Brown University Economist Glenn Loury: I’m Tired Of ‘Professional Blacks’ Ignoring Black-On-Black Violence And Working On Projects Like 1619

Written by Ann Brown
Brown University Economist Glenn Loury: I’m Tired Of ‘Professional Blacks’ Ignoring Black-On-Black Violence And Working On Projects Like 1619 Photo: Harvard professor Glenn C. Loury is seen on June 5, 1987 in Boston Municipal Court where he pleaded innocent to charges of assaulting and threatening to kill a Boston woman. (AP Photo/Carol Francavilla)

Brown University economist Glenn Loury is speaking out about Black-on-Black violence and what he perceives as indifference on the part of “professional Blacks.” 

On a recent episode of his podcast, “The Glenn Show,” Loury discussed the issue with John McWhorter, an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. 

Loury went in on Black elites for ignoring violence in the Black community.

“I’m tired of it. I’m tired of being imposed upon by mediocrity and second-rate people who happen to have brown skin,” Loury said. “Have you seen the upsurge in violence going on in the cities around this country? Bodies are piling up!”

Loury then addressed professional Blacks and Black journalists. “These professional Blacks have got nothing to say about it. And moreover, they don’t know anybody who got killed! They haven’t put a microphone in front of a grieving mother at a funeral where there’s a little coffin because it was an 8-year-old in front of a storefront Pentecostal tambourine-banging church.

“They haven’t been there,” Loury said. “They’re supposed to be journalists and they busy themselves with shit like the 1619 Project.”

The New York Times Magazine’s “The 1619 Project” won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary for its sweeping commemoration of 400 years since the first 20-to-30 enslaved Africans arrived in what would later become the U.S. The landmark project was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Loury continued on with his rant against the Black elite. “And they don’t present themselves at the most fundamental juncture of pathos and loss that is in the Black experience today. They have nothing to say about it,” he said. “Let George Floyd get killed, and then there is a cause célèbre and national movement. Let a hundred or a thousand of these kids drift off into oblivion, and there’s not a mumbling word. And I’m tired of it.”

Twitter didn’t agree with Loury.

One person tweeted, “You just want to shame people. We don’t need journalists and activists at gang banger funerals. Let the journalists cover people doing the work to create paths around obstacles for young people. What does the @nhannahjones’s #1619Project have to do with it?”

1619 Project creator Hannah-Jones tweeted, “Imagine being an Ivy League professor with a gig at the Manhattan Institute and having the audacity to accuse others of being “professional Blacks” who won’t report in the hood. Believe it or not, some of us never left the hood. Google is your friend.”

She added, “Any Ivy League professor who is the definition of a Black person who made his career off of race — it’s literally in your Twitter bio — who hosts a podcast and yet I don’t believe he’s interviewed any victims on his podcast. Oh, the glory.”

Broadcast journalist and executive producer Soledad O’Brien called out Loury on his accusation that Black reporters aren’t on the front lines in the Black community. She tweeted, “(Don’t live in the hood. Spent this week in Nashville working on a series about violence and the school to prison pipeline in impoverished neighborhoods. Also think the 1619 project is brilliant.)”

Throughout his academic career Loury, who at the age of 33 became the first Black tenured professor of economics in the history of Harvard University in 1982, has studied and gave talks about Black-on-Black crime.

In 1984, Loury caused major controversy when he published the article “A New American Dilemma,” in The New Republic. In the piece he addressed what he said were the “fundamental failures in Black society” such as the high rate of Black-on-Black crime.

That same year he delivered a paper in Washington at a meeting of the National Urban Coalition. In attendance were civil rights veterans such as Coretta Scott King. In a speech to the Coalition, Loury decalred, ”The civil rights movement is over.” He added that Blacks were causing their own downfall. “Black-on-Black crime was evidence, he said, of failures in Black society itself, The New York Times reported.

While Loury still claims Black-on-Black crime is a plague in the Black America, the current stats don’t seem to support him.

According to studies, Black-on-Black violence is about the same as white-on- white crime.

In 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that 81 percent of white victims were killed by whites, and 89 percent of Black victims were killed by Black people, USA Today reported.

But it’s not only Black-on-Black violence that troubles Loury. In an article for The City Journal entitled “The Bias Narrative v. The Development Narrative: On different views of African-American disadvantage,” Loury gives his take on why Blacks are still “behind” in the U.S.

“We have a social-science problem. We have a challenge-to-the-country kind of problem. We’re 50 years past the Civil Rights movement. That’s almost as long a period of time as from Appomattox—where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant—to Versailles, where the Europeans sorted out the mess that was World War I. Technology has completely changed over the last 50 years. The economy is completely different. Polity is completely different,” he wrote. 

He added, “Tens of millions of non-European immigrants have come to the country in the last half-century. Everything is different. And yet, if you look at some of the speeches that are being given, consider some of the events recorded for posterity in social media, some of the incidents taking place, and the arguments being made—and it’s as if we’re still back in the 1970s. Why is this so? It’s a puzzle.”

In 1987, Loury was selected to be the next Undersecretary of Education, which would have made him the second-highest-ranking Black person in the Ronald Reagan administration. Loury was forced to withdraw his name from consideration three days before being charged with assault after a “lover’s quarrel” with a 23-year-old woman. She later dropped the charges, The New York Times reported. However, Loury was later arrested in Boston for possession of cocaine.

Loury left Harvard in 1991 for Boston University, where he headed the Institute on Race and Social Division. In 2005, Loury joined the Economics Department at Brown University.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

On police brutality against Blacks, the issue is a “gross distortion of reality,” Loury told The City Journal in an interview.

“I like to remind people that the United States is a country of 330 million people…About 1,200 Americans are killed by police officers in a year, of which maybe 300 are Black. That means that most of the people killed by police officers are not Black, and the majority of people killed by police officers in the United States are white,” he said. 

Loury continued, “This does not excuse bad policing. Police need to be trained properly. They need to be held accountable when they violate rules of engagement with citizens. There are bad police. There are racist police. But these kinds of incidents are not, in my view, representative of the day-to-day life experience of African Americans, and the extent to which Black Lives Matter and others have said that every African-American must fear for his or her life upon stepping from their door, this is a gross distortion of reality.”