen capture technology, it was too late. A KJV-onlyist wackjob reposted a doctored version (embedded editorializing) of the statement on his own blog.
Because White had deleted the original, the doctored version was the only available version, so that's what got quoted. Here's the original:
Someone might object that since White deleted the statement, it's wrong to repost it. Since, however, people continue to attack his statement while he continues to defend his statement, it's hard to see how one can fairly evaluate the statement without having the actual, verbatim statement before you as the frame of reference. Without access to the original, how can you accurately represent and comment on what he said?
2. It's challenging to find an entry point into this debate. One reason is that many people have a love/hate relationship with stereotypes. Many people resent being stereotyped by the outgroup, but the same people may stereotype the outgroup. In addition, the ingroup may stereotype its own members.
3. There's also the question of whether stereotypes are intrinsically bad. Stereotypes can be positive or negative.
A stereotype may have a basis in fact. The danger is to overgeneralize. To extrapolate from some to all.
4. It raises the question of whether we should judge strangers as individuals, or judge them in the context of a preexisting interpretive grid.
5. Let's consider some concrete illustrations:
i) Black Lives Matter thinks police stereotype blacks. However, police think Black Lives Matter stereotypes police. Whenever you have a publicized altercation between a white cop and a black suspect, many pundits automatically assume the incident was racially motivated. But isn't that prejudicial to cops?
ii) Italian-American directors (e.g. Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola) are sometimes chided for self-stereotyping Italian Americans as Mafiosi. Yet they are considered great directors of classic films. So there's a conflicted attitude.
iii) Black Hip-Hop performers are sometimes chided for glamorizing and reinforcing a negative stereotype of blacks.
iv) Woody Allen movies play on Jewish stereotypes.
v) The "angry white man" stereotype (or loner male stereotype)
vi) How the liberal establishment caricatures Christians.
vii) Asian stereotypes
viii) Canadian stereotypes
ix) Irish stereotypes
x) Russian stereotypes
xi) Latino immigrant stereotypes
xiii) New Yorkers (esp. Manhattan and the Bronx)
xvi) Valley girls and surfer dudes
xvii) Lawyer jokes
xviii) How Michael Bird stereotypes Americans
6. Take the "white privilege" meme. Except for Caucasians who are susceptible to white guilt-tripping, white folks tune out the moment someone uses that tendentious phrase. They think that's stereotyping whites. If that's how you frame the issue when you're addressing whites, you lost your audience from that point on. They stop listening. They discount what you say.
Suppose we substitute "Jewish privilege" for "white privilege". The claim that Jews are overrepresented in banking, medicine, physics, the media, judiciary, &c. Well, there's a sense in which that's true. But that's achieved status, not ascribed status. Something they had to work for.
7. Then there's the question of the reference class we use to pigeon-hole individuals. Some of what White said about this teenager is the same kind of thing black pundits like Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Juan Williams, Ben Carson, Stanley Crouch et al. have remarked about the inner city subculture.
But that's not the only frame of reference. There are different demographic perspectives. You can view it from the standpoint of juvenile delinquency in general. Age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Juvenile delinquency is more prevalent among young underclass males. Same thing with street gangs, which reflect a wide variety of races and ethnicities. And we see similar patterns developing among white working class communities, as Kevin Williamson recently noted at NRO.
8. White sees a downward spiral. But I think that says more about different places than different times. Street gangs have been a fixture of big cities for decades. The inner city has been notorious for tough schools for decades. Before driveby shootings, it used to be knife-fights. Just off the top of my head, examples include Last Exit to Brooklyn (Cubby Selby), The Cross and the Switchblade (David Wilkerson), Run Baby Run (Nicky Cruz), Black and Free (Tom Skinner), The Warriors (Sol Yurick), and Blackboard Jungle (1955 film). And if you go back further, you had the "Wild West" in the 19C (e.g. Tombstone; Dodge City).
If there's been a change, I think that's more a matter of inner city social mores spreading to the suburbs and exurbs. Personal anecdote: I grew up in a white, middle class, rural suburb in the 60s-70s. I attended white suburban public schools (just a handful of minority students).
A few years ago someone indexed the local newspaper, and put that online. Out of curiosity, I skimmed the headlines from the mid-50s to the mid-70s. I was surprised by the amount of juvenile delinquency, home-burglaries, and even armed robberies, in the small town adjacent to where I grew up. This was mostly white middle class and working class.
To some degree, I think street gangs and immigration go together. First-generation immigrants tend to band together. The boys join ethnic street gangs for protection. That's been going on for decades. In that regard, White's historical perception seems to be provincial.
9. In addition, his view of law enforcement culture is rather blinkered and dated. It fails to take into account the corruption of law enforcement and the evolving police state. I'd say he's caught in a timewarp on that issue.
The proliferation of cellphone cameras, police dash cams, and push for body cams, has revealed an alarming amount of police abuse that went undocumented in prior times. Moreover, some police knowingly do this right in front of cameras (e.g. dash cams), which makes you wonder what they do out of public view. Serpico is another iconic example.
I'm not saying that reflects a general pattern. It's hard to say how representative that is from a statistical standpoint.
But if you combine this with district attorneys who cover for police, prosecutorial misconduct by district attorneys, how the Obama administration has weaponized the Federal bureaucracy to spearhead its ideological pogroms, White's reflexive deference to the authorities is naive and out-of-touch with current realities. His viewpoint reflects a sheltered experience.
10. Although discipline and hard work are good advice, that's not a guarantee that you will get ahead in life. I'm not quite sure what he means by a "good education". Certainly a college degree is no guarantee of success in life, and college loans can set you back. Problem is, not only has tuition spiked astronomically above and beyond the inflation rate, but if more folks have college degrees, then it ceases to be a competitive advantage.