During the Q&A after his Wednesday night speech at the University of Connecticut, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro was asked what the solution was to crime-ridden black neighborhoods. Shapiro started by delineating the causes of crime, largely the skyrocketing rate of single motherhood (which he also noted has skyrocketed in white communities), and the absence of a strong police force in those black neighborhoods. He then articulated a three-pronged solution: increased policing; a cultural focus on fathers staying in the home and mothers not bearing children out of wedlock; and an individual commitment not to commit crimes that should be inculcated not by the schools, but by parents.
The exchange went like this:
Questioner: “One of my questions is you talk about this culture between black and black violence. What is your solution, then, to that?”
Shapiro: “Don’t commit crimes.”
Questioner: “I feel like there’s a bigger issue.”
My broader solution, really, is that these communities require more police, not less. There’s a woman named Jill Leovy, she writes for the LA Times; she’s actually on the Left, and she wrote an entire book about how a lot of the disparities in crime, particularly in black communities, were due to racism, but not in the way that we think of racism, like white cops going in and beating people up in black neighborhoods, but because white people basically said to black neighborhoods, “Take care of yourself. If there’s high violence in your areas then you take care of it yourself.”
That leads to higher tribal levels of violence in any society, right? Whenever there’s not an enforcement mechanism in place to actually stop crime, then the crime rates go up. And in fact, the “broken windows” theory in New York City has saved an enormous number of black lives because the police were actually present and active. You need more active present police hunting down people who kill other people, that’s part of the problem; part of the problem is that you actually need fathers to stick around. This is true in white communities and black communities. One of the great tragedies of the last four decades in the United States is that the single motherhood rate has risen not just in the black community, from 20 percent in 1960 to over 70 percent now, but in five percent in the white community to over 40 percent now. That’s a huge jump in both communities; young men, particularly, do need a male influence there to curb them. As a man who was once young, I can attest to this. So I think that’s another aspect.
And obviously, once you’ve actually lowered the crime rate then you’re going to get more economic growth. This is what’s happened in particular areas of New York, where once the police were actually able to go in and shut down crime in particular areas, then suddenly businesses could come back in, they weren’t afraid of being robbed, and suddenly people were willing to live in those areas who weren’t willing to live there before. This is gentrification, and gentrification is a good thing. The left has opposed gentrification by suggesting that, “Oh, it’s people throwing people out of their historic homes,” and all this nonsense. The fact is, that if the quality of life in the area gets better, not worse, that seems to mean undeniable good. If the area gets better, that’s “gentrification”; if the area stays crappy, that’s “ghettoization.”
There has to be some solution; you can’t just claim that when things get better, that’s racism, but when things get worse, that’s racism also. The reason that New York City has gotten better is because of increased policing.
So: Increased policing; a cultural focus on fathers staying in the home and mothers not bearing children out of wedlock; and an individual commitment not to commit crimes.
Questioner: “So just following up real quick after that: would you say the solution, then, is to improve education, in that sense, teaching these people early on to stop doing these things?”
Shapiro: “I honestly don’t think the quality of the educational system is heavily connected to crime, just because I don’t think that schools are the folks who teach people not to kill each other. I think that’s usually your parents. So I think that the quality of schools is more a reflection of the poverty of neighborhoods than it is the cause of crime rates in neighborhoods. I think it’s more of an effect than a cause, in other words.”