by Gerard Donnelly Smith
(Swans - October 10, 2005) Shame on Bill Bennett. May god have pity on his miserable soul. By now everyone has heard his racist comment:
I do know that it's true that 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 impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.
Yet, this statement is far worse that bigotry, because it speculates that an act of genocide against African Americans would have economic benefits. Mr. Bennett might argue that such genocidal measures "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," but he does not understand that just making such a statement is morally reprehensible, ridiculously racist, and impossible to defend as a "thought experiment." Indeed, it is rather tricky to defend at all!
Unfortunately, such "thought experiments" often reflect more belief, than "thought." Mr. Bennett admits that he thinks this causal relationship between African Americans and crime is true. Then it is not so much a "thought experiment" as a belief, a reprehensible and ridiculous belief. Mr. Bennett believes that crime is caused by African-American babies: after the birth of African-American babies the crime rate goes up; therefore, if all African-American babies are aborted, crime will be reduced. After this, therefore because of this (post hoc ergo proctor hoc)? Mr. Bennett is supposedly a highly educated man, very moral man, and highly educated men with morals should not make such blatantly illogical, and patently racist, statements.
But is Mr. Bennett alone in his thinking? Other such reprehensible programs have already been carried out. Indeed African-American women on welfare have been offered cash to become sterilized, so they will no longer give birth to black crack babies. CRACK (Children Requiring A Caring Community) provided $200 in cash for sterilization or permanent, implanted birth control. The origination of this equally genocidal program was an equally reprehensible thought experiment: sterilize all the African-American crack whores, so there will be no more crack babies, thus less welfare expense for the state, and less crime as well. For further reading on this reprehensible, right-wing program see Mother Jones's article, "Surgical Strike," by Barry Yeoman. 1
Perhaps Mr. Bennett thought CRACK was a good "thought experiment" too. How else can one explain his "thought experiment" except that he must have been on drugs! Certainly as a former Drug Czar and former Secretary of Education, he should have known better!
No reasonable person would use the First Amendment to justify a genocidal statement. A reasonable person would never suggest that genocide of African Americans in the United States is a legitimate thought experiment. If he is reasonable, then Mr. Bennett should review the definition of genocide:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated
to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Bennett's suggestion to abort "every black baby in this country" represents, on its face, a statement suggesting that genocide against black babies would reduce crime. Defending himself by saying such "thought experiments" and "extrapolations" are protected by the First Amendment, Bennett offers no apology for his genocidal bigotry. By defending his statement as protected speech, Mr. Bennett gives solace to bigots everywhere whose hate speech has been declared unprotected by the Supreme Court.
Perhaps new Chief Justice Roberts should be asked for his legal opinion concerning Bennett's statement. "Dear Mr. Chief Justice Roberts, is Mr. Bennett's statement a legitimate thought experiment or is it hate speech?" Wouldn't you like to know his answer?
Then you should demand an apology and demand an answer, because some folks in this country wish to suppress your right to vote, deny your civil liberties, and carry out thought experiments in which black folks are exterminated. The African-American community has every right to be angry, very angry!