Black Lives Matter?
I’ve heard it in person, online, and in the media. As a black man in America and being from Chicago. I’ve heard it from white, black, and all other races of people. “What about black-on-black crime?”
When a black person is murdered or attacked by racist vigilantes or police officers. Obviously a hate crime. They were killed because they were black and, most times, poor or working class. Commentators will be like, how can black lives matter when black people kill each other all the time. Even the so-called Rap God, Kendrick Lamar, spouted this train of thought that black folks are hypocrites when we criticize racist violence against our community but kill each other in the streets. Listen to “Blacker the Berry” on the critically acclaimed 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly.
It is a vicious myth peddled by self-hating Kneegrows, ignorant people, and anti-black racists. For example, the infamous and disgraced comedian Bill Cosby. He basically sounded like a black-white supremacist during his 2005 Pound Cake speech. Hell, the Obama’s were in attendance the night he gave that infamous speech and clapped at his hateful words. Fox News held Cosby up as one who told the truth about impoverished and working-class black people. So, fuck Bill Cosby; he was the real criminal all along! Racist liberal and conservative white people will spew this myth as well. In fact, they love to say, “look at all the black-on-black crime.” What’s wrong with the black community? Where are all the black fathers? What’s wrong with the black family? What’s wrong with black culture?
It’s not black on black crime, it’s just crime
In reality, so-called ‘black-on-black crime‘ is just fucking crime. But the dangerous and outright racist myth of black-on-black crime persists. The United States is a very still racially segregated country. Especially in the Northern and Western states. In fact, ironically, the school system in the U.S. South is far more racially integrated than in the North. Damn, the former Jim Crow states are more racially integrated than the North. If schools are racially segregated, then those communities will be segregated too. Meaning that violent crime will happen between people of similar racial and economic backgrounds.
My hometown of Chicago is the biggest target when critics discuss black-on-black crime. It’s always sensational media headlines about that city’s rampant gun violence. The nightly news has an endless supply of mugshots of men who share my complexion accused of horrible acts. But when a white man shoots up a school, church, movie theater, concert, office, yoga studio, or mall, the news will show their graduation or wedding photos. The police will even say said the white male shooter must have had a ‘bad day’ to commit such an unspeakable act, like in the case of the Atlanta shooter. I’ve had plenty of shitty days and never decided to go on a murder spree.
Black folks, on the other hand, are not given the same grace. Crime in black communities is pathologized and seen as natural due to the racist myth that black people are more violent. This is racist and wrong. Most violent crimes in this country happen between people of the same race. The data and crime statistics back this up. We never say, what about white-on-white crime when a white person commits a heinous act of violence in a mostly white community.
The black-on-black crime talking point is a way to deflect from police violence against black people and institutionalized racism. It’s to deflect from the failed and racist policies in both Red and Blue states that keep poor black people in a cycle of poverty and desperation. Every week there is a local or national story of a black person not surviving their encounters with law enforcement. The same law enforcement can bring in a mass murderer like Dylan Roof alive and even get him some Burger King on his way to booking. Damn, white privilege is so good that you get fast food delivery from cops even after massacring multiple innocent people. I doubt a black person accused of the same violent crime would get similar treatment. Just saying!
Real Solutions to fight Crime
One of the biggest anti-crime programs in history could occur in the United States. If this nation had a conscience and was not a capitalistic evil empire. That program would be total poverty elimination. Not more police, not more jails, not more mandatory sentences. Not spending most of our tax dollars on the military and defense. Thus raining death and destruction down on developing countries the world over. While at the same time accusing a particular race of its own citizens as being inherently more violent. Seems very hypocritical, in my opinion. We could be using those vast resources we pump into law enforcement and the military to uplift our most needy citizens. Perhaps we’d be better off taking the words of Dr. King more seriously:
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation… I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow… I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed.
-Martin Luther King, Jr., Address in Acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize, December 10, 1964
Affordable housing, universal healthcare, free college and trade schools, and living wages would be a drastic boom for the working and middle class. Also, it would not just benefit black people. It would help all Americans across the board. And since it is black history month, it’s about time we black folks are long overdue for some reparations.
So next time, if some coon or bigot tells’ you, “what about black-on-black crime?” Please kick them in the balls for me. Or at least tell them to fuck off if you’re not trying to catch a case.