Why The "Black-On-Black" Crimes Narrative Cannot Undermine BLM
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why The "Black-On-Black" Crimes Narrative Cannot Undermine BLM

A community does not forfeit fair and just treatment simply because it has crime.

33
Why The "Black-On-Black" Crimes Narrative Cannot Undermine BLM
The Hartford Courant

Last week, the tragic deaths of two Black people at the hands of white police officers brought the issue of disproportionate police brutality against Blacks to a national media spotlight. Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man, was shot multiple times in the back and chest by two police officers when selling CD’s outside of a supermarket. A day later, Philando Castile was shot through his car window even after he lawfully reported his concealed weapon; his girlfriend recorded his final moments on video, calmly and respectfully following Officer Jeronimo Yanez’s orders while her daughter cried in the backseat.

Vigils and rallies, generally organized under the umbrella movement Black Lives Matter, were held in cities across the U.S. in memory of black victims of police brutality. While some people have been sympathetic toward the cause of eradicating police brutality towards black people, others are more skeptical; one of the most prominent objections to the BLM movement, as some critics express, is that it fails to address black-on-black crime. Such sentiments date back to a few years ago - “Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black,” wrote conservative commentator Juan Williams after Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012, “And the overwhelming majority of those Black people are killed by other Black people. Where is the march for them?” After Ferguson, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN that perhaps President Obama should focus on “also should have spent 15 minutes on training the [Black] community to stop killing each other.” () Today, they are still being perpetuated by commentators and critics when addressing the Black Lives Matter movement.

1. Crime is largely intraracial for all racial groups in the United States

For a start, it shouldn’t come off as particularly surprising that across all racial groups, in the vast majority of cases, criminals and victims belong to the same race; in other words, crime is largely intraracial for all racial groups in the United States. Critics of the BLM movement like to cite that Black-on-Black murders are responsible for 93% of all Black victims of murder – but they fail to acknowledge that white-on-white murders account for 84% of all white victims of murder – also a vast majority. Since people in general tend to live and work within racially-segregated communities and associate with members of the same race, it shouldn’t be surprising that the crime is largely intraracial, and that black victims of murder are most likely murdered by other black people, just like statistics of every other racial group.

The very construct of “Black-on-Black” crimes is also fairly problematic, especially since it is being utilized to ascribe violent criminality to blackness, rather than the particular socioeconomic and cultural conditions some blacks face today. In fact, Black youths aren’t even committing that many crimes, and while proportionately more Black kids are being referred to law enforcement or arrested than their white peers, they are also judged more harshly and punished more severely compared to white children.

2. Combating Black-on-Black crimes and BLM are not mutually exclusive

Just because BLM is stressing the importance of protecting black people, does not mean it doesn’t care about the lives of everyone else; instead, it advocates for equality amidst a status of quo of racial prejudice. Similarly, just because BLM is focused on targeting police brutality against Black people, does not mean other crimes committed against Black people – often perpetrated by other Black people – are not significant. In other words, BLM addresses, very specifically, the problematic treatment of Black people by police officers, amidst a multitude of serious issues that Black communities face today.

The existence of Black-on-Black crimes does not refute the existence of institutionalized racism in the American police force. Statistically, Blacks are disproportionately killed by law enforcement personnel – in many circumstances, doing perfectly harmless things, such as selling CD’s, wearing a hoodie in the rain, or declaring their concealed weapon. Denying the existence of the excessive criminalization of Blackness by the American police is simply speaking against factual evidence, while dictating for Black communities what their activism should center on demonstrates a patronizing irresponsibility.

3. African Americans have been combating Black-on-Black crimes for decades

Contrary to what Williams and Giuliani may believe, Black communities have been actively protesting Black-on-Black crimes for a long time. In Chicago – a city with a significant African American community and relatively high crime rates, grassroots efforts have sprung from locals – especially Black women – to prevent Black people from committing crimes in the neighborhood. For example, Tamar Manasseh formed Mother Against Senseless Killings to patrol the neighborhood after a murder in South Stewart, and for the next five weeks no shots were fired in that block thanks to her patrol. Every week, Lunden Gregory and other Woodlawn residents protest the excessive use of guns and weapons in her neighborhood, and the historically Black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha “reclaimed” Weiss park from notorious gangs … and these are just Chicago alone. Such grassroot activism is abundant in Black communities, yet rarely appears in media.

Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to Williams’ claim that Black people don’t care about Black-on-Black crime by presenting a long list of demonstrations against Black-on-Black violence organized by the African American community. Congressmen, police officers, activists and ordinary residents gathered across the country to protest. It is patronizing and baseless to claim that Black people are not paying attention to Black-on-Black crimes, or that the Black Lives Matter movement is somehow an indicator that black people are “playing the race card”. Rather, there has been continuous strife within the Black community to dispel Black-on-Black violence.

4. Black-on-Black crimes can be traced to many of the social issues that BLM is now fighting

As mentioned before, there are huge issues implicit within the “Black-on-Black” crime narrative – the use of this narrative to undermine the Black Lives Matter movement for justice is an manifestation of how our societal perceptions of Blackness is still centered on Black criminality. Instead, few manage to articulate numerous underlying socioeconomic issues pertaining to a high crime rate within the Black community – cycles of poverty, inadequate educational resources, racism and discrimination in the workplace, incarceration and – yes – police brutality, all of which have clearly done more harm than good. To a large extent, Black Lives Matter, through advocating for just treatment of African Americans, is also fighting the racist institutions that have placed African Americans at a disadvantage from the day they were born. By all means, a community does not forfeit fair and just treatment simply because it has crime.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

77086

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Odyssey Template: 25 Questions For My State's Elected Officials

"Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We fought for these ideals, we shouldn't settle for less."

12944

Whether you're interested in how democracy works, how stop signs get installed, or anything in between, this is your opportunity to ask questions. This is your opportunity to show current and future members of your community what, in your opinion, is most important as your town, city, and state are trying to put the best, most effective practices forward.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

30694

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

192013

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Who is ready to fa-la-lall in love with holiday-themed sex toys that will make you jingle all the way? If you're biting your lip and your legs are quivering with excitement, hold on to Santa's sleigh reins because there are so many ways to celebrate the season.

Festive sex toys are here to bring you some holiday cheer. From candy cane flavored everything to bright red bows, there is fun for everyone. Feel free to treat yourself or add these 15 festive sex toys to your wish list.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

115120

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

7 Reasons 'Hubie Halloween' Is A Must-Watch Halloween Film For October Movie Nights

Just knowing it's an Adam Sandler movie, you can assume it's funny but very ridiculous.

1614
Netflix

"Hubie Halloween" was just released on October 7. It follows Hubie Dubois in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween. He patrols the town to make sure people are safe. He's the kindest and caring person in the town and also the most bullied.

This poor man is scared of everything. He screams when he sees scary decorations and when people prank him. Definitely a laugh, but when I watched it, I felt bad for him. The one person that pulled at my heartstrings is Violet Valentine, a woman he had a crush on since high school. She's super nice to him and stands up for him when she can. It was great seeing someone, other than his grandma, on Hubie's side.

Keep Reading... Show less

While this is my first ever presidential election, I have voted before in others, including at least one other "off" year election. I can honestly say that one of the things that made voting for the first time interesting was that I personally don't really identify myself with either party completely.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

7 Ways You Can Volunteer Virtually In The Middle Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

Use that anxious energy from dreading the rest of 2020, and put it towards volunteering

616

Life has shifted from face-to-face to face-to-screen-to-face this past year. There's no need, though, to wait out the pandemic to make a difference from home. Rather than spending the unexpected free time the rest of this year dreading each day, use that same energy towards volunteering from the comfort of your bed or couch or patio.

Here are seven ways you can volunteer safely and virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

5 Hilarious Netflix Specials To Binge If You Need A Laugh In 2020

Netflix specials are single-handedly keeping my spirits high.

502
Netflix

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have re-watched these comedy specials over the course of the last seven months.

What I can tell you is how absolutely great these comedians are. They bring me joy when I am sad, bored, or wanting to tune into something while I work on school or my virtual job.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

"Emily in Paris" is one of the newest Netflix original series and it began streaming on the platform on October 2.

I knew this was going right to the top of my watch list because I have a serious girl crush on Lily Collins, it's from the creator of "Sex and the City", and the plot feeds directly into my "Mamma Mia" fantasy of just hopping on a plane and killing it in a whole new country. Not going to lie, the series has its slightly cringe-y moments, but that honestly makes me love it even more.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10 Songs We All Need To Add To Our Fall Roadtrip Playlist

This songs are guaranteed to make you feel like the main character this fall.

533
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

One of the best feelings is driving with the windows down. Listening to the right song makes that experience even better. If you want to feel like the main character in your own teen movie, listen to these feel-good classic songs right away.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments