A Millennial Takedown Of Victor Davis Hanson's 'Facts About Race'
The Zimmerman trial has spawned a chaotic aftermath marked by increased public debate on the question of race. Proliferate writer and former classics professor Victor Davis Hanson wrote a controversial article that was recently published by National Review Online, titled "Facing Facts about Race." He shamelessly uses the tumultuous social climate to call attention to his personal vendettas and racist musings. This article should not have been published, because its racist nature reflects poorly on the publication and his own character.
Hypocritically, while he criticizes Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for increasing racial tension, he does the same thing himself. I was shocked to find that someone so well educated and articulate fails to grasp the true nature of oppression and racial injustice in the U.S. When he discusses Holder's speech blaming racist police and racial entitlement, he says, "I suspect — and statistics would again support such supposition — that Holder privately is more worried that his son is in greater danger of being attacked by other black youths than by either the police or a nation of white-Hispanic George Zimmermans on the loose."
This sentiment is extremely insensitive and presumptive; Hanson has the nerve to assume that he could ever be in the same position as Eric Holder. As an affluent, white male, Hanson could never understand what it meant growing up as an African American in a deeply racist society, having the strength to overcome that diversity, and being brave enough to address it publicly. This opinion also shows that Hanson believes that African American males are more inherently dangerous as compared to police or other demographics. He vaguely references these same statistics at the beginning of the article, saying, "statistically they commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime.
If that were not true, they might well be given no more attention as supposed suspects than is accorded to white, Asian, or Latino youths. Had George Zimmerman been black, he would have been, statistically at least, more likely to have shot Trayvon Martin — and statistically likewise less likely to have been tried." He never cites these statistics and merely assumes them to be common knowledge. His presentation of this controversial opinion as undeniable fact without exhaustive statistical proof is undeniably racist.
Had he attempted to objectively engage with this statistic, his claims would have been less offensive. However, instead of pursuing this route, he dives into his family's racist heritage and a few isolated instances that do little more than try to appeal to the reader's emotional sensibilities. After he explains that his father said, "when you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you," thus warning him "about the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime," the reader instantly see that Hanson's racism is in part a regurgitation of his father's intolerance. Hanson's father's few bad encounters with African American males does not make this warning anymore justified.
After relating a few of his own unfortunate experiences, he admits to warning his own son in a similar way, finishing the segment by saying, "I expect that my son already has his own warnings prepared to pass on to his own future children." He finishes the article with more blaming, unfounded racism, and a tragic story that fails to logically uphold his poorly constructed argument.
Summarily, Hanson's article is inflammatory and adds more kindle to an already out-of-control fire. It is provoking, shockingly shortsighted, and offensive. It severely undermines his own credibility and that of National Review Online.