Personal responsibility is a term not often heard on today’s college campuses.
Danielle Charette is a student at Swarthmore College, which is an institution that is not known to be a bastion of conservative thought. So, her perspective on a UC Santa Barbara professor’s recent address at her school is refreshing.
A well respected UC Santa Barbara sociology professor in a recent lecture blamed nearly everything but personal responsibility for the high crime and incarceration rates that have long plagued black and Latino communities.
“We need to take accountability for what the state and government has done,” said Dr. Victor Rios during his Feb. 21 guest address at Swarthmore College. “Officers are still beating down black and brown kids.”
And U.S. law enforcement is overtly radicalized and “hyper-masculine,” said Rios, a highly regarded sociologist among leftist academic circles. Rios, a self-described former gang member who eventually turned his life around and earned a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, has won several awards and grants, has been featured in many news reports, and often gives motivational speeches at schools.
Rios’ address at Swathmore was given not only to college students, but visiting school children as well. …
Rios neglected to speak on what role, if any, he believes personal choice, the drug trade, or family lifestyles in high-crime communities has played in those statistics.
Charette was apparently not the only skeptical member of the audience.
While Rios’ argument was offered with zeal, others scholars have poked holes in ideas behind his beliefs.
For example, Heather MacDonald, the John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an outspoken advocate for New York City’s so-called “stop-and-frisk” policing strategy, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in January that “the advocacy community sees only racism in the fact that the bulk of trespass and other stops happen in minority neighborhoods.”
“But that racism charge,” noted MacDonald, “ignores the statistical truth that crime, too, is disproportionately concentrated in those neighborhoods.”
Rios did not cite the demographic makeup of the neighborhoods he studies and kept his remarks mostly to abstract complaints about “The System.”