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Paradoxes of Policing

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With Bill de Blasio recently being sworn in as New York mayor, following a campaign that included a fair amount of “reverse dog whistling” about how “racist” the highly successful policing policies of previous administrations had been, we can expect to see a return of faux-naivety and political interference in the battle to control crime in Gotham City. 

Even if the facts are denied, it is an established reality that blacks are much more inclined to criminality and violence than whites. Any doubts on this matter can easily be resolved by checking what post-codes professional liberals and leftists live in. The only faintly reasonable line of denial that liberals have is in contesting the causes of this higher crime rate.

There is still a sputtering argument – like a candle about to die – that it is caused by a fading memory of 1950s-style, bullwhip racism combined with “economic injustice,” but this argument has clearly run out of road in an era of affirmative action and welfare. For a nation based on the myth of equality and inclusion, the spectre of genetic dissimilarity shakes its chains ever louder with each passing year.

Industrious leftists, however, continue to fight their embattled corner by redefining the causal trauma of “racism” to include such absurdities as “microaggressions [2]” and “white privilege,” which is essentially a lack of guilt for non-existent crimes. But even these efforts just reinvent the racism wheel, casting blacks as eternal victims of such trivialities as a slightly off-color phrase, unsympathetic word, or awkward fact, and as creatures lacking any agency except liberal-approved resentment and hatred against whites – which is itself an additional cause of criminality.

Redefining “racism” in this way is not about fighting actual racism but more about extending the shelf-life of a myth that white leftists and liberals have become psychologically dependent on – a sure sign of a car running on empty as the occupants attempt to get a little more mileage before the engine grinds to a halt for good.

Once all the smoke has been blown away and all the mirrors shattered, race and crime keeps coming back to the following three essentially simple paradoxes:

  1. Racial groups with different levels of criminality require different levels of policing, punishment, and deterrence.
  2. All racial groups should be policed by people of their own race, but different racial groups have different levels of ability for policing.
  3. Those groups or communities most in need of intensive and fair policing are least able to provide it for themselves.

Paradox One

Differing racial levels of criminality require different degrees of policing in order to ensure behavior of a similar standard. A similar standard or “equal outcomes” are of course important in any society that values “equality,” but in order to get equality, unequal methods are required.

For example, to equalize the black murder rate with that of whites a much greater intensity of policing, as well as much harsher penalties, would be required. The same is true of other, similar crime-prone groups in other multicultural states, like France’s Muslims and Britain’s Afro-Caribbean population. This is, of course, a direct challenge to the one-size-fits-all ethos of the multicultural state.

Failure by government to impose such policing and punishment means that the official myth of equality can only be maintained by incessant propaganda and/or unacknowledged apartheid as in France’s “Zones Urbaines Sensibles [3].” In short the myth becomes as an increasingly hollowed-out husk that starts to lose credibility as other members of society are forced to rely on negative stereotypes to bridge the official information gap.

This may lead to more heavy-handed inclusivist measures, such as increased affirmative action and codes of hate speech and hate thought, but the spiral is ever downwards.

Any society that tries to keep different groups in the same society and treat them equally has in essence two options: (1) either under-police the most criminally-prone group, or (2) over-police the less criminally-prone.

Both of these courses are, of course, unfair, unsatisfactory, and indeed unworkable so, in practice, what happens is that a disguised two- or even three-tiered policing system develops, in which the most criminally-prone groups are effectively and necessarily oppressed. This has been the key to the success of the improvements in policing in New York in recent decades.

The application of stop and search [4] and anti-drug laws has been used effectively as a means of applying different levels of policing and punishment on racial communities with higher crime risk [5] in America.

In the absence of an overtly declared and officially justified racial double standard – an impossibility in today’s multicultural West – such subterfuge is in fact necessary to achieve policing that is tailored to different groups’ criminal proclivities.

But although flexible, such a system also has several weaknesses. It creates inconsistencies that undermine its efficiency and moral authority, and which lay it open to media and political attack, as the campaign of Bill de Blasio showed [6]. It also leads to cynicism among police officers and alienation among the targeted group, who will always be aware of any special treatment even if the media cooperates in covering it up.

Paradox Two

The second paradox is that even if you police populations at the correct level of intensity and with appropriate punishment and sanctions, they must be policed by their own kind or else a group of additional problems arise, such as community alienation, public support for criminals, and forms of political and active resistance. These are all common features in any black or Hispanic ghetto.

One race policing another is only possible in situations where the other race has been conquered or colonized and has accepted its lower status while also losing its will to fight. This may have been a possibility in earlier centuries, but it is clearly unacceptable now, so efforts are made to “localize” policing, either through the electoral process or through affirmative action.

Another problem that arises is in mismatches between the geography of ethnic communities and the geography of police forces. While they sometimes coincide, usually they do not. For example, the NYPD and the London Metropolitan Police have to police large areas inhabited by several distinct racial, ethnic, and religious groups. This means that the ill effects of Paradox Two are hard to avoid.

Paradox Three

Various advantages can be gained from handing policing over to people from the actual racial community involved, but there are also serious drawbacks. Good policing requires a variety of qualities and skill sets, but the distribution of these is not equal across racial groups.

Limiting the question to blacks and whites, few would argue with the assertion that whites have more of the qualities that make for better policemen: such as higher IQs, greater integrity and incorruptibility, and better all-round discipline. Whites needing less policing are better at it, while blacks needing more policing are worse at it.

This may partly be because they are operating under a system devised for and by whites, with standards based on white norms. It is conceivable that a truly black system based on black norms might prove more effective and perhaps there are examples from Africa that might prove this. In some South African and Mexican communities rampant crime is countered by various forms of extreme vigilantism. It is possible to see this as either a form of indigenous policing or, from a white perspective, as part of the crime problem.

Because of racial differences, recruitment standards [7] in police forces are circumvented or ignored to achieve politically acceptable racial numbers and proportions both in America and elsewhere. If black police officers were recruited from the higher ranks of the black community and had to do well on standardized tests, things might improve, but to rigorously impose standards in a way that did not greatly reduce the number of black officers would require a two-tier system in which the brightest and best blacks were attracted by having much higher salaries than their white colleagues and even other black elites.

The result of racial differences and the equality myth is that black communities policed predominantly by blacks will be less well-policed and suffer more cases of officer abuse than white communities policed by white officers, while black communities policed by forces with a significant White presence will continue to feel sense of alienation and of being picked on.

Whatever happens in the story of law enforcement in New York and the multiracial societies of the West over the coming years, it is sure to revolve around these three paradoxes in the same way that a moth circles the flame.

Among unequal populations you cannot have equal outcomes unless you have unequal inputs.

You cannot have race-blind policing, based entirely on merit, unless the people you are policing are race-blind.

Making policing truly effective requires tailoring policing to race, a sheer impossibility in the modern multiracial state.