Monday, March 1, 2010

Must-Read Article on Crime Rates

Fascinating article on the crime rate--THIS ARTICLE is a must read. (Ron Unz, American Conservative, March 2010, "His-Panic") Below is an excerpt:

Personal experiences are no substitute for detailed investigation, but they sometimes provide a useful reality check. Since the early 1990s, I’ve lived in Silicon Valley, a region in which people of white European ancestry are a relatively small minority, separately outnumbered by both Asians and Hispanics, with many of the latter quite poor and often here illegally. On any given day, more than half of the people I encounter in Palo Alto are Hispanics from immigrant backgrounds. Yet my area of the country has exceptionally low crime rates and virtually no serious ethnic conflict. This confounds the expectations of many of my East Coast friends.

You should click on the link above and read the whole thing.


Adam Rogoyski said...

Matt, the largest ethnic group in Santa Clara County is non-hispanic whites.

K_Yew said...

@Adam: I don't think any single ethnic group constitutes a majority within Santa Clara County, so I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

The author's point is that we should not correlate a Caucasian majority with low crime rates, and we should not correlate high percentages of non-Caucasians with higher crime rates. His point still stands, because Caucasians do not constitute a majority ethnic group within Santa Clara County, and taken together, Hispanics and Asians outnumber Caucasians (i.e., non-Hispanic whites) in Santa Clara County.

Adam Rogoyski said...

If by Caucasians you mean white people, they make up 62% of the population of Santa Clara County. If you restrict it to non-Hispanic whites, then they are still the largest ethnic group in the county, larger than Hispanics and Asians.

The author is clearly wrong twice in one paragraph. White people represent the largest group in the county, not a relatively small minority. The point is that you are repeating nonsense as if this shows something of value.

The author's category "people of white European ancestry", a category which includes President Obama, would by definition include Hispanics as well.

Are you seriously interested in the opinion of someone who thinks Palo Alto represents the Hispanic population of Santa Clara County? Palo Alto? Are you serious? Non-Hispanic Whites are 70% of the city.

Is it news to anyone that Palo Alto has low crime rates, given that properties average well over a million dollars, it is the 5th most expensive place in America, and is home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world?

This single paragraph says enough about the author's article that no one should read it.

K_Yew said...

@Adam: you don't cite any sources for your claim that Santa Clara County contains 62% non-Hispanic Whites.

See here for data from Harvard University showing the ethnic composition in San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area, aka Santa Clara County, for 2008:

38.0% = non-Hispanic Whites

26.8% = Hispanics

30.3% = non-Hispanic Asians

Last time I checked, 57.1% (Hispanics + Asians) was more than 38%. It appears the author's numbers are correct, at least according to Harvard University.

Harvard's numbers use a total population of 1.81 million people within the assessed metro area, which is probably an accurate assessment of Santa Clara County's population in 2008.

I am struggling to understand how you could have a) cited population numbers that are completely inaccurate; b) dismissed the author's claims based on these grossly false numbers. Can you please cite your sources and explain how you came to your numerical conclusions?

Adam Rogoyski said...

The numbers I quote are from the 2008 Census estimates, ie the population of Santa Clara County.

I will help say it all again as clearly as possible with all the numbers added in:

Santa Clara County's population of White people according to the US Census estimates in 2008 is 62%.

The largest ethnic group in Santa Clara County according to the US Census estimates in 2008 is non-Hisapnic White people at 38%.

White people, far from being a "relatively small minority" as the author claims, are actually either the majority of all people (White persons), or the largest ethnic group (non-Hispanic Whites) -- a plurality, depending on what is considered white.

The author does not understand what white persons means, given that his definition of "people of white European ancestry" includes Barack Obama. Barack Obama is half white. His mom is white.

Hispanic is more of an identity than a clear ethnic group or race. This makes it difficult to draw conclusions from, but we generally understand what is meant by the term. The author does not, as he directly implies that Hispanics are not of "white European ancestry".

You did not refer to the remaining paragraphs. I assume you understood them and don't disagree that Palo Alto is expensive, is not known for high crime rates, and is not representative of Hispanics in the area.

K_Yew said...

@Adam: I don't hang out a whole lot in Palo Alto, so I don't feel qualified to make too many comments about the city. Keep in mind, though, there is East Palo Alto as well as the Stanford side, and East Palo Alto has plenty of Latinos. (Yes, I realize I am switching from "Hispanic" to "Latino.")

To sum up, you started this discussion with a premise you didn't clearly articulate: namely, that you (and perhaps the Census) believe "Hispanic" can also mean "Caucasian" or "White." That's fine. (By the way, Middle Easterners are also classified as "Caucasian" under the Census definitions.)

I think the author's presumption is that regardless of the Census's definitions, most Americans would not consider someone from Mexico to be in the same racial category as someone from Norway.

Given how subjective the notion of race is, I'm not sure we've really accomplished anything except to show that a) the Census definitions of race may not correspond with the general perception of race in America; and b) people have different interpretations about whom to include in the definition of "Caucasian" or "White," and at the end of the day, it's subjective.

I still think you're unfairly bashing the author for using the word "Hispanic" rather than "Latino." Overall, I'm not sure it makes a tremendous amount of difference in the author's overall analysis. Most people who check "Hispanic" on the Census in Santa Clara County would likely be from Mexico, not Europe/Spain. Therefore, most reasonable people would agree that the author's use of "Hispanic" rather than "Latino" is not sufficient to discredit him.

Adam Rogoyski said...

Matt, I have made no such comments about the choice of words Hispanic and Latino.

K_Yew said...

@Adam: the Harvard Study indicates that taken together, non-Hispanic Asians and Hispanics outnumber non-Hispanic Whites in Santa Clara County.

The author stated that Santa Clara County is "a region in which people of white European ancestry are a relatively small minority, separately outnumbered by both Asians and Hispanics."

38% is not a majority. When the author refers to a "relatively small minority," you should remember the word, "relatively." A reasonable interpretation--and how I view the author's statement--is that any one ethnic group is "relatively" small in Santa Clara County when compared to all other ethnic groups. The data supports this reasonable interpretation of the author's ideas, but for some reason, you are unwilling to read his article.

Anyway, I will let you have the last word, b/c I honestly can't determine your point.