Malcolm Gladwell Versus The Hellhole In Port Arthur

Steve Sailer quoted this, from an exchange between Bill Simmons and   Malcolm Gladwell, in which Gladwell wrote that America has a problem—a great deal of potential talent is locked up:

America has one of the highest incarceration rates in recorded history, for example. (We have six times more people behind bars, on a per capita basis, than Europe does.) That works out to about 2 million people—the majority of whom are young men, and a disproportionate share of those young men are young black men. Surely there must be hundreds—if not thousands—of potential professional athletes in that number, not to mention scientists or entrepreneurs or poets. I`m sure you saw that great piece by Jonathan Abrams in Grantland this week where he quotes Stephen Jackson on growing up in Port Arthur, Texas: “There`s been a million basketball players to come out of there and I`m the second one to make it to the NBA.”[Watching the world turn upside down in the era of constant information – Grantland]

Kathy Shaidle responded to this by saying

I’m not a genius like Malcolm Gladwell, and I don’t even know much about sports, but even I know that — whether there are hundreds of “potential professional athletes” in America, or thousands, there are only A LIMITED NUMBER OF PROFESSIONAL TEAMS, WITH A LIMITED NUMBER OF POSITIONS TO FILL.

Just like there are a limited number of acres of land on planet earth, or a limited number of jelly beans that can fit into a mason jar.

A chair can only hold so much weight. Etc.

Is Malcolm Gladwell proposing that the NFL expand to dozens of additional teams, to accommodate these alleged overlooked players?

Is he blaming the crime rate on… the current size of the NFL?[More]

Sailer pointed out that it would “be interesting to estimate what percentage of the NBA and the NFL really deserve to be in prison“.

 For example, the Stephen Jackson Gladwell refers to,  of the NBA`s San Antonio Spurs, whose career includes brawling in Auburn Hills (he ran into the stands and punched a fan) firing a “gun into the air and getting run over by a car in Indianapolis,” and drawing “suspensions from five different teams” is one of the people who made it out of Port Arthur, which is a “hellhole” in Texas. In the Grantland story mentioned above, it says

“How easy is it to buy a gun in Port Arthur?” Jackson repeated the question. `As easy as it is buying candy.` That is Jackson`s candor, which enamors some and exasperates others. Most NBA players, most people in the spotlight, deflect even the slightest hint of controversy. Jackson`s next `no comment` will be his first.” [The Devil and Stephen Jackson, June 5, 2012]

Here what you need to know is that that the ease of buying a gun in Port Arthur, Texas, is not due to “Texas gun culture.” (John Wayne, Bill Jordan, Frank Hamer, men in big hats, et cetera.) If you are a white person in Port Arthur, with no criminal record, and want to buy a gun from a store, Texas state laws and the Federal waiting period apply.

In order for you to buy a pistol like buying candy, you have to be a black street criminal, of whom there seem to be a lot in Port Arthur, population 53,000, 41 percent black, 37 percent white, and possessed of an African-American mayor, and a largely black city council. 

Stephen Jackson again:

“This is how I always explain it to people if you`ve never been there. Now, there`s one high school. When I was there, there were two high schools. There`s one main street, eight sets of low-income housing. Everybody knows everybody. Sixty percent of everybody is doing the same thing, selling drugs, gang-banging. And the other 40 percent are people working hard, trying to make an honest living, churchgoing people. The opportunity to make it out is very slim. There`s been a million basketball players to come out of there and I`m the second one to make it to the NBA. It`s a hellhole.”

But white people didn`t make it one—black people did. They`re not oppressed—they`re dangerous. And before we make it a national priority to keep young potential athletes in Port Arthur out of prison, so they can be millionaires and go nightclubbing in New York, we might ask ourselves how they`ll behave when they do.