Faust: Liddick twists stats to stoke fear
July 24, 2013
Liddick twists stats to stoke fear
Morgan Liddick's last column is just another example of how he writes not to make a coherent point, but rather to stir the pot.
He cites numerous examples of the higher crime rates among African Americans, which are all true, yet misleading. He calls out President Obama for attempting to "stoke white guilt," while at the same time misleading readers with statistics designed to induce "black fear."
It is true that on average a black American is several times more likely to commit a crime than a white American, but what he ignores is just how low the overall crime rate is. Only around 5 percent of black people and 2 percent of white people will ever commit a crime, according to the FBI. When you look at the numbers from that perspective, it does not justify Liddick's claim of "rational concern for personal safety" around black people.
Although his position should come as no surprise given the far right's fear-based platform. The far right in this country attempts (either purposely or instinctively) to invoke a sense of fear of everything. The practically xenophobic fear of immigrants, fear of non-Christian religions, fear of black and brown criminals, fear of the government, fear of homosexuals and a general fear of change. Fear has become the GOP's de facto platform on just about every issue.
A study earlier this year from the University of Exeter demonstrated it was possible to determine political affiliation from a function MRI scan. Republicans displayed increased activity in the part of the brain linked with fear and risk. Democrats showed more activity in a spot related to processing emotion.
The fact is that the crime rate in the United States is the lowest it has been since the 1960s, but that does not fit the GOP's narrative.
Timothy O. Faust