QuoteReplyTopic: the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime Posted: Jul 18 2013 at 6:52am
The Trayvon Martin Killing and the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime
Crime is driven by proximity and opportunity, writes Jamelle
Bouie—which is why 86 percent of white victims were killed by white
Last week, in Chicago, 16-year-old Darryl Green was found dead
in the yard of an abandoned home. He was killed, relatives reported,
because he refused to join a gang. Unlike most tragedies, however—which
remain local news—this one caught the attention of conservative activist
Ben Shapiro, an editor for Breitbart News. Using the hashtag “#justicefordarryl,” Shaprio tweeted and publicized
the details of Green’s murder. But this wasn’t a call for help and
assistance for Green’s family, rather, it was his response to wide
outrage over Saturday’s decision in the case of George Zimmerman, where a
Florida jury judged him “not guilty” of second-degree murder or
manslaughter in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
echoing many other conservatives, is angry over the perceived
politicization of the Zimmerman trial, and believes that activists have ”injected”
race into the discussion, as if there’s nothing racial already within
the criminal-justice system. Indeed, he echoes many conservatives when
he complains that media attention had everything to do with Zimmerman’s
race. If he were black, the argument goes, no one would care. And so,
Shapiro found the sad story of Darryl Green, and promoted it as an
example of the “black-on-black” crime that, he believes, goes ignored.
Or, as he tweets, “49% of murder victims are black men. 93% of those are
killed by other blacks. Media don’t care. Obama doesn’t care. #JusticeForDarryl.”
idea that “black-on-black” crime is the real story in Martin’s killing
isn’t a novel one. In addition to Shapiro, you’ll hear the argument
from conservative African-American activists like Crystal White, as
well as people outside the media, like Zimmerman defense attorney Mark
O’Mara, who said that his client “never would have been charged with a crime” if he were black.
(It’s worth noting, here, that Zimmerman wasn’t
charged with a crime. At least, not at first. It took six weeks of
protest and pressure for Sanford police to revisit the killing and bring
charges against him. Indeed, in the beginning, Martin’s cause had less
to do with the identity of the shooter and everything to do with the
appalling disinterest of the local police department.)
But there’s a huge problem with attempt to shift the conversation: There’s no such thing as “black-on-black” crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true
for white victims of violent crime—86 percent were killed by white
offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you’ll find that
victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior
relationship to each other.
What Shapiro and others miss about crime, in general, is that it’s driven by opportunism and proximity;
If African-Americans are more likely to be robbed, or injured, or
killed by other African-Americans, it’s because they tend to live in the
same neighborhoods as each other. Residential statistics bear this out (PDF);
blacks are still more likely to live near each other or other minority
groups than they are to whites. And of course, the reverse holds as
well—whites are much more likely to live near other whites than they are
to minorities and African-Americans in particular.
are African-Americans especially criminal. If they were, you would
still see high rates of crime among blacks, even as the nation sees a
historic decline in criminal offenses. Instead, crime rates among
African-Americans, and black youth in particular, have taken a sharp drop.
In Washington, D.C., for example, fewer than 10 percent of black youth
are in a gang, have sold drugs, have carried a gun, or have stolen more
than $100 in goods.
There’s no such thing as ‘black-on-black’ crime.
figures from a variety of institutions—including the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics—show that among black
youth, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are at their lowest rates in 40 years,
as are rates of violent crime and victimization. And while it’s true
that young black men are a disproportionate share of the nation’s murder
victims, it’s hard to disentangle this from the stew of
hyper-segregation (often a result of deliberate policies), entrenched
poverty, and nonexistent economic opportunities that characterizes a
substantial number of black communities. Hence the countless inner-city anti-violence groups
that focus on creating opportunity for young, disadvantaged
African-Americans, through education, mentoring, and community programs.
Blacks care intensely about the violence that happens in their
communities. After all, they have to live with it.
crime” has been part of the American lexicon for decades, but as a
specific phenomenon, it’s no more real than “white-on-white crime.”
Unlike the latter, however, the idea of “black-on-black crime” taps into
specific fears around black masculinity and black criminality—the same
fears that, in Florida, led George Zimmerman to focus his attention on
Trayvon Martin, and in New York, continue to justify Michael Bloomberg’s campaign of police harassment against young black men in New York City.
these fears are the reason that—in predominantly African-American
neighborhoods across the country—police gathered and waited. There might
be riots, observers said, and we have to be prepared. Why? The protests
in support of Martin have been peaceful, and no one has called for
violence or retribution. But that doesn’t matter.
America is afraid of black people, and that’s especially true—it seems—when it thinks they might be angry.
I don't see the BOB crime spokespeople reading anything that has facts in it. This article does nothing to bring attention to them personally or highlight how much smarter they are than the rest of us so they will probably skip it. Why discover the truth when you can speculate and sound like you discovered something.
The crime in our community is and has always been about a concentration of poverty. To me it's hard to disassociate this from race and racism. I get the point of the article though. It's just sort of contradictory in its message.
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