Monday, August 23, 2004

NPR Watch - Racism Alert!

Nothing wakes the brain up faster than listening to the bizarro conclusions run up the pole on NPR. Their latest effort is pinning abuse of the environment (their opinion, not mine) on the fault of racism. How's that? White people don't want to live around colored people, so they moved out of the city and bought up land that should have trees on it instead of people. (Although this locally produced article hasn't been posted yet, it may be put up here eventually). Pieces like this remind me of high school debate speech's where idealistic young idiots spout some line of non-sense about how great the world would be if people would just do X, Y , and Z.

Of course just how X, Y, and Z would make the world more perfect would never be elaborated upon. Would the world's problems really go away if we pitched our guns? Would starving people get all they could eat if we taxes rich people more? Evidence for their arguments was, needless to say, lacking; and NPR one-ups them by drawing three bad conclusions, and automatically assumes that the problems presented by these conclusions would go away if people did what NPR said.

Argument 1: The building of suburbs harms the environment.
Unspoken Solution: Throw the notion of private property rights out the window and disallow the building of homes distant from the city centers.

Of course, what bar is being used to measure the environment? I'll guarantee you that air and water quality are better in the city of Cleveland than they were 50 years ago; so by that measure, suburbs actually help the environment. Of course, we all know what they are talking about. We're talking about the lefty worship of the almighty tree! Of course you'll have to forget about the fact that most subdivisions go in on farm land, which are also evil for using fertilizers, pesticides and such. Of course also working into this is the fact that lefties get jealous beyond belief when they drive down the highway and see people living in nice big houses in neighborhoods with decent schools and low crime. They feel that people should be forced to live in crappy neighborhoods like they do!

Argument 2: Suburban segregation is happens because whites are nasty racist people.
Unspoken solution: Probably more section eight housing in neighborhoods where people don't want them. Any solution which forces people to live in cites is also good.

One big bugaboo in this argument is 'code' language used by realtors to designate the given racial makeup in a neighborhood. In an excellent article by John Derbyshire, he points out the futility of combating such practices:
How does this happen? Is it all the fault of the realtors, 'steering' people into segregated neighborhoods? Well, there is probably some of that. I doubt the motivation is 'racism' on the realtors' part, though. They just don't enjoy wasting their time, any more than you or I do. You're a realtor: a young white couple walks in, looking for a house to buy: you send them to a black neighborhood: they take one look around, say: "We don't want to live here", and find themselves another realtor.
The basic fact of the matter is that people want to live by other people like them. The fact that people like to be around people like themselves is a very simple! I doubt the NPRites are going to make a point to move into a conservative town in Texas just to prove how great they are. They blame 'whites' in general, but they fail to point out how even white neighborhoods often break down into Italian, Polish, Romanian, etc. Neighborhoods. This isn't due to any ethnocentrism on anyone's part; people just like being around other people with whom they share the most commonalities; and one's ethnic makeup is, despite efforts to the contrary, a commonality.

Argument 3: 'White Flight' happened because one day white people woke up and decided they didn't like being around black people.
Unspoken Solution: More of the same of solution 2. Although it would help if white people felt extra guilty, because that accomplishes something...I guess.

NPR brings up no evidence to support this notion. I guess high taxes, high crime, poor schools and forced busing didn't work into anyone's decision making process on this. It was just plain hatred of black people. The fact that middle class black people run away from the cities doesn't have anything to do with how poorly cities are run either; they are, of course, running away from a deteriorating situation caused by those nasty whities! Give me a break.

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