Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rap, Race, and Homicide Rates

If you read the excellent The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker you will learn three important historical facts about homicidal violence.

Fact One is that death by violence in the hunter-gatherer age was about 500 per 100,000 population, or about 0.5 percent per year.

Fact Two is that death by violence in the late agricultural age was about 50 per 100,000 population, or about 0.05 percent per year.

Fact Three is that death by violence in the mid 20th century (after World War II) was about 5 per 100,000 population, or about 0.005 percent per year.

I discuss all this in my "Government and the Technology of Power."

It makes sense, because in the hunter-gatherer age practically every adult male was involved in defending the tribe from the next tribe over, and Pinker tells us that each tribe was more or less constantly at war.

But in the agricultural age the political units were bigger and most of the fighting was done by "marcher lords" and their retainers. Think the Percys, Dukes of Northumberland, keeping the pesky Scots out of England.

In the industrial age political units were bigger still, and with wealth now consisting of ideas in peoples' minds rather than broad rich acres, violence went down again.

But not, as Steve Sailer writes, in Straight Outta Compton during the crack age around 1990. He shows Figure 22b Black male homicide offending rates by age, 1980-2008 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics "Homicide Trends in the United States 1980-2008." He shows black homicide offending rates for age 18-24 at about 350 per 100,000 during the early 1990s and the peak of the crack epidemic and gang wars and gansta rap craze.

Which makes sense, because huge numbers of young black males were probably engaged in or affected by the crack business and living in a small tribe that had to defend itself against all comers.

The black male homicide rate in the early 1990s was about ten times the white male rate, which peaked at a little under 35 per 100,000 in the early 1990s. The black female homicide rate was about the same as the white male rate. The white female rate showed no bump during the crack age and remained under 3 per 100,000.

Really, the homicide rate is an inverse measure of embourgeoisification. Bourgeois males don't kill each other, they compete instead for promotions and market share.

Of course they do take on gunmen in trains, some of them. But that is another story.

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