The self-respecting mainstream news media traditionally tried to limit how much they cater to this kind of lowest-common-denominator taste for gossip about nobodies, generally restricting stories of personal spats to celebrities.
For example, the website World Star Hip Hop has featured countless entertaining phone videos of, to take one popular genre, welfare mothers throwing chairs at each other in Chuck E. Cheese birthday party brawls. But World Star Hip Hop videos of black-on-black weave-pulling is definitely not the news that’s fit to print in The New York Times.
Yet America’s ongoing moral crusade to hunt down the last remaining white racists means that much duller videos of whites acting suspicious of blacks are now front-page news.
This current fad is clearly related to the long-running elite preoccupation with the presumed horrors of Implicit Bias. As you may recall, Hillary Clinton’s first response to the July 2016 Dallas Black Lives Matter massacre of five cops was to announce that what America needs now is:
“National guidelines for police about the use of force” and “We need to look more into implicit bias.”
On the other hand, Implicit Bias was concocted to serve as a conspiracy theory without conspirators. Consider this week’s New York Times article celebrating a $4.5 million boondoggle forcing NYPD officers to take Implicit Bias training. As you might imagine, New York cops are about the least likely folks to fall for society’s reigning dogma that only racists could possibly imagine that there are racial differences in criminal propensity.
Therefore, the consultants have come up with a way around police skepticism: Don’t blame the cops, blame Society:
Brenda L. Leffler,…who has been teaching New York’s sergeants, spoke of a change in attitude among the officers. Many enter her classroom in a defensive, or hostile, posture, she said. They sit in silence, their arms crossed.
“You can see it on their faces,” Ms. Leffler, 49, said. “They are waiting for us to call them racists.”
But it fades, she said, as she explains…how stereotypes can seep into the subconscious mind—through textbooks, the media, parents, teachers or peers—beginning in childhood.
Obviously, New York City cops don’t need subtle subconscious stereotypes to cause them to notice that blacks tend to be more criminally inclined—they see the racial reality every single day.
But you aren’t supposed to know that. Of course, everybody does know that. Holding that knowledge in generates a lot of the tension and hostility we are witnessing.
In contrast to Implicit Bias theory, the fun of the current frenzy is that you don’t have to blame everything on textbooks and the like. You get to hate the individual evil racist Becky.
It’s particularly noteworthy that white women are the designated villains in many of these media morality plays. You might think that in the #MeToo era, women’s worries about their personal security would be viewed at least somewhat sympathetically.
Instead, white women are finding themselves pretty far down the intersectional totem pole. For instance, The New York Times has printed the racial slur “Becky” three times over the past five weeks while demeaning white women.
Our ability to think statistically about the trade-off between Type I and Type II errors seems to go on the fritz when race is involved. When the participants are all white, everybody more or less intuits that if you want the cops to question fewer innocent people (fewer Type I errors), you’ll have to put up with more guilty ones committing more crimes (more Type II errors), and vice versa.
But thinking statistically is hard. The distinction between Type I and Type II errors was only invented by Jerzy Neyman and Egon Pearson between the Wars. (And we still need a better mnemonic name than Type I/Type II.)
It’s much easier instead merely to automatically castigate the people your culture designates as vile and deserving of abuse, which in 21st-century America is increasingly the white race.