State of Black America

Yes, Black People Care about Black-on-Black Crime

Slate's Jamelle Bouie addresses the dangerous thought repeated by many conservatives that Black people don't care about the crime in Black communities

by Slate, December 2, 2014

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State of Black America

Beyond the data, there’s the anecdotal evidence. And in short, it’s easy to find examples of marches and demonstrations against crime. In the last four years, Blacks have held community protests against violence in Chicago; New York; Newark, New Jersey; Pittsburgh; Saginaw, Michigan; and Gary, Indiana. Indeed, there’s a whole catalog of movies, albums, and sermons from a generation of directors, musicians, and religious leaders, each urging peace and order. You may not have noticed Black protests against crime and violence, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened. Black Americans—like everyone else—are concerned with what happens in their communities, and at a certain point, pundits who insist otherwise are either lying or willfully ignorant.

To that point, it’s worth noting the extent to which “what about Black-on-Black crime” is an evasion, an attempt to avoid the fundamental difference between being killed by a citizen and being killed by an agent of law. And it’s not new. “When Ida B. Wells … tried to explain to a wealthy suffragist in Chicago that anti-Black violence in the nation must end,” writes historian Khalil Gibran Muhammad for The Nation, “Mary Plummer replied: Blacks need to “drive the criminals out” of the community. ‘Have you forgotten that 10 percent of all the crimes that were committed in Chicago last year were by colored men [less than 3 percent of the population]?’ ”







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