The cultural roots of crime in D5
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in his column ("Taking on the Issues: Crime in D5 an Anomaly?") in the Western Edition of the March SF Observer, wrestles sincerely but unsuccessfully, with what to do about the district's crime rate: "In plain talk, to effectively reduce violent crime, we need to address the conditions that aid and abet it." Ross lists a number of possible approaches: community policing, shifting law enforcement resources, job creation, vocational training, child care, and a parental academy to help people with their parental skills.
Ross ends his column with a more or less upbeat paragraph:
Hard times call for creative and proven solutions. In the meetings that I have had thus far with neighborhood groups and police, one thing I've learned is that the will to succeed and make our neighborhoods healthy is strong all around---and no one disagrees that a more secure and safe community is one that doesn't live amid impoverished conditions. That's half the battle.
Everyone knows that what he's talking about here is, for the most part, blacks who live in the public housing projects on the eastern border of District 5. And the 90 homicides in the city mostly involve young black guys shooting other young black guys.
One of "the conditions that aid and abet" youth crime is not discussed in progressive circles at all---the vile, corrosive influence of the rap/hip-hop culture permeating the world of young blacks. In that culture, shooting each other over minor personal differences is sanctioned, along with a life of crime in general. Serving time in prison is seen as a normal part of life by these kids. And if you're a rapper it can actually enhance your career and increase your CD sales.
See in particular an article in last Thursday's New York Times ("A Rapper's Prison Time As a Resume Booster," Kelefa Sanneh, March 24) that tells of Lil' Kim's recent conviction for perjury (she lied about a shooting between rappers she witnessed), and a rapper named C-Murder (convicted of murder) who has released a CD while in jail, and rapper Beanie Sigel (guilty of a a weapons charge and going to trial for attempted murder).
Ross's suggestion of a "parental academy" to help parents of the kids whose lives are dominated by this garbage must be galling to the parents. How are they supposed to combat a national popular culture that makes huge profits for both the creepy "artists" and their record companies? How are their children going to get jobs when, as per the dictates of this culture, the boys dress like baggy-pants clowns and the girls dress like hookers?
One thing our progressive leaders can do is quit acting as enablers for this crap. Former D5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez empowered would-be vandals by allowing a punk "artist" to deface his office walls with graffiti, even though the city spent more than $5 million last year dealing with graffiti/tagging.
During the D5 campaign last year, we also heard respectful references to "the hip-hop community" and "the spray-can community" from progressive candidates. And the ultra-progressive SF Bay Guardian panders to the hip-hoppers for commercial reasons, though editor Tim Redmond likes to think of himself as a pretty hip dude in the bargain.
There's a cultural war going on in D5 and the city, and, as usual, progressives are either completely clueless or on the wrong side of the issue.