“Black On Black Crime”: Conservative Ethnocentrism

AngryRecently I penned an article discussing the Bizarro World the conservative media has created where racism no longer exists in the US except in the case of black racism against whites. This was based on the conservative media response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman regarding the murder of Trayvon Martin. I started this post by stating “If there’s one thing conservatives hate, it’s when they are called out for being racist” and boy did the commenter’s prove me right.

The tone was varied but the vitriol was obvious. My personal favorites were the suggestion that I “become an expat” and another calling me a “lying sack of (expletive)”. While these are both eloquently stated solid arguments, they leave little in the way of substantive conversation. Having said that there were two points that did merit further discussion – Cherry picking data and “black on black crime”.

First it should be noted that contrary to the conservative media spin on this case the national interest resulted from a young man being murdered and no one being charged for his death even though the murderer was still on the scene and admitted to pulling the trigger. If Trayvon Martin were your son or daughter wouldn’t you want someone to be arrested for their death? Wouldn’t you want a trial to determine if a jury believed the “stand your ground” defense holds up in court?

The attention for this case was not based on a “white” guy killing a “black” kid as many would have you believe. It was a commentary on the failure of the justice system and in particular how African Americans are often on the receiving end of these injustices.

Still some commenters took issue with my statistics. While true, they felt my application was insincere because I didn’t present additional information – as though the conservative media they parrot is known for their thorough analysis of data.

For example in response to this case Ann Coulter stated “half of all murders and a majority of robberies are committed by blacks” and then goes on to talk about how George Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin because of burglaries in the area. By using the statistics for Murders and Robberies Ann is attempting to paint African Americans as inherently criminal because if she used the statistics regarding burglaries she would have had to state that whites not blacks commit the vast majority of burglaries.

But rather than question her manipulation of data the conservative media runs with the story and we get a new conservative talking point – “black on black crime”.

Bill O’Reilly for example stated that 91% of homicides against African Americans were committed by other African Americans. He went on to say this number was “astronomical” and compared these killings to a “Holocaust”. Of course it should also be noted that 85% of homicides against whites were committed by other whites. Odd that 91% is tantamount to genocide yet 85% isn’t worth talking about.

The reality is the “black on black crime” is just a way for some people to justify their racism. If preventing murders had a singular universally accepted solution then murder rates would be a relevant stat. Unfortunately the murder rate is the result of a litany of circumstances which means improvements in this statistic will require an array of changes. For instance;

- According to a study by the Ohio State University “The violent crime rate in highly disadvantaged Black areas was 22 per 1,000 residents, not much different from the 20 per 1,000 rate in similar white communities.”

- Blacks are the victims of nonfatal violent crime at nearly the same rate as whites.

- African Americans represent half of those falsely convicted of a crime.

- Blacks were more likely to report a non fatal violent crime to police than whites.

- Large cities experience twice as much crime as rural areas52% of the black population resides in inner cities as opposed to 21% of whites.

- Higher income inequality leads to more crimewhites have 22 times more wealth than black.

- According to a study by Cal Berkley, “schooling significantly reduces criminal activity.”blacks are 2.2 times more likely to drop out of high school.

- The Heritage Foundation reports that higher instances of single parent homes lead to higher juvenile crime ratesblacks are 2.7 times more likely to be brought up in a single parent household.

So while conservatives sit around and whine that black leaders aren’t addressing the “black on black crime” issue the reality is that black leaders have been pounding the pavement for years talking to anyone who will listen about improving the circumstances for the African American community which would ameliorate the crime statistics conservatives claim black leaders are ignoring.

If conservative America truly wants to put claims of racism in the rear view mirror they have to stop having conversations that begin with “I’m not racist, but blacks are criminals” and start considering the plight of African Americans even when whites aren’t involved.

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