Saturday, August 4, 2012

Does it matter if Schrödinger’s Rapist is black?

There's a well-known blog post titled Schrödinger’s Rapist from a few years ago that I finally read. I was surprised to find that I agree with it, but I'm equally surprised more leftists don't take offense to it.

When I got a motor scooter a few years ago, I learned the mindset one needs to drive one is to be constantly on alert for danger. I was told to check my mirrors every eight seconds and be prepared to move out of the way of cars. If I let my guard down and a car strikes me, even though the other driver would be at fault, I will be hurt and they will not. If I let my guard down, I am at their mercy.

According to the Schrödinger’s Rapist post, this is essentially how women go about their lives while walking a city street or out on a first date with a man. They don't know if he's going to try to attack her and they want to avoid any situation where they will be at someone else's mercy. There's a classic asymmetrical information problem where the man may know he's harmless, but the woman doesn't and it impacts how she spends her free time, so buck up Chuck and be accommodating.

I get it. I'm happy to say that looking back, I have adjusted my behavior as a man to make sure women weren't put in a position where they had to trust me.

There's also one time when I was in rural Maine walking along the side of the road to my parents' house. There were two young women ahead of walking much slower on the other side of the road in the same direction. It was daytime and there were about a dozen houses within a quarter mile and a few cars drove by every minute. The timing just happened to work out that when I needed to cross the road to enter mom and dad's driveway, the two women were there too. From their perspective, I crossed the road to walk right at them. They saw me coming and immediately walked diagonally to the other side of the road. I said nothing and walked down the long wooded driveway where my parents live. They thought I might be coming for them, but I was just going home. No words were exchanged.

I felt a little insulted, but I understood what their motivation was. It then occurred to me that if I had been a black person, I would probably feel more insulted and I would record this as an example of racism, even though unbeknownst to me the same thing would have happened to a white guy.

That's where I'm surprised the Schrödinger’s Rapist post does't attract more criticism from the left. It makes the case that being in an elevator with a stranger becomes a fearful scenario the moment that stranger turns out to be a male. That is not considered sexism or a violation of political correctness. It doesn't matter that sexual assaults in elevators are extremely rare. We're willing to cut women some slack for believing myths because the fear they feel is very real.

If being fearful of unknown men in elevators is acceptable, what happens when that unknown man turns out to be black?

Baseless terror of black men in elevators has been mocked for decades, so why is fear of all men in elevators acceptable? Saying we should accept that someone is afraid of another person because of demographics, baseless or not, is problematic.

It's incredibly uncomfortable to say, but minority members are more likely to commit sexual assaults. There's plenty of people trying to disprove this by focusing on the relative rarity of interracial rapes, but that assumes women of all races are victimized equally.

From a 2006 U.S. Department of Justice report:

Whites (37%) and blacks (35%) accounted for higher percentages of rapists than Hispanics (23%).
When you factor in that the 2010 census reported 72 percent of Americans are white, 13 percent are black and 12 percent are Latino, you can see some unfortunate conclusions: The average black or Latino male is more likely to commit a sexual assault.

A New Mexico sexual assault prevention statistical analysis reported: "While the greatest number of rapes/sexual assaults occurred among Whites, the rate of rapes/sexual assaults per 1000 persons was greater among Blacks and Hispanics."

These numbers make us all uncomfortable, and may be explained by the correlation between crime and poverty instead of any biological genesis. They may also be skewed by which sexual assaults are reported, but the numbers are there, and what's more, women believe them.

A woman on the street is much more likely to be attacked by a male stranger than a female stranger. Schrödinger’s Rapist suggests this makes it acceptable to be distrusting of men on the street. Does it make the same allowance for race that it does for gender? The subtitle "A guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced" doesn't sound too PC when that guy is black.

Make no mistake, I'm guilty of the same double standard that being suspicious of men is more acceptable than being suspicious of certain races. I'm just having a hard time justifying it to myself.


  1. That man in the video is a great man.

    I get around this by being equally suspicious of everyone, I'm not racist, have a plan to kill everyone you meet, that's what I learned in the army.

  2. That man in the video is verbally-violent, reactionary, ignorant and insulting.
    Great post, though. This brought up some interesting angles to old info and made me think!

  3. Unfortunately, I think the best explanation is that it's OK to discriminate against accident-of-birth groups as long as they are seen to be in power. It's not OK to criticize Muslims the same way people criticize Catholics.

  4. It's supposed to be funny Abner. Sure, he is touching a serious subject, but it can still be done in a parodical way.

  5. I like funny. He wasn't funny. I'm not saying that you didn't nor shouldn't find him funny. I'm just saying that I didn't. The adjectives that I used are what I perceived in him.

  6. As a 28 year old woman you would think this would resonate at least a little with me, but I don't understand Schrodinger's Rapist at all. Am I wary when I'm walking around the city alone late at night? Sure I am. But so are my Marine guy friends. It would be silly for anyone, man or woman, in those circumstances to not be wary. But on a crowded subway platform I'm usually more than happy to talk to someone who doesn't appear to be obviously crazy or asking for money. I don't have that fear response that apparently so many women have. I do know that the vast majority of people I come into contact with out and about in the world will do me absolutely no harm, and I choose to live my life accordingly.