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The Gift of Life

Does Ilhan Omar Have A Point When She Talks About ‘Deaths’ Caused By White Men?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

It’s tough being a white guy these days, especially when you combine being literally responsible for every evil and injustice on the planet that’s ever occurred at any time or place in all of human history with bearing the Atlas-like burden of everything from global warming to micro-aggressions against college snowflakes. 

And then I’m apparently supposed to somehow feel “guilty” about being at least the indirect cause of all that carnage. Should I feel guilty about not feeling guilty? Does eating ribeyes and sleeping like a baby at night make me a “bad” person? Am I irredeemable because I don’t seek the approval of social justice warriors, college professors and squirrelly Antifa types? It’s all so confusing. 

Maybe I’d get the whole “white privilege” thing and feel a little bad about it, if it were indeed a “privilege” to be a member of the only group today’s super-weird PC culture allows to be stereotyped, censored, pigeonholed, discriminated against, and generally maligned as good-for-nothing malcontents.

Fine, whatever. I know it probably sounds like it here, but in real life I’m not crying a river. White people still do plenty well in this country, though I’d argue that it’s in spite of and not because of the “system” that’s currently in place. But it still rankles to get accused, as a group no less, of things that quite simply aren’t true. Especially when society has generally moved past generalizing people based on the group to which they belong.

But when there’s racial generalizing to be done, leave it to the experts - far left Democrats - to show the rest of us that ignorance is still alive. Case in point, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is shown generalizing white men as “causing most of the deaths within this country” in a recently publicized February 2018 interview with Al Jazeera host Medhi Hasan. 

“I would say our country should be more fearful of white men across our country because they are actually causing most of the deaths within this country,” Omar said, responding to a question from Hasan about people who fear Islam because of what they consider a “legitimate fear of jihadist terrorism.”

“And so if fear was the driving force of policies to keep America safe, Americans safe inside of this country, we should be profiling, monitoring, and creating policies to fight the radicalization of white men,” she concluded. 

Obviously, Omar’s statement doesn’t come in a vacuum. She’s trying to make an apples to apples observation by stating that if Americans are going to be skeptical of Muslims because of jihadist terrorism, we should also be skeptical of white men because of all the “deaths” they (we) are apparently causing.

Except, her comparison is not apples to apples at all. It’s actually more like apples to, well, jihadis.

First of all, white men may be really bad at dancing, but they aren’t even “causing most of the deaths” in America, though given the fact that white people in general are still technically a majority at roughly 70 percent, that would actually be a reasonable assumption from Omar. It’s like saying “most” of the deaths in Somalia are caused by black Somalian men. However, while white men statistically SHOULD be causing “most of the deaths” in America, they actually aren’t. 

“Most of the deaths” implies more than 50 percent of deaths, a pretty low bar. Yet, FBI Uniform Crime Reporting shows that, of 11,883 murder offenders in 2017 whose race was known and/or reported, only 5,125 were white. That’s 43 percent. And to drill down even further, that section of the chart doesn’t differentiate Hispanic offenders from white ones, so accounting for Hispanics would bring any actual number of deaths caused by white Caucasian men down even more.

OK, you say, maybe Omar was thinking hate crimes and somehow getting those mixed up with “deaths.” Surely whites commit the vast majority of hate crimes, right? At least that’s what the media has been telling us for years, so it must be true.

Well, 2017 FBI statistics do show whites committing 50.7 percent of hate crimes, but again if you take out Hispanic offenders, which a lot of the data deceptively does not, the actual number of Caucasian white male hate crime offenders is likely well under 50 percent. So again, even “most” of the hate crimes aren’t technically being caused by white men.

Interestingly, despite the fact that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the “forces of white supremacy” for an attack on a group of Hasidic Jews in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, last May, those attackers were actually … black. In fact, the NYPD’s own hate crimes reporting shows that city’s hate crime suspects to be “most frequently black (55.0 percent), white (23.6 percent) or Hispanic (20.0 percent).” Nationwide, blacks account for 21.3 percent of hate crime offenders, still significantly more than their 13 percent population representation.

How about mass shootings? Well, Omar may have a small point there in this category that represents a tiny fraction of all shooting deaths, but it’s still not what liberals would have us think. Indeed, though a higher percentage of mass shooters are definitely white males, even Slate understands that white representation in that tragic category isn’t above what would be expected given the white percentage of the population. “The plurality of mass killers are white,” writes Slate’s Daniel Engber. “But the notion that white men of privilege are disproportionately represented among mass shooters—indeed, that they make up ‘nearly all’ of them—is a myth.”

To be clear, zero hate crimes, and murders, and mass shootings, and crimes in general, is the number we’d like to see from all varieties of humankind, but we’re just talking raw numbers here, you know, since Omar brought it up.

To bring things back to the Minnesota congresswoman’s attempt to compare apples to jihadis, Forbes’ Dominic Dudley attributed “well over half” of the “18,814 deaths caused by terrorists around the world last year” to “just four groups: Islamic State, the Taliban, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram.” 

Sure, white radicalization isn’t good, should be fought, and can certainly result in the most horrendous of crimes, like the tragic black church shooting in Charleston in 2015. Nobody is minimizing that. However, Islamic radicalization, when it hits, can do far more damage than what happened on September 11, 2001. It is devastating entire nations.

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