The knockout game (by 1990), also called polar-bearing or the one-hitter-quitter, is where you try to knock out an innocent, unsuspecting bystander by striking them with a single blow. It is done on a dare, for amusement, to show how tough you are. It goes back at least to the 1980s.
Some on the right, since at least 2011, have been saying it is a trend among Black American youths, that the liberal media has been “silent” because it is black-on-white.
The liberal media picked it up in 2013 after a string of hate crimes in New York in November.
Thomas Sowell says it is done by “young blacks” on “either whites in general or people of Asian ancestry.”
On Fox News, Greta Van Susteren said the game is, “regrettably popular amongst unsupervised African-American teens.”
So far there is no evidence (as of November 25th 2013) that it is:
- something new,
- racially motivated,
- mostly black youths attacking whites.
For example, Thomas Sowell uses a book that only looks at black-on-white-or-people-of-Asian-ancestry crime (“White Girls Bleed a Lot” (2012) by Colin Flaherty).
The police in cities where there have been reports of knockout games say that so far it appears to be an urban myth, that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that always go on.
Most criminologists and youth experts agree that unprovoked attacks on strangers by teenagers are real but extremely rare.
Mike Males, a research fellow at the non-profit Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, said in 2011 that, “This knockout-game legend is a fake trend,” that the press has a habit of cherry-picking instances to create sensational stories that demonize youth.
Chauncey DeVega calls it a moral panic, a scare fed by press reports and rumour.
The press has been playing on white racist fears and stereotypes. You would never know that black youth crime is at a 50-year low. Or that assault by black youths has dropped by 59% over the past 20 years.
The idea of “roving black youths” randomly attacking innocent white people is not new. In 1989 the New York press called it “wilding” and said it was the favourite pastime of the “wolfpack” of black and Latino youths that attacked the Central Park Jogger. All. Made. Up.
Notice what is not a trend:
- White bullies: White youths beat up gays, Latinos and others all the time. Not a trend.
- White hate crimes: There are way more white-on-black hate crimes than black-on-white ones. Not a trend.
- White shooters: The Batman shooter in 2012 and the Sikh Temple shooter weeks later – not a trend. Even when Adam Lanza months later gunned down 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut – still not a trend.
Because it will never be a trend. Because White American men are never seen as the Threatening Other, as a danger to the social order – because they are the social order (est. 1607).
Dispiriting: Seeing Al Sharpton and Jasmyne Cannick having to condemn knockout games because white people will otherwise assume they are for it.
Sources: AP, Patheos, John H. Tucker, New York Times, YouthFACTS.org, Chauncey DeVega, Slate, Mediaite, Front Page Mag, American Thinker, Thomas Sowell, Snopes, Think Progress, New York Post and “The Central Park Five” (2011) by Sarah Burns.
- Christopher Lane – yet more right-wing fear mongering
- confirmation bias
- The black brute stereotype
- The white racist guide to black pathologies
- racial profiling
- white shooters
- How the American social order came to be