Why is it so wrong to talk about black-on-black crime? What is it about this subject that upsets so many on the left? Sure, we love to talk about unjustified police shootings of black men – it is always a hot news topic in the media. However, these types of incidents are not the real threat most black Americans face.
Recently, R&B legend Stevie Wonder spoke at a North Minneapolis peace summit. The focus of the summit was reducing youth gun violence. While he has spoken in favor of Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the past, he sang a tune different this time. He said:
It is in your hands to stop all the killing and all the shooting wherever it might be. Because you cannot say “Black Lives Matter” and then kill yourselves.
The singer addressed an increasingly important issue that many on the left do not like to discuss. Black people are responsible for the murders of most black homicide victims.
Activist groups like BLM focus most of their energy on addressing police shootings of unarmed victims – and rightly so. While the majority of police officers do not abuse their power, many have unjustly taken lives without experiencing negative consequences. The Philando Castile shooting is a prime example of this horrific reality. However, by focusing only on lives taken by the police, BLM is missing the point.
The reality is that black Americans are more likely to be murdered by members of their community. Additionally, we make up a disproportionately higher number U.S. homicide victims. This is a more pressing issue than unjust police shootings.
However, the left does not seem to see it this way. They support BLM’s decision to ignore victims of black-on-black homicide. The primary argument they use against the idea of discussing the problem is the fact that whites kill more whites than any other race.
The Washington Post put forth this argument when Rudy Giuliani correctly stated that 93% of black homicide victims were murdered by other blacks. They wrote:
As our colleague Philip Bump at The Fix noted, Giuliani omitted the comparable statistic in the report for white homicide victims: 84 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders.
Try not to be too shocked, but The Washington Post is right. The majority of white homicide victims are killed by white offenders. However, the supporters of this argument are not telling the whole story. To understand the problem, we need more context.
According to the F.B.I., there were 7,039 black homicide victims in 2015. This accounts for 52% of total murders in that year. Also, in 2015, there were 5,854 white murder victims which account 44% of the overall number.
Black Americans make up about 13% of the total U.S. population while white Americans make up roughly 63%. This means that 13% of our population accounted for more than half of the homicides in 2015. These numbers should shock the black community.
The data shows that black Americans account for a disproportionate percentage of the overall murder rate. As a matter of fact, they accounted for more homicide victims than any other racial group in the United States in 2015. Unarmed shootings of blacks by police officers accounted for 102 victims in the same year. However, activist groups like BLM are more concerned about the victims of police shootings than the thousands of people killed by members of their own race.
So, why does the left believe the dramatically higher number of victims of black-on-black homicide is less important than victims of unjust police shootings? Many will state that police are held to a higher standard, as their duty is to protect and serve. They will also cite the fact that most officers are never convicted of a crime when they are clearly guilty. Both of these points are true, and we must push law enforcement to address this issue. However, there is also a sensationalist aspect here. The media tends to cover unjust police shootings more often than most other types of homicides.
The City of Chicago has experienced over three hundred homicides this year – most of the victims are black. This is happening in inner cities all across the United States. If a black American is more likely to be killed by members of his own race, wouldn’t it make more sense to focus on that more immediate threat?
Are unjust police shootings a threat to the black community? Of course. But it is not as dangerous a threat as black-on-black violence. Unfortunately, this reality does not fit into the left’s victimhood narrative. It is more politically advantageous to focus on situations where they can claim that bigotry is victimizing minorities. If they choose to address black-on-black crime, it becomes harder to blame the problem on racism because there is no logical way to argue that these homicides are the result of white supremacy.
BLM and other organizations are missing the point when it comes to black victims of homicide. They fixate exclusively on one type of victim while ignoring others because it is more politically expedient. While they march, protest, and riot, thousands of black Americans die on the streets of cities like Washington D.C. and Chicago. Young men and women are losing friends and family members. If the left were genuinely sincere about helping our community, they would focus on all black lives, not just the ones that generate sensational headlines.