Published by The Root
Written by Michael Harriot
You’ve heard it before. It is the most frequent response to any accusation of police brutality. It is the repeated sleight of hand used to distract and drown out the voices of Black Lives Matter. It is an oft-used “alt-right” refrain and a sincere query from curious white questioners. It is the weapon of choice for the black practitioners of respectability politics and the favorite follow-up for people who frame their arguments with the preamble, “Not all white people … ”
Why don’t black people ever talk about black-on-black crime? Instead of rejecting the entire notion as a method of deflection and privilege, we will attempt to formally dismiss the conversation forever by laying out the facts about why white America never hears us talk about black-on-black crime.
It’s not a thing.
According to the FBI’s uniform crime-reporting data for 2016, 90.1 percent of black victims of homicide were killed by other blacks, while 83.5 percent of whites were killed by other whites. While no life is inconsequential, the statistical evidence shows that—just as for blacks when it comes to black-on-black crime—whites are mostly victimized by other whites, with the vast majority of white murders committed by whites. This is because most victims of crime personally know their assailants. And while this is a truth across racial boundaries, no one ever talks about “white-on-white crime.”
Furthermore, the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ arrest data analysis tool shows that less than 1 percent of blacks overall (about 2 percent of black men) commit a violent crime in any given year. This means, factoring in interracial violent offenses, 99 percent of black men do not commit black-on-black crime.
It has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
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.
Sounds stupid, right?
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