The black-on-black crime argument says that blacks in America have no right to complain about white-on-black crime till they do something about black-on-black crime. It is a racist deflection.
Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Chris Wallace and others on the right used the argument in the days after the George Zimmerman verdict. Whitewashed people bring it up whenever crime and race are at issue.
What is wrong with this argument:
- It is a deflection. The people who make it do not truly care about black-on-black crime.
- It creates a false choice: Most who are truly concerned with black-on-black crime were upset about the Zimmerman case too.
- It allows the white press to determine reality, which makes it seem like Zimmerman is an exception while no one is doing anything about black-on-black crime. As it turns out, on average there is a Zimmerman-style shooting (armed security person or vigilante killing an unarmed black person) once every 28 hours. Trayvon Martin is just what made the papers. His case is hardly the worst nor the only one to get protests. Likewise, there is plenty being done about black-on-black crime, like by the Nation of Islam, but the white press is not particularly interested in reporting that either. Even worse, the white press turns a blind eye to the bad policing that leads to a high black crime rate. Yet, somehow, it always seems to find time to show black male suspects on the 11 o’clock news.
- Crime is mostly intra-racial. That means there will always be way more black-on-black crime than white-on-black crime. While it is true that 94% of black murders are black-on-black, it is just as true that 86% of white murders are white-on-white. In fact, most crime in America is white-on-white – yet for every web page that mentions “white-on-white crime”, there are 25 that mention “black-on-black crime”.
- It makes the worth of black life conditional. Conditional on good behaviour, like low crime rates. Once blacks get black-on-black crime under control, then they can act as if their lives matter, then they can act as if they should have justice, then they can act as if they are human beings with human rights. Meanwhile the worth of white life is taken seriously, as absolute, as not being conditional. Compare Nicole Simpson to Trayvon Martin:
- No one belittled the killing of Nicole Simpson by quoting white crime statistics, saying “white people kill each other all the time, what’s the big deal?”
- No one deflected by talking about white parenting or violence in white films.
- No one made Nicole Simpson posters for target practice.
- No one pretended to be a dead Nicole Simpson for laughs.
- No one questioned Nicole Simpson’s character – or her choice in clothing.
In the case of Trayvon Martin, the argument misses the point that the crying injustice was not that he was killed by someone not black, but that the police, and now the courts, let his killer get away with it, due in part to the racism of a white justice system.
- selective outrage
- reading while white: crime statistics
- The black brute stereotype
- Tragedy of 9/11
- What if blacks talked about black-on-white murder the way whites talk about slavery or Trayvon?
- George Zimmerman is found not guilty
- Kenneth Chamberlain – a worse injustice than Trayvon Martin
- also got protests: