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The Trayvon Martin Killing and the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime

 
 
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 06:47 am
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 offenders.

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.



Shapiro, 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.”

The 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.

Nor 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.
Crime is driven by proximity and opportunity, writes Jamelle Bouie—which is why 86 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders.

George Zimmerman’s attorney said his client ‘would have never been charged’ if he were black.

Overall, 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.

“Black-on-black 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.
ACLU: Marijuana arrests are racially biased



Indeed, 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.
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 07:03 am

Exposing the Myth of Black-on-Black Crime


The only reason conservatives and others focus on black-on-black crime as an issue separate from white-on-white crime is to defend widespread suspicion of black males, especially those who are young, Jamelle Bouie writes at the American Prospect.

By: Jamelle Bouie
Posted: July 21 2013 4:45 PM

Jamelle Bouie writes at the American Prospect that the only reason conservatives and others focus on black-on-black crime as an issue separate from white-on-white crime is to defend widespread suspicion of black males, especially those who are young.

In writing about the myth of "black-on-black crime" this week, I've gotten a huge number of responses, from both sides. The disagreement, in particular, has taken the form of incredulousness. For example, here's Rod Dreher of The American Conservative, who says that the Zimmerman verdict has caused me to "lose my mind":

"Jamelle Bouie today wrote a Daily Beast post tied to the Trayvon Martin situation, claiming that the fact that nearly all black murder victims in America are killed by blacks just goes to show that there is no such thing as black-on-black crime, and that the concept is ginned up by white people to justify their fear of black masculinity and black criminality. Bouie also says that NYC's stop-and-frisk program is racist, and not justified by statistics — this, even though NYPD stats show that 96 percent of all shooting victims are black or Hispanic, and 97 percent of all shooters were black or Hispanic," Dreher writes.

"These statistics are so clear, so consistent, and so overwhelming that it defies rationality to claim that the youth of black males is being stolen by the likes of George Zimmerman. It's being stolen by other young black men," Dreher continued.

No one has said that crime between African Americans isn't a problem. The point is that blackness has nothing to do with it. "Black-on-black crime" is a frame that presupposes black criminality—that there's something inherent to blackness which makes intra-group crime more prevalent and more deadly. But that's nonsense, and all it does is obscure the history that brought us to this point. After a century of anti-black violence and public policy—of manufactured ghettos, forced hyper-segregation, and state-supported peonage—is economic perilousness and heightened violence among the victims and descendants of those people really a shock? And if it isn't, then why would talk about crime in these communities as a factor of blackness, and not of history and circumstance?

Read Jamelle Bouie's entire piece at the American Prospect.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 07:04 am

The Myth of the Black-on-Black Crime Epidemic
Posted by Michael Jackson on July 29, 2013

It’s great to see people (like those here, here, and here), many of whom advocate cuts to institutions and policies proven to curb crime like community groups, education, and job training, finally noticing that crime in Black communities is a problem that should be addressed. However, they are 20 years late. While they slept, African-American community leaders, parents, churches, and activists having already noticed the problem have been tirelessly working to make the communities they love safer. Jamelle Bouie recently wrote poignantly how Black-on-Black crime is being falsely framed as a distinctly African American pathology rather than a component of poverty, opportunity, & proximity. If America is to have this much touted ‘conversation’ on race, it is important the dialogue itself adhere to the guiding principal of being rooted in facts.

INCIDENTS OF VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMIZATION PER 1,000 INDIVIDUALS AGE 12 AND OLDER

For many years, countless poor African Americans across the country tried to draw attention to high crime rates, guns, gang activity, and drug abuse that pervaded their neighborhoods. The Black urban poor, through community institutions, churches, and individual efforts were most often met with neglect, divestment of private and public resources, and outright disdain. I witnessed firsthand, growing up in Camden, New Jersey in the 1980’s, how the surrounding suburbs, state, and federal governments ignored Black victims of crime and dismissed whole urban areas as havens of pathologically violent criminals. Residents suffered as the ‘War on Poverty’ became the ‘War on Drugs’ and incarceration rates skyrocketed while social services, education, and urban infrastructure funds were slashed.

It is within this context that I’ve marveled and cringed at recent dialogue about crime, discrimination, and inequality in the criminal justice system. From conservatives opining President Obama acted too ‘black’ by speaking of his experiences to progressives arguing he was not being ‘black’ enough by having insufficiently explicit rhetoric and policies targeting the problems of African Americans. The most amusingly bewildering aspect of this rhetoric is how assertions of racial inequalities in the American criminal justice system have immediately are rebutted by pointing to the ‘genocide’ of Black-on-Black urban crime. This focus, from many of the same political quarters who ignored the problem at its peak, belies the facts of both the causes and trends of Black-on-Black crimes.

Black on Black Crime Facts

Black-on-Black homicides have decreased by 67% in 20 years, a sharper rate of decrease than white on white homicide.
According to FBI statistics 7361 Blacks were killed by fellow African-Americans in 1991. In 2011, it dropped dramatically to 2447 African-Americans.
Among Black youth, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are the lowest in more than 40 years.

Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System Facts

African Americans were two times as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.
In the federal system Black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crime.
Five times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of Whites.
African American juvenile youth are about 16% of the youth population, 37% of their cases are moved to criminal court & 58% of convicted African American youth are sent to adult prisons.
Controlling for other factors, including severity of the offense and prior criminal history, white men aged 18-29 were 38% less likely to be sentenced to prison than their Black male peers.
African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated.
African American defendants are 21% more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than Whites and are 20% more like to be sentenced to prison.

While it is essential that we address the high levels of violence and incarceration in America compared to other industrialized countries, we cannot accurately do so by perpetuating the myth of a uniquely African American pathology toward violence and crime. Instead of denying the downward trends in crime in the Black community, we must applaud it and reward it with a serious examination of racial inequality in the American criminal justice system. Although, I am not sure whether our new found defenders of the Black community would agree.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 07:06 am
The Myth of the Black-on-Black Crime Epidemic
Posted by Michael Jackson on July 29, 2013

It’s great to see people (like those here, here, and here), many of whom advocate cuts to institutions and policies proven to curb crime like community groups, education, and job training, finally noticing that crime in Black communities is a problem that should be addressed. However, they are 20 years late. While they slept, African-American community leaders, parents, churches, and activists having already noticed the problem have been tirelessly working to make the communities they love safer. Jamelle Bouie recently wrote poignantly how Black-on-Black crime is being falsely framed as a distinctly African American pathology rather than a component of poverty, opportunity, & proximity. If America is to have this much touted ‘conversation’ on race, it is important the dialogue itself adhere to the guiding principal of being rooted in facts.

INCIDENTS OF VIOLENT CRIME VICTIMIZATION PER 1,000 INDIVIDUALS AGE 12 AND OLDER

For many years, countless poor African Americans across the country tried to draw attention to high crime rates, guns, gang activity, and drug abuse that pervaded their neighborhoods. The Black urban poor, through community institutions, churches, and individual efforts were most often met with neglect, divestment of private and public resources, and outright disdain. I witnessed firsthand, growing up in Camden, New Jersey in the 1980’s, how the surrounding suburbs, state, and federal governments ignored Black victims of crime and dismissed whole urban areas as havens of pathologically violent criminals. Residents suffered as the ‘War on Poverty’ became the ‘War on Drugs’ and incarceration rates skyrocketed while social services, education, and urban infrastructure funds were slashed.

It is within this context that I’ve marveled and cringed at recent dialogue about crime, discrimination, and inequality in the criminal justice system. From conservatives opining President Obama acted too ‘black’ by speaking of his experiences to progressives arguing he was not being ‘black’ enough by having insufficiently explicit rhetoric and policies targeting the problems of African Americans. The most amusingly bewildering aspect of this rhetoric is how assertions of racial inequalities in the American criminal justice system have immediately are rebutted by pointing to the ‘genocide’ of Black-on-Black urban crime. This focus, from many of the same political quarters who ignored the problem at its peak, belies the facts of both the causes and trends of Black-on-Black crimes.

http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/833/the-rate-of-violent-crime-victimization-has-declined

Black on Black Crime Facts

Black-on-Black homicides have decreased by 67% in 20 years, a sharper rate of decrease than white on white homicide.
According to FBI statistics 7361 Blacks were killed by fellow African-Americans in 1991. In 2011, it dropped dramatically to 2447 African-Americans.
Among Black youth, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are the lowest in more than 40 years.

Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System Facts

African Americans were two times as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.
In the federal system Black offenders receive sentences that are 10% longer than white offenders for the same crime.
Five times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of Whites.
African American juvenile youth are about 16% of the youth population, 37% of their cases are moved to criminal court & 58% of convicted African American youth are sent to adult prisons.

Controlling for other factors, including severity of the offense and prior criminal history, white men aged 18-29 were 38% less likely to be sentenced to prison than their Black male peers.
African American women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated.
African American defendants are 21% more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than Whites and are 20% more like to be sentenced to prison.

While it is essential that we address the high levels of violence and incarceration in America compared to other industrialized countries, we cannot accurately do so by perpetuating the myth of a uniquely African American pathology toward violence and crime. Instead of denying the downward trends in crime in the Black community, we must applaud it and reward it with a serious examination of racial inequality in the American criminal justice system. Although, I am not sure whether our new found defenders of the Black community would agree.

http://www.demos.org/blog/7/29/13/myth-black-black-crime-epidemic
0 Replies
 
coldjoint
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 09:50 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Quote:
Myth of Black-on-Black Crime


Like the "Hands up. Don't shoot" myth? Oops that wasn't a myth, it was a lie. You like those better, don't you?
MontereyJack
 
  5  
Reply Wed 23 Sep, 2015 11:30 pm
@coldjoint,
Reading comprehension problems again, joint?
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2015 05:56 am
@MontereyJack,
Only when it says what he doesn't want to read or what he wants us to read.
0 Replies
 
coldjoint
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2015 11:06 am
@MontereyJack,
Quote:
Reading comprehension problems again, joint?


No. How is your comprehension? Is BLM based on a lie or not? And is calling for killing cops using good judgement? Or just hateful rhetoric? Dead cops say it is hate and not rhetoric.

The progressive habit of rewarding bad behavior has backfired, and you know it. 71% of this country says things suck. You are in the minority, but you relish victimhood, right?
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  0  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2015 11:43 am
Black on black murder became an issue when the media and the left tried to make it sound like the leading cause of death in black society was due to either police officers, specifically white police officers and white people killing blacks. The reason white on white murder isn't an issue is because white people aren't looking to blame others for their death rate, while groups like BLM and people such as yourself are looking to blame the black murder rate on everyone but where it should be, on the blacks who kill their fellow blacks.
bobsal u1553115
 
  3  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2015 01:20 pm
@Baldimo,
Black on Black crime became a "concern" when teabillies needed to divert attention from cop on everybody else violence.

A closed population of 120,000 local cops nationwide is out killing per capita any other group in the US. Much, much more than blacks killing blacks.

And 'black on black violence' being so out of hand is all a freaking lie. BLM is a legitimate and rational NONVIOLENT reaction to the violence laid on Black communities nationally, whine about Chicago all you want.

Don't you ever feel any shame at all about the lies you spread? Name ONE dead cop because of BLM.
Baldimo
 
  0  
Reply Thu 24 Sep, 2015 01:52 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
Quote:
Black on Black crime became a "concern" when teabillies needed to divert attention from cop on everybody else violence.

If that is the case, then why the BLM? If cops are harming everyone, then why just BLM? The false impression that blacks are being killed by the truck loads by non-blacks just isn't the case. Like it was pointed out, people are killed by their own ethnic group more often than they are by others. That is indeed a fact. Trying to state anything else is propaganda.

Quote:
A closed population of 120,000 local cops nationwide is out killing per capita any other group in the US. Much, much more than blacks killing blacks.


Do you have any facts to back up your claim?

Don't you think you are missing a few LEO? There are closer to 700,000 LEO across the US.

Quote:
And 'black on black violence' being so out of hand is all a freaking lie. BLM is a legitimate and rational NONVIOLENT reaction to the violence laid on Black communities nationally, whine about Chicago all you want.


Do you deny that the black on black murder rate is lower than the mid 90th percentile? White on white murder is around the mid 80's.

Quote:
Don't you ever feel any shame at all about the lies you spread?

So far you haven't proven anything. You typed a bunch words and have claimed some sort of victory. What did I happen to lie about?

Quote:
Name ONE dead cop because of BLM.

How many cops have been killed in cold blood since the whole BLM movement started? Next thing you are going to say is that no black people ever attacked a white person and claimed they were getting even for Mike Brown...
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