Just Last Year

Notre Dame faces new questions about the professor who wrote a 2013 article that apparently influenced the mass shooting in Buffalo.

May 27, 2022
 
John Gaski, a white man with thinning ginger hair and a mustache.
University of Notre Dame
John Gaski

Both the University of Notre Dame and John Gaski, an associate professor of marketing there, expressed regret last week that an article Gaski wrote on interracial violence was cited in the Buffalo, N.Y., mass shooting suspect’s racist screed.

In short, separate statements, both Gaski and Joel Curran, a Notre Dame spokesperson, noted the publication year of Gaski’s article: 2013. This effectively, if not intentionally, created years of distance between Gaski’s statements and this month’s apparent hate crime.

Yet Gaski published a version of the article just last year in The Indiana Policy Review.

Gaski’s 2013 essay, published in Investor’s Business Daily, attempted to present “inconvenient facts” about racial violence following the then-recent trial of Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman.

The 2021 article recycles the same “inconvenient truths,” but its point of departure is the racial reckoning that followed George Floyd’s 2020 murder.

“It took zero lag time after the Floyd incident for opportunists of the racial victimhood industry to accuse our country of engendering a climate of racist danger for black citizens,” Gaski wrote in his 2021 piece, called “An Anti-Racist Manifesto: On Race, Police, Fake News and Some Inconvenient Truths.” “This qualifies not only as substantively wrong but anti-American slander of the first magnitude because the facts are to the contrary—whether anyone still cares to know them or not.”

Both the 2013 and 2021 articles include statistics on race and violence, to include a particular point on sexual assault that the Buffalo suspect cited.

Here’s what Gaski wrote in 2013:

About 90 percent of interracial violent crime in our nation is committed by blacks against whites. The black-on-white murder rate in the U.S. exceeds the white-on-black rate by about 2.5-to-1. The black-on-white assault and battery rate exceeds the corresponding white-on-black rate in this country by at least 10-to-1.

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I would rather not report what is known about U.S. interracial rape statistics because it could be taken as incendiary, but the previous numbers in terms of black/white proclivity are dwarfed. (See Department of Justice, Criminal Victimization in the United States, “Victims and Offenders.”) OK, here’s a hint: Because the number of white-on-black rapes is so low nationally in any given year, the ratio ranges from 100-to-1 to infinity. Liberal, politically correct feminists need to reflect on that one.

Here’s what Gaski wrote in 2021:

Here are the suppressed and inconvenient facts: About 90 percent of interracial violent crime in our nation is committed by blacks against whites. Really. That is not a misprint. The black-on-white murder rate in the U.S. exceeds the white-on-black rate by about 2.5 to 1. The black-on-white assault and battery rate in the U.S. exceeds the corresponding white-on-black rate in this country by at least 10 to 1.

I would rather not report what is known about the U.S. interracial rape statistics because it could be taken as incendiary, but the previous numbers in terms of black-white proclivity are dwarfed. (See Department of Justice, Criminal Victimization in the U.S., “Victims and Offenders”—if not scrubbed from the Web [2019]). Liberal, politically correct intersectional feminists need to reflect on that one.

Both articles say that the relative crime statistics would be moderated if adjusted for socioeconomic status, but not significantly enough to challenge the “baseline conclusion” that the “hysterical public mantra of epidemic white-on-black violence is thus exposed as fraud.”

Questions about self-plagiarism aside, Gaski’s statistics are still decontextualized and perhaps misleading. According to federal Bureau of Justice Statistics data based on the 2019 National Crime Victimization Survey (the source Gaski cites in the 2021 article), there were about 2.8 million violent incidents with white victims that year. Of those, 1.7 million involved white offenders, and about 473,000 involved Black offenders (the rest were reported as involving Hispanic or “other” offenders).

Also in 2019, there were about 495,000 violent incidents with Black victims, involving 90,000 white offenders and 346,000 Black offenders. So both for crimes with white victims and Black victims, the overwhelmingly majority involved offenders of the same race. Put another way, about 17 percent of violent crimes with a white victim involved a Black offender, and about 18 percent of violent crimes with a Black victim involved a white offender.

Newer versions of the National Crime Victimization Survey don’t include supplementary data on sexual assault by victim race and offender. But Gaski’s assertion that “interracial rape” overwhelmingly involves Black offenders and white victims—again, the point that the Buffalo suspect cited—is apparently based on earlier versions of the survey: in some years, the percentage of sexual assaults with Black victims and white offenders is listed as zero. But this ignores that offender race is unavailable or unlisted in the survey in many rape cases (in 25 percent of cases with Black victims in 2008, for instance), that rape as a crime is significantly underreported and that—like violent crime broadly—the clear majority of listed incidents involve victims and offenders of the same race.

There are other missing contexts, including major methodological criticisms about how the survey attempts to paint a big picture of crime from a relatively small sample of respondents (sociologist Philip Cohen has written about that, and the racist deployment of the rape statistic, here). But perhaps the most significant issue is that both the 2013 and 2021 articles perpetuate stereotypes about race and violence, including minacious stereotypes about Black men and sexual violence.

Dennis Brown, university spokesperson, said Thursday that Notre Dame wasn't previously aware of the 2021 article, "to my knowledge." Separately, The South Bend Tribune reported this week that following the Buffalo shooting, Notre Dame removed from its website an older announcement about Gaski and his parents pledging much of their respective estates to the university, to endow a professorship in marketing science in their names.

In 2008, the announcement said, Gaski formalized an agreement to become “Notre Dame’s first faculty member to, in effect, provide for his own successors in perpetuity.” The chair—designed to “immortalize John and his parents”— was estimated to “be worth well over $4 million when it is realized.”

“A chair has high visibility,” Gaski is quoted as saying. “It is prominent within the university and within the profession. That’s not too much for a guy to ask in eternity!”

Brown said that some news coverage of Gaski following the shooting suggested that he'd been "honored" with an endowed professorship, when he'd instead "made an estate gift to fund an endowed chair upon his passing. We took down the page to avoid further confusion."

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