Harvard professor blasts ‘sick and barbaric’ knockout game, indifference of academia

John Bennett Contributor
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One of the nation’s top sociologists blasted the the knockout game and the people who play it — and the credentialed class that refuses to condemn it.

“This pattern of violence is sick and barbaric, and, for its victims, both senseless and tragic,” said Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller.

Patterson also criticized the tendency of sociologists to downplay important factors like norms and values, and is working on a research project “to revive the culture concept in explaining the attitudes and behavior” of at-risk groups.

“ [S]ocial scientists, and especially sociologists, have abandoned or underplayed the fundamental concepts of norms and values,” Patterson said.

Patterson’s comments contribute to the debate surrounding the knockout game and the state of race relations in America. Patterson, whom many liberals regard as the nation’s preeminent expert on race relations, is the respected author of “Freedom in the Making of Western Culture and Slavery and Social Death: A Comparative Study.”

Patterson is not seen as a conservative, and he favors “more egalitarian social and economic policies.”

Within the left-leaning academy, sociology departments practice rigid ideological conformity, studies have found. One study by Christopher F. Cardiff and Daniel B. Klein looked at professors’ political affiliations. Among humanities professors, there was a Democrat: Republican ratio of 10:1. Among sociologists, the ratio was 44:1; the widest ideological disparity among academic departments.

Liberal academics are generally committed to the notion that crime is caused by poverty and social circumstances, particularly among minorities. Opposing perspectives are generally ignored or treated with hostility in the university setting.

But the knockout game is becoming increasingly hard to ignore. While liberal commentators have generally argued that the game is a “faux trend,” mainstrea news agencies like the Associated Press bluntly report: “Authorities across the country say they have seen an increase in deaths and assaults where teens are playing ‘knockout.’”

Perpetrators across the country are responsible for at least six deaths nationwide since 2009.

The “game” involves young teens attacking a victim, without provocation, and seeking to knock them out with one punch. If one punch doesn’t knock the victim out, more beatings sometimes follow. Nearly all of the attackers are black, while almost all of the victims are all non-black. In the Huffington Post, Al Sharpton wrote that the attacks are “racist, period.”

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