What’s with all the fuss over black-on-black crime?
People on the right only bring it up when an unarmed black man is shot by the police while the left tries to avoid the subject altogether. However, it is still a problem.
In a piece for The Root entitled, “Why We Never Talk About Black-on-Black Crime: An Answer to White America’s Most Pressing Question,” author Michael Harriot provides some insight into why blacks don’t talk about the issue. He gives several different reasons why blacks seem to avoid the problem.
Black On Black Crime Is “Not A Thing?”
The first argument the author makes is that black-on-black crime is “not a thing.” He trots out one of the left’s favorite arguments that they use to downplay black-on-black crime. He cites the FBI’s crime-reporting data for 2016 which shows that while 90.1% of black victims of homicide were killed by other blacks, 83.5% of white victims were killed by other whites.
People of every race are more likely to be murdered by those who look like them. According to the left, this shows that black on black crime is not more of an issue than white on white crime. But he’s not telling the whole story.
That same report shows that blacks committed 52.2% of the total homicides in 2016 while whites committed 45.3%. The US Census Bureau shows that blacks made up 13.3% of the United States’ population while whites represented 76.9%.
This means that 13.3% of the population committed over half of the homicides in the entire country last year. The facts show that Harriot is wrong: black-on-black crime is a thing.
It Isn’t Related To The Topic At Hand
Another point Harriot makes is that the issue of black-on-black crime has nothing to do with discussions about police brutality. This is where I agree with the author. He writes:
“Imagine the head of Homeland Security walking up to the microphone to hold a press conference after a horrific terrorist attack, but when reporters start asking him about stopping terrorism and catching the culprits, he begins talking about texting and driving.”
Bringing up black-on-black crime as a response to an incident involving police brutality is not useful — or appropriate. While black-on-black crime is a serious issue, it does not detract from the importance of the problem of police brutality — regardless of which side of the argument you’re on.
This issue is not clear-cut. Studies show that whites are more likely to be shot by police while blacks are more likely to be victims of unarmed shootings. But we don’t yet understand how race figures into this.
Further studies are needed to understand the impact of race on incidents of police brutality, but the point still stands. In these situations, it doesn’t make sense to launch into a tirade against black-on-black crime. There are plenty of other times for that discussion.
Black People DO Talk About Black On Black Crime
In his piece, the author states that black people DO talk about black-on-black crime. He’s right — it’s a frequent topic in our conversations.
There are far more “Stop the Violence” and Unity Rallies than demonstrations against police brutality. Plenty of organizations seek to reduce violence by providing mentorship and education. So why doesn’t the rest of America know about this? Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “establishment media.”
The media rarely covers the efforts of black Americans to decrease violence in their cities. As Harriot points out, these efforts “don’t make the evening news because they aren’t as salacious as people blocking traffic and protesting; nor do they serve the preconceived white confirmation bias.”
Harriot is partly right, but he misunderstands the media’s real motivation. The left-wing news media will not cover these stories because they contradict their victimhood narrative. Black Lives Matter’s protests keep racism at the center of the conversation. It is part of their effort to convince us that we are helpless victims of white supremacy — it is how the Democratic Party has won our votes for decades.
This brings us to Harriot’s final point.
White Supremacy Causes Black-On-Black Crime
When Harriot finally decides to discuss the issue of black-on-black crime, he explores the relationship between poverty and violent behavior. He writes,
Both sociologists and criminologists agree that violent crime is a complex socio-economic phenomenon. Generally speaking, research shows that poor people commit the most crime.”
Predictably, Harriot blames white people for the plight of poor blacks. He argues that redlining, underfunded schools, and “unemployment disparities” are the cause of poverty in the black community. “All of these factors contribute to crime rates.” He writes. “So if you want to have a conversation about black-on-black crime, you should be careful, because, like most conversations about race, it will end up back in the same place: White supremacy.”
For the sake of argument, let’s say he’s right about redlining and underfunded schools. Even in this case, he is still leaving out other relevant factors.
In 2011, it was revealed that 72% of black kids were raised by a single parent. Additionally, The Heritage Foundation found that marriage reduced the likelihood of a child living in poverty by 82%. Individuals who are raised in broken families are also more likely to commit crimes — both violent and nonviolent. The breakdown of the family is the result of decisions made by the individuals involved — they cannot be blamed on white supremacy.
If poverty is the primary cause of violence in the black community, it would be helpful to look at the poorest cities in the United States where black people reside. According to USA Today, the ten worst U.S. cities in which to live are:
- Wilmington, DE
- Merced, CA
- Hartford, CT
- Albany, GA
- Milwaukee, WI
- Memphis, TN
- Louis, MO
- Flint, MI
- Birmingham, AL
- Detroit, MI
These cities have the highest poverty and crime rates in the nation. Milwaukee, WI is the only one of these cities that is not run by Democrats. According to the U.S. Census Bureau— With the exception of Merced, CA — black people make up at least 38% of the population in these cities. The areas with the highest percentage of black Americans are Flint (56.6%), Detroit (82.7%), Memphis (63.3%), and Birmingham (73.4%). These places have some of the highest poverty rates in the country.
So it appears whites are contributing to the problem after all, but not in the way Harriot thinks. Both white and black Democratic officials implement policies that are making it harder for us to get out of poverty. However, they aren’t motivated by racism — they are driven by a flawed ideology. Perhaps we should call them “accidental white supremacists?”
The truth is that black Americans are responsible for our successes and failures. Black-on-black crime is a serious issue that should be discussed and addressed. It would be easy to blame the Democrats, but the reality is that we keep voting for their failed policies out of some misguided sense of loyalty.
If we want to move forward, we need to address the issues that are truly causing damage to our community. Violence, lack of education, and the breakdown of our families are killing us — and it’s up to us to fix it.