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Friday, June 24, 2005

Few Quick Things

First off: is the 'the Irish were once considered non-white' the stupidest historical meme ever? I know that dickhead Harvard professor Noel Ignatiev wrote a book about this, but this seems to be an idea that has perculated out into the wider Left intelligentsia (I saw someone mention it in a Village Voice article this week). It is so so so stupid. I wrote my MA dissertation on the Irish in America in the 19th century and not once did I ever come across a primary source where the Irish were called non-whites. It's a different situation from Jews, where Jews were indeed quite often seen as non-white (and still are, out on the outer fringes of Stormfronterism). The Irish were often seen as a separate 'race' from the 'Anglo-Saxon race', but I have never ever ever seen anything where people talked about 'the whites' and 'the Irish' as separate entities. How does such obvious nonsense gain cultural currency? (Answer: because leftist identity politics professors are morons).

Sorry, bad history really irritates me.

I have actually been doing a lot of work behind the scenes on an update to the 'Racial Segregation in Brooklyn' post, doing maps and graphs and tables and all sorts on topics like household income, crime rates, school test results, and so on. I'm not finished yet (but I will be tomorrow night) as I'm having some trouble finding test results for private schools in Brooklyn (even the Diocese doesn't seem to have the stats for parochial schools on their website). Just to show you I'm at it, here's a map of police precincts in Brooklyn that is colored by crime rates:

The NYPD website tallies (PDF file) murders, rapes, robberies, felonious assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies, and automotive grand larcenies, so I went through all of the different precincts numbers and worked out the numbers for crimes per 100,000 residents (they give residential populations for each precincts on pages like this), and then mapped it out by precinct. No major surprises, the area in black with the lowest crime rate (a rather remarkable 853.4 crimes per 100,000 residents last year) is the 66th Precinct, which is, for the most part, the heavily Hasidic Jewish neighborhood of Borough Park. As far as personal safety goes, I'd rather be around the Hasidim than pretty much anyone else on the planet. Honorable people. The highest crime rate is in the 84th Precinct, which covers Downtown Brooklyn (2977.52 crimes per 100,000 residents last year) which, again, is not altogether surprising, as the area has by far the largest number of passers-through of anywhere in Brooklyn, thus inflating the crime rate to above that of more notorious areas like East New York and Brownsville (the 75th and 73rd precincts respectively).

Loads more stuff on Brooklyn tomorrow.

Also, if you've never seen it, I highly recommend 'I am a Japanese School Teacher', a website by an American who has been teaching English in Japanese schools for the past two years. Very funny (and often raunchy) stuff. Well worth a look.

I've also been reading a lot of stuff by James Howard Kunstler. It is enough to really, seriously unsettle you, except for when you start digging back through his archives and see how consistently he has threatened imminent doom, and how just as consistently he has been proved wrong (he was one of those freaked out by Y2K). He is heavily on the peak oil thing, which is certainly utterly utterly terrifying if true. He is a great writer, though, a real 'hide under the blankets' kind of style. He is also, in my opinion, absolutely dead on about the vapidity of modern suburban living. I don't want to get too holier than thou about suburbanism, but I do think that the switch from urban life to suburbia and exurbia has been a great disaster for America, and I find edge cities to be mind-bogglingly depressingly awful, and the idea that large amounts of Americans have never walked to a store to buy milk head-scratching in the extreme.

|| RPH || 6:06 AM || |