“What About Black On Black Crime” Is The Siren Call Of The Uninformed
In any discussion of injustice or oppression faced by black people in America, inevitably black on black crime is brought up. The question is, “what about it?”
Due process means that laws must be applied fairly and equally to all people, especially to a citizen accused of a crime. The Constitution uses the phrase in the 5th and 14th Amendments, declaring that the government shall not deprive anyone of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”
We can see the problems this presents to those who want to deny the issue. Due process is supposed to apply fairly and equally to all people. We know it does not. While almost twice as many white Americans were killed on duty than blacks, black people are 2.5 times more likely to be shot by police when adjusting for population. When unarmed, black Americans were five times more likely to be fatally shot by police than whites. This is in light of the fact that 70% of police shooters are white people.
Black on black crime has nothing to do with white South Carolina shooter Dylan Roof getting some Burger King because he was hungry after his apprehension while 12-year-old Tamir Rice was gunned down onsite for looking threatening. It’s just a distraction
Black on Black Crime
Along with the opportunity to deviate conversation from the historical burdens black people face at the hands of the state, black on black crime also doubles as a way to undermine the message and the spirit of #blacklivesmatter. Similar to the reality of #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter, it’s a canard that is easily seen through with a dash of intellectual curiosity and a pinch of cursory research.
When a black person commits a violent crime, they’re generally arrested, tried and convicted. It’s tough to get an indictment against a police officer for excessive force let alone for a violent crime or murder they may have committed in the line of duty. Police shot and killed roughly 1000 people last year, yet only 18 officers faced charges for shootings. Black lives matter isn’t just about the loss of life, which everyone agrees is bad, but also about the lack of consequences when black lives are taken by the state.
The idea that black people don’t care about black on black crime is nonsense as black people have initiated many anti-violence initiatives in their own communities. Still, the issue is two-fold involving both poverty and gun violence.
Josh Hafner points out how poor white Americans experience violent crimes at rates virtually equal to that of poor black Americans, as Massie pointed out in a 2014 Department of Justice study. Black and white Americans kill members of their own races at similar rates, too.
According to 2014 FBI data, 90% of African-American homicides were committed by African Americans. Similarly, 82% of white American homicides were committed by white Americans—what we might, but don’t, call “white-on-white” crime.
The difference: More than one in four black Americans live in areas of extreme poverty, according to a 2015 Century Foundation study. Only one in 13 whites live in such areas. Why do so many more blacks live in poverty than whites? 250 years of slavery and 100 years of apartheid can’t be overcome by 40 years of “freedom.” Black on black crime is the lazy person’s way of saying, “I don’t know enough or would rather not talk about these issues.” It’s definitely not the call of someone engaged or informed on the history of law enforcement and black people in America.