US Podcast: Getting Serious about Race and Crime


I took on a challenge on Friday, joining the “shock jock” Jon Gaunt on a new British channel, Talk2Me Radio.

Gaunt was highlighting Wednesday’s beating and abuse of a man with special by four African-American youth in Chicago. Could I turn this towards a serious discussion beyond superficial and inflammatory labels around race and “political correctness”? Could I get across these points?

1. Hate crime — which is not confined to a single group as attacker and another as victim — should be confronted as a challenge to be met by all people, not by turning a single case into a stigma of race or religious belief.

2. Reality should not be swept away by the sensational: murder and violent crime in the US have fallen since the early 1990s and are now at the level of the 1960s.

3. But the continuing economic and social challenges, 50 years after the civil rights movement, should not be avoided by using a single case to divert attention to racial caricatures.

Gaunt took on these points, and I think the outcome was an engaging discussion — one which also took in questions about the effectiveness of Barack Obama as President, the campaign of Hillary Clinton, and the prospects of a President Trump for crime and the economy.

The discussion starts at the 38:55 mark:

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