On Monday, in response to my piece on 17-year-old Darryl Green of Chicago, who was found shot to death after refusing to join a gang at school, Jamelle Bouie of The Daily Beast claimed that “black-on-black crime” is a myth. “There’s no such thing as ‘black-on-black’ crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime–86 percent were killed by white offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you’ll find that victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior relationship to each other,” wrote Bouie. Bouie added, “Nor are African-Americans especially criminal. If they were, you would still see high rates of crime among blacks, even as the nation sees a historic decline in criminal offenses. Instead, crime rates among African-Americans, and black youth in particular, have taken a sharp drop.”
That, of course, is not the point. Of course the vast majority of murdered whites are murdered by other whites. That’s why there’s no national outrage when a white person is killed by a black person: it’s not evidence of some underlying black violence problem directed against white people. But when a white Hispanic kills a black man (a far less common occurrence than a black person killing a white person), that’s taken as evidence of a deeply racist America requiring a media tsunami. And when a black person kills a black person, the media ignores it completely.
African-Americans aren’t especially criminal, of course; for Bouie to impute such notions to those who are concerned about black-on-black crime is insidious and vile. But the notion that we don’t see “high rates of crime among blacks” is sadly untrue. The numbers are coming down, but black Americans still commit a disproportionate amount of crime. Blacks represent 13.1 percent of the American population, but 49 percent of the murder victims. More than half of those victims were in their teens or twenties. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “The percentage of black offenders [in sexual violence cases] increased from 18% in 1994-1998 to 27% in 2005-2010.” Thankfully, crime across the board is dropping, including in the black community. But that does not mean that the black community is not still plagued by black-on-black crime that far surpasses the problem of white-on-white crime by percentage, and absolutely dwarfs the problem of white-on-black crime.
Bouie’s real point is that statistics should not matter – disproportionate black-on-black murder is the result of white racism anyway. “And while it’s true that young black men are a disproportionate share of the nation’s murder victims, it’s hard to disentangle this from the stew of hyper-segregation (often a result of deliberate policies), entrenched poverty, and nonexistent economic opportunities that characterizes a substantial number of black communities,” Bouie wrote. Let’s assume all of that’s the case, for the sake of argument. That still does not justify the media’s disproportionate attention to a problem that does not heavily plague the black community — white (or white Hispanic) on black crime – even while ignoring the sort of crime that destroys black communities day in and day out, in the name of liberal policies and political correctness. The longer those on the left continue to ignore real problems in the black community, the more Darryl Greens will be murdered.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).