William Bennett and Others who don’t Get it

Recently on his radio talk show, William Bennett made this comment in a discussion about the crime rate:

“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.”

Because he called the idea of aborting every black baby “morally reprehensible,” he does not understand why his statement is still offensive to some people.

He does not get it!

Mr. Bennett, what you have done is singled out one particular race and essentially said that this race is solely responsible for crime, or at least the majority of crime, in our country. Further more, you seem to have forgotten the many African American citizens of this country who are not involved in criminal activity but rather are morally good standing people who contribute a worth of value to the betterment of community, both on the local and national level.

As we all know, crime seems to breed where poverty exists. And ANYONE who has ever spent time with any person, regardless of race, who lives in poverty, knows that some of the circumstances which contribute to their lifestyle of poverty were never in their control. Circumstances like where the community they were born into, the family they were born into (healthy vs. dysfunctional), the educational opportunities that were available to them (and anyone who is connected to the Memphis City Schools know that not every educational system is equally as good as another), and might we say that because racism is still a factor in the United States that being born a different race than white into a different environment than middle to upper class is a factor as well.

So Mr. Bennett, and to all the others who share your ridiculous opinion. Listen up: I spent two years, which is not much, working in a jail ministry. Most of the prisoners I spoke with were in jail for some reason that was related to drug addictions. Now I certainly believe that each one of those prisoners had committed a certain act(s) that justified their presence in the county jail. But how interesting it is to know how quickly society responds, and how much money the tax payers will pay in support of, when these adult men and women commit an illegal act and one that infringes on the rights of other. But where was society when these adult prisoners were children having no choice but to grow up in environments where abuse, neglect, negative influences (often drugs and alcohol), etc… were a normal way of life for them, teaching them such dysfunctional lifestyles?

So, if you want to curb the crime rate… Try investing yourself in the life of the children who are forced to grow up in these environments.

People often ask my wife why she continues to teach in an inner city school. She does so because she knows that often, though not always the case, she is possibly the one positive role model who will have an opportunity for influence on these children. She does so because she knows as a Christian, that God has blessed her so that she can bless the least of these.

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6 responses to “William Bennett and Others who don’t Get it

  1. Is this THE Rex Butts?!? I think that you and I shared a small window of history. A little program called HSBS. I just found your blog this morning and am happy that I did. Your blogs are very thought-provoking and indicting.

  2. Jimmy,

    Yes this is the one and only K. Rex “Rexeffect” Butts. It is great to hear from you. When I am in chapel at HUGSR, I still think of your high tenor often. What a plesant surprise this is. I think the last time we talked you were single and now you are married, so Congrats! I am glad you found my blog and found it interesting. How are you doing. Laura and I are wonderful. We have a nine month old daughter who is a jem beyond description and we are on a team planning to do mission work in Australia. Have a great day!

    P.S. I just saw Brian Tipton and Micah Williams last Tuesday.

  3. So you wouldn’t have complained if he had said one could reduce the crime rate by aborting every baby born to the poor in this country?

  4. Extremist wrote:

    “So you wouldn’t have complained if he had said one could reduce the crime rate by aborting every baby born to the poor in this country?”

    Of course I would have. I would complain if he or anybody would suggest aborting any person or persons in order to resuce crime. To suggest what Bennett said, whether the abortee is black, white, poor, foriegner, etc… is rediculous because it negates too many factors that contribute to the liklihood of a person committing a crime (some of those factors that we as a society could do better at reducing). If someone wants to reduce crime, then a whole bunch of other factors must be reduced. Poverty, the lack of positive role moderls for the children growing up in negative environments (my wife is a special education teacher, and most of her students are where they are at primarily due to their envrionment), the racism that still is pervasive in many places, etc… all of these factors contribut and while I think William Bennet knows this, his comment would lead one to believe that crime exists because of race.

  5. Rex,

    I think you really missed the point of what Bennett was saying.

    Increase your knowledge of the situation by reading This.

  6. I am sorry, but I have not missed the point. I know that Bennet made the statement as a hypothetical statement. It still is completely uncalled for and misses the real problem as to why crime exists within the African American culture or any other culture for that matter.

    Secondly, regardless of his intention in making the statment, he should have understood why such a statement would be offensive to certain people. I really think that his statement is a case of not thinking before he spoke. Regardless, he is responsible for his words and now he has offened certain people and should apologize for it rather than defending it on the pretense that he cannot figure out why people would be offened.

    I do not know what sort of action William Bennet undertakes to actually help resolve poverty, which I believe is the primary cause of crime and other problems generally associated with inner-city America. However, living here in Memphis, I am utterly amazed at the amount of middle-class to upper-class people who complain about the “slums” (some complaints full of racial prejudism). Some of these people are the same ones who tell my wife that she is crazy for working in the inner city. Yet when you ask them what are they doing to help the poor, it becomes painfully obvios that most of them could care less about helping the poor (other than doing enough to ease the guilt on their consciences).

    But getting back to my original point about poverty. Crime has nothing to do with race, except taht anyone committing a crime has to belong to one race or the other. Crime has everything to do with poverty. I do not kow off hand how many African Americans live at or below the poverty line in the United States, but I do know that African Americans represent the largest segment of any population in poverty within the United States.

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