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President Bush, during a recent speech to a predominantly white audience, voiced his concerns about the state of affairs in American white communities. "The epidemic of whites involved in drunk-driving fatality accidents is deplorable," President Bush said. He cited the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2000 statistics that showed that white male drivers between the ages of 21-34 constituted the largest percentage of drunk (or impaired) drivers in fatal crashes and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Prevention Research Center's 1999 findings that of the 91,248 alcohol-related driving fatalities, 65,309 were committed by whites.

President Bush also took aim at the violence perpetrated by whites in school: "White school children killing other school children must stop. The senseless and barbaric school shootings in Pearl, Miss.; Paducah, Ky.; Jonesboro, Ark.; Edinboro, Pa.; Springfield, Ore.; and Littleton, Colo.; serve as chilling reminders of what happens when there is a failure of leadership in the white family." The president referred to his speech as a wake-up call: "We can't hide behind the stereotypical image of the Black and Hispanic violent criminal anymore. Before there was 'gangsta' rap you had Martin Scorsese, Brian DePalma and Francis Ford Coppola winning award after award and Oscar after Oscar for their films filled with whites committing brutal acts of violence. What type of message does that send if we reward movies that depict such brutality? The Godfather, Casino, Goodfellas, Scarface, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction. These movies have all contributed to a culture of white violence."

"White politicians don't want to discuss these issues, but somebody has to speak up," President Bush said, as he continued his assault on what he called the "white crime epidemic."

"The average serial killer is usually male, between the ages of 25-35, and he is usually white. The majority of the time, he will kill victims of his own race. The ages of his victims will vary greatly, depending on his particular 'interests.' His intellect ranges from below average to above average. He doesn't usually know his victims or have any particular hatred for them personally (though they might be symbolic to him in some way) most of the time... His victims never did anything to hurt him in any way...they are normally strangers to him. He doesn't come from one social class or another; he can come from skid row or Park Avenue. The typical child abductor-murderer is, likewise, usually a white male. They are single and about 27 years old. They are either unemployed or work in unskilled jobs, live alone or with parents; while their victims are typically 11-year-old white females from middle class neighborhoods [Bush was quoting from the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention report from 1997]."

Bush continued his attack on those he referred to as "social and moral vampires." "Child pornography or kiddie porn is a crime whose perpetrators are overwhelmingly white and whose victims are disproportionately white. This too must stop. Even in our sacred institutions such as our churches, specifically in far too many Roman Catholic churches, our innocent white children are being preyed upon."

"Do you realize that nearly 70 percent of those serving time for violent crimes against children are white," Bush said as he cited the U.S. Department of Justice's 1996 report, What are we doing to ourselves? "Susan Smith, Andrea Yates and Deanna Laney represent a frightening pattern of murder and neglect of white children by white mothers…. And do they take responsibility? No. They either blame it on some phantom black man or say God made them do it."

The president later turned his focus on white youth and drugs, "It's the same story for young adults. Whites are 66 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds and 70 percent of drug users that age. Blacks are 13.5 percent of persons in that age group and only 13 percent of young adult users, while Hispanics are nearly 15 percent of that age group, but yet comprise only 12 percent of drug users 18-25. According to the Justice Department, drug users tend to buy from same-race dealers. So the nearly three-quarters of users who are white, mainly rely on white drug dealers, not the Blacks or Hispanics of accepted imagery. When it comes to drugs like Ecstasy - a hot product in suburban America - the dealers and users have long been known to be mostly white, middle-class males between 14 and 32. American society doesn't want to face the fact that white kids deal and use drugs. They simply can't look in their faces and see that a nice-looking white kid is selling drugs to their kids, because that would mean that their kids could do this too.

"When will it end?" lamented the president.

Author’s confession:

Dear reader, this article is only an invention. President Bush never delivered a speech such as this. However, the statistics stated in the article are very real and very true.

No leading white politician or religious leader has ever, to my knowledge, come close to expressing the thoughts and views outlined in this composition. If they did, what do you think the response would be? If you don't have an answer it's OK. I realize that it is difficult to come up with an answer to a question that has rarely or never been asked. However, other groups (especially Blacks) have had to deal with similar rhetoric for centuries right here in America and have had to answer the question I just posed to you, time and time again.

Let's think about it, when the tragedy at Columbine occurred there were literally hundreds of news stories asking the question: "Why are our kids becoming so violent." Not why are white kids becoming so violent, but "our" kids. Now let's contrast that with what happens when a black child is killed in a predominantly black community. The headline more often than not has read something like this: "The problem of black-on-black crime" or "Violence amongst black youth." There are two scenarios taking place here: 1. De-emphasizing or minimizing ethnicity. When the crime is perpetrated by white youths color is not the issue; the issue is "our" children and violence. 2. Emphatic emphasizing and alienation when black youth are deemed the culprits. It is no longer "our" kids; it is "black" kids or youth. Can you, will you, see the difference?
 
 Our need to examine these inequities is exacerbated by CNN’s announcement that they are adding Bill Bennett to their on-air roster. This prolific slap in the face cannot be appeased by Bennett’s continued pronouncement, that his words were taken out of context and that he preceded his ominous statement about the abortion of Black babies to lower the crime rate with: "it would be reprehensible." The fact that he went straight for the Black population speaks volumes of his deep-seated prejudices. Why mention Black babies at all? In light of all the statistical evidence presented here, Mr. Bennett’s assertion about aborting "every Black baby" would not make a dent in certain crimes. It certainly would not make much of a difference in corporate or white-collar crime, which is still very much white-male dominated and rarely discussed in the on-going dialogue on "crime." Wouldn’t the drop in crime be significant if we aborted "white male babies" (if we were to stay with Bill Bennett’s rationale for his hypothesis)?
Furthermore, a distinction has to be made between criminal activities and those convicted of a crimes - not everyone who commits a crime is convicted.

I know there are some who may be offended by the assertions that I have made in this piece; this is regrettable and yet I understand. But before you give full sway to your feelings of anger and disgust, answer this: were you this offended when Blacks or Latinos (and other ethnic groups) were being characterized in the same way? Did you challenge the people who made (and those who published) derogatory and inaccurate remarks about other ethnic groups, to tell the whole truth?

It's not easy being made to look like deviants, criminals or malcontents, is it? It is frustrating and dehumanizing when the few are made to represent the many. When the face of evil and all that is thought to be wrong with society bears a resemblance, in ethnicity, to you. This, I understand all too well. If that is how you feel, please remember it; meditate on it. For it is the same feeling that many of your fellow citizens have had to live with on daily basis. In conclusion, let us ponder this: A fictitious speech had to be written to talk about the crimes and indiscretions of white folk; the words and speeches that are used to degrade and debase Black folk is all too real. 

Dr. Edward Rhymes is the Director of Race Relations & Advocacy for the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh. Dr. Rhymes can be reached at erhymes@ywcapgh.org.

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February 23, 2006
Issue 172

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