Bennett Draws Attention Where It Is Needed

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By Courtland Milloy
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

"You could abort every black baby in this country, and the crime rate would go down."

-- William Bennett,

radio talk show host and

former U.S. education secretary

A protest demonstration is scheduled for today at the Salem Radio Network in Arlington, where William Bennett works. And a boycott of the sponsors of his show is being organized. In drumming up support for these actions, one e-mailer called Bennett a racist and eugenicist and declared, "That's how Hitler got started."

There is a problem here. But it's not Bennett, whose comments illuminated a moral inconsistency in black America that is far more harmful than anything he said. Forget about Bennett's absurd crime cure -- a proposal he acknowledged would be morally wrong -- and just look at the most recent analysis of abortion data, released in July by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

African American women, who make up only 13 percent of the U.S. female population, accounted for 32 percent of the 1,293,000 abortions performed in the United States in 2002.

That's 413,760 abortions performed on black women in one year -- or 1,133 a day. (In the District, half of all pregnancies ended in abortion, a higher percentage than in any state.) No outcry over that because those were just disposable fetuses, right?

That is, until Bennett spoke of aborting "black babies," and suddenly those fetuses become precious pre-born black people who must be saved from the evil Dr. Bill.

It's just a different twist to the same old story. If the Ku Klux Klan were killing blacks the way blacks kill blacks, we'd be up in arms. If whites in blackface were filling the airways with degrading lyrics and minstrel shows, we'd at least shoot the TV and radio. But as along as it's just us acting a fool, who cares?

This is the consequence of our corrosive moral inconsistency: a dependence on the opposition of whites to give meaning and value to black life.


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© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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