This superficial level of thinking is found even among professional sociologists and criminologists. I once told a sociologist that, according to Marvin Wolfgang's famous study of Philadelphia crime, middle-income blacks were more violent than low-income whites. The guy was completely discombobulated. He asked me, how do we explain it and said sarcastically, "Is it the amount of melanin in the skin?" I told him that I didn't really know (I didn't at the time).
The ironic fact is that everyone thinks poverty explains black violence, but there are few studies that actually assess the hypothesis. In 2010, if there is a big hole in the research literature, it is not an accident.
We can take a step to plug that hole by looking at Add Health data. Based on Wolfgang's study, I'm confident enough to predict that the violence of high-status blacks is at least as high as that of low-status whites. There is no perfect measure of social class, but I will use mother's education. "Low-status" is having a mother who, at most, finished high school or got her GED. "High status" is some college all the way up to grad school. Most of the black sample has mothers with at least a 4-year degree. (By the way, this analysis showed me that ADD Health selected for high-end blacks, so the overall black-white difference in violence in the real world is surely larger than that indicated by Add Health data). Here are the percentages of teenagers who admit to committing the act at least once in the past year:
The percentages are similar. Where we see a significant difference, high-status blacks are more violent: they are more likely to have pulled a gun or a knife on someone. That is, they are more likely to do this than lower-class whites--you know, "white trash" teenagers.
These findings parallel those seen in IQ studies: poor whites score as well or better than privileged blacks.
I thought social class was everything; so vital, an entire discipline--sociology--was built around it. We've been hoodwinked by ideologues masquerading as scientists.