Sunday, October 14, 2012

When the Legend Becomes Social Science, Print the Legend

By Nicholas Stix

In response to “The Kitty Genovese Hoax,”
Antonio Gambini wrote,

Details about the Kitty Genovese case seem to be exaggerated but the bystander effect is by now a well documented phenomena.
The following matters are “well documented phenomena.”

That Thomas Jefferson fathered all of Sally Hemings’ children.

That police routinely racially profile black males.

That school authorities discriminate
against black students, in meting out discipline.

That “predatory lenders” caused the 2008 mortgage meltdown.

That 25 percent of all coeds will be victims of rape or attempted rape during their college years.

That there is a massive problem of white males committing date rape on college campuses.

Now, guess how many of the above six statements are true.

Try, none.

The fact that a myth has become the conventional wisdom does not make it true. Even John Ford distinguished, within his pictures, between legends and what really happened.

[Of related interest:

“The Original New York Times Story on the Kitty Genovese Murder-Rape”; and

“Philadelphia: Vicious, Black-on-White Gang Attack + Racial Epithets = No Hate Crime” (On the so-called “bystander effect.”)]

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