The gunmen have not yet been arrested and convicted, so we don’t know for certain their race. It is within the realm of fantastical possibility that they are white supremacists or mafia hitmen, enabled thus far by their white privilege to elude justice; but there is not a single rational person who doubts that it is much more likely that the killers are Black thugs. Wilkinsburg is a high-crime suburb because it is filled with low-income Blacks, and these Blacks often kill one another. In general, of course, Blacks kill far too often: between 1980 and 2008 Africans living in America were responsible for more than half of the country’s murders, despite being only about twelve percent of the population.
A White television anchor in Pittsburgh, with numerous awards for excellence to her credit, has been fired for arriving at the reasonable conclusion that the Wilkinsburg killers are likely Black and likely from dysfunctional families. That was Wendy Bell’s own attempt to grasp for answers, and she lost her job as a result.
She did not suggest, as I would, that Blacks are naturally more violent and more impulsive than Whites, and that Black crimes of this sort are thus tragic but unsurprising. She did not suggest that low-IQ Blacks often have difficulty judging whether any gain they might acquire through criminal violence is worth the time in prison their violence is likely to cost them. They act rather than think, because they are better at the former than the latter, and they often end up dead or behind bars as a result.
Instead Wendy Bell, writing on Facebook, made what most non-Blacks would consider informed remarks, while including appropriate expressions of grief at the tragedy:
You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday . . . [T]hey are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s. They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs. These boys have been in the system before. They’ve grown up there. They know the police. They’ve been arrested. They’ve made the circuit and nothing has scared them enough. Now they are lost. Once you kill a neighbor’s three children, two nieces and her unborn grandson, there’s no coming back.
It is worth noting how non-racial this sketch is. If you grew up with multiple siblings from multiple fathers, and your mother, without an employed husband in her home, worked multiple jobs or received public assistance, you are statistically more likely to end up a thug than is someone who grew up in a more stable family. A dysfunctional family with absent parents doesn’t guarantee bad results, but it does make them more likely, whether the family in question is Black or White. No one, least of all liberal Wendy Bell, would argue that it is a criminal’s fault that his childhood home was dysfunctional.
Bell, in other words, was offering an accurate but charitable interpretation of the crime, an interpretation supported by five decades of social-science research documenting the consequences of the Black family’s decline. Her charitable interpretation aroused, nevertheless, great anger among Negroes in Pittsburgh, and their anger, along with the cowardly passivity of her employers, caused her firing. She had been working at WTAE-TV since 1998.
Negro journalist Damon Young, an expert in the racial etiquette surrounding the word “nigger,” was an important participant in the campaign against Wendy Bell. He acknowledged that she is a “well-meaning White lady,” but thought she merited punishment nevertheless. “She very much deserved to get fired,” he wrote. “She earned this.”
There are two complex words in this definition, and Young succeeded in using only one of them correctly, which makes his meaning unnecessarily obscure.
He apparently means, however, that Whites, owing to our unexamined racial confidence, believe that we are capable, like the Christian God, of seeing and knowing everything. Filled with our whiteness, we assume, without first consulting the nearest available Negro, that our interpretations of the world, including the Black crime that plagues most American cities, are always right. Blacks, for example, believe that O. J. Simpson was innocent and Darren Wilson guilty, whereas too many self-confident Whites imagine that we are entitled to ignore deeply held Black convictions on such issues.
Young angrily paraphrased Bell’s innocuous Facebook post as follows: “Maybe we don’t know who killed these people. But we do know their mommas are some broke Black hoes. If you round up all the broke Black hoes in Wilkinsburg — all the women with multiple jobs and multiple baby daddies — you’ll find the people who did this.” He intended this as a darkly humorous indictment of Wendy Bell for her “racially problematic” prediction about the likely perpetrators of an especially savage episode of Black-on-Black violence.
The difficulty with this paraphrase is that, like the Facebook post it is so loosely based on, there is a very good chance that it is true. The killers are likely underclass Blacks. There is a good chance they live in or near Wilkinsburg. Their mothers may have had multiple baby daddies, an expression that Damon Young’s racial group has introduced into the American lexicon. We all have heard the expression because the phenomenon it names is so common, and the phenomenon is especially common in low-income Black enclaves. The well-meaning White lady didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that a violent crime in a high-crime suburb was likely committed by violent criminals who live there, and that the criminals who live there are more likely to have dysfunctional families and criminal records than the non-criminals who live there too.
Bell was guilty only of making an informed guess. In the unlikely event that the Wilkinsburg killers do not fit her prediction, we can be sure that the criminals in the next Black-on-Black shooting will, or we can look back at previous Black criminal outrages and see her sketch confirmed. She was familiar with a common pattern, so she wrote about it, which journalists are supposed to do. That’s why she specifically denied that it required any skill as a criminal profiler to predict the type of Blacks who committed the crime. And that’s also why any concept, like Damon Young’s version of “white privilege,” that imputes to Bell an improper belief in her race’s supernatural omniscience cannot be relevant. The ability to see the obvious doesn’t require special abilities.
It is possible that Young claimed that we believe our whiteness is “omniscient” and “superseding” only because he thought the words sounded impressive. But if he really meant what he apparently tried to write, he picked a remarkably poor case to display his imperfect command of Whitey’s English. If he wanted to disprove our alleged belief in our racial omniscience, he should have picked instead an example of Wendy Bell making an implausible prediction. Or, better still, he should have caught her in a simple factual error. He should not have picked an example of a White woman making a prediction that everyone knows is highly plausible. Young himself doesn’t need divine omniscience or Sherlockian deductions to know what kind of Black criminals transformed a backyard cookout into a bloodbath, and he would be both pleased and astounded if the killers turn out to be Caucasians. As Bell said in her doomed defense, “what I wrote is realism, not racism.”
If we want to understand Damon Young’s anger, it is better to ignore his dumb chatter about nonexistent white privilege and concentrate instead on his hostility to Wendy Bell’s many expressions of grief over the massacre in Wilkinsburg. She was, unfortunately as it turned out, insistent that she had a powerful emotional stake in the killing of one group of Blacks by another group of Blacks:
There’s just been nothing nice to say. And I’ve been dragging around this feeling like a cold I can’t shake that rattles in my chest each time I breathe and makes my temples throb. I don’t want to hurt anymore. I’m tired of hurting.
She went on at length with similar expressions of personal suffering, and Young had a good time making fun of her grief over Black deaths: “I’ll . . . picture a sad and sullen Wendy Bell at a Starbucks in Sewickley last week — teary-eyed, tense, and teetering on the edge of a panic attack.”
Young is more skilled than I am at interpreting the nuances of “nigga” in the works of Kanye West; I am more skilled than he is at evaluating the feelings of well-meaning White liberals. My expert opinion in this case is that Bell’s professions of anguish were sincere.
But it doesn’t matter. The important underlying idea, whether Bell’s claims of heartbreak were genuine or not, is that she and Damon Young both live in the same racially inclusive community within the same nation. She lost her job because she believes that idea is true.
If members of Damon Young’s often savage race are shot near Pittsburgh, Wendy Bell assumes that she has a stake in the resulting suffering. She is affected by the crime and thus feels grief just as much as any Black woman would feel grief, because the inclusive community she believes she inhabits is defined not by race but by location. A pregnant Black woman, along with other innocent victims, is brutally killed near where she lives, and consequently Wendy Bell’s temples throb just as intensely as they would if a pregnant White woman had been murdered there instead. Perhaps they might throb just a little bit more, given that well-intentioned White liberals often have special feelings of sympathy for distinctively Black tragedies.
On the other hand, I do not believe that Wendy and Damon meaningfully live within the same nation, even though both physically reside in Pittsburgh, and I believe that he and his fellow Black agitators have been kind enough to prove it.
Bell was attacked and mocked and ultimately fired because she was a White woman expressing concern about Black deaths. Young would not have mocked a Black reporter if he or she had written the same words. He didn’t want Bell to talk seriously about the crime. He didn’t want her assistance in evaluating the causes of the crime. He didn’t want her expressions of grief at the human cost of the crime. He doesn’t like her because she is White, and he doesn’t value her expressions of sympathy for the same reason. The nation to which he belongs clearly does not include the pretty White woman who formerly worked at WTAE-TV.
It required from Damon Young a contemptible brand of negritude to feel pleased that a well-meaning reporter lost her job for speaking truthfully and for expressing her sadness over the deaths of members of his race. But on one important issue Young is right: he belongs to a different nation from ours, and we would do better to worry more about Black crimes against Whites and fret less about Blacks murdering other Blacks. As The Color of Crime reports, “of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence [in 2013] that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time.”
I will not be the first observer to note how the strange configuration of modern race relations enables Africans in America to leverage their many social failures as a race into political victories. A Black thug is shot while trying to kill a White police officer in Ferguson, and after destructive Black riots the police department promises to hire more Blacks and fewer Whites. Among other bad effects, Michael Brown’s violence will end up costing in future some White would-be policemen their jobs, which will be handed instead to less competent Blacks.
The angry Negro Damon Young and his angry racial community have just engineered a similar victory: Blacks kill other Blacks in Wilkinsburg; Young enjoys the thrill of helping to get a White woman he sees on television fired from her job for “insensitive” comments about the crime; and as recompense for the hurt feelings her insensitivity caused, her former employers have now promised to hire more Blacks and fewer Whites. If you live in Pittsburgh and still watch television, in future you’ll be seeing fewer White faces and more Black faces, and the source of the new Black faces on WTAE-TV will be the killing of Blacks by other Blacks at backyard cookout.