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African-American’s need to confront Black-on-Black crime

Written By | Jul 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2014  — Over the long Fourth of July weekend, 82 people were shot in Chicago, and 16 of those were fatal. The year before, 55 people were injured in shootings during the Fourth of July holiday, and 11 people were killed.

READ ALSO: Chicago violence claims innocent and guilty in the Wild, Wild Midwest

According to The Chicago Tribune, many of the shootings were on the South Side. The victims were nearly all black or Hispanic men. Nationwide, the Chicago Sun Times reported, black people are much more likely to be killed by gunfire than whites. The Justice Department has reported that in 2010, the rate of firearm homicides for blacks was 14.6 per 100,000 people, and the rate for Hispanics was about 4 per 100,000.By comparison, the rate for whites was 1.9 per 100,000.In most cases, the perpetrators as well as the victims were African-Americans.

Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered; 94 per cent of the time, the murderer is another black person. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims .The 94 per cent figure suggests that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks.

Though blacks are 13 per cent of the national population, they account for more than 50 per cent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities it is 32 times that of whites. Blacks are also disproportionately victimized by violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

Economist Walter Williams points out that, “The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between the years 1882 and 1998, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all the wars since 1980 (8,107) came to 18,425, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home.

READ ALSO: The generational destruction of the Black Family highlighted by Mr. Thug video

Tragically, young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.”
Sadly, black leaders hardly ever discuss the question.

Dr. Williams, who is black, states:

“A much larger issue is how might we interpret the deafening silence about the day-to-day murder in black communities compared with the national uproar over the killing of Trayvon Martin. Such a response by politicians, civil rights organizations, and the mainstream news media could easily be interpreted as blacks killing other blacks is of little concern, but it’s unacceptable for a white to kill a black person.”

In his book “Enough,” commentator Juan Williams, who is black, makes the point:

“Very few leading black voices in the pulpit or on the political stage are focused on having black people take personal responsibility for the exorbitant amount of crime committed by black people against other black people. Today’s black leaders sing like a choir when they raise their voices against police brutality and the increasing number of black people in jail….But any mention of black America’s responsibility for committing the crimes, big and small, that lead so many to prison is barely mumbled if mentioned at all.”

The destructive power of black crime was laid bare in a widely reported comment made by Jesse Jackson in 1993. After his two presidential campaigns, and viewed by many as the unchallenged leader of black America, Jackson, in an unscripted moment, said:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery and then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. “

In Juan Williams’ view, “That quote from Mr. Black America stripped naked the torment in the black community over black-on-black crime. It was a shock that Jackson was so honest and for people outside the black community it was also proof that, even the celebrated Jesse Jackson, lived in fear of being a crime victim at the hands of black people.”

The comedian Bill Cosby, a frequent critic of the breakdown of the black family, the 70 per cent out-of-wedlock birth rate and the absence of fathers in the home, notes that the NAACP’s national headquarters is in Baltimore, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the nation.

Cosby declares:

“I’ve never once heard the NAACP say, ‘Let’s do something about this.’ They never marched or organized, or even criticized the criminals.”

READ ALSO: An evening with Bill Cosby: An American original with wise words for our society

Recently, several black leaders have started to discuss black-on-black crime. When President Obama commented on the Trayvon Martin case, William Fair, president of the Urban League of Greater Miami, said:

“The outrage should be about us killing each other, about black-on-black crime.”

He asked rhetorically:

“Wouldn’t you think to have 41 people shot (in Chicago) between Friday morning and Monday morning would be much more newsworthy and deserve much more outrage?”

Discussing the rallies concerning the Trayvon Martin case organized by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, former NAACP leader Pastor C.L. Bryant said that these rallies suggest there is an epidemic of “white men killing young black men, adding, “The epidemic is truly black-on-black crime. The greatest danger to the lives of young black men is young black men.”

For those in the black community genuinely concerned about the future prospects of its young men and women, focusing upon the black-on-black crime wave that now engulfs our inner cities is an important place to begin. Thus far, however, this has largely been ignored in place of repeated attacks upon “white racism,” which, by any standard has receded dramatically. Such racial demagoguery ill serves the community in whose name it is launched. It is time for a radically different direction.

In an important new book, “Please Stop Helping Us,” Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal, who is black, laments the way black leaders blame “white racism” for almost all problems facing the black community.

READ ALSO: The father of Black History: Dr. Carter Woodson

For example, he points out that it is frequently said that black students do not do well academically because schools use an approach geared to white students while the fact that black students from foreign countries where English is not spoken do better than black English-speaking Americans is completely ignored.

In addition, he notes, Asian students do better than whites in schools supposedly geared to whites. In New York City’s three academically elite public high schools, Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, there are more than twice as many Asian students as white students in all three institutions. So much, says Riley, for the theory that non-whites can’t do well in schools supposedly geared to whites.

On many issues, from black-on-black crime to the disintegration of the black family, Jason Riley shows that most of the problems faced by the black community are internal saying, “Having a black man in the Oval Office. Is less important than having one in the home.”

The July 4 shooting spree in Chicago should focus attention on the serious internal problems that afflict minority communities in our urban areas. If the past is any indication, we will find a variety of ways to blame the problem on someone or something else.

This refusal to confront the real dilemmas we face is an abdication of responsibility on the part of those who present themselves as spokesmen and leaders of those communities. Americans of all races, particularly minorities, pay a high price for this refusal to confront reality.

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Allan C. Brownfeld

Received B.A. from the College of William and Mary, J.D. from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary, and M.A. from the University of Maryland. Served as a member of the faculties of St. Stephen's Episcopal School, Alexandria, Virginia and the University College of the University of Maryland. The recipient of a Wall Street Journal Foundation Award, he has written for such newspapers as The Houston Press, The Washington Evening Star, The Richmond Times Dispatch, and The Cincinnati Enquirer. His column appeared for many years in Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill. His articles have appeared in The Yale Review, The Texas Quarterly, Orbis, Modern Age, The Michigan Quarterly, The Commonweal and The Christian Century. His essays have been reprinted in a number of text books for university courses in Government and Politics. For many years, his column appeared several times a week in papers such as The Washington Times, The Phoenix Gazette and the Orange County Register. He served as a member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, as Assistant to the research director of the House Republican Conference and as a consultant to members of the U.S. Congress and to the Vice President. He is the author of five books and currently serves as Contributing Editor of The St. Croix Review, Associate Editor of The Lincoln Review and editor of Issues.