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Published on: August 7, 2011
American Tinderbox

For some time now, residents of some US cities have noted occasional incidents of seemingly random, racially motivated violence in which young Black males are involved.  The hot weather and bad economy seem to be combining to generate a small but possibly significant uptick this year.  The national media are doing their best to avoid […]

For some time now, residents of some US cities have noted occasional incidents of seemingly random, racially motivated violence in which young Black males are involved.  The hot weather and bad economy seem to be combining to generate a small but possibly significant uptick this year.  The national media are doing their best to avoid looking too closely at this disturbing phenomenon, and perhaps for good reason.  What the United States doesn’t need is a media firestorm that triggers copycat violence.

Nevertheless some attention should be paid.  Journalist Eugene Kane has the bare bones in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Philadelphia – While out of town last week, I suddenly started receiving urgent long-distance messages about young black people in Milwaukee acting crazy.

Again.

Last time it happened, I was on vacation during the Fourth of July weekend when a bunch of misbehaving young black people ransacked a gas station convenience store and attacked residents in a park.

This time, I was in my hometown of Philadelphia attending the National Association of Black Journalists convention when my BlackBerry started blowing up with news about what happened Thursday night at the Wisconsin State Fair.

According to reports, it was similar to what happened in Riverwest last month, but on a much more brutal – and scarier – scale.

When people start reporting they were being beaten by black people for no other reason than being white people at the State Fair, that’s pretty disturbing.

Here is a news account of the violence.  As Kane points out, Milwaukee isn’t the only city to have seen problems like this.

For most of the summer, Philadelphia cops have dealt with a series of so-called flash mobs that turned violent, scores of young blacks roaming the center city area and attacking mostly white pedestrians and shoppers.

It’s so bad, Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey recently announced a coordinated response to the problem, which involves law enforcement measures, social responses and neighborhood outreach. They’re relying on a network of African-American professionals, community leaders and officials in the city to step up to the plate.

On Friday, Nutter said he would increase police street patrols and enforce curfews for young people. The city’s curfew ordinance says children under the age of 13 must be home by 10 p.m., and young people between the ages of 13 and 18 must be home by midnight.

Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson has described Philadelphia flash mobs for the Philadelphia Inquirer like this:

Flash mobs have reappeared on the streets of Center City. These groups of mostly black youths gravitate to a designated location at an appointed time. Once there, they become a mob that gathers force as it roams the streets, wreaking havoc on businesses while terrifying and sometimes attacking pedestrians.

Dick Simpson of the Chicago Journal describes the situation in his city:

These well-known social conditions breed anger and lawlessness. And so we now have black “flash mobs” attacking whites in the Loop, on public beaches along the North Side, as well as throughout the River North and Lakeview neighborhoods.
The term “flash mob” originated when college-aged kids would converge on a spot like Grand Central Station in New York
and do seemingly-impromptu performance art.
But now, the term is being applied to violent groups. For several years, roving groups of black teenagers have attacked folks on the South and West sides of Chicago as far out as Oak Park.
These young folks in gangs and flash mobs are not afraid of the police. They attack and steal quickly — they are gone long before the police arrive. They just move on to another spot for their next attack. The beatings of victims can be brutal.

In a piece on the Black underclass in Chicago for In These Times, Salim Muwakkil interviews a participant.

Jamal Foster’s story is an example… Foster says he and his friends often travel to North Avenue and Oak Street Beach—two popular lakefront locations along the Gold Coast—to intimidate people and steal whatever they can. “We can get some good stuff down there,” the 17-year-old says. “You can’t get no iPods or nothing like that on the West Side. So we go to where you can and when we mob up, even the cops can’t stop us.”

Law enforcement’s impotence in halting such crimes—more than a dozen incidents in the first weeks of June alone—is the probable reason Chicago police took the unprecedented action of closing the densely crowded North Avenue Beach on Memorial Day. (The official reason given for the shutdown was to allow medical vehicles access to treat several heat-related injuries.)

The Christian Science Monitor adds Washington and Las Vegas to the list of cities experiencing this phenomenon and discusses another pastime: “a game called ‘Knockout King,’ played primarily by black teenagers, where the point is to approach and quickly strike a stranger, often whites or immigrants, in an attempt to knock them unconscious with the first punch.”

Sounds like fun.  A twist that is also gaining popularity is the “flash rob” where a large group of young people descends on a store and loots it.  As responsible journalists are always careful to say, the overall trend of youth crime in the US remains headed down, but this particular form of crime seems to be gaining steam.

There are many observations one can make — both about the phenomenon itself and about the gingerly way the press wants to handle it.

As to the phenomenon, it points to an important trend I’ve been reviewing in a series of posts on the state of Black America.  What was once a cohesive community is fragmenting in several directions.  Immigrants from Africa and from the African diaspora in Central America and the Caribbean are changing the definition of what it means to be an African American, and neither the interests nor the experiences of the new immigrants always fit comfortably into African American culture and ideology.  Beyond that, the three main groups of native-born African Americans are growing apart.  There is an increasingly well connected and successful African American elite who negotiate the upper reaches of American society on reasonably satisfactory terms, and life for them just keeps getting better.  Oprah, President Obama, and a host of others are doing just fine.

Suburban Dallas (Wikimedia)

Then comes a middle to lower middle class.  They are not rich but in many cases they have college educations and are increasingly found in the suburbs.  This group faces serious economic stress; the Great Recession, the housing bust and the implosion of public sector employment are eating away at the Black middle class.

Finally there is the urban underclass; in many respects it is significantly worse off than in the 1970s.  Social conditions in the inner city (as assessed by measures like public health, the percentage of illegitimate births and the percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion, achievement on standardized tests, high school and college graduation rates, unemployment, HIV prevalence, drug usage and the incarceration rate) are appalling and many indicators are worse than they were a generation ago.

The lines of communication between the Black poor and the Black elite have largely broken down.  (A similar process has taken place among whites.) President Obama has had little to say in the White House about the desperately deteriorating situation of Black America — much less about the disproportionate effect cuts in government spending will have on African Americans looking to government to provide jobs or to deliver services.  The personal and individual triumphs of highly visible African American public officials and business and intellectual leaders does not resonate with young people who see no road from where they are to where Oprah Winfrey or Colin Powell stand.

Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Colin Powell

The same thing is true at a local level.  As more successful families have moved out of the inner cities and into the suburbs, the ability of the national and local “Black Establishment” to intervene in moments of tension is dropping.  Many inner city kids today grow up feeling abandoned by Black leaders as well as by whites.  Should flash mobs or other disturbing phenomena catch on more widely (and the combination of social media and idle youth can lead to very rapid shifts in behavior), it is not clear that either local or national leaders could do much to calm things down.

Given the toll the Great Recession has taken on what were already poor job and life prospects for inner city youth, and given the divide that increasingly leaves poor and marginal Black youth feeling abandoned by Black as well as white leaders, there is reason for concern about the potential for disturbing and violent developments.  Add to this the prevalence of weapons in some circles, the organizational base that gangs provide and the ubiquity of social media, it is not unlikely that future violence in the cities would look more like flash mobs and less like the urban riots of the 1960s.  Those riots targeted Black neighborhoods, Black owned stores and much of the property destroyed in the riots belonged to Blacks; any new trouble would likely be more effective at spreading the pain beyond the inner city.  Link ups in some cases with religious radicals or foreign interests who seek to do us harm cannot be excluded.

The 2005 riots in France and the more recent riot in London tell us that youth and unemployment can be a bad mix; violent flash mobs should remind us that the same thing can happen here and in the age of social media, violent crowds can appear where and when law enforcement can’t cope.

Traditional liberals come in at this point to argue for spending more money on the traditional social intervention programs in the inner city.  This is unlikely to happen; there is not much evidence that these programs accomplish very much — and there isn’t any money.  Even taxing “millionaires and billionaires” to the eyeballs won’t manage out of control entitlements — much less inaugurate yet another “Marshall Plan for the cities”.

Lyndon Johnson gives one of the first Great Society speeches

The United States badly needs a workable and affordable post-Great Society approach to the inner cities.  Unfortunately, we don’t have this yet and it is quite possible that we will face some testing times as a result.

But there is another trend that bears watching.  There are a great many angry and frustrated people in this country who have lost faith in their national leaders and they aren’t Black.  They are, in fact, white.

[Readers frequently write to ask why I capitalize “Black” but not “white”.  Often the question comes with racial resentment attached: there is a feeling that the use of the capital letter reveals some sneaky political agenda.  The reason is not some kind of bending-over-backwards PC leftie orthodoxy; it is because I think the terms refer to two different kinds of groups.  African Americans are an American ethnic group like Irish Americans, Mexican Americans, German Americans or Jewish Americans.  We normally capitalize the name of such ethnic groups: Tibetans, Kurds, Jews, Gypsies.  White in America is not one ethnic group; it is a larger, less defined group who do not share the kind of strong common identity that smaller groups do.  White is an attribute but it is not an identity.  I don’t capitalize black when referring to black Africans or Jamaicans; using the capital letter is a way to specify American Blacks, not blacks at large.  It’s eccentric, maybe, but it seems logical.)

Immigrants arrive at Ellis Island in 1902 (Wikimedia)

Here’s the problem.  In the long run, racial tensions in America seem to be gradually subsiding.  Compared to 1960, 1920, 1890 or any other date in American history, race relations today are just peachy.  It is my hope and belief that when the bicentennial of the Civil War rolls around in 2061 the United States will be substantially closer to our national goal of a truly post racial society.

Nevertheless, in the short to medium term there is the potential for trouble.  Whites as well as Blacks have lost faith in the government and the intellectual and cultural elites.  Some whites resent what they see as excessive privilege for Blacks reflected in affirmative action.  Many believe that the federal government and the (largely white) upper middle class establishment wants to marginalize the traditional white majority in the US through a combination of deliberate immigration policy aimed at reducing white preponderance in the population and by favoring immigrants and non-whites for education and employment.

For people who feel this way, the reluctance of the mainstream media to cover racial flash mobs is sinister and disturbing.  If there were no racial dimension to these mobs they would surely receive much greater publicity and there would be much stroking of chins and learned talk about what the phenomenon meant.  Even if there weren’t many examples, our naturally sensationalist media would hype the story to make it big.  Youth, violence, Facebook and YouTube: this is an explosive combination and it is exactly the kind of story circulation chasing news outlets would feature.

Given America’s history and the lurid attraction race still holds for the public mind, the racial dimension of (many but not all of) these incidents makes this an even more compelling story.  Certainly if random mobs of white kids were attacking peaceful Blacks going about their daily business the media and the commentariat would be deeply engaged.  The articles I’ve linked to have been carefully couched and worded in ways that downplay the drama and the human interest.  It is understandable and even meritorious that this is so; as I suggested at the beginning of this post no sane person would want to increase the chance that what is still a marginal and occasional pattern of behavior would go viral and enter the mainstream — and to vary the metaphor still further, mainstream media attention is like oxygen for this kind of potential firestorm.

But to a significant number of Americans out there, this restraint looks like just another case of an anti-white elitist media bending over backward to hide the real truth from the American people.  Should this phenomenon grow and should the media continue to downplay both the extent and the racial nature of the violence, look for a deep and angry response.  Many American whites are young, angry, poorly educated and male.  So are many Spanish speaking immigrants.  These guys also know how to organize a mob on Facebook.

The Crisis of the Great Society

National politics has not really faced this directly, but the underlying issue in our politics today is not so much the future of the New Deal as it is of the Great Society. Entitlements, immigration policy and the mix of race policies emerging from that decade were long considered untouchable in American politics.  That is no longer the case, and increasingly the building blocks of the post 1960s American social order are on the table.

The unaffordable nature of the entitlement structure that has emerged from the Great Society and been much added to (and don’t forget the GOP role in the prescription drug benefit) is at the bottom of the bitter budget battles we’ve seen.

Our current immigration policy is a prescription for social change of vast proportions.  Since the 1960s, the US has tried an unprecedented and little discussed experiment in social engineering.  In stages over the last fifty years we have combined three bold policies.  First, a race-blind immigration policy with a visa lottery as a kind of affirmative action — so to speak — for people from countries which historically had not sent many immigrants to the US has dramatically changed the mix of people coming to the US as immigrants and over time will shift the ethnic and cultural composition of the population.  Second, the “immigration holiday” under the tight quota system from 1923 (when public concern over unrestricted immigration led to a sharp decrease) through the 1960s was ended, and the number of legal immigrants increased.  Today the US has levels of legal immigration not seen since the World War One era.  Third, for many years immigration laws have been laxly or irregularly enforced leading to the presence of something like 11 million illegal workers and residents in the country.

My guess is that in a national referendum all three of these policies would be heavily defeated; but despite its unpopularity, Great Society immigration policy is possibly the single most important social policy the country now has.  One consequence of the collapse of public faith in the Establishment will be that attacks on immigration policy will be more frequent and more effective.

Race policy is less unpopular than our immigration policy, but it is likely that public opposition to affirmative action and other forms of racial preference will also grow.  There are several forces at work; to dismiss them all as simple racism is to miss the complexity and the strength of forces that, like them or not, are likely to have growing salience moving forward.

The races are very far apart today; many whites believe that by electing a Black president the country has demonstrated its commitment to post racial politics and they expect Blacks to stop complaining about the past and start thriving in the glorious, racism-free paradise of America today.  Many whites look at this Black success, and they think it is time to take down the affirmative action scaffolding that assisted the Black rise.  Why, they ask, should the children of presidents and cabinet officers — to say nothing of celebrity offspring — benefit from racial preference in hiring and admissions?

For Blacks, especially those who haven’t made it into the elite, unemployment and the staggering losses in Black wealth during the Great Recession are far more consequential than the success of the Black upper crust.  Much of White America thinks it has done all anyone could reasonably expect by opening the White House doors to a Black politician; much of Black America thinks little has changed.  Many whites think Blacks have effectively used politics to win themselves jobs and preferences; many Blacks think that Black poverty in the age of Obama reveals how pitiful the results of political action really are.

Meanwhile other factors contribute to the growing disenchantment with the racial dimension of Great Society policy.  Growing public perception that sixties liberalism doesn’t work undermines the consensus for sixties racial as well as immigration and economic policy.  If, as seems likely, popular middle class entitlements must face cutbacks, benefits for the poor will suffer more.

Bad economic times not only make people less generous and more defensive when thinking about social policy; they undermine public confidence in the wisdom and/or trustworthiness of elites.  A national political establishment forced to face the unsustainable nature of the fiscal path it has long followed is an emperor without clothes.  Elite commitment to affirmative action and the rest of sixties race policy remains strong — but elites of all races are going to have less and less ability to control the direction of American social policy.

The conditions for a Category 5 hurricane are all there; it is easy to see a political reaction taking shape in this country that would make the Tea Party movement look like a PTA bake sale.  They say that great storms start with trivial causes: a butterfly waves its wings and, when conditions are just right, the wind begins to grow.

The country is so angry now that it would not take much more than the right butterfly in the right place to take us to the next stage of struggle over the Great Society legacy.  Just as the urban riots of the 1960s played a role in the hasty adoption of the sixties policy complex, so a rash of small urban confrontations that caught on à la française could dramatically accelerate and intensify the current upheaval in American politics.

If that happens, the result is very unlikely to be a strengthening of the foundations of the Great Society state.

show comments
  • Jeff B.

    A fantastic, yet harrowing essay. However, I fear it will attract a number of trollish comments. We shall see.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @Jeff B.: The troll patrols are on red alert.

  • SteveMG

    It seems to me that as long as these incidents are limited to large urban areas that any concerns about a white backlash seem misplaced (it is interesting, isn’t it, how the issue of crime isn’t much of a campaign issue at all anymore?; for many years it was the top one or two issue discussed).

    We’ll likely just see fewer whites travelling to cities to attend fairs or events. If these mobs start to go to the suburbs, then all bets are off.

    One hopes that this can be handled quietly and is just, well, a passing summer storm.

  • butch

    Please note these flash mobs are occurring in cities that have disarmed law-abiding citizens through the use of gun control.

  • vanderleun

    That said, I don’t think the absence of reporting the racial component of these recent incidents does much one way or the other.

    Thanks to decades of dishonest reporting and editing, of softening the edges so as to not bring offense or unduly exacerbate a situation, the media has trained the public to understand “the code.” That code is that “If a story that is likely to reflect badly on Blacks has no ethnic element identified, the ethnic element involved were Blacks.”

    It’s a kind of ‘absence of evidence *is* evidence’ phenomenon.

  • PaulfromNoVa

    Disconcerting. I desperately want to make sense of this complex set of issues, but no one seems to be writing about it except the very right-wing, often racist, profoundly anti-Obama administration blogosphere…and you. I looked in vain for your response to the Village Voice’s dismissive piece on the very phenomenon you’re talking about – a trending rise in ethnic violence amid sharply dropping urban crime rates. http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/07/ooga_booga_righ.php (I recognize the Voice has a certain point of view and does not quite have that “journal of record” cachet, but it published one of the few serious comments on the phenomenon you address.) What I find worrisome is the capability of social media and the “democratization of media” in general to aggregate anecdotes and, through echo-box phenomena, amplify one-out events into a contagion, both virtual and actual. If that’s possibly the case, you’re striking matches in the tinderbox. I say this in all sincerity – I’m not criticizing the piece or the case you’re making, and I’m hoping it’s not misguided – or, perhaps I’m hoping it IS misguided and that what it discusses is in fact manufactured by an “availability heuristic”-type analytic error – but I and your readers simply haven’t the wherewithal to get to the bottom of this story without the media – traditional MSM and new and social media – covering it a lot more closely (if it’s out there to cover) and thus (whether or not it’s out there to cover) perhaps inspiring the very copycat types of events you warn of. Sunlight is best, but there might be shakeout consequences. Bob Herbert, Gene Robinson, Colby King, and others need to be weighing in on this…whether or not they see this as real. We need to get to some sense of the bottom on where this all stands.

  • Jim.

    Interesting. So who wants to place bets on whether “Hate Crime” legislation will be expanded to protect white, male, Protestant heterosexuals?

  • Kris

    Cf “razzia”.

  • Cond0010

    “Please note these flash mobs are occurring in cities that have disarmed law-abiding citizens through the use of gun control.”

    Gun Control & Mobs. Yep.

    If you want to see the story arc of what will be the inevitable conclusion to this simple math, check out how this formula worked out in Jamaica:

    How Gun Control “Worked” in Jamaica
    http://www.jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/jamaica.htm

    These youths seem emboldened now. Just wait until “Law Abiding Citizens” become the minority. ;)

  • KevinV

    “White is an attribute but it is not an identity.”

    Apparently, the violent mobs cited by your essay who targeted victims for being White are unaware of this. Perhaps after patiently explaining to them that there is indeed a path from where they are to Colin Powell–a matter which no doubt these individuals spend a lot of time thinking about–you can move on to point out this second mistake.

    Or perhaps, if we are to really move on past the failed Blue State model and to truly recognize what the failure of Great Society programs really means, one important step would be to honestly recognize the openly racial hatred towards Whites (or, if you’d prefer, European-Americans) that is a regular and quite mundane part of everyday Black life.

    Any analysis wishing away reality, even for the best of reasons and intentions, is bound for failure.

  • Brett_McS

    As Thomas Sowell notes, blacks were making steady progress in all areas until the civil rights movement and affirmative action took hold mid century. Yet another two dreary examples of leftist ‘thinking’.

  • ErisGuy

    Since the “Great Society” lead us to this present catastrophe which you eloquently describe, let’s hope that some incident mobilizes the citizens to abolish the “Great Society.”

  • Andrew P

    We will see what happens when a flash mob attacks a place where people are armed. Of course the flash mob will be armed too in those states. There could easily be hundreds or thousands dead, and even the MSM couldn’t ignore that.

    It could also spark an outright race war where the poor rise up and make demands like they are in England, France, Egypt and Israel.

  • http://hotmail.com The Fire Next Time

    You must put people back to work. In America, the key has always been and shall always be a job. Minority youth unemployment is in the 40% range. The Elites are shocked, simply shocked at Flash Mobs. Gainfully employed people have no time for such foolishness. A state of emergency must be declared. Set the goal of rebuilding the interstate highway system and achieving energy independence within 10 years. You say NO? Better bring the troops home because they shall surely be needed here. I see a replay of the Sixties Riots and a new cut of Burn Baby, Burn!

  • Grant Mulford

    A very likely “flashpoint” might well be some white or Asian, a la Charles Bronson in the movie Death Wish, who arms himself and goes looking for a flashmob with the intention of administering severe “street justice”. The deadly results, in terms of racial polarization, would be enormous.

  • Chris Dannenmaier

    A fine analysis of a frightful problem that first came to my attention when I was warned to be careful downtown on a trip to Chicago this summer. The friend who warned me was a young black man who was worried about his middle-aged white friend from Texas. It seems that since then, I have read about these stories in quite a number of upper-midwestern and east-coast cities.

    It will be interesting to see if this phenomenon burns itself out this summer or keeps going, and how long the MSM avoids connecting the obvious dots if it does.
    I have to agree with #4 Butch, I just don’t see this happening in the Galleria in Houston without armed citizen intervention.

  • PerryM

    I thought none of this racial stuff was supposed to happen when Obama was elected – remember reading that bilge?

    This struggle has nothing to do with skin color – it is a Marxist V Capitalism battle with the Marxists using racism as a weapon.

    That’s all this is – freeloaders V hard workers.

    Lawlessness V laws.

    Poor V Rich.

    Marxism is supported by poor folks since they would rather steal money via politicians and judges than get their lazy butts out of bed and work.

    The amount of skin pigmentation has nothing to do with this Marxist struggle in a Capitalistic country……….

  • Toni

    The Great Society was supposed to be an exercise in compassion that would cure Black urban poverty. “A hand up, not a hand out.” Through defining deviancy down and the simultaneous rise of Black leaders who benefit by insisting that racism is responsible for all Black social pathologies, the Great Society turned into an exercise in condescension.

    “Those poor urban Blacks! We can’t expect good sense or good character from them.” It turned out that some Blacks were fine with hand-outs, and some of them, especially males, came to believe the hand-outs weren’t enough. Those Black males came to use violence to pursue politics by other means. Especially encouraged by rap/hip-hop glorification of lawlessness as a way to get both rich and respect, these Black males grew ever less likely to follow their female counterparts into education and entry-level jobs.

    And still some leaders, Black and White alike, say, “Those poor urban Blacks! We can’t expect good sense or good character from them.”

    I maintain, again, that the best corrective is to stop treating Black youths as somehow different from other young Americans. As with the riots of previous decades, the antidote to Black violence is law enforcement.

    The other best corrective is an upturn in the economy. Obama and the rest of the Progressive Elites are clueless about how to do so. They still think the only solution is to take money from “millionaires and billionaires” to throw at “victims,” while taking donations from and protecting teachers’ unions who are most responsible for urban schools which fail to educate Black youth. Political pathology is as pernicious as social pathology.

    Dr. Mead writes, “[I]t is easy to see a political reaction taking shape in this country that would make the Tea Party movement look like a PTA bake sale.” By “political,” he means “violent.” To call it “political” strikes me as further condescension, as if Black youth can’t and perhaps shouldn’t be expected to obey the law.

    It is, in fact, economic violence, no different from the black-on-black crime that stems from young Black males wanting a shortcut, thinking that pursuing education and working hard are somehow beneath them. Now they can use technology to attack outside Black areas. These are crooks and thugs. Don’t dignify what they do by calling it “political.”

    Here’s an irony: the way the media are treating this new form of Black violence is the precise opposite of the way they treated the Tea Party movement. They were suspicious and dismissive because those were mostly Whites. Now they won’t cover outright violence aimed at Whites because the crooks and thugs are Black. More condescension, which in turn encourages the young Blacks to believe they’re somehow justified in not taking the straight hard-work route out of poverty.

    I say again, Stop treating Blacks as different! In this case, as people incapable of good character and good sense. It only, literally, encourages them.

    By Black, Dr. Mead, you mean native-born blacks not born to recent black immigrants? Is that a shorter definition?

  • Peter Swinson

    Interesting article on the grand over-arching machinations of an elitist view. But little mention of the real problem which is a culture with little to no marketable skills nurtured by a nanny state.

    Do you honestly think more grand government programs will fix this? It seems you should have concluded by now that government makes it worse and you are now running out of money to do even that.

  • Renfield

    I hope that Lyndon Baines Johnson, wherever he is, can see the harvest now being reaped from the seeds that he and the 89th Congress sowed.

    Black youth around the nation have discovered that they can get away with anything if their mob is large and wild enough. These attacks are not some kind of passing phenomenon–they’re here to stay. But it is only a matter of time before an armed citizen kills one or more members of a rioting black mob. When that happens, the mainstream media will surely rush to cover the “hate crime” murder of “African-American children” by a “gun-toting white bigot.”

    WRM, your piece on the “Great White” (hope, father, elephant, whale) was superbly perceptive. But I think you’re a bit naive about the lack of truthful news coverage of these “flash mob” riots.

  • http://bettychambers.com Betty Chambers

    A couple of years ago, I used to visit Philly for day trips with my mother. I grew up in NYC during the hey-day of the crackheads, squeegee men and violent homeless people before the election of Giuliani.

    He lived up to his promise to take on the lawlessness of the city. He placed a cop on nearly every train at night where most crimes happened. He was serious about stop and frisk, which made a big difference on the streets.

    People still do not give that man enough credit. He made some mistakes, but NYC needed a serious, dedicated hardass. He was the man who made it happen. Before he came along NYC’s leaders had this defeatist, weak mindset of, “Well, there’s nothing we can do about this” with regards to crime.

    Yet, he showed that something can be done.

    To make a long story short: I stopped going to Philly when I realized that not only is the city dangerous, but the people in charge aren’t serious about tackling crime like Mayor Guiliani.

    And by the way, I’m black.

  • David Minnich

    @Jeff B said
    “Please note these flash mobs are occurring in cities that have disarmed law-abiding citizens through the use of gun control.”

    Actually, Philadelphia is unique as being the only major Northeast city which is governed by state “shall-issue” laws on concealed carry. Pennsylvania has a state pre-emption law on local gun regulations, and shall-issue permits have been in existence since the mid-1990 (you don’t even have to go through a training course).

    Given the relatively lax gun laws and high % of gun ownership in PA (which I support as a licensed carrier), it’s a wonder that one of these flash mobs hasn’t been shot to pieces. So much for the “trigger-happy” caricature of the lawful gun owner.

  • al ribnick

    Thirty year ago- my wife and I left inner city school teaching. We expected this to happen and we didn’t want to get caught in the middle. The only thing unexpected- it took so long. AS the black teachers used to say- ” when the race war starts – we know which side we are on.”

  • jojo

    Yes, well. If the Great Society was such a big deal, why are these things happening in American cities or anywhere in the USA.

    Efforts made by Americans with good will since the Great Society don’t seem to have had the professed effect. The patience of white Americans having to swallow continual insults: honkey, racist… while at the same time silenced from any critical comment about the pet groups of the Great Society. In a nation in principle each person equal in law and dignity. You know- the ones called liberals/democrats evidenced as absolutely illiberal.

    Despite willingness to help – here we must talk about white Americans who made up the largest majority of the populations in the USA when the Great Society was bruited – and lots and lots of their money, to provide the young, primarily black, chances for opportunities that aboun ,still despite efforts of politicians and social engineers to ration them only to their favoured groups, in America.

    The question remains, why are these things reported happening in America, after a half century of attempts to “help” Could it be, that experts were useless. There is ONE great expert called upon only in the most dire circumstances, and that expert is MOMMA.

    Instead of experts in psychology, journalism social science, politics, management theory, academics programs of any kind, especially steer clear of politicians and their lackeys whose raison e’etre is self-interest ask a woman who has raised a family.

    You want something effective done about any of the social problems confronting the USA today, ask an ordinary women,or groups of ordinary – no glamourpusses or hot-shots – women who have successfully raised a group of competetive, hostile, jealous children to full and responsible citizenship. while at the same time managing the entire household with limited money, and keep the breadwinner of the brood comfortable and safe if not always happy,

    She’ll, they’ll have the means and methods to clean up this mess. Betcha.

  • Rocky

    Socialism doesn’t work…that’s the real problem. Social justice is the worst myth ever created, even Jesus said…there will always be poor among you. BTW, I don’t see flash mobs happening here in Texas. Do ya think the ‘right to carry’ laws might have soething to do with that? Want to stop hijackings, arm the passengers!

  • MB

    “It seems to me that as long as these incidents are limited to large urban areas that any concerns about a white backlash seem misplaced”

    In Chicago we’ve had flash mob violence in some of them most exclusive ‘white’ neighborhoods in the city- including the Magnificent Mile (one of the most exclusive shopping districts in the country). To paraphrase Willie Sutton “That’s where the money is.” But its clearly not just money, these beatings are senseless and brutal.

    And the media here has been actively covering up the racial component. They were complicit in the City’s lies about why beaches have been closed, and theyve intentionally latched onto the term Flash Mob, claiming that these rioters could be any group of young people from any background (they ran with a quote from a city official that one of the mobs may have been from a wealthy neighboring suburb, which was just silly).

    Americans in general should be willing to constantly look in the mirror regarding racial matters. Whats missing from this article is the self-inflicted wounds that the black community have inflicted. When an overwhelming majority of children are born out of wedlock and into a single parent home (often if not usually a very young parent at that), you’re going to have terrible repercussions when those kids grow up.

    On the other hand, this senseless drug war has done the black community no favor by locking up a shocking percent of young men, often for non-violent crime. Beyond that simply creating a powerful incentive to operate outside the law has garnered a great disregard and disrespect for the law.

  • http://www.dougsanto.com Doug Santo

    You mentioned the MSM reaction, or lack thereof, in the first paragraphs of your thoughtful post. You did not provide much analysis on the topic except to describe what you perceive to be the reaction of whites. Your description of that reaction was slightly drogatory.

    What is the explanation for the MSM not reporting on this story? I would like to hear your explanation.

    My explanation is that black flash mobs indicate latent failure (failure visible just below national radar for the last decade) of liberal notions on the creation of a “fair” society. The MSM is almost uniformly liberal. The MSM cannot bring itself to report on the failure of one its most guarded beliefs. Black Americans that have acheived success have done so despite Great Society programs not because of them. This makes their success even more laudable. Black leadership in this country has been a dismal failure. The new crop of black leaders affiliated with the rise of the Tea Party are a welcome change.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

  • Mary Wilbur

    This is an excellent analysis of a very disturbing social problem. The problem is very high youth unemployment, lack of skills, low literacy rates, and boredom. But what burns me about this is if it were white flash mobs banging on black middle class citizens these would be classified as “hate” crimes and prosecuted in federal courts. As it is nothing is being done. At least it’s seasonal. Once the weather turns bad and the streets fill with snow it will cease until the good weather returns. Carrying a gun concealed or not is really the only short term answer. It might help if the police ignored the underground drug economy. There are lots of jobs in the ghetto. They just aren’t legal.

  • politics for breakfast

    This was a fantastic essay which really looks at both sides of the issue. I do disagree that White is not an identity. We Whites feel that leftist PC politicians are trying to wash away our White identity. We would have preferred it to be an American identity for all races to share but that is not going to happen. Every time I take kids on college tours we inevitably see the Black Student Union, the Latino Student Union….etc and all the White kids and parents are mumbling under their breath…where is the White Student Union. They know they are paying the taxes to build Student Unions for other people’s kids and yes they resent it. Until we stop hyphenating all of our citizens into subcultures American culture will continue to decline.

  • Walter Russell Mead

    @Justin: though I find stupidity is an equal opportunity employer; no race has a monopoly on either stupid or rude.

  • Kenny

    @ Prof. Mead Readers frequently write to ask why I capitalize “Black” but not “white”.

    Actually I wonder why you ‘Black’ instead of the perfectly respectable word “Negro.”

    And it is indeed out of political correctness, Mr. Mead, just like the use of ‘gay’ — a total misnomer — for homosexual.

    Similar is the use of ‘blue’ for liberal/Democratic states instead ‘red’ which better bespeaks of their socialistic nature.

    Any comments?

  • Larry

    How refreshing to actually read a well-reasoned piece about race relations.

    I’m also of the opinion that being white(which I am) is more than an attribute, at least according to the flash mobs. But I digress.

    You’ve boldly taken a step that I’m quite proud to have taken years ago and that is to OPENLY discuss such issues. Keeping these issues quiet simply fills the tinderbox with more fuel and plenty of hot air(oxygen). All that’s needed is an ignition source.

    Kudos, Mr. Mead!

  • Phantomorphan

    A black friend who was a substitute teacher in the Kansas City school district (and who was known to his students as “Mr. Old School” for his no-nonsense approach) told me he thought Obama, whom he’d voted for, would have no aspirational impact whatsoever on poor African-Americans because they felt he had no relevance to their lives. And Obama is, after all, of half white and half African ancestry and therefore not an “American Negro” (the perfectly respectable term Martin Luther King and other liberals originally used, and which might be better than the not only eccentric but silly “Black”). Btw, if you have to keep explaining “Black,” that’s a pretty good indication you should drop it.

  • MP Ryan

    I am a product of the urban underclass. The salient advantage I had as a child on the mean streets of Brooklyn was the tight-knit set of expectations and supports the family and the Church provided in my neighborhood in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

    Our fathers might have come home drunk, even violent on occasion, but they came home. Well, mostly. When sober, they knew they were in the wrong and acted accordingly. I never heard of a woman being beaten by a man, and I suspect the reason is that striking a woman was considered unmanly. More important, when it happened, as I’m sure it did, there was a collection of cousins, brothers, uncles, nearby who could provide a rough solution to the problem.

    Then there was the Church. The shock of the sex abuse stories was especially severe to me because it was the farthest thing from my experience. Our nuns, brothers, priests as a group showed us a better way and lived it. When we strayed from expectations, we were disciplined swiftly and surely, usually with the full support of our parents. In fact, if you want to read an interesting article on the meanest, lowest, nastiest underclass in New York’s history, read this article from The City Journal, “How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish.” Here is the link:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a2.html

    What have we given our new urban underclass?
    – The manufacturing jobs have disappeared.
    – The civil service rules favor working class suburbanites, over the old political machines that kept jobs in the assembly district.
    – the very programs designed to alleviate these problems only served to exacerbate them and left an entrenched bureaucracy in place whose interest clash with any new ideas to change.
    – The permissive culture so beneficial to the licentious elites is propagated through the media to all, filling a vacuum left by the receding influence of family and faith.

    Didn’t Adam Smith say that the poor could not afford the morals of the rich?

    You might be interested to know the stark difference on these mean streets between a Saturday night and a Sunday morning. The latter is usually populated by a silent plurality, if not majority, going off to Church and striving for the rest of the week to keep their children on the straight and narrow.

    We have bequethed our urban underclass the worst of all possible worlds, media-driven desires, but none of the customs and habits necessary to achieve them or, better yet, cast a cold eye on their blandishments.

    In sum, this is why I am no longer a liberal Democrat, even though at one time I was very active in Brooklyn politics.

    If you have read this far, allow me to end with a neat quote from Hamlet. It is focused on Gertrude’s behavior, but it has larger lessons that have been lost, unless one reads Philip Rieff or Rene Girard:

    O, throw away the worser part of it,
    And live the purer with the other half.
    Good night: but go not to mine uncle’s bed;
    Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
    That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
    Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
    That to the use of actions fair and good
    He likewise gives a frock or livery,
    That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
    And that shall lend a kind of easiness
    To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
    For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
    And either master the devil, or throw him out
    With wondrous potency.

  • styrgwillidar

    -Arm the victims
    -Enforce the law
    -All of us need to start thinking of ourselves as americans with no hyphens denoting sub-categories.
    -Support the family as the basic unit. Re-emphasize that it’s the breakdown of the family behind this- not ethnicity or the color.

  • Stefan Stackhouse

    I would venture to guess that no person of any race would want to be on the receiving end of the type of behavior described here. I also doubt that it really matters all that much to the person being beaten what color the fists are that are doing the beating.

    The real issue here is that this behavior is criminal. We don’t need “great society” government spending programs to deal with this. We need a just society that sends criminals who harm people to prison, regardless of the race of the perps or of the victims. When criminals get away with their crimes then you have more crime; when they get caught and locked away, you have less crime.

    If we need to start flying a fleet of surveilance drones over our cities, and task the NSA with monitoring social media for early warning of this type of flash mob activity, then so be it. Criminals do not have a right to their criminality.

  • William H

    Funny how this essay doesn’t even mention slavery and it’s long dark shadow over America.

    It’s all those post 1960’s “liberal” policies that got us here …. Huh?

    When you dis-locate millions of people, enslave them, suppress their culture, emancipate them only to segregate them for another century, virtually guaranteeing their continued economic marginalization. Add a healthy dose of 19th Century racism and this is exactly where you end up.

    A few decades of artificial economic bubbles engineered by Wall Street and government policies suppressed these tensions, if only temporarily.

    This violence shouldn’t surpise anyone.

    We have just entered the “Age of Scarcity” and America is entering a perfect storm, much of it’s own making.

    It’s interesting to note that we have a “United States Holocaust Memorial Museum” in Washington – we have no such equivalent for “Slavery in the New World” – it speaks volumes about our nation’s current state.

    We are in denial politically, economically and historically.

    This won’t end well.

  • xenophon

    Flash mobs are nothing new. I lived on the south side of Chicago for many years. I witnessed a mob of 15 or so black teenagers attempting to kill a white man struggling to get inside his truck. This was in an open parking lot outside a grocery store in Hyde Park. For the first time in my life I realized I would not help someone who needed it. I’m white and would have been beaten to a pulp as well. I joke that the University of Chicago is the best college surrounded by three ghettos and a lake. But the scene I described was in 1991. I doubt things have much improved since then. As our country collapses prudence dictates relocation.

  • huggy

    While reading this post I can’t help but recall the song sang by a fictional Texas Governor:

    … I do a little sidestep, now you see me now you don’t …

    I think it was Charles Durning. Can you do the thing with the hat also?

  • Steve Jenks

    A good friend spent time in post-Saddam/pre-surge Bagdad building a legal system, and the scenes that worried him most were the groups of young adult males congregating on the streets in the middle of the day with obviously no job or other constructive opportunity to grab their attention and interest.

    All (or most) humans will pursue advancement, material and otherwise if shown the opportunity. We can start with educational opportunity that leads to occupational opportunity. Obviously our urban educational superstructure is not producing the desired outcomes (for all the reasons WRM has catalogued), and needs to be radically restructured.

    Will it take mob violence to force our public elites to admit that the Great Society programs are not only ineffective but retard and poison the development of civil behavior? Or will, predictably the case be made for more spending on broken institutions? Can we get some intellectual integrity in our leaders?

  • Lynn

    This is the results of the Great Society and all the other social engineering “answers”. When you substitute government for FATHERS you will reap what you sow! The black families were cohesive and relied on each other up until the 50′ and 60’s. Look back at statistics and see when the increase in out of wedlock births in the black and the white communites began! And whatever happened to charity? People use to do anything not to been seen as taking a handout, now they wear it like a badge of courage! WIC, foodstamps, housing, etc… So sad!

  • don

    One, the modern main stream media are irrelevant when it comes to preventing the spread of “wrong” ideas. They’ve lost control. Two, regardless of one’s wealth or poverty, it seems everyone has access to the message medium. Three, I’m reminded of some of the social science explanations for the causes of the violence of the 60s; basically it was a period of rising expectations that were perceived to be irrelevant to those who were already in the promised land and had nowhere else to go. The future morale of the many already struggling under the current declining options and well being looks rather grim. After ten years of guns and butter the Vietnam War was basically liquidated because of those fiscal and political pressures on an urban elite whose kids were exempt from that “war of choice.” It could get ugly.

  • Ann in L.A.

    One small part of any solution is to lower the minimum wage, especially for teens. They desperately need to get their foot on the first rung of the employment ladder, but are priced-out of the job market by an absurdly-high minimum wage.

  • http://rattanman.blogspot.com masstexodus

    I wonder if these flash mobs/robs happen in states with a large number of CHL permit holders. I have not heard of anything like this happening in TX. An armed society is a polite society.

  • stuff

    How much worse would the inner city problems be if the percentage of pregnancies that end in abortion decreased?

  • Kevin IL

    I see a civil war brewing & it ain’t going to be pretty.

  • ThomasD

    By your usage would you agree that Barack Obama, while certainly black, is not particularly Black, and really only became so by choice (as per Dreams from My Father)?

  • Ryan Booth

    I don’t find this phenomenon to be significantly different from the “anarchist” violence that we’ve seen recently. I put “anarchist” in quotes because the protests seem to demand larger government programs and target businesses.

  • Walter Geiss

    No dads on hand to say, “Turn your hat around, pull up your pants and get a job.”

  • pst314

    3. SteveMG “It seems to me that as long as these incidents are limited to large urban areas that any concerns about a white backlash seem misplaced. We’ll likely just see fewer whites travelling to cities to attend fairs or events. If these mobs start to go to the suburbs, then all bets are off.”

    You have a point (that the political impact depends on how many white citizens actually suffer such racist attacks).

    But you are mistaken on the facts:
    The July 4th attacks in Milwaukee were in the River West neighborhood, which is mostly working-class white.
    The Wisconsin State Fair is in the mostly white middle class city of West Allis, which is a suburb in Western Milwaukee County.
    The Chicago neighborhoods, River North, Lakeview, etc, are integrated but majority white.
    The Gold Coast is a very wealthy neighborhood on the near North Side of Chicago. Straight East of the notoriously violent Cabrini Green housing project. (Now torn down, finally!)
    Oak Park is a suburb immediately West of Chicago, and it too is majority white but very much integrated. (And disgustingly proud of its liberal credentials. Oh the irony.)

    Read the article again: “Jamal Foster’s story is an example… Foster says he and his friends often travel to North Avenue and Oak Street Beach—two popular lakefront locations along the Gold Coast—to intimidate people and steal whatever they can.”

    It’s a pity that the City of Chicago government (and the liberals who dominate local politics) are so hostile to the 2nd Amendment. These barbarians would change their ways if they faced a real risk of being shot down by armed citizens.

    Steve, you go on to write “One hopes that this can be handled quietly and is just, well, a passing summer storm.”

    Not a chance. “Do nothing and hope that the problem will just go away” is why we are in this mess. After decades of foolish liberal polices that create and perpetuate problems, it’s time to stop pretending and face reality.

  • MatthewK

    I teach in Philadelphia (though I don’t live there), and this specific issue, while apparently having grown worse over the summer, was very much on everyone’s mind throughout the past school year as a growing problem. One Friday morning around 9:30 AM I was traveling between two schools with musical instruments for a performance that afternoon, and I was shocked at the number of high school-aged youth who were roaming the streets in small- and medium-sized groups.

    Several weeks later after a nasty incident somewhere in the city, the principal read an announcement from the central office to the effect that Philly police had been given specific instructions to stop, question, and if necessary arrest any school-aged children they observed on the streets during school hours.

    Now we reap what we have sown for the last 40 years.

  • pst314

    34. MP Ryan “Our fathers might have come home drunk, even violent on occasion, but they came home…When sober, they knew they were in the wrong and acted accordingly.”

    Thank you for your comment. It goes to the heart of the matter.

    From one of my favorite books:
    “You are a good man.”
    “No, I am a bad man trying to be a good man.”

  • ESAD

    In any endeavor, the individual or aggregate that is truly oriented to reality will outperform those not so otriented.

    The curse of PC speechcodes, seen in the Missing Addjective Syndrome as these events metastisize, is a dire prognostic indicator.

    When this class status disease becomes as manifest as Obama and Holder have demonstrated, the glideslope to anarchy is started.

    This will not end well. Perpetual apologism for Black Criminality and Sociopathy is gangrene. The Great Society, founded in a moment of white guilt and liberal delusion, has reinforced devolution. It’s now institutional, a bedrock of our foul Federal Government rot. As a true BLACK candidate for the Executive position [Alan Keyes] stated, ” .. it is increasingly obvious to Americans that Laws are for Chumps.”

    Meads erudition aside, the fundament of this trend is obvious. Anarchy. Obama has stated that he will side with his [Islamic associates] “if an ill wind should blow.” That brethren has made deep inroads into innercity Black hiphop and prisongrad cohorts. A perfect storm, where misogyny, violence, contempt for academic and intellectual achievement, anti-white / anti-Western hate and disregard for law are given a veneer of religiosity. [Guess which world religion the commenter names here] dovetails perfectly with modern blackhiphop thugdom. And the Grand Vizier is their Ultimate Protector.

  • Milwaukee

    Does William H need a tissue?
    Should the problems in this excellent article be framed as not so much racial as but as cultural? There are Whites who identify with Black culture, look at the popularity of Black rappers among White teenagers. Before the Great Society, Blacks had a lower divorce rate, higher marriage rate, and lower out-of-wedlock rate than Whites. Liberal interventions have contributed to the destruction of Black culture. Those Blacks who have achieved on merit and work find their success degraded by the specter of affirmative action.

    But then, Margaret Sanger knew that for her Negro Project to be successful, she would need the help of Black clergy in Black churches. She got that help. Today Planned Parenthood has more clinics in poor minority neighborhoods than in poor White neighborhoods. When infant mortality rates are published, do they include those souls lost to abortion?

    In Milwaukee, deaths of infants while sleeping with care givers is not uncommon. However, I do not recall ever reading of the prosecution of the caregiver involved. How many Black babies need to die under their drunk or stoned caregiver before authorities charge the caregiver? Or take away their other children?

  • Teacher in Tejas

    I am certain Attorney General Holder will be getting on this right away. (Cough, cough)

  • TexasDude

    The celebration of the criminal and the thug is one of the reasons for this disconnect.

  • Globsnark

    45. pst314 quoted a book:
    –“You are a good man.”
    –“No, I am a bad man trying to be a good man.”

    This is a fantastic quote. I googled it to no avail. Pray tell which book it is from.

  • anon

    Blah blah blah, come up with every excuse in the book. These thugs are doing it for fun. They’re racist, they’ve grown up with violent thug life idealized in every part of their culture, and they know there’s no punishment at all (in part because knee jerks will say anything to excuse it).

    This is similar to what the French did with their imported Islamic thug class, where there are whole cities in France in which French law no longer exists, where cars were burned nightly. The leftists wish to destroy civilization and these pockets of savagery are part of their plan. Their great welfare state, existing devoid of any roots of Western civilization.

  • http://www.thesupernaturalist.com/ABSOLUTE/OTHERTRIBES2 John Jordan

    Since the end of WW2 the vote-buying scheme called “bureaucracy” has been the politicians’ favorite method of insuring their sinecure. So long as there was plenty of money in the U.S.A. and in England, We The People remained content in a folly of ignorance and self-indulgence. Now We are beginning to sober up. What an awful hangover! We are now prodded and oppressed by out-of-control bureaucracy that has no object but advancing its own agenda of bureaucratic growth and power of the Collective. Mob violence has marked the advent of every big Marxist move in history. Violence & death are Marxism’s stock-in-trade. Bureaucratic Marxism in the U.S.A. is a big sick joke and Obama has become a gallows-humor punchline. Detroit Michigan is a glaring example of utterly failed U.S. bureaucratic Socialism. There will be no way to avoid the hard times, violence and inconvenience We The People have brought upon ourselves in America. The party is over.

  • John Stephens

    William H,

    Slave and slaveholder alike are long since dead. There is nothing more that can be done to, for or about them. All that remains is the excuses they provide.

  • JS

    Since we don’t allow our police to use common sense and utilize profiling, they’ll have to question 74 whites for every 14 or so blacks in order to get to the bottom of this. Hopefully another mob doesn’t form while they are wasting time down at the station.

  • LeAnn

    Sounds like we’re ripe for another Bernie Goetz moment.

    Another liberal experiment proven wrong.

    America pays the price again.

  • Don

    If the media were trying to downplay this phenomenon because they were concerned about ‘copycat’ violence, they would have never pushed the ‘suicide from bullying’ meme. Despite studies showing a clear link between publicizing teen suicide and copycat suicides, the media went on an all out blitz.

    Here, where a warning may save a life, nothing is said. Riots typically have two stages of reporting; over reporting deaths, then under reporting deaths.

    Simply by listing deaths due to mob violence as their proximate cause such as ‘slip and fall’ (people usually ‘fall’ when thrown from a roof, balcony or the top of a car) the authorities and media can downplay the effects of the riot or disturbance.

    Cities and counties all over the country were caught deliberately under-reporting crime. There is great incentive to appear effective, diligent in law enforcement and to have a ‘safe community’.

    I conducted an informal poll among people in my community. I asked if they had heard of the Black, ‘flash mobs’. None had.

    The lack of media coverage (for those late to the party it is called a ‘cover up’), politically and racially charged prosecutions (or lack thereof) from our top people at Justice, and using stimulus money to purchase guns for gang members is a crisis in the making. Remember we should never let a crisis go to waste.

    Let’s see how this plays out at the polls in ’12. Combine calls for ‘social justice’ and a flash mob with calls for more Black Panther style voter intimidation and we could see a stolen election. If they know they will not be prosecuted (or even arrested), why not have fun playing ‘Knockout King’ in front of the polling stations? There are plenty of white, elderly folk for these ‘strong urban youths’ to ‘educate’.

    Make no mistake, some people want the violence.

  • Thomas Lipscomb

    The inscription over the architrave of the Supreme Court Building must either be changed or become valid again.

    “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW.”

    The Marxists Progressives would like to change it to SOCIAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW and they are already acting in good faith to apply law in just that fashion.

    Great Society policies, including the legal obscenity of “affirmative action” which not only has degraded black society but enraged the rest of America with unequal treatment, already ignore it with the cooperation of both political parties.

    But to either change it, or observe it will require a substantial social revolution.

    As we will see in 2012.

  • Ralph Gizzip

    A 40% unemployment rate among Black males may be a valid reason for the ascendancy of flash mobs but then a vast majority of that 40% are unemployable. What business owner in their right mind would hire someone covered in tats and piercings, unable to do basic math, and unable to speak English coherently? If that’s how you’re going to represent yourself to me then you’re NOT going to represent me to my customers.

    Abolition of LBJ’s “Great Society” must happen. We cannot trust Washington to phase it out. It must be done in one fell swoop. It will be massively painful for a great many people caught up in the change but their future generations, and America as a whole, will be better for it.

  • tom beebe

    If I can get something free from Uncle Sam, why can’t I take more from other Sams, like, say, Walton?

  • William H

    Milwaukee says:

    … Before the Great Society, Blacks had a lower divorce rate, higher marriage rate, and lower out-of-wedlock rate than Whites….

    __ __ __ __ __

    Economic necessity dictated that this was case prior to the 1950’s. Segregation and heavy handed justice kept Blacks exactly where Whites wanted them to be – economically marginalized and politically emasculated..

    Much of the problem post-1960’s relates to the fact that it is extremely difficult to raise up a marginalized group with education, housing and affirmative action when racism, although no longer sanctioned by the state, lurks silently behind a curtain of “White” politeness.

  • pickwick

    This is a not too surprising result of the Democrat/Left policy of instilling the black community with a sense of grievance over the the supposed systemic racism and injustice in America. While it may help somewhat, I don’t think just finding jobs for these people will do much to change the worldview that has been has been hammered into them for decades. They see the US as an evil, injust place (remember Michelle saying she had never before been proud of America, in spite of her relatively privileged status?).

    I fear for the future with this rot (the mindset, not the people) ingrained in the culture.

  • thibaud

    Mr. Mead, I too read of these anecdotal reports (Matt Drudge seems to have configured a special news feed for them) and wonder what’s going on.

    But if I were a journalist or public intellectual, my first instinct would not be to reach for deeper meanings or dust off my Moynihan Report, but to establish a factual baseline so that I could understand just how widespread the “flash mob” phenomenon is.

    In other words, I’d _do my homework_ and gather, and dispassionately analyze, the FACTS before I begin to form some kind of narrative of my own devising.

    Unfortunately, your lengthy recitation of stuff we’ve seen a thousand times since Moynihan’s day does not even begin to inform anyone of what’s going on.

    Rather than pontificating, would you please turn your formidable analytical talents — or detail an intern or two — to the task of gathering the facts and doing a basic trend analysis including, over time, the number of incidents per year over the past ten years, number of kids involved, and the number of cities where this has occurred.

    Thank you in advance,
    Best,
    T

  • MB

    “Much of the problem post-1960′s relates to the fact that it is extremely difficult to raise up a marginalized group with education, housing and affirmative action when racism, although no longer sanctioned by the state, lurks silently behind a curtain of “White” politeness.”

    Its out there- you cant see it or hear it, but racism lurks behind every blade of grass, preventing everything from high school graduation to marriage to taking care of your children.

  • Renfield

    William H, North America had less slavery than practically anywhere else in the world except feudal Europe, which had no need for it. The only truly remarkable aspect of slavery in the United States was that it was ended rather promptly. Slavery had been going on in Africa for millennia (and still goes on there), and all those slaves brought to the New World had first been enslaved by black Africans. Sometimes families and tribes sold their “superfluous” members.

    Every racial/ethnic group on earth has been the victim of injustice at one time or another. Jews have been persecuted for millennia. Why aren’t they gathering in mobs and beating and robbing people in parks and at state fairs? Could it be because their culture does not exalt ignorance, promiscuity, and violence?

    After World War II, black people in America demanded liberty, free markets, and equal opportunity. Tragically, they instead received welfare, condescension, and the degradation of affirmative action.

    Black Americans survived slavery, two world wars, an era of lynching, the Great Depression, and Jim Crow. What they could not survive was government “help.”

  • Teacher in Tejas

    To MP Ryan: I loved your Adam Smith reference. Makes me think of my favorite qoute about the direction society is going. The great historian Arnold Toynbee said essentially that societies advance when the lower classes emulate the behavior of the upper classes; they decline when the upper classes emulate the behavior of the lower classes.

    Think about it, tatoos and foul language everywhere. Holywood stars spouting obscenities every other word, ghetto thug rappers remaking the same stupid music video everytime (Rapper with his big house, big car, swimming pool surrounded by his bikini-clad “property.”) The idea of any kind of shame or guilt over out of wedlock births. BTW, its not just a Black problem anymore. 30+ percent of white and Hisanic births are now to single moms. etc.

    I teach at a fairly upscale high school and it amazes me. My good little upper middle class kids who just love hip hop and rap. I enjoy pointing out to my girls that they are really doing themselves a favor by listening to music that says they are essentially “bitches and hos.” “Don’t worry ladies, you won’t have any trouble finding a man to love and respect you in that environment.

    This incident has stayed with me. On the first day of class I ask the kids to fill out the standard index card and I ask them to list thier favorite book, movie and tv show. One of my “nice girls” (good student, church goer, respectful) listed her favorite show as “The Girls Next Door” I quizzically asked, “So a story about THREE PROSTITUTES is what you quaulify as good entertainment? Her response: “They aren’t prostitutes.” I retorted, “They provide sexual services for an eightysome year old rich man. Please take the adjective “rich” out of that quote and see if it still passses the laugh test.”

    So, yes its gone beyond just a question of black under-class culture.

    And for the record, I am not some tea-totalling Puritan. I enjoy movies and tv with adult themes and content, and I don’t believe in censorship, but sadly that barrier of media entry to the adult world has beome far too low.

  • Kev

    “Bad economic times not only make people less generous and more defensive when thinking about social policy; they undermine public confidence in the wisdom and/or trustworthiness of elites.”

    I hope you’re using the term “elites” ironically, because the vast majority of the so-called ruling class are elite only in their own minds.

    We need to start electing better people to office–those who are devoted to true public service, rather than the self-servers we so often see today.

  • three chord sloth

    Gresham’s Law: “Bad money will drive out good”… meaning that when government compulsorily overvalues one money and undervalues another, the undervalued money will leave the country or disappear from circulation into hoards, while the overvalued money will flood into circulation.

    The Sloth’s Law of Culture and Welfare States: “In any comprehensive welfare state, bad culture will drive out good”… meaning that by focusing on alleviating the symptoms of poverty, and refusing to allow failures to utterly fail, well meaning governments end up subsidizing destructive and punishing constructive behaviors. Government is artificially overvaluing failed cultures and undervaluing successful ones.

    Over time, in every welfare state, the live-for-the-moment culture of the poor ends up supplanting the build-for-the-future culture that created the wealthy nation in the first place. This is the fatal flaw at the center of the Welfare State — the only way to win that game is to never play in the first place.

  • John Jordan

    Willaim H, you are the worst kind of racist; shrouding your evil accusations in mists of feigned compassion and helplessness against the onslaught of evil, always-bigoted white-skinned people. You should be ashamed of yourself but perhaps the evil inspiration of your hateful state of mind is so thoroughgoing as to prohibit any serious introspective reflection or self-examination on your part. Curtain of “White” politeness, indeed. William H. your brand of evil hypocrisy makes me physically, mentally, and spiritually ill. How can you be so blind to your own hypocrisy? Someone taught you to hate. Someone taught you to always be suspicious and hostile toward white people. Who was it? No human infant in this world is born with such hate as you display. Hate is not an instinct. Hate is a learned response. Who taught William H. to hate?

  • delmar Jackson

    If we are to cut entitlements, let’s first start with immigration, as it is a major entitlement to democrat leaders looking for an electoral advantage in years to come, and Republican leaders wanting a flood of cheap compliant labor to please their corporate masters, and ethnic advocates wanting more power via unassimilating immigrants.

  • peterike

    With the loss of our manufacturing base, we no longer have enough decent paying jobs for unskilled people who have learned nothing in our Marxist run schools. We must repatriate manufacturing from other countries, yes even if it means your $3.00 t-shirt at WalMart may now cost $6.00.

    Also, the endless flood of immigrants legal and illegal have displaced blacks at lower paying jobs they could be doing. I travel all over the country, yet I almost never see blacks working in hotels. Hispanics and Asians exclusively. Restaurant kitchens? All Hispanic. Lawn care? Hispanics. Why aren’t young black males dominant in something as simple as lawn care?

    Because they get paid to do nothing by the state. Eliminate welfare for able-bodied black males. Fix the immigration problem. Then you will have innumerable jobs going for the asking and you could shrink black youth unemployment considerably.

    None of this will happen, of course.

  • Bil

    Another excellent article. I guess I would say there appears to be a racist element in the African American community. Meade carefully alluded to it. I think dancing around it is a mistake. This should be forcefully condemned by Blacks and Whites alike as racism from ANY racial group is wrong. It will not go away by hurling friendly platitudes at the bigots. Unfortunately, the African American leaders in DC themselves have on occasion shown racist tendencies and provide little moral leadership, actually quite the contrary. Racism in any form must be stamped out. It appears efforts targeting racism in the African American community may be in order.

  • thibaud

    Before we all get our mojo on regarding the latest Threat to Civilization, could someone please ask Mr Google to go fetch the, um – you know – FACTS about the number, range and severity of these incidents over the last decade?

  • http://chicagoboyz.net TMLutas

    At some point, somebody’s going to do an open carry flash mob at the statehouse steps and then the fat will truly be in the fire.

    Here’s a 5 minute video on some of the permutations of how flash mobs can go very badly, very fast.

    http://igniteshow.com/videos/flash-mob-gone-very-very-wrong

  • http://khemenu.blogspot.com Ari Tai

    In response to “what should the government do to help blacks?” Shelby Steele sighed and said ~”please leave us alone.”

  • ken

    Many lower class whites have half-black illegitimate grand children. You can’t tell cultural traits by skin color anymore.

  • janelasdedeus

    If we believe that much if not most of our mental/emotional processes are actually unconscious… then we have to wonder at the coincidence that one of the biggest hit movies of this summer is a remake of Planet of the Apes.

  • EJM

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a democrat and a liberal, was prescient is seeing the flaws of LBJ’s Great Society just a few years after it was introduced.

    -Medicare is bankrupt.
    -Public education doesn’t educate.
    -The Black family which survived slavery and Jim Crow has been effectively decimated since the 60’s.
    -In NYC 40% of pregnancies end in abortion.
    -Drugs, gangs, and violence, usually Black on Black are rampant.
    -Many once vibrant cities like Detroit are depopulated wastelands.
    -Public sector unions control blue states like New York, Illinois and California.
    -All the while government spending and debt
    increases.

    In spite of this overwhelming failure of the Great Society, already evident 40 years ago, the “elites” remain committed to its basic premises. This failure has come down heaviest on Blacks, excluding the Oprahs and Obamas.

    But for 5 decades any honest assessment of this failure of policy is met with charges of “racism.” End of discussion.

    Add to this blind dogmatism the open borders immigration policy, both legal and illegal, and you have exactly the tinderbox Dr. Mead describes. Of course, point that out and you are “anti-immigrant” as well as “racist.”

    America accepted and amalgamated diverse racial and ethnic immigrant groups for 200 years. This required an American identity and ideal of freedom and justice for all. If it sometimes failed we all understood the idea to which we were committed to pursue and do better. The multi-cultural and affirmative action ethos of grievance, victimization and entitlement have undermined this ideal since the 1960’s. Now the economic recession has cut off the path to prosperity for millions, upon which the success of the American model depends.

    One should never ascribe to malice what is accountable to incompetence, but it is true nevertheless that if one wanted to undermine and eventually destroy America, there could be no more effective way that the policies of “progressive” decline set in motion by LBJ’s Great Society, and accelerated further in the last three years by Barack Obama.

    Small wonder there is anxiety and real anger palpable throughout the land.

    We need a top to bottom rethinking of the role of government and specific government policies. If this comes out of the present afflictions, a renewal of the American Republic is possible.

  • mac

    You can bet the thugs doing these things have never given the first thought to what the response will be from a vast majority of white people. I’d bet that for even more whites now, black defendant automatically equals guilty verdict. On the flip side, white citizen kills black will automatically equal justifiable self-defense and a grand jury no-bill. The thinking will be the old parental standby: “You didn’t do this one? Ok, the punishment then is for some other crime you did where you weren’t caught.”

  • Style Doggie

    It’s a good article, but your conclusion/observation that the media not covering these incidents is good because that would spread the violence is wrong. First off, the mob violence has been reported on Drudge, so the word is out. Second, do you really think Black teens in St Louis or LA or Little Rock aren’t aware of flash robs? If the Crips and the Bloods can spread from coast to coast, so can flash robbing.

  • Severn

    >”despite its unpopularity, Great Society immigration policy is possibly the single most important social policy the country now has”

    It’s certainly “important”. Is it “good” or “desirable” though? I suppose that as a member in good standing of the “elite” he mentions, Mr Mead dare not suggest that our current immigration policy (one enacted by our government in defiance of its own written law) is fatally flawed and destructive of the body politic. In the religion of neo-liberalism practiced by our establishment, unfettered immigration is the holiest of sacraments.

  • T.Johnson

    I was reading about the riots in London and I felt like a Soviet citizen of the old days. I searched the article for clues revealing the religion and then the color of the rioters. Why have I been reduced to this level? My answer . . . the media has protected me to the point where I now think ALL rioters are Muslims. This can’t be true, in fact the examples in this article explain that some are home grown folks.

  • sh

    I doubt the temperature has anything to do with it. The “heat” comes from the responsibility failures of government at all levels to judge the actions of lawbreakers without discrimination.
    This empowerment to selective anarchism is fostered by the example set to this end by the Obama administration’s Department of “Justice” and the Democrat’s condescending flippancy to define everything conservative as hateful and neanderthal.

  • http://eternityroad.info Francis W. Porretto

    – The lines of communication between the Black poor and the Black elite have largely broken down. —

    I would quibble somewhat with this. The lines of commmunication didn’t break down in some unattributable fashion; they were severed by the Black elite. The sociodynamics of the elite’s rise and acceptance into the upper strata of American society, particularly American political society, made the temptation irresistible.

  • Tantor

    Walter,

    You’re overintellectualizing this issue of black punk flash mobs. While all these greater issues are true, the reason why these black punks attack people is that they were never taught any better and so find beating and robbing people to be fun and profitable.

    When the Dallas Cowboys had a Superbowl victory parade through Dallas some years back, black punks ran riot in the streets, punching white spectators. A reporter from the Dallas Morning News asked one of the black punks why he was doing it. He answered, “Because it’s fun.”

    They don’t riot and rob because of grand social issues but rather because they are bad people from bad parents who gave them bad values.

    By the way, one of these black punk flash mobs ran through the Iowa State Fair a couple years ago, shouting “It’s Beat Whitey Night!” I suspect there is more of this going on than is publicly known, thanks to the media.

  • http://darkbloodyground@blogspot.com Dark and Bloody

    If you want a reality check on this, check out the video of the convenience store being mobbed. Then image if the owner had pulled a short barreled 12 gauge loaded with 00 shot from below the counter and emptied it. That is going to happen if these flash mobs keep happening. Then they will get lots of notice and then things will get really Dark and Bloody around here.

  • Robert

    I really, really, really wish that people would stop refering to these as “flash” mobs. They are nothing of the sort. They are simply mobs, period.

  • http://24Ahead.com/ 24AheadDotCom

    In Jan., the black youth labor force % was 25. It had been around 40 for decades. There are various factors but surely a major one is the massive illegal immig. over the past several years. Even KRove admits that his boss is responsible for 5 million new illegal aliens.

    Yet, our elites keep promoting *even more* immig.

    And, their supposed opponents (the TPers) let them and even help them. The top TP leaders are on the wrong side of this issue, and the TPers have largely ignored immig.

    The idea that the TPers are suddenly going to transform from a group of incredibly dumb, vile, fringe useful idiots into a group that would actually oppose the negative ideas of the Establishment in a mainstream way is absurd.

  • B. Samuel Davis

    An illustration of two things – how the leaders have become thoroughly disconnected from those they govern, and how African Americans have been systematically plundered and destroyed by the Democratic party, which has destroyed their family, criminalized their community, made them dependent on government and tightened the reins of power so that in African American communities it is Democrat party uber ales, despite the continuing destruction of the community by the Democrats. And the loss of African American jobs through legal and illegal immigration.

    I’d be angry too – but angry at the democrat party which took the promise of the civil rights movement and ground it to dust.

  • deo89

    A “flash mob” of Black youths occurred at the State Fair last year in Des Moines, Iowa of all places.

    Safe to say, this is not restricted to over-crowded, heavily urban areas with large minority populations.

    My personal belief is that there is a national mood of unaccountability beyond what any of the Great Society programs may have wrought. Wall St. is bailed out for incompetence. Chrysler is bailed out for short-sightedness. Underwater home-owners are bailed out for dreaming too big. Executives get bonuses to leave corporations in shambles. Politicians of all stripes lie daily and are not challenged by the mainstream. We have a President who furthers the grievance culture and berates the “rich”. To these poor, most others are rich in comparison and they feel entitled to some of that wealth.

  • TSIndiana

    I watch as courts become infested with fraud and understand the pain. We probably can count on a lot more, even more targeted as a form of protest.

    I used to have respect for authority (judges), but when they began to takes sides, alligning with the thieves (there is always someone who wants your property without paying for it)…I realised the plight was not only in the cities, where corruption is clear, but in my rural community as well.

  • Gloria

    Actually Robert, they are simply racist mobs.

  • Mark Buehner

    “We must repatriate manufacturing from other countries, yes even if it means your $3.00 t-shirt at WalMart may now cost $6.00.”

    It would be a lot more than double- you cant open a dye house in this country because of the EPA regulations, the few that remain have been grandfathered in and dont have the capacity. Then with Obamacare and all the other regulations on employers, you’re gonna half to recoup that labor cost in price.

    So what ends up happening is, perhaps, yes people buy the expensive t-shirts. But they no longer have money for cell phone plans, or I-pads, or dinners out, or that new truck this year. That puts a bunch of other people in this country out of work. All that most of us end up with are a bunch of overpriced t-shirts.

  • ThomNJ

    I enjoyed your article and will read it again. Though I would not agree with every point you make; I find your discussion refreshing. I would disagree with your conclusion: “If that happens, the result is very unlikely to be a strengthening of the foundations of the Great Society state.” I think that if things turn to violence across the board, the Great Society is doomed rather quickly. I believe it should indeed go to the ash heap of history, but I certainly want to defeat it at the ballot box. I don’t believe it has helped folks at all, and instead has created generations of victims dependent upon government as their “god”. It has reduced their self-worth and independence rather than help nurture it.

  • standfast24

    Very sad, yet accurate observations. Sections of American cities are “no go areas” unless armed. Those cities that limit guns make their citizens that less safe. Police forces run by leaders that are more political than law enforcement further exacerbate the problem.
    Simply put, the victim gets less and less protection. Yet, defending yourself becomes
    more problematic because you will likely be the target of the police, not the criminal should you use what would appear excess force.

  • Bonfire of the Idiocies

    The recent immigration trends have done a lot to undercut the low end of the labor market which likely has exacerbated the tensions felt by many lower class white and black citizens. For example, my stepson had a friend who was making good money cutting fish for a local market. That friend lost his job recently because hispanic immigrants were willing to do the job for half the money.

    You can’t necessarily blame the business owner for trying to cut costs in a bad economic environment and you can’t blame the immigrants for wanting to work and make a better life for themselves. But the fact is the current administration’s desire to open the borders is killing the low end of the labor market where the participants already have the poorest chances of finding new work.

  • Richard

    Barely a week after passing the voting rights act, the Watts Riot took place in Los Angeles. As Democrat politicians failed to bring order, it was the first major blow to the liberal establishment. Next came Detroit. The liberal establishment pretended they could fix things but they kept making it worse. Now Detroit after decades of liberal fecklessness is a ruin. Los Angeles will be the next.

  • Resolute

    The growing divide between African American elite and the urban underclass the author describes is very telling.

    The increase in both entitlement spending and admission/hiring preferences is a constant between these two groups of similar racial background.

    The differing results in social/economic advancement would seem to be most probably linked to individual behavior as the determing factor in each outcome.

    Can any program or level of spending succeed without defining the social behavior most likely to produce a successful outcome?

    If we are advising our own children to avoid smoking and illegal drugs, limit drinking alcohol, practice safe sex, apply themselves to academics, obey the law and delay starting a family until they have completed their education and secured a stable career, wouldn’t it be discrimination in not giving that advice to a member the “urban underclass”?

  • http://www.troyriser.com Troy Riser

    Don at #62, above, has it right. What we are seeing in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Chicago, et al is practice in preparation for the 2012 elections. The people who initially inspired this particular type of operation are refining and honing their methods. By election day, the sudden convergence of violent mobs on polling places and at or near GOP campaign offices will be explained as an outbreak of mindless, random criminality rather than as the politically motivated violence it is. Using this technique, a knowledgeable operative would be able to disrupt polling places in specific trouble-spots with a single phone call.

    After election day, place a thumbtack at the site of every flash mob attack and I’ll bet you’ll find a strange correlation between attack sites and closely contested districts.

    And no, the people organizing thse mobs are not disaffected ‘youths’ (to borrow from the French). They may be pawns on a board: deliberately uneducated and easily manipulated, to be sure, but no less criminally or morally culpable for what they do.

    Insofar as the press is concerned, we on the right have very good reasons for thinking the MSM is acting in bad faith by underreporting and downplaying these attacks. ‘Pravda’ was never so much in the tank for Breznhev as the American mainstream press has been for President Obama and the Democratic Party.

  • sh

    Robert and Gloria are quite correct. The recent murder of James Craig Anderson by two carloads of white power racists attest that this is not merely a black-on-white problem.

    There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. – Proverbs 6:16-19

    “The mob has many heads but no brains.” – English proverb

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    The celebration of the criminal and the thug is one of the reasons for this disconnect.

    This is a normal outcome for any Prohibition regime. Look at the popularity of corridas (sp?) in Mexico.

    Anyone remember the criminal overhang from alcohol Prohibition? We didn’t see an end to that until the late 50s. i.e. it takes about 20 years until the major effects of a prohibition regime end.

    So if we legalize tomorrow by about 2035 we should see an end to these pro-criminal attitudes.

    Me? As in any Prohibition regime I’m cheering for the criminals. I applaud the break down in law and order Prohibition causes.

    Had enough yet?

    No? Don’t worry. Things will be getting worse. For about 10 or 20 years after Prohibition stops.

    ===

    When you enact laws that a significant portion of the population will not obey (the tipping point is about 5% of the population) respect for all laws declines. Unless Alcohol Prohibition was a special case.

    And yet so many are surprised.

  • Mannie

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been defensive bloodshed already. I can’t carry a gun in Chicago, but I carry a knife. I do carry in my own state. I am putting “bull bars” on my SUV. Just try to mob me in the street. I know, tough talk on the Internet, but it’s not tough it’s self protective. We are not safe in our own cities.

    Just wait until some poor mope shoots a couple of street thugs, or blasts his way out of a mob with his SUV. Then the race baiting hysterical screaming by the Liberals and other criminals will start.

  • Randy

    Someone once wrote something about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

    There have been a number of politcal actions over the years done on behalf of the working classes and minorities, all with the best intentions of course, that have led us here.

    1. Bad labor laws and business regs and taxes that have caused the number of manual labor jobs to shrink over the decades.

    2. Drug laws that shackle millions of folks with criminal records, marginalizing them from the greater society. This is especially acute in our urban centers.

    3. Welfare policies that created all sorts of disincetives and bloated local, state and federal budgets and all the inefficiencies that go with it.

    4. A Black Power movement that took a 180 degree turn from MLK and disavowed racial integration and was approved by some on the Left.

    5. An attitude embraced by some blacks that academic achievement is “acting white” and should be avoided to remain true to your skin color.

    6. Affirmative action programs in higher education and employment that signaled to minorities that they could still reap rewards without the effort others put in to reap the same rewards.

    7. Black leadership that expolited racial tensions for political gain.

    That’s just off the top of my head. I could probably come up with a couple more if I tried. Like someone up thread, I’m just surprised it’s taken this long for this violence to manifest itself.

    Answers? End the WOD. Streamline regs and laws to facilitate existing and new businesses. Lower taxes. End affirmative action. Enact school vouchers.

    As for the attitudes of some blacks out there, hopefully new leadership can point the way out.

  • Bill M

    “White is an attribute but it is not an identity.”

    Hmmmm. Myopia in distopia.

  • melthemean
  • dhlii

    Mostly excellent article, but I do not see an interconnection with immigration. As a whole we are increasingly grasping that the Great Society, Affirmative Action and the New Deal were mistakes. Because of their broad based nature the programs of the New Deal are more likely to survive. The current recession cuts progressively deeper as it descends the socio-economic ladder ending with the greatest damage to young black males. Ending the recession is the most effective means of ending that problem.
    Immigration is an entirely different issue. The backlash against immigrants crosses political, most racial, social and economic lines it is possibly the only political issue where the majority of Americans are in agreement – and wrong. The right wants bigger fences with machine gun turrets and minefields. The left wants to imprison anyone hiring illegals. Even those who somehow manage to oppose both affirmative action and immigration only connect the two through a meme of government failure . Flash mobs to my knowledge are not violently targeting immigrants. Angry members of the Tea party think Black when they think affirmative action, and think Hispanic when they think immigration. Further, whatever the effects, mix, … of legal immigration the fixation and anger is about illegal Mexican immigration. Most of us are ignorant to the changes in legal immigration. Further the recession has reduce if not reversed the press of illegal immigrants across our southern border. Immigration related anger is waning, but anger at the 60’s social agenda is waxing.

  • Marty

    I’m tired of hearing about how teh Great Society and what followed was the product of good intentions.

    Unlike much of the New Deal, by the mid-1960s and 1970s we knew enough to understand that the Great Society programs were not based on any rational, factual analysis. I refuse to cut anyone moral slack for backing such programs and willfully ignoring evidence to the contrary so they could claim to be doing it out of benevolence rather than the crude, cynical manipulation that was always at its heart.

    This outcome was baked into the cake ca. 1965.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    With the loss of our manufacturing base,

    We haven’t lost our manufacturing base. It is still quite vibrant. What we no longer need is manufacturing labor. Machines do the work.

    Think of electronic eqpt. It is no longer made by people wiring and soldering components together. We have printed circuit boards which are put together by machines.

    Robots build cars. etc.

    We could use a few more engineers though.

  • Nick Jacobs

    Excellent article… It captured a lot of the frustrations I as a middle class white guy have been feeling particulary since Obama was elected.

    I try to have a generous attitude towards people who have had a harder life than I have, but at some point the expectation is for people to stop complaining about their ‘victimhood’ and get busy trying to improve their circumstances.

    I have been involved in working in a church ministry trying to help a homeless man move from transitional housing to being employed and having his own apartment. This individual is also white… so I will not be making any conclusions about race… but this guy has part time employment, and he has an iPad, iPhone, and a few other items with monthly service fees. He is getting childcare basically paid for through various programs, but instead of seeing that as an opportunity to save money for rent…. he is sending it to Apple & AT&T.

    We are working with him to learn some skills to save money instead of spending it. But for me who is struggling to pay bills because my wife and I have two kids in Daycare…. it is very easy to become resentful, and lose compassion for this guy.

    I would not have made this generalization before this experience, but it is becoming clear to me that this is the result from entitlements that are not coupled with expectations for improvement.

    I am glad to get an opportunity to serve someone, but I am a lot less likely to shed tears over entitlement reforms that reduce payouts after having had this experience.

  • Diogenes’ Lantern

    Were I black, living in today’s political, economic and social environment, where my chances of a job were decreased from 40% to 10% or even zero, where broken homes existed throughout my community and friends, where the police routinely picked on me — I just might get to the point where I would say, “I don’t give a damn anymore.” and go on a rampage of destruction of every symbol of oppression I could find — justified or not.

  • SNAKESRULE

    Concealed carry doesn’t have the same civilizing effect as open carry…

  • teapartydoc

    I’d probably come up with something thoughtful to say if I really gave a crap about cities and their residents.

  • Old Vet

    If you notice, these attacks are happening only in Chicago, where they have violated the citizens right to carry weapons. If they let the citizens there carry concealed weapons, WITHOUT ANY BULLS**T regulations, all of this would go away. John Lott’s FBI statics prove it! Has anyone seen any of this in Florida, or any other state where gun laws are minimized? I think not! It is time to run all of the PROGRESSIVES out of all of our instituions and make them STAY OUT!!!!!

  • Rockwell

    Solution:

    1. More people carrying guns.
    2. More police.
    3. More prisons.
    4. Stricter sentencing.

  • thibaud

    melthemean – thank you for the list, which at least is a small start. What needs to be done next is some analysis of these attacks as a percent of total violent crime in the US and how that % has changed over time. For ex., you’ve listed about 110 total incidents in 2008-11, most of which are from 2010 and 2011 and most of which aren’t really “mobs” at all. For starters, a group of 5 kids mugging someone or robbing a convenience store doesn’t qualify as anything new or different or even, for the purposes of this blog or of national policy, anything worthy of attention in a nation.

    As to the list of mob attacks – I counted about 45 in which ten or more were involved – while the list seems alarming, and I wouldn’t minimize the terror nastiness and brutality of the thugs perpetrating these crimes, in numerical terms your list doesn’t seem to represent anything worthy of national attention or discussion given that this nation has about * 4,000 * violent crimes occurring * each day * (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States).

    The most serious incidents, on the whole, are those occurring at outdoor urban events and festivals, where there’s always been the serious risk of violence, whether it was reported on or not. By far the most serious event on your list is actually drawn from a post-sporting event where the mob was neither poor nor black nor even American. I’m not sure how this discussion of race and poverty fits that riot, the granddaddy of them all, into the narrative.

    In any case, I’m not dismissing the phenomenon, which may have something to do with social technologies that make it easier to aggregate thugs in a short period of time for a meetup at a definite time and place. But I don’t see that the underlying problems are any worse than they were during any of the many riots that occur in our big cities from time to time.

    LA 1992 was a big deal. I don’t see evidence to believe that flash mobs are a symptom of any fundamental change in our society or need for any kind of national policy at a time when we have literally a dozen burning national issues, from 16% unemployment to national solvency to three wars going to the healthcare mess etc etc etc.

  • Raymon H

    Notice that this sort of thing isn’t happening in Texas and really not anywhere in the South, outside of maybe Atlanta, GA. Why? Because if it did, then there would be lots of Black teenagers laying dead in the streets. Watch the numbers of Concealed Carry Licenses skyrocket in Wisconsin. I’ve taken to carrying not only a handgun in each my vehicles, but also a rifle or shotgun.

  • wrecktafire

    Profound and well-written.
    Thank you.

    While I can barely stand to listen to Michael Savage on many topics, when he says that society depends on borders, language, and culture, he puts WRM’s essay in a nutshell.
    Some view this as an invitation to racism (or an explicit example of it), but it is a hard truth borne out by the history of every society which has died out.

  • thibaud

    This is the ugliest thread I’ve seen on Mead’s blog.

    Given the excitable nature of your readers, is it really wise to be encouraging their racial fears and fantasies by spinning this story as somehow the harbinger of race wars?

    I know you’re on a jeremiad trip now where everything you see fits a biblical nature of woe and ruin, but please ask yourself: Is it worth it in THIS case, with this kind of Matt Drudge-level tabloid story?

    There’s no evidence of a “tinderbox.” Why are you fomenting people’s fears in this way?

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @thibaud: you seem to have two criticisms. One is that we DON’T live in a tinderbox and I am irresponsibly making this up out of whole cloth. The other is that as evidenced by the tone of some of the comments on this thread we DO live in a tinderbox and I am deeply irresponsible for playing with matches in such a volatile environment.

      I think that you’re only allowed to beat me with one of these two sticks. Care to choose?

  • Vader

    “The national media are doing their best to avoid looking too closely at this disturbing phenomenon, and perhaps for good reason. What the United States doesn’t need is a media firestorm that triggers copycat violence.”

    I have to admire your capacity for making the most charitable possible assumption about the motives of the media. I am myself too cynical.

  • GO_FLYERS

    It’s interesteing that ever since Johnson’ “Great Society” was enacted the black community has plummetted. After $15 trillion was wasted. Poverty levels went from 10.8% to 10.7%. Liberals/ progressive idea of big government, only embraced by the current administraion, is a failure.

    The left are trying to seek refuge before the backlash is amusing. The left had, and falsely, working on their side “white guilt.” Everyone who changes their plans and doesn’t go to dinner in philly or other cities, as I and others have done,know where this stems from. The crimes will go under reported in the “MSM”. Those that report it, you on the left will call “racists” (as you always do when the facts to don’t support your goals or theorys)or “right wing”,”teabaggers” etc: Facts are tough.

    The backlash will be at he polls and again the left or you guys will respond with the mighty insults.”Americans were acting up”, “stupid”, “ilinformed” and the list goes on. I wish just once you guys could admit when your policys have been miserable failures! By the way The dems and Obama own the economy!

  • Mark Buehner

    “There’s no evidence of a “tinderbox.” Why are you fomenting people’s fears in this way?”

    Why are you ignoring the clearly demonstrated evidence?

  • um

    Personally i think this is what happens when you have a President who asks you to ‘punish your enemies’ and who is so clearly, like his AG and appointees, a race warrior. Hate to say but i think chaos fits just right with the President’s goals. Like the chaos being sowed in foreign policy right about now. Obama is the end of America. ps this isnt a troll – we are warming up to concepts we dont like..

  • Severn

    dhlii says “The backlash against immigrants crosses political, most racial, social and economic lines it is possibly the only political issue where the majority of Americans are in agreement – and wrong.”

    Your opinion does not constitute an effective argument, or any argument at all. Like so many immigration enthusiasts, you’re all emotion and no reason.

  • GO_FLYERS

    Another failure from the left that is going to create violence between latinos and blacks. The left has these “goofy” people like “Larry” on MSNBC. He push’s immigration, which really means democratic votes for programs, and states “that who is we were.” He fails to mention that a successful immigration program was Ellis Island. You had to have a sponsor, no felony convictions in the country of your citizenship, no felonys could be committed here and this is what kills you on the left. No public assistance at all for ten years and you had to learn english. That’s right, no spanish speaking teachers given to you.

    One of the great things about this nation is it’s diverse peoples. These diverse groups create a unique American culture. As Geman Chacellor Merkel said about her budget and immigration problem” This is a German culture and a German language. If you come here learn to appreciate our culture and you must learn our language.” The left, to get votes, is causing resentment with it’s “just let them in ” and “we’ll pay for any program” attitude!

  • dougie

    Prof Mead understands how Whites (capitalized!) might feel resentment at their treatment under the regime set up by the Intelligentsia after the victory of the civil rights movement. It sounds like he does not approve of such resentment. Really? The promise of the civil rights movement was that we are all members of the human race with the same rights no matter what skin color. We codified this in the very important Civil Rights Act of 1964. That established the principle that just as we have a right to free speech and freedom of religion, we also have a right to not be discriminated against because of our race. This is the right of EVERYONE, not only people of color. The whole affirmative action apparatus repudiates this important moral principle that was the cornerstone of the progressive struggle against racism throughout the history of the Republic. This means the upper middle class intelligentsia have repudiated the very foundation of the struggle for racial equality once thr forces marching under this banner was victorious. How depressing. A majority of mass Americans finally accept the principle of racial equality,and our elites repudiate it. I say we take them down.

  • Severn

    >”Given the excitable nature of your readers, is it really wise to be encouraging their racial fears and fantasies by spinning this story as somehow the harbinger of race wars?”

    Behold the mind of the leftist! The rabble are dangerous and must be constantly fed the correct sedative lest they turn violent.

    thbaud, why are YOU suggesting that America is a tinderbox?

  • New Orleans Delta

    “Many inner city kids today grow up feeling abandoned by Black leaders as well as by whites”
    Perhaps so, but they dont appear to be ‘randomly beating black leaders, right?
    These are hate crime 101 being, except the individuals are too cowardly to act alone. Most would never try these hate crimes by themselves.

    Also, Mr. Mead, why do capitalize the word “Blacks” but use lower-case for “Whites”?

    Additionally, if white teens were beating up blacks, do you think the media would report that?

  • New Orleans Delta

    “Many inner city kids today grow up feeling abandoned by Black leaders as well as by whites”
    Perhaps so, but they dont appear to be ‘randomly beating black leaders, right?
    These are hate crime 101 being, except the individuals are too cowardly to act alone. Most would never try these hate crimes by themselves.

    Also, Mr. Mead, why do capitalize the word “Blacks” but use lower-case for “Whites”? The black panther movement was castrated decades ago

    Additionally, if white teens were beating up blacks, do you think the media would report that?

  • Anthony

    WRM, I read your extended piece with somber and ominous foreboding. The flash mobs indeed are black youth acting both illegally and violently; no commentators locally or nationally have given behavior the critique/criticism it merits. I am familiar with comments and observations by your linked columnist (Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.); each makes a contribution to discussion. Nevertheless, the youth and ascribed behavior has not come from no where; the youth generally represent a subterranean world of total rejection of the values and vanities of main stream America (a very demoralizing situation for many representative of this group). WRM, this inner city norm has been a generation and half in the making (we started making the abnormal normal). You have said so much, I hardly know where to begin – “The unaffordable nature of the entitlement structure that has emerged from the Great Society and been much added to” (unintended consequences of good intentions perhaps).

    Dare we say “that the ability of the National and local Black Establishment to intervene in moments of tension is dropping” never existed comprehensively – the youth and behavior you document are result of long years of political, social, and familial irresponsibility that now borders on criminal in many respects (Moynihan’s chickens coming home to roost?). Generation and half of abandonment by parents, neighbors, teachers, etc. and replacement by culture of nihilism finds flash mobs de facto behavior for alienated black youth. Poor jobs and life prospects cannot excuse/mitigate responsibility of parents/ adults/neighborhood/community/city to instill sense of character needed to combat personal exigencies, economic ravages, and social context of growing up black and male post 1965.

    WRM, the implications of black America’s irresponsibility to its youth for at least generation and half are so tremendous that everybody evades them – i.e. your three categories; nothing (short of organized violence) but some ethnic honesty as well as serious economic, cultural, and political dialog among your cited three and others can resolve the germ of this problem (these kids definitely live somewhere).

    Apropos intimation regarding times, historically these periods (eras) of economic difficulty engendered by capitalism’s inherent drive towards both profits and efficiency reveal human nature at its most instinctive (when men feel cornered they often elect to fight). Under the impact of accelerating social and economic pressures, public policies (ostensibly benefiting others – blacks), immigration, Great Society ideas, government fiscal policy, etc. are identified as causes of social angst/anxiety to be addressed ASAP. Yet, living within economic and political myths often cloud logical prescriptions real time during processes of economic upheaval. Economics (capitalism) as operative in the world is impersonal (it doesn’t blame people, groups, countries, etc.); it creates “dynamic configuration” (almost anything can happen, an explosive situation) as WRM infers.

    Importantly in America, we take people as we find them and try to bend them (when interested) to our purposes – left, right, center – while leaving much out of our neat formulas as to their overall affect/effect on all Americans. Yet if one were to logically prescribe help in these anxious times, one would require leadership at all levels with foresight beyond particular interests while seeking a national interest – a hard task in a fractious country but a worthy expectation in trying times.

  • JamesBonner

    Ah, a black declaration of independance. A justification for social unrest and international intrusion into sovereign politics. Such, justifications can be played by many others. Is violence and armed conflict the only recourse then? Or, will we calm our our disenfranshized brothers and sisters, together, as a united nation of free men, together, as we advance, together, towards a bright future, together.
    Or, not. The choice is yours. I prefer we all be cool. What say you?

  • Laika’s Last Woof

    The racial policy of the 1960’s was racial equality.
    Affirmative action was a child of the 1970’s (and Nixon IIRC).

    I would be pleased as punch to have the racial policies of the 1960’s. Reverend King was absolutely right; Nixon was, if not wrong for his times, certainly wrong for ours.

  • Mike Mahoney

    The article goes out of it’s way to exorcise the guilt on the blacks involved in this. What is described here is crime, some petty, some felonious. The answer is law enforcement second, self-defense, first. There’s no economic hardship that justifies theft of an iPod or the cold cocking or innocent by-standard.
    As far as I am concerned this piece is a waste, looking for an excuse where none exists. Justifying behavior that is simply and motivationally criminal and trying to wrap it in a dollar bill.
    Shoot them. Yes, I said it. That would be justifiable self-defense.

  • Glen

    Thanks for yet another astoundingly presentient essay.

    How about an in-depth analysis of the immigration changes of 1965 and how they’ye radically transforming our nation?

  • thibaud

    WRM: “you seem to have two criticisms. One is that we DON’T live in a tinderbox and I am irresponsibly making this up out of whole cloth.”

    Wow. I appreciate the response – points to you for engaging with your readers – but major deductions for such a silly straw man like this. I have never anywhere suggested that this is “made up out of whole cloth.”

    Of course it’s a problem, as any form of civic violence is a problem. One could, for example, post about any of a dozen examples of violent social pathologies in the US today such as mexican-american gang violence, or police brutality, or pedophile priests, or violent meth addicts, or irresponsible moms who drown their kids etc. Plenty of tabloid fodder out there if you want to allege that sinful man is getting his comeuppance now.

    But for some reason you have seen fit to call out _this particular form of American social pathology_, without any real analysis of its magnitude or relevance to your narrative of political instability that runs through a strong of posts alleging a larger– literally global — meltdown of literally biblical proportions.

    As to your second, and uncharacteristically dishonest and smug charge: “The other is that as evidenced by the tone of some of the comments on this thread we DO live in a tinderbox and I am deeply irresponsible for playing with matches in such a volatile environment?”

    It’s worth reprinting what I actually wrote, above, with emphasis added: * There’s no evidence of a “tinderbox.” *

    I said it’s * unwise * to encourage the ugly racist fears and fantasies that lurk on the edges of anonymous Jacksonian conservative commentary. Again, nowhere did I imply, as you have, that anyone’s about to take up arms — even though several of your commenters explicitly reference this. To be absolutely clear, someone with a wide following and a reputation for * wisdom * ought not jeopardize that by spreading memes that are unwise. Note the emphasis added to what I wrote:

    “Given the excitable nature of your readers, *** is it really wise *** to be encouraging their racial fears and fantasies by spinning this story as somehow the harbinger of race wars?”

  • Yahzooman

    Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein had this little chat in 1957.

    When it came to street hooligans and thugs (Jets v. Sharks) the issue was nature v. nurture.

    The “Gee, Officer Krupke” song sums it up well.

    The conclusion:

    “Hey, I’m depraved on account I’m deprived!”

    Or he needs a job … or a year in the pen.

    Classic.

    We’ve always had bad juveniles. We always will. Bad economic times bring the bad guys to the fore.

    Here are the lyrics to Officer Krupke. They’re actually pertinent for today and quite biting.

    TIGER, IMITATING KRUPSKE
    Hey you!
    RIFF
    Who me, Officer Krupske?
    TIGER, IMITATING KRUPSKE
    Yeah you, gimme one good reason for not draggin’ ya down the station house, ya punk!
    RIFF
    Dear kindly Sergeant Krupske
    You gotta understand
    It’s just our bringin’ upke
    That gets us out of hand
    Our mothers all are junkies
    Our fathers all are drunks
    Golly Moses, natcherly we’re punks
    JETS
    Gee, Officer Krupske
    We’re very upset
    We never had the love
    That every child oughta get
    We ain’t no deliquents
    We’re misunderstood
    Deep down inside us there is good
    RIFF
    There is good!
    JETS
    There is good, there is good
    There is untapped good
    Like inside, the worst of us is good
    TIGER, IMITATING KRUPSKE
    That’s a touching good story
    RIFF
    Lemme tell it to the world!
    TIGER, IMITATING KRUPSKE
    Just tell it to the judge
    RIFF
    Dear kindly Judge, your Honour
    My parents treat me rough
    With all their marijuana
    They won’t give me a puff
    They didn’t wanna have me
    But somehow I was had
    Leapin’ lizards, that’s why I’m so bad
    SNOWBOY IMITATING JUDGE
    Right! Officer Krupske
    You’re really a square
    This boy don’t need a judge
    He needs an analyst’s care
    It’s just his neurosis
    That oughta be curbed
    He’s psychologically disturbed
    RIFF
    I’m disturbed
    JETS
    We’re disturbed, we’re disturbed
    We’re the most disturbed
    Like we’re psychologically disturbed
    SNOWBOY IMITATING JUDGE
    Hear ye, hear ye. In the opinion of this court, this child is depraved on account he ain’t had a normal home.
    RIFF
    Hey, I’m depraved on account I’m deprived!
    SNOWBOY IMITATING JUDGE
    So take him to a headshrinker. You!
    ACTION
    Who me?
    (From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/w/west-side-story-lyrics/gee,-officer-krumke-lyrics.html)
    RIFF
    My daddy beats my mommy
    My mommy clubbers me
    My grand’pa is a commie
    My grand’ma pushes tea
    My sisters wears a moustache
    My brother wears a dress
    Goodness gracious, that’s why I’m a mess
    ACTION IMITATING HEADSHRINKER
    Yes, Officer Krupske
    He shouldn’t be here
    This boy don’t need a couch
    He needs a usefully career
    Society’s played him a terrible trick
    And sociologically he’s sick
    RIFF
    I am sick!
    JETS
    We are sick, we are sick
    We are sick sick sick
    Like we’re sociologically sick
    ACTION IMITATING HEADSHRINKER
    In my opinion, this child does not need to have his head shrunk at all. Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease.
    RIFF
    Hey, I got a social disease!
    ACTION IMITATING HEADSHRINKER
    So take him to a social worker
    RIFF
    Dear kindly social worker
    They tell me get a job
    Like be a soda jerker
    Which means I’d be a slob
    It’s not I’m antisocial
    I’m only anti-work
    Glory Osky, that’s why I’m a jerk
    A-RAB
    Eek, Officer Krupske
    You’ve done it again
    This boy don’t need a job
    He needs a year in the pen
    It ain’t just a question of misunderstood
    Deep down inside he’s no good
    RIFF
    I’m no good
    JETS
    We’re no good, we’re no good
    We’re no earthly good
    Like the best of us is no damn good
    The trouble is he’s lazy
    The trouble is he drinks
    The trouble is he’s crazy
    The trouble is he stinks
    The trouble is he’s growing
    The trouble is he’s grown
    Krupske, we’ve got troubles of our own
    Officer Krupske
    We’re down on our knees
    RIFF
    ‘Cause no one wants a fella
    With a social disease
    JETS
    Dear Officer Krupske
    What are we to do?
    Gee, Officer Krupske
    Krup you!

    Link:

    http://www.elyrics.net/read/w/west-side-story-lyrics/gee,-officer-krumke-lyrics.html

  • Medsen Fey

    This is an insightful, but disturbingly sad article by WRM.

    Though these violent occurrences have mostly been limited to inner cities in the north and east, with the budget cuts that virtually every state and municipality is facing, a reduced police presence will likely see the problem spreading to other areas. Places with less restrictive gun ownership laws may very well see fewer of these mobs, but such episodes may be more dramatic if someone starts shooting to defend themselves. Of course the media take on that will be predictable with headlines like “RACIALLY MOTIVATED SHOOTING OF BLACK YOUTHS!” reminiscent of Bernhard Goetz. The only silver lining here is that gun and ammo sales will rise and that should improve the economy.

    As for the butterfly wave that will trigger a disaster, look out for the legalization of marijuana and other drugs. If that cash generating business is co-opted by corporate America, you can expect the drop in income for inner city gangs to lead to a search for other revenue. Kidnapping and looting, anyone?

  • Teacher in Tejas

    Troy @ comment #105 on flash mobs on election day next year.

    Thanks for voicing what I was already thinking. The Black Panther thing in 08 asside there were a few rumblings before the election along the lines of “Obama better win or else…”

    I can see this kind of rhetoric heating up, especially if the economic ship remains foundering and if Obama looks like he is heading for a Carter or even Mondale-sized blowout by July.

    Even without flash mobs I think there are going to a lot of “unofficial poll watchers” in contested districts regardless.

    My blood’s been running cold at the thought.

  • Teacher in Tejas

    @New Orleans Delta #134

    Many inner city kids today grow up feeling abandoned by Black leaders as well as by whites”
    Perhaps so, but they dont appear to be ‘randomly beating black leaders, right?”

    Ooooooh, he shoots and scores. Dude, you just made about fifty liberal editorial writers hit the delete key and force them to start over on their inevitable weak-kneed, mushy editorials if this story gets any bigger.

    I tip my hat to you.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      @teacher in tejas: but worth noting that a) the kids aren’t attacking white leaders but whites in the streets and b) most inner city crime is not against whites; in fact, the youth gangs etc. are more likely to commit crimes against Blacks than whites.

      The mushy liberal op-ed writers will have no trouble at all dealing with that…

  • Severn

    >”I said it’s * unwise * to encourage the ugly racist fears and fantasies that lurk on the edges of anonymous Jacksonian conservative commentary”

    It’s quite remarkable that you can perceive ugly racism in what you imagine to be other peoples “fantasies”, but you are quite unable to perceive ugly racism in mobs of people of one race attacking people of another race!

    The most smug and racist commenter on this thread is you.

  • Trudy

    I don’t buy excuses for these folks. They are bad because they want to be bad. Alot of us grew up poor. These are young people who do not have good parental influence (because their parents chose to be bad and not parent their kids because they had other things to do thanks to the government funding them with no strings) and who found an opportunity to be bad without being caught because of their numbers. Plus what do you expect with a constant droning of anger, lawlessness, and blame from their role models including the President, black Congressional leaders, the media, and the black entertainment industry (that also spews out non-stop filth.) The only hope for these kids is a major change of heart by their role models to see the plight of these young people and pledge to set a positive example for them.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    Eugene Robinson had some interesting things to say along these lines in his book Disintegration recently.

  • The Sheriff

    I don’t have an in-depth analysis (I’m not really capable of that), just an observation honed by over 50 years of watching things: whites have been taught for decades that racial hatred and racist acts are evil and shameful; Black Americans seem not to have been taught that. It seems a Franz Fanon kind of a thing.

  • sh

    Yahzooman –

    The Temptations 1970, “Ball of Confusion”:

    The sale of pills are at an all time high
    Young folks walk around with their heads in the sky
    Cities aflame in the summer time
    And, the beat goes on

    Air pollution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul
    Shootin’ rockets to the moon
    Kids growin’ up too soon
    Politicians say more taxes will solve everything

    And the band played on

  • http://americandigest.org vanderleun

    An exceedingly insightful article and discussion.

    Sadly though, in the end it will come to guns.

  • NanaRant

    thibaud- I had the same reaction to your criticism of the author. You did, indeed, seem to hold two opposing views at one time. On one hand dismissing the black on white flash mob violence, maintaining that it was neither particularly news worthy nor indicative of a recent trend toward racial violence AND at the same time putting forth a totally unsupported warning that “excitable” people might be moved to make preemptive strikes. Really, although your use of language skills is excellent, the latter premise sounds more like the recent, disingenuous, absurd attacks on the Tea Party by far left pundits projecting violent tendencies onto peaceful rally participants.

    That was my take. Then you compounded the faulty logic by calling into question the author’s integrity. Bad form that.

  • http://juniperintherdesert.blogspot.com juniper

    Dear Sir/Madam, this is what is happening tonight in London and elsewhere in England:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8687177/London-riots-live.html
    There is a feeling that it has been organised by the same people who organised the student riots: marxist groups in UK who are connected with US and other marxist groups.

  • sh

    Trudy:

    MTV – “Jackass”
    Fox – “Family Guy”
    HBO – “True Blood”
    Cameron Diaz – “Bad Teacher”

    You mean like that black entertainment industry?

  • azcIII

    From what I have read about these flash mobs, they are being organized via social networking and cell phones…if these kids are so “poor” how do they pay for cell phones and computers, and the monthly services? The rare pictures I’ve seen show these kids wearing gold jewelry (perhaps fake and cheap, perhaps not), $200 shoes and in possession of iPods they presumably purchased rather than stole. How is this possible if they are so “poor?”

  • thibaud

    NanaRant: I repeat that there is no “tinderbox” portending imminent race war or race riots in the US, despite the growls of the concealed carry crowd (#92 “Dark and Bloody”, 119, 120, 122) or the pearls of wisdom from commenters like #82, who helpfully informs us that due to lower-class miscegenation you can’t infer “culture” from “skin color” any more, and #139, who’s itching to squeeze off a few rounds (“Shoot them. Yes, I said it. That would be justifiable self-defense”).

    For some reason, these latter contributions reason don’t elicit a rebuke from Mr Mead or his thread moderators, or from the community here, such as it is.

    Which is odd, given that this blog is supposed to offer serious, sober, informed analysis, not another fevered blogswamp. The irresponsible act here is for the blog’s owner to encourage apocalyptic racial fears instead of dispassionate analysis of whether and how this phenomenon represents something new and dangerous.

    Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

    There certainly would seem to be something new, and maybe dangerous, about the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger to coordinate thuggish activity. But that would also apply to the biggest riot of the year, the one by non-black, non-poor, non-Americans in Vancouver, which is to say it would move the discussion along a different vector than the racial one.

    If Mead has evidence that there’s a new race war a-brewing, or another LA riot around the corner, then fine, by all means sound the alarm. But he hasn’t made that case. He’s just trying to fit this into his End is Nigh narrative. His readers deserve better.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    As for the butterfly wave that will trigger a disaster, look out for the legalization of marijuana and other drugs.

    The Drug War is a waste. Except for criminals. What turns a small pile of vegetables into a million dollars? Prohibition.

    But we can’t give it up because it trains criminals and keeps them busy. And besides. Most of the devastation happens to “those people”. Not my concern.

    That attitude smacks of moral decline: “The criminals have become so dangerous that we HAVE to keep them occupied with their current crime lest they attack “us”. ”

    The nation is morally bankrupt.

  • Teacher in Tejas

    Azc #156 Didn’t you see the news. Cell phones are now a natural right, especially in Pennsylvania. We who pay our bills pay higher rates so the “poor” can get free phones and 200+ minutes a month.

    Kind of like when I taught sixth grade down here in Texas and all the kids who were on free or reduced lunch all had $150 Air Jordans on their feet and $200 Dallas Cowboy parkas.

  • http://enemiesofthelibrary.blogspot.com Justthisguy

    Larry Niven invented the term “flash mob” in his SF, except that he used, “flash crowd.” In his books, that involved teleportation. Apparently that’s not necessary; all we need is the so-called “Social Media.”

  • Eric Witkowski

    “It’s a pity that the City of Chicago government (and the liberals who dominate local politics) are so hostile to the 2nd Amendment. These barbarians would change their ways if they faced a real risk of being shot down by armed citizens.”

    I agree. It’s frustrating that the decent people in Chicago can’t carry handguns for self-defense. Even the potential to run into someone with a CCW ought to deter some of the thugs. On top of that, if a CCW-carrying citizen had to use his weapon in self-defense, the terrorizing punks might learn that this mob action isn’t a game.

    Fortunately Chicago at least allow long gun possession. Sooner or later a group of punks is going to try a mob attack on the wrong store, and the owner is going to dispense some justice on the spot.

    I’m not rooting for that to happen — would rather see the thugs stop their violence — but if they get what they deserve it will send a message to others that might be tempted to follow the same wrong path.

  • John

    This is one of the best articles on race in this country….(and at this moment) that I have ever read.
    The overall strength of the economy is a huge factor in crime. This is another reason why the over-leveraged government spending, to support foreign interventions and increasing entitlements is a such risk. A downgrade from S&P is an issue only because it means our debt will cost us more….and therefore add to it. There are no easy answers to this and I pray that our President and elected representatives will place personal responsibility and our long-term well being over politics.

  • pst314

    57. Globsnark “This is a fantastic quote. I googled it to no avail. Pray tell which book it is from.”

    The Urth of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe. This is a sequel to his masterpiece, the four-volume Book of the New Sun.

    Other quotes from The Book of the New Sun:

    “Just as the room of the Inquisitor in Dr. Talos’s play, with its high judicial bench, lurked somewhere at the lowest level of the House Absolute, so we have each of us in the dustiest cellars of our minds a counter at which we strive to repay the debts of the past with the debased currency of the present.”

    and

    “What struck me on the beach–and it struck me indeed, so that I staggered as at a blow–was that if the Eternal Principle had rested in that curved thorn I had carried about my neck across so many leagues, and if it now rested in the new thorn (perhaps the same thorn) I had only now put there, then it might rest in everything, in every thorn in every bush, in every drop of water in the sea. The thorn was a sacred Claw because all thorns were sacred Claws; the sand in my boots was sacred sand because it came from a beach of sacred sand. The cenobites treasured up the relics of the sannyasins because the sannyasins had approached the Pancreator. But everything had approached and even touched the Pancreator, because everything had dropped from his hand. Everything was a relic. All the world was a relic. I drew off my boots, that had traveled with me so far, and threw them into the waves that I might not walk shod on holy ground.”

    I could list dozens more quotes from these hauntingly beautiful books.

  • sh

    Teacher in Tejas –

    You may find this interesting:

    http://afrocityblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/where-the-white-things-are/

  • peterike

    thibaud: “The irresponsible act here is for the blog’s owner to encourage apocalyptic racial fears instead of dispassionate analysis of whether and how this phenomenon represents something new and dangerous. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.”

    Wow, seriously? Are you that naive? A dupe? Or just a wannabe provocateur of some sort?

    New? It is most certainly new. We have not seen this sort of thing in any quantities before, now we are seeing them at an ever accelerating pace (see the violentflashmobs.com database for proof). In a word, it is becoming increasingly popular amongst the youts who are also rapidly realizing that they can have fun beating up whitey, steal cool stuff, and nothing at all will happen to them. Nothing.

    Is it “dangerous”? You ask that with a straight face? Well I’m pretty sure for the many, many people that have been robbed and/or beaten it’s pretty well “dangerous.”

    Just for the record, based on the flashmobs web site.

    2009 = 10 events
    2010 = 24 events
    2011 = 69 events

    Nope, no growing problem here. Move it right along folks, nothing to see here. Just a bunch of racists making stuff up again.

  • William H

    John Stephens wrote:

    Slave and slaveholder alike are long since dead. There is nothing more that can be done to, for or about them. All that remains is the excuses they provide.
    __ __ __ __ __

    I don’t think we are talking about financial restitution. The topic of slavery and it’s legacy remains virtually taboo in today’s America. This must change.

    Even the recently revived “Confederate History Month” in Virginia failed to acknowledge slavery and it major impact on our nation.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/06/AR2010040604416.html

  • William H

    Renfield wrote:

    William H, North America had less slavery than practically anywhere else in the world except feudal Europe, which had no need for it. The only truly remarkable aspect of slavery in the United States was that it was ended rather promptly* …

    After World War II, black people in America demanded liberty, free markets, and equal opportunity. Tragically, they instead received welfare, condescension, and the degradation of affirmative action.**
    __ __ __ __ __
    * France (and it’s colony’s) abolished slavery during the French Revolution yet it took the USA almost 100 years longer to do the same. Yes, slavery was abolished in Haiti before the USA! When one considers that the USA was a classless nation, possessing a newly minted liberal constitution, attracting the attention enlightened Europeans – the fact it took so long to emancipate African-American slaves is astounding. The fact of the matter is that in pre-industrial America slave labor was deemed essential for economic development of the agrarian south.

    ** Truth be told, very little has changed in black America since the civil rights movement. Apart from a marginally successful black middle class (recently decimated by the 2008 melt-down), segregation and racism are alive and well, no longer state sanctioned, reflected in our urban centers and the continued under or un-employment of black youth.

    I recall a friend in Philadelphia telling a story about a harmless elderly black women retiring to a middle class white suburb. She returned home to find her house burnt to the ground only three months after moving in! The message was loud and clear.

    And for the record, blacks suffered condescension and degradation long before any affirmative action program ever came into existence.

  • http://ja-js.blogtownhall.com RME KRNL

    While general unemployment is reported as still above 9 percent, the real unemployment percentage, including those who have just given up any longer looking for work, is in the teens, but the unemployment rate for blacks is in the 20s, depending on where in the country you check.

    Maybe many blacks, particularly many of the young ones, are disillusioned with a black president who has over-promised and under-delivered on so many things. That, coupled with the belief that Obama and his AG Holder won’t generally go after black offenders, could all be driving some of these outbursts.

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Political correctness may explain part of the media silence on these flash mobs, but I wonder if another part of the explanation is how safe, gentrified, and largely devoid of African Americans the nation’s media capital is. If this sort of thing hits Manhattan below 96th Street, maybe that will change.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Clearly the death of the Blue Model is going to be a bloody mess, and not just for Blacks, labor gang thugs like in Wisconson, Illegal immigrants, and Leftist indoctrinated College kids as well.
    It was a normal fact of life durring the Wild West, to wear a gun. I think Concealed Carry is just going to become more and more popular. When one of these Black flash mobs attacks some armed white guy, we’ll have our national Bernhard Goetz moment. Dirty Harry movies will make a comeback. Gun and Ammo stocks should do well.

  • TJ

    “France (and it’s colony’s) abolished slavery during the French Revolution yet it took the USA almost 100 years longer to do the same.”

    The New England states were among the first jurisdictions *in the world* to abolish slavery. It persisted in the South largely because of the Senate. Chalk one up for “unintended consequences,” as the Senate was largely the idea of the smaller New England states.

    France briefly abolished slavery in its colonies during the Revolution — and then Napoleon promptly reinstated it, and sent an army to Haiti to put down a slave rebellion, resorting to attempted genocide when things got tough. Ah, the enlightened French…

    “segregation and racism are alive and well…reflected in…the continued under or un-employment of black youth.”

    Not “continued.” Substantially increased.

    I’m still waiting for you to explain why, as overt, effective racism has undeniably diminished, so much of the black community suffers from *increased* social pathologies. If those pathologies are, per your thesis, caused by racism, they ought to have declined, not increased. Has it ever occurred to you to question whether just maybe something other than your received narrative is going on here?

  • Twisty

    “I recall a friend in Philadelphia telling a story about a harmless elderly black women retiring to a middle class white suburb. She returned home to find her house burnt to the ground only three months after moving in! The message was loud and clear.”

    She left her heater on?

  • Joel

    Wow. I just read about the Milwaukee riot today. If I can ask, how is the (white) boy who was so horrifically beat up at the Milwaukee fair? I haven’t seen anything on his condition. Last I read he was lying in a fetal position, was being stomped on and then was thwon into some bushes. Thank you

  • Pointing out the obvious

    1. As a group, blacks are — by far — the most racist people in America. Their unprovoked attacks on whites, Hispanics, Asians, and even other blacks who aren’t dark enough, have been going on forever.

    2. The volume and intensity of “black on X” crime has dramatically increased over the past few years because blacks (again, not all blacks, but as a group tendency) have a profound sense of entitlement and a firm belief they will not suffer any serious consequences (or even any consequences in most cases) for this type of behavior. Liberal racism is to blame here. After years of making excuses and not holding blacks accountable to the same moral norms as everyone else, white liberals are shocked to see their social justice wards acting out what they’ve been taught.

  • pst314

    166. William H “The topic of slavery and it’s legacy remains virtually taboo in today’s America.”

    Are you crazy? It’s talked about all the time.

    In schools, history classes cover it so much that other topics of that period suffer neglect.

  • tom swift

    “And for the record, blacks suffered condescension and degradation long before any affirmative action program ever came into existence.”

    But it took Affirmative Action to make condescension and degradation official government policy.

  • thibaud

    You folks realize, don’t you, that the more you exaggerate and elegant your Coming Race War meme, the more you offend and alienate centrist voters and heighten the appeal of calm and sober candidates who refuse to gin up bogus threats to the Republic. Which is to say, you’re much more likely to help Obama than any opponent of his.

    Maybe y’all should take a deep breath, review some recent history, and consider that race relations today are far better than they’ve ever been in US history.

  • Armed Whitey

    Black…white…what a joke.

  • gmonsen

    This is a great article. Enormously thoughtful and insightful.

    I have worried for years that the social assumptions we made ion the 60’s were flawed. It was assumed that if we got rid of the barriers to education for the black population and forced more hiring of blacks and other minorities, that they would eventually become just like the majority white population. Those who were slower to move up, so to speak, would be supported by a welfare safety net.

    Some or all of those assumptions were and remain wrong, though it has become difficult to have open discussions about it, because of how politically correct we have become. Being politically correct has meant being unable to consider what we as a well-meaning society did that didn’t work and how we might change it.

    In essence we perpetuate policies that have largely failed, because to question them is to be labelled a racist, and the media is very quick to attack anyone who questions our social and economic policies with regard to blacks and hispanics. However, as Einstein said, we keep doing the same things over and over and expect a different — read a better — outcome.

    Rather than question the assumptions and policies that arose from them and became the hallowed bedrock of our racial equalization policies, we say that it has not had enough time to work its magic. This dogmatic adherence to failed social and racial assumptions and policies has led to to where we again, as in the 70’s have a tinderbox that could easily be ignitied by the economic depression we find ourselves in.

    I fear that I may have become a racist myself, because, in questioning why our policies have failed, I cannot help but ask what can only be seen as a terrible question. We have assumed that all people — all races — are equal in nearly all ways. What if that is not true?

    When I look at the Asian minorities that have come to the United States, I seem to see greater success starting from essentially the same uneducated, ill-prepared starting point as the post-civil-rights black population. Are Asians inherently smarter than blacks? Do they take more advantage of opportunities presented them than blacks? Are they driven to work harder to achieve success?

    Did we harm the ability of the black population to succeed by offering them abundant welfare support that has not been offered or accepted as fully by Asians? Did we create a black welfare society that has less reason to succeed in the traditional sense, because we gave them a minimal existence without having to succeed?

    All of these questions could so easily brand me as a racist. I hope I am not, since I have never had the hostile feelings I associate with racists, though the politically correct elite class might likely say I have simply sublimated my racism.

    However, while many of these elite hold to what we have created as dogma, I see 50 years of well-meaning and terribly expensive efforts on the part of hundreds of thousands of people as not having worked. I cannot say that the black population has significantly moved upscale educationally or economically, though there are many blacks that have joined the middle class, having taken advantage of the many programs and policies in place.

    Something in our policies is fundamentally flawed and unless we can have an open debate on the merits, I am deeply worried that the tinderbox will ignite. Those in the political class will blame what they will see as the deep-seated racism that they think hides beneath the thin veneer of social acceptance for the violence that may erupt. That would be Einstein’s equivalent of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

  • http://my.telegraph.co.uk/philosopherkin/ Roger Hicks

    “White is an attribute but it is not an identity.”

    Just as “black” indicates African heritage and identity, so, to my understanding, “white” indicates European heritage and identity. And it is an identity, with a history which goes back more than 2500 years to the the ancient Greeks. Certainly to me it is, as a native Briton who can no longer identify with the multi-ethnic pseudo-nation state Britain has become in recent decades.

    The problem for white (ethnic European) identity is it being equated – historically and now for the power-political advantage of claiming a spurious moral high ground – with “white supremacism” and racism.

    “Post-racial” also means “post-European”, but I don’t see why white (European) Americans should be expected to give up their (extremely rich) ethnic identity for the sake of an American pseudo-nation state.
    .

  • JG

    If the answer is putting black youth to work, then the joining the military is the only viable answer. It will teach discipline and respect, and has the best likelihood of effecting personal change in values and behavior.

  • Teacher in Tejas

    William H RE: #167. With all due respect that friend of a friend story about the Black woman who had her house burned down is one of those tales that I don’t believe until I see a documented source. There are a lot of aporcryhpal stories and urban legends floating around out there.

  • Medsen Fey

    thibaud wrote, “You folks realize, don’t you, that the more you exaggerate and elegant your Coming Race War meme, the more you offend and alienate centrist voters and heighten the appeal of calm and sober candidates who refuse to gin up bogus threats to the Republic.”

    Knowing that violence tends to beget violence, if black youths continue attacking people for being white, it is not far fetched to expect that at some point there will be a flare up of retaliatory action. This is especially true if the current government and media policy to ignore the problem, under the premise that you cannot be a victim of racially motivated crime (“hate crime”)if you are white, continues. While I don’t anticipate a full-blown race war with the ethnic cleansing we have seen in many other places around the globe, we could certainly see escalating violence.

    If you look at what is occurring in London even as I type this, you can see how bad flash mobs can get. I think that if we continue to follow the path of the Nanny State, we shouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves in the same mess.

    I agree with you that race relations are probably better now than over much of our history. The fact that we can have a black man elected as President really does indicate that there have been some major shifts in attitude. That isn’t to say that racism is dead – clearly that hasn’t happened, and it is not unique to whites or blacks. You find it thriving in other cultures as well. Racism is, unfortunately, part of being human and only with education and discipline can it be stifled. When economic issues create despair, it is easy for those ugly feelings to bubble up.

    The question I pose is what steps are required to bring a sense of respect for themselves, for others, and for the common good to the black youths of the inner city? I think the current welfare state has clearly failed in that respect. I don’t see where the leaders in the black community are making it happen. So what needs to be done?

  • Anthony

    Thibaud raises important point vis-a-vis flash mob phenomenon – “something new and dangerous.” The observable fact (flash mob) falls under “Collective Violence” and is not new phenomenon.

    Collectivity size and target variations have been studied (A. Martin, C. McPhail). One example: “small, institutionally marginalized groups may place greater value on engaging in violence against civilians. Not only do they have less to lose, but attacks on innocents may have considerable bang for the buck, as attackers receive substantial, albeit negative, media attention.” (not quite so in You Tube, Facebook era)

    Another example: “Future scholarship should explore “explanations” of collective violence…political and economic climate, sponsoring group (gangs, social malcontents, disaffected youths), social alienation are a few relative predictors….For example, it is possible that smaller, marginalized groups nay prefer to attack “civilians” rather than state actors, not only because such targets are more vulnerable and have less capacity to defend themselves, but also because of the notoriety gained by injuring civilians. In such cases, structural conditions may be critical to determining the specific target chosen for attack.”

    Flash mobs, in an attempt to further dispassionate analysis despite emotionally charged discussion, represent no new (beyond color identification) phenomenon; they come under theorectical and analytical framework exploring targets of violence – collective violence dynamics.

  • thibaud

    183 @Medsen: “what needs to be done?”

    Thanks for you rintelligent and civil, good-faith response.

    I’m hardly an expert on any of this, but all of us have been listening to, watching, suffering the effects of our dysfunctional underclass for decades now, so my $0.02 is as good as anyone else’s, I’d guess. Here goes:

    The problem is no longer welfare – Clinton largely solved that problem with welfare reform – as much as it is the perennial dysfunctional family issue (for which there isn’t much any outsider can do, except from some pro-family tax policies and benefits of the sort that northern Europeans have used with some success in recent years).

    What we CAN change, pronto, is our failed drug war and the foolish policies that cause a dearth of entry-level jobs in our inner cities, the latter a consequence mainly of our utterly insane, open borders immigration policy.

    So we need to, IMHO:

    1) correct our criminal justice system, most notably, stop sending drug mules to prison and release large numbers of our current inmate population;

    2) introduce some tightness in the low-end labor market, thereby raising wages and increasing opportunities to low-skilled native-born urban youth, by securing the borders and enforcing eVerify so that we halt the flood of millions of grade-school dropouts from Mexico;

    3) abandon the foolish notion that every high schooler should be on a path to college and re-introduce a 21c-relevant version of Vocational Ed., preferably on the German secondary school model;

    4) per Joel Kotkin, shift from the R. Florida “cool cities” digital yuppie model of urban development and get back to pro-business policies that entice large employers of semi-skilled labor, ie manufacturers above all, to our big cities.

    5) (maybe) perhaps we can look at a US version of the pro-family tax and other benefits that the Swedes and the French have used, with some success, to buck the trend toward childlessness in western culture. I’m not a tax expert, but I’m sure we can provide some significant benefits, maybe rebates, for young people who marry, stay together, and raise children in a stable two-parent household.

    There’s my candle in the darkness. Apologies if it lacks this thread’s requisite lock and load warnings, or soul-searching and agonizing over sinners in the hands of an angry god.

    Best,
    T

  • Severn

    >”What needs to be done next is some analysis of these attacks as a percent of total violent crime in the US and how that % has changed over time.”

    I’m quite certain that the KKK’s lynching of blacks made up a miniscule proportion of all crime in the United States in the years which it occurred. Therefore, using thibaud’s “logic”, this means that the matter WAS in fact totally inconsequential and completely undeserving of the attention it continues to receive to this day. Right, thibaud?

  • http://svigor.blogspot.com Svigor

    I would venture to guess that no person of any race would want to be on the receiving end of the type of behavior described here. I also doubt that it really matters all that much to the person being beaten what color the fists are that are doing the beating.

    What an absurd thing to say. It might matter when he’s giving a description to the police, no? It would also matter going forward in life. If, say, the last three pairs of fists that beat me were green, I might start avoiding green people.

  • http://svigor.blogspot.com Svigor

    William H says:
    August 8, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Blames everything on the tragic history of Blacks in America. But is it really so tragic, viewed in hindsight from the present? Blacks in America are roughly 20x as wealthy as Blacks in Africa. Blacks in Africa would, generally speaking, run roughshod over Blacks in America if offered the chance to take their place.

    America’s been the best thing to ever happen to Blacks. Crying about the long-gone past and ignoring the first world health care, civil rights, rule of law, technology, infrastructure, welfare state, etc., that American Blacks (“the unfortunates”) enjoy and African Blacks (“the lucky ones”) doesn’t seem rational to me. Never mind gratitude, how about some common sense?

  • taylor

    this author is just making excuses for these increased crime rates among black people. It also seems like he is threatening society that because they are getting a lot of their hand-outs cut, they will have an excuse to wreak havoc and beat up inncoent People. Notice I capitalized People and not black. This article is passive-aggressive and its just one more person making excuses for bad behavior. i’m tired of it!!! I am getting incomes cut, prices raised, etc, etc too!! I am broke and hurting. Do I, as a white person, get an excuse to go commit crime and everyone just sweeps it under the rug in order to NOT ruffle any feathers. ENOUGH. this article just spoke dead on for the blacks in America today.

  • LG

    Affirmative action should be based on class, not race. This change would make it politically far less incendiary. There is already affirmative action for successful embryos in college admissions. My brothers’ kids will have a leg up to get into Yale and Cooper Union. Transform the beneficiaries from black or hispanic to all of those with low incomes who have no property, and perceptions will rapidly change.

  • Hiram

    “So we need to, IMHO:

    1) correct our criminal justice system, most notably, stop sending drug mules to prison and release large numbers of our current inmate population;

    2) introduce some tightness in the low-end labor market…”

    Your second idea contradicts your first — letting people out of jail would loosen the low end of the labor market. It would also drive up violent crime, as a lot of those prisoners are actually violent criminals who were only busted on drug charges because those were the easiest to make stick (no need for witnesses if you’re caught with the drugs red handed).

  • M

    Very interesting essay, Mr. Mead.

    I quite miss a genuine conversation about race-relations in this country that doesn’t start either from the PC-left and/or the racist right.

    You’re clear, but unsentimental, about what’s happening and I prefer this original piece to the tons of soulless crap flying around in the media on these issues every day.

    And I speak as a black man(although from Europe)

  • miamiman

    Are these flash riots a lasting pattern? If so, how will they affect the so-called urban revival of many US cities? Especially in the wake of the suburban housing bust?

  • Pilgrims Pride

    So much confusion on who is or is not “American”.

    Allow me to clarify. My credentials? My forefathers invented the place. Yes, they got off the boat not at Ellis Island but Plymouth Rock. You might know them as the Pilgrim Fathers.

    “American” is a complex word. Obviously it is an adjective and today applies broadly to anything having any connection to the two American continents.

    But it wasn’t always so.

    Way back when, the day Great-grandpa Brewster and his wife disembarked Mayflower, “America” meant “British America” which was neither Spanish America (“Mexico”) or French America (“Canada”).

    Because of the remarkable success story of the Pilgrims, gazillions of others came rushing here looking for whatever it is they wanted. For the first several centuries, these followers were fellow Puritans, fellow Englishmen, and obviously in the southern English colonies, slaves of several kinds — African, Irish, even English.

    Yes, yes, yes there were numerous Dutchmen (at least two families in my pedigree), French Huguenots (Protestants – also in my pedigree), the Scots-Irish frontiersmen of course, and smatterings of assorted other Northern Europeans of the same kind that gathered on the island of Britain over the centuries to create the English people of today. In other words, these people were not “English” but they were very close cousins and easily assimilated into Anglo-American society and genes.

    Obviously, when the world spoke of “America” and the astounding activity of its remarkable “Americans”, they meant “British America” and the “British Americans” of the seacoast colonies and, even among them, New England, New York and Pennsylvania in particular. The world really didn’t care what happened in Guadalajara or the wilderness of Quebec (no matter the bruised egos of today’s partisans for those still marginal lands).

    So “American” was in fact what we call today an “ethnicity”. They called it “race” as in the “American Race”. This term survived until Hitler and his Nazis ruined it, which is most unfortunate as it renders most earlier writing on the subject incomprehensible particularly to the educated among us who have been indoctrinated by Frankfurt School conceptions of race and nationality, but I digress.

    This is to say one is an American by blood and blood alone.

    Do not confuse “United States citizen” with American nationality (another old term for “ethnicity” that derives from the also obsolete nation-states from a time when a race held its own land and its own government).

    To be an American, one must necessarily be born to American parents, else one is an immigrant!

    Immigrants themselves must be distinguished from “colonists”. Immigrants migrate — move — to someone else’s pre-existing home. They come for jobs, money, women, freedom, and a thousand other reasons.

    Colonists come to build a new home from nothing. The Pilgrim Fathers of the Mayflower were not immigrants – they were colonists. They and their descendants made everything that became “America” with their bare hands. Down south, the penniless grandsons of the English aristocracy utilized slave labor (white and black, mind you) to build their colonies, but the point is they were not immigrants.

    That other word bandied about, “nation”, is also much abused. A nation is a group of people, related by blood, with a common heritage and a common destiny. The word itself derives from “born” and has always meant “born in this land, our land!” in a time when land was owned and occupied by a single tribe.

    When the founding fathers said they gave birth to a new nation, they understood they were Englishmen who broke with their English destiny to chart their own course, much as the Pilgrims did two-hundred years earlier. They hardly renounced their English blood, albeit the social and political reality made it uncomfortable to admit it in public.

    Ergo, America is not a nation of immigrants. This is self-contradictory, an oxymoron, preposterous propaganda and nothing more.

    America is a nation of Americans!

    So now we understand enough to consider who today is American and who is not.

    An American is a direct descendant of the original American colonists of 1776 — the ones who fought and died to procure their Liberty to chart their own course as freeborn Englishmen in America (and cousins).

    To distinguish between American-Englishmen and American was a meaningless exercise. But today the semantic distinction is completely lost. Why? Because the title “American” carried with it considerable prestige. Today we would say it was a very hot “brand”.

    Consequently, every “immigrant” who “migrated” to America after the War for Independence was won had no trouble appropriating the title “American” for himself, whether or not he had anything to do with creating America. The generosity of the American spirit held no quarrel with this appropriation and in fact encouraged it in the egalitarian spirit of the time.

    Unfortunately, reason by analogy maintains integrity for only a few short iterations. Like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy, eventually the copy bears no resemblance to the original.

    So too with successive “Waves” of “immigrants” who departed further and further each time from the American original to the point they themselves understood there was no validity to calling themselves American because they were, in fact, not American.

    These separate immigrant groups called themselves — truthfully and honestly — “Italian American”, “Irish American”, “African American” and so on, making the explicit case they are themselves a separate, distinct people with their own heritage and destiny, apart from the Americans’, but who happen to reside in the land (“country”) of the Americans known to the world as “America”.

    Postscript:
    Not all immigrants, no matter how far their genetic endowment differs from the Anglo-American’s, desire more than anything else to become American.

    This is possible. It happens all the time but it is not the normal experience for the immigrant looking merely for improved opportunity.

    Such an immigrant becomes American the same way an orphan joins a new family — by adoption. Many adopted sons are better sons that the blood children! So too are these select immigrant Americans. They foreswear all allegiance to their old lives. They adopt an American name, become Protestant Christians, master our English tongue. most importantly, they are able to attract the affection and loyalty of an American mate to produce children who are, in every sense of the word, American.

    Think about this as we ponder the state of our hopelessly fragmented and antagonistic society.

    Consider how foolish, pipe-dream ideologies
    such as multiculturalism and assimilation/integration were destined to fail and are guaranteed to produce endless conflict once the oppressive hand of State coercion is lifted. We have seen this throughout history, within recent memory, from the ancient Hebrews all the way to so-called Yugoslavia to the warring tribes of North and West Philadelphia, the city of my birth.

    “Blood is thicker than water” it was once said. Propaganda and ideology, intellectual concepts divorced from physical reality, must never be mistaken for laws of nature. A people wants more than anything else to belong to each other and to live together in their own land. The world’s Huddled Masses and Wretched Refuse desire this no less than the most princely of American Founding Fathers. We deny this at our own peril.

    Sign me,
    The Pilgrims’ Pride and Son of the Revolution

  • Asher

    Rage has nothing to do with it. If you watch the videos, they’re joyful, not rageful. The hardwired instinct to take pleasure in the suffering of others has been lifted in the people we no longer required to uphold civilization.

    Jobs? There are plenty of jobs picking produce in the central valley of California. Why not ship the rioters there to “do the jobs most Americans won’t do”. Look, I grew up in a neighborhood with this underclass, and I can assure you that they are completely unemployable. No one in the great American middle-class would work with them for a minute, and you see what happens when this class gets together, so they can’t work with each other.

    You’re simply looking at people who are incapable of contributing to a modern, advanced society.

  • JustObservn

    While I can see much of the bitterness communicated about the results of the Great Society programs, one should not look at the programs created and the violence taking place and the social challenges we now have in isolation.
    As one that benefitted from some of the “Great Society” programs, I can say there are many components that probably were not factored in or anticipated when LBJ and others “designed” the program. One very important factor (and this was mentioned by the author and not factored in with many of the posts) was the flight of the up and coming Black middle class and elite from the communities that in the past we were forced to live in. This flight contributed to the lack of visible leadership and association with (seeing, speaking to, going to school with) in many of the communities we have today. Businessmen, professionals and other educated professional leaders were involved with things in “their” community. The things that were consistently taught and practiced contributed to the values that were originally passed down through generations of a culture that can be traced back to the “Mother Land”. Those that were out of line were then marked as the out-of-the-ordinary folks and believe it or not, they were in the minority. For the most part, one could take note of the steady economic progression seen for generations before the “Great Society” programs were legislated.
    I would say that the programs created in the ’60s were needed to address the verifiable disparity that existed during that time. What was not seen or anticipated was a drastic cultural mindset and change in the values that followed. One can’t deny the value of the programs created to level the lopsided field present at that time. Some of the negative behavior that is seen now is a result of some of the core values that some in the Black (capitalized) community as well as members of this nation have either abandoned or have chosen to be too busy to involve themselves with. As always, the negative people in a population get the press while the majority of law-abiding citizens – even within the lower socioeconomic areas – are not credited for their efforts to do things within the boundaries of the law.

  • sbpdl

    http://violentflashmobs.com for a succinct data grid of “flash mob” type attacks across the US. One thing I note is that they are more common up north where poverty and white racism are presumably less than in the south. More importantly, they are increasing in frequency rapidly…

  • D.B.

    Generations of people have been infected with socialist propaganda and progressive liberal nonsense. Young people full of ‘wants’, but not ‘needs’ have been shortchanged on a real education by their left leaning teachers and the mainstream media in general has supported this agenda.

    The seed has flowered, but it doesn’t look so good or smell as nice as they had hoped.

    What we are now experiencing is only the first salvo.

  • New Orleans Delta

    Again, Mr Mead, Why do you capitalize ‘blacks’ and use lower case with ‘Whites’?

    Taylor says….

    this author is just making excuses for these increased crime rates among black people. It also seems like he is threatening society that because they are getting a lot of their hand-outs cut, they will have an excuse to wreak havoc and beat up inncoent People. Notice I capitalized People and not black. This article is passive-aggressive and its just one more person making excuses for bad behavior. i’m tired of it!!!

    ….You are Spot on!

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    So, Mr. Mead any thoughts on how the Blue (Beast) Model is going to die? Riots are clearly already a part of it. Revolts? Blacks are already the most unemployed, what happens when the coming government cutbacks, where Blacks are over represented, makes things even worse?
    Wouldn’t it be cool if we all wore guns?
    How much you want to bet the crime rate would crash?

  • Molon Labe

    Does anyone believe that poverty is the main factor in these race attacks? Is that why we see poor Asians and whites storming through cities, attacking people based on race? Do we see Hispanics doing this?

    What we do see is a disregard for society, law and pure criminal behavior brought on by a faction of society where 70% of all children are [born out of wedlock].

  • Kim

    Man oughtta do more math. Remove the tax-break on second mortgages, you fix social security.

  • Shelley

    Google “US Day of Rage” or “Occupy Wall Street” for a campaign started by AdBusters, a Canadian anti-consumerist, anti-globalization magazine that describes it’s self as the head quarters for culture jammers. The campaign intends to occupy a public park on Wall Street for up to two months, as well as state capitals. Their agenda includes a demand for the president to form a committee that will be tasked with removing corporate financing and lobbying from politics: “One Man, One Vote, One Dollar”. They claim to be non-partisan and “libertarian” but in fact I think they are in the main anarchists, but also socialists and communists.

    Although they describe the campaign as non-violent, I don’t think it will end that way.

  • maxim engel

    In case nobody has realized these black flash mobs come from only 12% the US population. They flash participant are probably too poor, to stupid to realize that. But they will when some equivalent of the same happens to them in either a preventative, putative or retributive
    action.

    The Roman mob when out of control was ruthlessly slaughtered by the Praetorian Guard when the need to restore order was issued.

    I don’t think whites, Hispanics, Asians and mainstream blacks will accept being targeted
    & terrorized by poor nerdowells.

  • http://facingzionwards.blogspot.com/2009/03/incentive-based-work-sprints.html Luke Lea

    The United States badly needs a workable and affordable post-Great Society approach to the inner cities.

    One answer is a realistic, long-term plan to get out of them, something I explore in detail in the last chapter of my political pamphlet, The Soft Path. You should have a look at it if I must say so myself. It’s not literature but the message is clear: the answer is hard work, saving money, austere life-style, discipline, very likely in a church setting; real goals for real people, not just a hope and a prayer.

  • asian

    “Does anyone believe that poverty is the main factor in these race attacks? Is that why we see poor Asians and whites storming through cities, attacking people based on race? Do we see Hispanics doing this?”

    Agreed.

  • JustWondering

    I laughed at the majority who said that if people were able to conceal guns these things wouldn’t happen. If that was the case, what would stop these “thugs” from going out and getting guns themselves?! Guns will only make things worse. So i am curious, if you get punched in the face you should be able to shot someone?!

  • Riff

    Moderator: correction, hit the post button by accident before I could proof read:

    Looking at some of the comments and it’s disturbing. The bitterness and anger driven by fear is so deep; that one might forget that flash mobs and black teens aren’t anywhere near most of those posting. The White victimization is very amusing and very telling.
    A sample: Black student union, Latino but no White (never mind the frat row where connected students socialize). Student unions paid for with that whites only provision in the tax code or is it really from the revenue generating black athletes?
    “Don’t see Hispanics or Asian”- well I guess the Mexican drug-cartels pouring into Southwestern US and Asian gangs don’t register?
    Guns are the answer; still another chimed in with suggestions of wholesale slaughter. Affirmative Action was brought up but nothing about think tanks and lobbyist who write laws huh? Or the role Affirmative Action played with white women that benefitted white families and communities.
    This blame and hand ringing is nauseating because it ignores the reality. A lot has happened since the 60’s. On August 3rd, 1980, a CA Republican chose blink and you’ll miss, Philadelphia, Miss. as his 1st stop after the convention to rail against a Cadillac driving welfare queen in Chicago. And it was there the ghost of George Wallace went national. It’s the same hoodwinking the Southern aristocracy used to get the common White citizen to fight a war they had no interest in. The same strategy and mindset the White citizens council knew they could count on. One day they’ll let me in the club.
    We’ve been in a conservative revolution ever since. The 60’s radical drugs, sex and rock n roll lost, hands down folks! If they had won don’t you think we’d, at the very least, have decriminalization of marijuana for casual use? And yet we’re still debating medicinal use! We can’t even stomach what we thought but are not sure was a split second glance at Janet Jackson’s breast without weeks of moral outrage. (Timberlake skated, faced non of the backlash and Jackson took the hit-so much for protecting the black face)
    One moment it’s ha ha, the “liberals” can’t get ratings; the next moment the liberal media is protecting blacks? As for the media: from coast to coast up and down the radio dial its a 24hrs a day mind-f**k, where you hear some of the most privilege people on the planet whining and complaining ala Twain’s characterization of Huck’s sorry dad: “da niggaz and de guvment”.
    Young Black faces are on the news nightly because the rural and suburban Meth problem isn’t an open-air trade that can be uploaded with just a 10min drive of the newscenter7 van. But haven’t you noticed that kids all over the world are venting?
    We’ve had a 30yr conservative revolution with a Sept 2008 dismount that brought the world to the brink. Money was extracted through the banks, wars; take breaks-not to mention the performance of business over that period. And “liberalism” alone is the culprit? Just amazing! Liberalism didn’t cause the problems; it only failed in the attempt to address them because you can’t do it with ideology. Once we get away from ideological dogma, finger pointing and hand wringing we might clear our heads enough to face the challenge of transitioning to a new knowledge economy and how it’s changing our world. If we didn’t demand bedtime stories we could have been on this 30yrs ago.
    What’s happening is much bigger than silly liberal vs conservative or White vs Black or any dying for respect and acceptance model minority tired attempts to position and brand themselves by separating blacks from the purity & innocence of Asians and Hispanics. The frames are tired, useless and are not sufficient to the problems we face.
    The article was well written, an on point sober analysis. Scare Whites, angry black kids-a shot rings out someone is dead and the powder keg explodes- I don’t trust it; sound like: Disaster capitalism.

    I don’t question the motive of these article on the subject but I’m a little suspicious; there is something eerily similar to the time before the Rodney King verdict when news reporters were combing the neighborhood (they had access but no cops were anywhere to be found) shoving mics and cameras in the faces of black and Hispanic young men asking what sounded like a needle stuck on a vinyl album: “are you going to riot–are you going to riot- are you riot, are riot—riot-riot-riot…..
    Maybe the kids are acting out because they saw how spineless the adults were when they didn’t see them storming Wall St. Or maybe they don’t see the union that allows a monumental heist to be very legitimate. So maybe they see the nation reach a crucial time in its history and instead of facing the challenges they feed on each other. Maybe the kids are just ahead of the curve and acting out like the children of nasty divorces.

  • Walter Russell Mead

    @riff: one suspects that not too many potential urban rioters are perusing the posts on Via Meadia looking for incitement. If I were part of some complex establishment plot to provoke race riots as an excuse for some kind of vast rip off of the working poor (not to mention the destruction of civil liberties) I hope I could find a more effective method than posting mild mannered essays on a low key website.

  • http://marsili.us/books.php?c=all&n=283155&i=1596981008&x=After_America_Get_Ready_for_Armageddon Marsili.us

    The trust that everything will work out by any anniversary seems based on faith in optimistic-progressivist opinions that cause one to mark down the evidence of the Americans’ decline as due to mere dips or detours. On the contrary, these events seems to fit quite well within a larger picture of the decline of the Americans’ descendants, as their “elite” have disparaged and set aside what was best in the American regime. See the following: Steyn, Mark. After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2011.

  • Bob M

    Let’s keep it simple. Despite what the lefty gun grabbers think, I have a right to protect my property and person when the cops fail. Being confronted by a mob intent on violence is all the justification I should need to employ deadly force.
    Of course I can see the MSM headlines now.
    ” Angry white man takes revenge on flash mob X number of BLACK yout killed and injured” The fact that said angry white man was about to be severely beaten or worse won’t get the slightest mention.

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