I read an excerpt from The Condemnation of Blackness, Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad.
So what about so-called, “Black-on-Black”crime? Well, it’s nothing new and as you will hear, this paradigm was created over 100 years ago and still works very well in 2016. What about statistics? Take a listen as you’ll see the final score, depends on how you set up the rules.
Below is an email I sent a white relative and brother in Christ after seeing a post of a Black police officer, discussing his family’s hatred for the police and how he basically thinks black people need to be more concerned about, yes…”black-on-black” crime.
I’m sharing because the videos, emails, and conversations keep getting spread by and to black folks and I can no longer let them go unchecked. Personally, I feel that Black folks who spread (e.g. Stephen A. Smith and Ray Lewis at the highest level) this “black on black” paradigm are the “1b” in the killing of black people.
1a.) Physically kills with ammunition that mysteriously makes its way into its community even in areas with the strict gun legislation (e.g. Chicago).
1b.) Psychologically kills with verbal ammunition. They mysteriously do what no other group in America does, view its own people from an outsider’s perspective. They do not care or seem to understand that they are helping to shape the mind of the person in 1a, as they fire on social media and worse, in their homes with their black children.
I have edited some of the email for clarity and to make it less personal. Know that the best part of this story, is that I’ve found a new racial ally that I didn’t even know was so close to me, as we will be discussing Christianity, race, social justice, etc…you all know, everything you already see I love on this blog!
Once again, God amazes me with his providence.
Unfortunately, it looks like I’m going to have to break my “no FB-generated” racial discussions on this one. Since we’re fam, I definitely appreciate your willingness to sit back and may I encourage you to check out some of the references I will site as it’s late & FB space doesn’t afford me the ability to list everything in response. If desired, I’d be more than willing to continue on my blog or even schedule a Skype call for a more detailed explanation. I am unsure of your position on this essay, and since you didn’t give one, allow me to share my observation to persuade you to look further. I would love to work with you…
I am always suspect of any White person posting anything by a person, esp. a Black person, talking about so-called “black-on-black” crime. It absolutely has nothing to do with the cases being debated today and we all know I’d be on the “watch list” had I started spewing facts after 9/11 such as, “what about white-on-white terrorism from Oklahoma City” or the spiking crime rate during the Prohibition era where it is said, “Instead of emptying the prisons as its supporters had hoped it would, Prohibition quickly filled the prisons to capacity. Those convicted of additional crimes with victims (burglaries, robberies, and murders), which were due to Prohibition and the black market, were incarcerated largely in city and county jails and state prisons. According to Towne, “The Sing Sing prison deported no less than sixty prisoners to Auburn in May 1922 because of overcrowding.” Figure 3 shows the tremendous increase in the prison population at Sing Sing in the early years of Prohibition.” (Cato Institute)
In the Prohibition example, it perhaps provides the best insight into the fallacy of “black-on-black” crime. White American’s define what is legal and moral (not God as I can prove historically as well another time). It is interesting, that alcohol became “moral” after seeing the ramifications of enforcement on its own society, and now we are doing the same thing with weed today. As the Washington Post noted, “More than 26,000 stops were made last year for alleged marijuana offenses, for example; 61 percent were of African Americans and only 9 percent were of whites. But surveys show that whites are equally or more likely than blacks to be marijuana users. Police don’t find white potheads because they’re not looking for them.” We’ll get into more reasons why this is important in a moment.
The argument in the shared post neglects to ask the social theory developed by my late best friend, sociologist Robert Mullins. Robert’s theory is based around, “What happened the day before?” So what was going on the day before black people started killing each other? Only two possibilities exist. Either they started by nature or nurture. If nature, as this country taught overtly in the late 1800’s and still does covertly today, how does this reconcile with Romans 3, Romans 5, Ps. 14:2 as a few examples? Did God create a unique gene only expressed with “too much” melanin? Perhaps this is why I’ve seen Jesus as white all my life. But if it is nurture, who nurtured it? Check out the writings of white sociologist Thorsten Sellin (because if I say it, it can’t be believed like the black LEO above). Nearly 100 years ago he said the idea of a “black criminal” was constructed by this country and used to produce racial inequality. More importantly,he concluded, the Black criminal was labeled as someone who represented his whole race, while white criminals were viewed as individual failures. For other white sources, please check out the work of Tim Wise, Jane Elliot, and Andrew Hacker to name a few. Michelle Alexander, Khalil Muhammad are a few scholarly sources of Black folks worth reading as well on the issue.
This officer never seems to ask himself, how did HIS neighborhood get so bad (as I think we both would agree on the “nurture” beginning). First, I certainly know that me “making it out” is due to God’s Providence, not my “hard work” or luck. Had I been born to different parents, not been in some places at the His time or whatever else I had no control over, I could or he could as well, been on the corner or on the other side of the bars. He did not address the generational wealth that got passed down allowing some to move to the suburbs removing the tax base and resources. Similar communities in every state that have so-called “white trash” areas and trailer parks (and also considered “ghetto” ironically) are scorned by fellow whites because of their high crime rates, drug use, etc. yet there is no concept of “white-on-white” crime. We can’t even get universities to acknowledge rampant “male-on-female” rape on campus because it involves the Dominant group and will impact revenue. Remember, I lived in your former community in the mid-2000s, when in the 70s, my parents would never have been allowed to live in that area which still has high property values to this day. We know American’s have viewed homeownership as the primary wealth builder, so what were the ramifications of locking an entire group of people (that built this country for free w/o compensation, see Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton)? Not only that, check out James Loewen’s database and work on Sundown Towns, most of which are in the midwest LIKE CHICAGO, and ask how that impacted the places Black folks lived as they were killed for not getting to “their area”. We were locked out of union jobs, management, and most importantly of all, HOUSING LOANS! My research on cities in the west is matching exactly what was done where you live, and the South. Decades of housing discrimination through gov. programs, that my great grandparents and other relatives contributed towards, locked us out of those “opportunities”. So first, who is willing to reimburse my grandfather for that house he had to buy after fighting in WWII in a “black” neighborhood that he was never able to leave until the day he died, while many White soldiers he fought along with were able to buy homes on the other side of 8-mile that are still high in value? So while “they” didn’t do it, did “they” benefit, and are “they” willing to make that injustice right (like “they” did for the Japanese, Jews and other honorary “white” groups, but I digress.)
Formula: Lack of resources + Sinful nature + violent tools = High Violent Crime
Formula: Competition for resources (e.g. Wall Street) + Sinful nature + non-violent tools = High Crime
Amazing that only one is always used as a “gotcha” on one group, when this basic formula applies across all people groups and economic categories. Only one formula is deemed as more deviant worthy of imprisonment, and has a black face by design [Edit: do you see the latest Nixon “admission” about the creation of the War on Drugs targeting black folks as not credible or do you refuse to believe it? What ever your rationale, please tell below]
Philando Castile “had been pulled over at least 52 times in recent years in and around the Twin Cities and given citations for minor offenses including speeding, driving without a muffler and not wearing a seat belt. He was assessed at least $6,588 in fines and fees, although more than half of the total 86 violations were dismissed, court records show.” As they say with terrorism, he had to be right every time with his movements, while all the other cops had to be wrong only once. Statistically, the more variables (i.e. police contact), the more possibilities for something to go wrong. And wrong for what, his wide nose that looked suspicious (as the police officer said to dispatch), or was it the busted tail light? And judging biblically and as a human, why do we give the benefit of the doubt when someone is caught lying to justify their behavior and when they can legally lie as to why they are even pulling you over? I even tell my children that if you lie to me, I’m suspicious about everything else you’re saying in your defense.
Want to learn more? Research the social creation of black criminality, the works of Sullin, read the Kerner Commission report for starters. But this information is available, but most do not want to know. Why? Because it costs something. It costs them to question what mom and dad taught them (or actually didn’t teach them), the government schools taught them (see why I homeschooled mine?) and even the church. It even costs this officer, as it forces us to deal with “us” in a way we were never taught. I to was sick and in love with Whiteness. Most Black folks have that illness but that’s an internal group discussion, like all groups. The fact that we air our dirty laundry proves how sick we are. But my wife and I are now equally yoked based on belonging to the same Christian family, as we both were made sick by this culture. Thank God he set us free and gave us new minds on these issues. But those new minds aren’t based on “All Lives Matter’ and “I don’t see color”, but on truth and Truth. But it costs something, but the returns of real liberty are so much better.
I’m sure if this officer thought a bit deeper, he knows that if we replaced this current system with a system of justice, his community, family, and friends would stop criticizIng the police and killing one another. He knows that Chicago has very strict gun laws, so that “thug” isn’t bringing weapons in and they darn sure aren’t rolling in drugs from 94 from other global regions without some assistance. He knows how he’s looked at when he walks into the bank and they don’t know him as an officer to get that loan, and he magically gets this high-interest rate despite his good credit score. Most importantly, he knows that all of those black folks that kill other black folks go to jail! They get arrested, they go to jail. Folks of all colors aren’t viewing these as “isolated incidents” that always “have more to it that you didn’t see.” But people are upset about an institutional problem, one involving life and death, and police officers are walking away free for encounters that would land civilians under the jail, and numerous other videos consistently showing those with lighter skin living to see another day.
So let’s address all of that injustice and let this country live up to every constitutional promise it guarantees for its people. I’m sure Black officers, if they are truly honest with themselves, know we weren’t really included in there when it was written were we? They know that the ramifications of a mistake with someone lighter than they are will not be completely based on justice, but the color of the person killed. Which makes me feel sad that someone would look inward instead of outward. Because when they say, “What’s wrong with you black folks”, they are really saying, “What’s wrong with me?”
I must add that from what I’m seen and heard, folks not snitching in the ‘hood is no match for the silence behind the badge.
Best of luck my man, but as I end this, you and I both know that one of us, even though we are both professionals and live in solid middle-class communities, are more likely have police contact tomorrow, or next week. And if I make it, I have sons and daughters that may not…and that’s not something you ever have to think about again when this country moves on to the next “incident”, while my father (still living but who I was with twice as he was pulled over for driving a “nice car” and questioned at 40+ years old and never given a citation or said to be committing an illegal act), and my grandfather died still hoping that one day, their kids will have to worry no more.
I’ve seen you post some good reads in the past, but this one I needed to address and state my position as a Black male. I know these posts spread and get used as justification and “gotcha”. Sorry so long, but there was much that needed to be addressed, and I hope it helps at least one Black person that walks into work, school or church tomorrow, and has someone forward this officer’s essay to them.
My daughter and I were talking about Philando Castile and two movies came up. We watched the movie Crash just a couple of weeks ago, and his shooting reminded us a lot of the final scene where Lorenzo Tate got shot by the “good cop” while reaching in his pocket to show him they had something in common. The second, we’ve heard many talk about how calm Philando’s girlfriend was in the car and the child. But when we watched this scene in 12 Years A Slave, I remember my daughter noting how calm the other people were as Pratt was hanging from the tree. It is very interesting seeing the same reaction…Black folks (esp. the Black woman) having to stay calm because if they go to help, they know they are next. I know, I know, “there he goes with slavery again…”.
See for yourself below.
But wait, there’s more! As a bonus, you’ll get an answer to “black on black crime” and black male/female relationships, because when you institutionally dehumanize another person (made in the image of God right?), the oppressed will begin to view themselves through the eyes of the oppressor. You know, remember, just like that “Stockholm syndrome” mess that was made up for Patty?
I’m trying to not go through the usual racial fatigue that happens quite often at these times but I must comment on this one. Ethical people, please do not fall for the, “You just don’t know how hard it is for these officers, therefore…” argument. It’s a strawman, so it’s set on fire to get you off the true discussion of justice. This supposed rationale is never used as a legitimate excuse when priests rape boys, teachers abuse kids, parents beat their children to death, doctors operate unnecessarily for insurance fraud, and I could name many more examples.
But honestly, you know this. What you are actually proving is that there is a hierarchy on the lives you value. If you or your spouse is a cop, you worry, because officers killed effects you. I bet you even make sure you either say or have a non-verbal way of saying that you are a cop if you are stopped to make sure you are treated a certain way. Why would you do this if every officer is always just? In the end, you always want someone to understand how hard it is for you, as if we do not have family members who are cops or care about officers, but you never, ever understand how hard it is for anyone else. But I can care about both, but obviously, you can’t. If Dallas would not have happened, you wouldn’t have given much thought about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile let alone put anything on social media.
Heck, Trump is about to get elected over “illegals”, but do you understand how hard it is to live in poverty and so poor that you’d even leave your family to go somewhere else try to send money back to give them for a better life? See what I just did there? Yea, those who know that sin is in the heart of all of us, just like racism or prejudice, and we make decisions based on implicit biases all the time know what time it is, so I hope this at least helps somebody refute this flawed logic when the discussions pop up at work, church, etc..