"I'm not racist," says Bill Bennett

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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...and yet..........

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congressional Democrats blasted former Education Secretary William Bennett on Thursday for saying that aborting "every black baby in this country" would reduce the crime rate, and demanded their Republican counterparts do the same.

"This is precisely the kind of insensitive, hurtful and ignorant rhetoric that Americans have grown tired of," said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois.

Bennett, who held prominent posts in the administrations of former presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, told a caller to his syndicated radio talk show Wednesday: "If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.

"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he said.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, called on President Bush to condemn the comments by Bennett, who was anti-drug chief in Bush's father's administration.

"What could possibly have possessed Secretary Bennett to say those words, especially at this time?" Pelosi asked. "What could he possibly have been thinking? This is what is so alarming about his words."

Bennett stood by his comments Thursday night.

"I was putting forward a hypothetical proposition. Put that forward. Examined it. And then said about it that it's morally reprehensible. To recommend abortion of an entire group of people in order to lower your crime rate is morally reprehensible. But this is what happens when you argue that the ends can justify the means," he told CNN.

"I'm not racist, and I'll put my record up against theirs," referring to Pelosi and other critics. "I've been a champion of the real civil rights issue of our times -- equal educational opportunities for kids."

...Asked if he owed people an apology, Bennett replied, "I don't think I do. I think people who misrepresented my view owe me an apology."
Did somebody here the other day really say that it's liberals who are disconnected from reality? :rolleyes:

Bennett doesn't get it, just does not get it. The fact that he chose a particular race for his example is racist in itself. It doesn't matter if he "qualifies" his statement by saying that such an example is reprehensible...the fact is, he said that theoretically, if you aborted black babies, crime would go down.

What a jerk.

Morally valuable link
 

pseudobrit

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Thomas Veil said:
if you aborted black babies, crime would go down.
What I see as the problem is that he's deflecting it saying he wouldn't abort black babies, while not backing down (reinforcing it, in fact) on his assertion that being born black means you'll cause crime.

But what the Hell, we have a forum member here calling for extermination of Muslims.
 

miloblithe

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Nov 14, 2003
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There was a similar section in the book Freakonimics, arguing that the lowering of the crime rate in the 1990s was almost entirely due to the expansion of legalized abortion in the 1970s (and thus a smaller cohort of potential criminals). Because a large portion of abortions are performed for mothers who do not think that they are prepared, for whatever reasons, to raise a child, abortions reduce the number of disadvantaged children who are more likely to grow up to be criminals.

Of course, the author of Freakonomics wasn't stupid enough to equate disadvantaged, poor, and unwanted (or not desired) children with black children one-to-one, as Bennett aparently is. Still, Bennett is probably correct in his statement. He just should have been smart enough to phrase it differently, or not at all.
 

stoid

macrumors 601
And if 100% of babies were aborted, you can bet that the crime rate would fall dramatically too. In no more than 60-80 years, the crime rate would be right near zero! I say lets do it! Anything in the name of fighting crime.

Let's make a T-shirt: Fight crime! Kill your baby today! :rolleyes:
 

katchow

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Feb 14, 2002
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stoid said:
And if 100% of babies were aborted, you can bet that the crime rate would fall dramatically too. In no more than 60-80 years, the crime rate would be right near zero! I say lets do it! Anything in the name of fighting crime.

Let's make a T-shirt: Fight crime! Kill your baby today! :rolleyes:
as Swift put it, its more economical to 'eat' your babies.
 

mactastic

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Bill Bennett is a morally bankrupt moral crusader, and an insensitive clod to boot. But all this proves is that he's also incredibly stupid, not that he's a racist.
 

IJ Reilly

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mactastic said:
Bill Bennett is a morally bankrupt moral crusader, and an insensitive clod to boot. But all this proves is that he's also incredibly stupid, not that he's a racist.
Shoot, you beat me to the punch. :)

Bennett is a real case. It gives me such comfort to think about how much time he spent in an important cabinet office.
 

wordmunger

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The whole thing is explained very well here. Basically, he was saying, "don't use the argument that not aborting babies will solve Social Security, because people will come up with arguments in favor of abortion, such as aborting babies will lower crime. The point is, you should be arguing against abortion on its own merits, not discussing the resultant social pros and cons." But he should have been smart enough not to try and make this kind of a point on talk radio.
 

IJ Reilly

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wordmunger said:
The whole thing is explained very well here. Basically, he was saying, "don't use the argument that not aborting babies will solve Social Security, because people will come up with arguments in favor of abortion, such as aborting babies will lower crime. The point is, you should be arguing against abortion on its own merits, not discussing the resultant social pros and cons." But he should have been smart enough not to try and make this kind of a point on talk radio.
I think we all understand that Bennett wasn't actually advocating genocide. The big problem is that he's a hypocritical, egomaniacal blowhard who thinks he's automatically smarter and morally more pure than everybody else. This leads him to making idiotic statements like this one which he imagines to be a meaningful and sophisticated argument. It's just sort of amazing to watch him operate, so full of himself, yet so unaware of the real feebleness of his intellect.
 

Sayhey

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mactastic said:
Bill Bennett is a morally bankrupt moral crusader, and an insensitive clod to boot. But all this proves is that he's also incredibly stupid, not that he's a racist.
Wait a minute. Explain to me how Bennett tying the abortion of black babies to the reduction of crime doesn't show that he believes there is a connection between race and crime? I understand he's not advocating genocide, but he is putting out a blatantly racist notion that black people are the source of this nation's crime problem. Or am I missing something?
 

mactastic

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Sayhey said:
Wait a minute. Explain to me how Bennett tying the abortion of black babies to the reduction of crime doesn't show that he believes there is a connection between race and crime? I understand he's not advocating genocide, but he is putting out a blatantly racist notion that black people are the source of this nation's crime problem. Or am I missing something?
It's not de-facto racism to make comments that have racial components. Bennett explicitly said that it was morally reprehensible to take such a course of action, which in my book at least, keeps him out of the racist category. Racially insensitive? I'll buy that. But racist? This doesn't qualify for that IMHO.

And yes, he's buying into that stereotype that says blacks are responsible for crime -- 'our mixed heritage' as Heston put it -- that borders on racism. But it would be equally true of whites in those economic conditions too.

I dunno, it comes real close to racism. But the most un-American thing to say is 'You can't say that!' right?

Perhaps I'm too thick skinned. There was a conversation here this weekend regarding black-faced white actors and whether that was automatically racist.
 

dejo

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Sep 2, 2004
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Sayhey said:
Wait a minute. Explain to me how Bennett tying the abortion of black babies to the reduction of crime doesn't show that he believes there is a connection between race and crime? I understand he's not advocating genocide, but he is putting out a blatantly racist notion that black people are the source of this nation's crime problem. Or am I missing something?
Well, I think there are enough statistics (although I couldn't find any without running into just a ton of NAAWP sites) that support that black people are arrested and convicted of more crimes per capita than white people and occupy a larger percentage of the prison population in the U.S. But it's bad to make the direct correlation then that blacks commit more crimes. And I can't stress that last point enough. Perhaps it's just that more blacks are being caught, more blacks are unable to properly defend themselves and thus convicted, etc. I.E. Perhaps there is a racial bias within the justice system. And you can pretty well use the same approach to blame young men and/or the uneducated for committing more crimes. Does that mean we should start aborting the babies of those groups too? By singling out black people, Bill Bennett, IMO, was being racist.
 

Sayhey

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mactastic said:
It's not de-facto racism to make comments that have racial components. Bennett explicitly said that it was morally reprehensible to take such a course of action, which in my book at least, keeps him out of the racist category. Racially insensitive? I'll buy that. But racist? This doesn't qualify for that IMHO.

And yes, he's buying into that stereotype that says blacks are responsible for crime -- 'our mixed heritage' as Heston put it -- that borders on racism. But it would be equally true of whites in those economic conditions too.

I dunno, it comes real close to racism. But the most un-American thing to say is 'You can't say that!' right?

Perhaps I'm too thick skinned. There was a conversation here this weekend regarding black-faced white actors and whether that was automatically racist.
I think you are being too generous to the self-righteous, self-appointed guardian of our morals. Is Bennett a racist? I don't know. To me racists are people who believe in the inequality of people based on a socially-constructed category called "race." Does Bennett qualify? Again I don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions. What I do know is that to put out the idea that Black people are the source of and reason for crime in our nation is racist. Perhaps our "moral paragon of virtues" only made a mistake in saying what he did and he really doesn't believe what his statement implies, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't call it by its proper name.

Just to clarify, I'm not calling for a restriction on his right to say whatever he wants - other than the same restrictions we all have under the law. Bennett can go on making a complete arse out of himself. I think the appropriate response is for people to call him on it every time he does it.

I think I'll pass on the "blackface" debate.
 

leekohler

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Dec 22, 2004
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Wow- what in the world has emboldened theses fools to think they can say garbage like this? Just because they have both Congress and the White House, I guess.

Now that I think about it, I'm glad he said it. Now they're finally showing there true colors. Is anyone really that surprised?
 

Dont Hurt Me

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I got to get my 2 cents in this one, when you have 70% of blacks being raised by mommys and their mommies you have a problem. When 70 % of these kids being born out of wedlock is there any surprise they grow up and end up in jail? Dad is out banging some other chick while grandma/mommy is suppose to teach these kids without a Male role model. Thats the culture's first problem. No Nuclear family. Every child deserves to be raised by two loving parents.

Bennet went overboard with his comments but look at the jails? A Culture that doesnt want Dads, pushes Rap and wears clothes 3 times large has lots and lots of issues. Any wonder why New Orleans was such a freaking mess??? Any wonder why our jails are full? Why Africa is such a screwed up Continent? Their culture is a screwed up mess but its allways the "Mans" fault.
 

leekohler

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Dont Hurt Me said:
I got to get my 2 cents in this one, when you have 70% of blacks being raised by mommys and their mommies you have a problem. When 70 % of these kids being born out of wedlock is there any surprise they grow up and end up in jail? Dad is out banging some other chick while grandma/mommy is suppose to teach these kids without a Male role model. Thats the culture's first problem. No Nuclear family. Every child deserves to be raised by two loving parents.

Bennet went overboard with his comments but look at the jails? A Culture that doesnt want Dads, pushes Rap and wears clothes 3 times large has lots and lots of issues. Any wonder why New Orleans was such a freaking mess??? Any wonder why our jails are full? Why Africa is such a screwed up Continent? Their culture is a screwed up mess but its allways the "Mans" fault.
Whoa. I don't even know where to start with this one.
 

miloblithe

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Dont Hurt Me said:
I got to get my 2 cents in this one, when you have 70% of blacks being raised by mommys and their mommies you have a problem. When 70 % of these kids being born out of wedlock is there any surprise they grow up and end up in jail? Dad is out banging some other chick while grandma/mommy is suppose to teach these kids without a Male role model. Thats the culture's first problem. No Nuclear family. Every child deserves to be raised by two loving parents.

Bennet went overboard with his comments but look at the jails? A Culture that doesnt want Dads, pushes Rap and wheres clothes 3 times large has lots and lots of issues. Any wonder why New Orleans was such a freaking mess??? Any wonder why our jails are full? Why Africa is such a screwed up Continent? Their culture is a screwed up mess but its allways the "Mans" fault.
I'm just going to back away slowly...

OK. No I'm not. Why Africa is such a screwed up continent? How about European conquest of the Americas, which devalued African gold and silver meaning that the only thing Africa had to trade were slaves. Or how about colonialism? Or how about the difficulty of crop diffusion from north to south of the equator?

There are lots and lots of reasons. Explaining it as "culture" (i.e. race) is, well, you get the idea.
 

TheMonarch

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Dont Hurt Me said:
I got to get my 2 cents in this one, when you have 70% of blacks being raised by mommys and their mommies you have a problem. When 70 % of these kids being born out of wedlock is there any surprise they grow up and end up in jail? Dad is out banging some other chick while grandma/mommy is suppose to teach these kids without a Male role model. Thats the culture's first problem. No Nuclear family. Every child deserves to be raised by two loving parents.

Bennet went overboard with his comments but look at the jails? A Culture that doesnt want Dads, pushes Rap and wears clothes 3 times large has lots and lots of issues. Any wonder why New Orleans was such a freaking mess??? Any wonder why our jails are full? Why Africa is such a screwed up Continent? Their culture is a screwed up mess but its allways the "Mans" fault.

Uh-oh :eek:
 

mactastic

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Sayhey said:
I think you are being too generous to the self-righteous, self-appointed guardian of our morals. Is Bennett a racist? I don't know. To me racists are people who believe in the inequality of people based on a socially-constructed category called "race." Does Bennett qualify? Again I don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions. What I do know is that to put out the idea that Black people are the source of and reason for crime in our nation is racist. Perhaps our "moral paragon of virtues" only made a mistake in saying what he did and he really doesn't believe what his statement implies, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't call it by its proper name.

Just to clarify, I'm not calling for a restriction on his right to say whatever he wants - other than the same restrictions we all have under the law. Bennett can go on making a complete arse out of himself. I think the appropriate response is for people to call him on it every time he does it.

I think I'll pass on the "blackface" debate.
Crying 'racist' is as common as calling liberals 'commies' and conservatives 'fascist'. I'm thinking this isn't the time to bring charges of racism against Bennett. Save it for when you can really nail someone for racism. What he said was offensive enough (and is getting enough air time to cause him some embarrassment for sure) that it can easily be countered with charges of idiocy. The only people who will buy what he's saying are the choir he's preaching to.

Maybe post NOLA the GOP has just given up on the black vote...
 

IJ Reilly

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mactastic said:
Crying 'racist' is as common as calling liberals 'commies' and conservatives 'fascist'. I'm thinking this isn't the time to bring charges of racism against Bennett. Save it for when you can really nail someone for racism. What he said was offensive enough (and is getting enough air time to cause him some embarrassment for sure) that it can easily be countered with charges of idiocy. The only people who will buy what he's saying are the choir he's preaching to.

Maybe post NOLA the GOP has just given up on the black vote...
Bennett is impervious to embarrassment. If he had any capacity whatsoever for shame, he wouldn't even have shown himself in public again after the gambling addiction revelations. The man is clinically arrogant.
 

Sayhey

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Dont Hurt Me said:
I got to get my 2 cents in this one, when you have 70% of blacks being raised by mommys and their mommies you have a problem. When 70 % of these kids being born out of wedlock is there any surprise they grow up and end up in jail? Dad is out banging some other chick while grandma/mommy is suppose to teach these kids without a Male role model. Thats the culture's first problem. No Nuclear family. Every child deserves to be raised by two loving parents.

Bennet went overboard with his comments but look at the jails? A Culture that doesnt want Dads, pushes Rap and wears clothes 3 times large has lots and lots of issues. Any wonder why New Orleans was such a freaking mess??? Any wonder why our jails are full? Why Africa is such a screwed up Continent? Their culture is a screwed up mess but its allways the "Mans" fault.
Dont Hurt Me, please provide links to your stats. The stereotype images of dysfunctional black families aside, you will have to do much better than this to qualify as even giving two cents to the subject. I would like to know, in particular, what you tie all of this to in "black culture."

As to why New Orleans is such a mess, I thought the hurricane force winds and broken levees a more likely cause, but if you can enlighten us as how black culture caused the problem, please do so.

I would also like to know how the problems of Africa get brought into this unless one accepts the notion that there is one culture that is common to all black people throughout the world.

DHM, I've always enjoyed your contributions in the past, even when we - as we often do - disagree, but this one mystifies me. Please either back up the statements or retract them as you see fit.
 

Dont Hurt Me

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Blue Velvet said:
Because of baggy clothes? :confused:
No, because they arent raised in a normal family. Daddy is out impregnating more girls and not having any responsibilty to that child. So lil Johnny grows up with no discipline....................................lil johnny ends up in jail .