In a speech to a black audience in Ohio, John Kerry said blacks in prison aren’t to blame.
Talking about education yesterday, Mr. Kerry also told the largely black crowd at the day care center that there are more blacks in prison than in college.
“That’s unacceptable,” he said. “But it’s not their fault.”
Rather than the inmates, the former Boston prosecutor blamed poverty, poor schools, a dearth of after-school programs and “all of us as adults not doing what we need to do.”
I think James Taranto is right on target with his analysis:
What do adults “need to do” to prevent youngsters from turning to crime? Surely, above all, instill in them a sense of personal responsibility. Kerry sends precisely the opposite message when he says of criminals — and, it would seem, only of those criminals who happen to be black — that “it’s not their fault.”
The Washington Times’ story also reports that local Republicans blasted a Kerry speech in Columbus, Ohio with the theme song from the ’60s-era TV show, Flipper. (Think Lassie only with a dolphin.)
Ê”They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning / No one, you see, is smarter than he,” screamed the music set to its happy jingle.
This could catch on.
Update: Actually, Kerry is wrong: There are many more blacks in college than in prison. My Aisling has the stats: In mid-year 2002, there were 818,900 black men and 65,600 black women (total 884,500) in prison versus 802,000 black men and 1,476,000 black women (total 2,278,000) in college. Best of the Web adds:
It’s true that among black men the number of prison inmates was slightly higher than the number of college students. But as the Statistical Assessment Service notes, this is a meaningless comparison, since “you can go to prison at any age, but are most likely to be in college between the ages of 18-24.” A college-age black man, it turns out, is 2.5 times as likely to be in college as in prison. Also worth noting: A career criminal can easily end up spending decades of his life behind bars, while only the laziest student stays in college that long.
If black women can succeed in school, black men should be able to make it too. But they’ll have to tune out people who tell them bad decisions are “not their fault.”
I helped a Mexican-American student write a college application essay about how he turned around his life. At the age when his friends were joining gangs, he joined a soccer team. They dropped out of school. He toughed it out at a college-prep charter school. Some of his old friends are heading for prison. He’s going to San Jose State in the fall.