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by Peter Moskos

April 4, 2012

Protesting Black-on-Black Violence

I've written (sarcastically) how nice it is that in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, some conservatives are suddenly very concerned about black-on-black violence. The actual voiced argument goes that blacks (and liberals) only care about black-on-black violence when it comes at the hands of a white person. Of course that's not true. Just because you refuse to hear something doesn't mean other people aren't shouting.

I wanted to do a post listing some of the protests over the years. Because there really are a countless number of them. But I was too lazy to actually do the grunt work. Luckily, over on his blog, Ta-Nehisi Coates did it for me. It's worth a look.

And if you've never heard of any of these protests, might I suggest you ask yourself, "why not?" Perhaps you want to blame the media. Or perhaps you don't care. That's your right, I suppose. But it's not your right to say other people don't care just because you're ignorant.


Bob G. said...

I was never reallty concerned about ALL the black-on-black crime...the Bureau of Justice Stats did all that for ME.
(and those stats are worth a look-see)
YOUR link is eye-opening, BTW.

However, we also cannot just up and say "any race is predominantly attacked BY people of THEIR OWN race"...that's nonsense, as some pundits would have us believe.

What is VERY disturbing is the utter LACK of DEPTH when it comes to seeking SIMILAR JUSTICE whenever a black kills another black outright...by the black community.

Seems we have a bit oo much "desensitivity" going around for our own good when it come to reporting such things, or treating EVERY such crime and victimn in a dissimilar manner...or even just for STANDING up for those things.

But, hey...that's just what I've come to know over the years.
(and I know MY black friends would agree 100%)

Excellent post.

Roll safe out there.

PCM said...

The only rolling I now do is on my bike. But I do try and stay safe.

I agree we need more depth and sensitivity on all sides.

I disagree in that I think the black community is not all callous to innocent black murder victims.

But I do think there's a big difference when a murder victim is a two-timing criminal thug himself as compared to when the victim is an innocent person who was doing nothing wrong. Of course people care more about the latter, as they should.

There's also a big difference when the killer is seen as being a criminal and, as in the Trayvon case, the killer is not charged with a crime. That is a lack of justice.

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

A music recommendation might be appropriate here: "Black on Black Crime", by Zigaboo Modeliste. The CD is "Zigaboo.com".

Good song.

From what I've seen from my perch in Newark, PCM is correct. Nobody except family really cares when one black thug kills another, but killings of citizens are another matter entirely. But the same is true for white thugs, as well.

Joe S said...

"There's also a big difference when the killer is seen as being a criminal and, as in the Trayvon case, the killer is not charged with a crime. That is a lack of justice."

Peter, how do you square this with the whole "no snitching" phenomenon? Too often, the reason the killer is not charged is because none of the witnesses will speak to police, either out of fear or because they actually buy into the no snitching nonsense. That seems to be a far bigger problem, especially in the African American community, than a single tragedy like the Trayvon Martin case. But I have yet to see any sort of national protest movement against No Snitching with anywhere near the numbers or the passion of the Martin protests. So it is difficult for me to take people seriously when they protest the Martin case adhering to the no snitching ethos.

PCM said...

I don't think it's particularly appropriate to link Trayvon to Stop Snitching. Those are two different problems.

I too find it difficult to take people seriously whenever they publicly support a no-snitching ethos. But it's nothing new. The mob used the code. Cops are known for the same code (though I think the perception of the Blue Wall is vastly overblown). Students don't snitch on other students. Most people don't snitch on their friends, families, and colleagues. And I'm not certain that is such a bad thing.

Granted that doesn't mean that what you do in private needs to be celebrated in public. But I do see stop snitching as a flip side to a criminal justice system that for too many people--victims, witnesses, and criminals alike--basically doesn't work. I do condemn stop-snitching. But it wouldn't be an problem if the justice system actually functioned at some very basic level.

PCM said...

Again, I find it funny, like conservative whites suddenly caring about black-on-black violence, why all these other issues are coming up now. Stop snitching is very worthy of serious discussion. So is black-on-black violence. So is (lack of) gun control.

But what matters now is that Trayvon Martin was killed while walking home and the killer hasn't been charged and is still free.

All the other talk can and should wait for another day.

Joe S said...

Peter, we've been waiting quite a few days already for one of those moments where a national movement arises and says No Snitching will no longer be tolerated. Here in Philadelphia a couple months ago, a South American immigrant witnessed a murder from her job as a clerk in a bodega. One thug murdered another right in the street. Days later, the killer sent his buddy in to her store and he executed her with a bullet to the head. A few dozen people got together to protest, but nothing ever came of it. No congressmen gave passionate speeches on the floor of the capitol. No nationwide protests. No 24/7 news cycle. No Al Sharpton. You know, probably better than I do, that this happens all too often in ghettos across America. While the Martin case is a tragedy and unjust, it's one case. Across the US, No Snitching easily keeps a Zimmerman on the streets every week, if not every day. I'm not saying the Martin case does not deserve attention. It is a matter of priority. Look at it this way. If and (hopefully) when Zimmerman is brought to justice, what then? African Americans will continue to be murdered at high rates and a large percentage of the killers will continue to walk freely because of the no snitching culture. Maybe that would start to change if the level of attention, energy, and resources devoted to the Martin case were instead directed at what is clearly a much bigger issue than a single miscarriage of justice.

PCM said...

You make a good point. But don't forget that a lot of the anger around Trayvon Martin is because he is not just another random victim (because indeed, unfortunately, that does happen all the time) but rather a glaring example of a long history of legal and (yes) institutionalized racism in the US. This taps a different stream of anger. This is not (just) about crime. This is about justice.

Nobody doubts the killers of the poor immigrant woman committed a crime. That is very big difference.

IrishPirate said...

One of the big reasons people are so pissed off about this case is the fact that the cops and prosecutor initially botched the investigation. The investigating detective wanted to bring charges, but was shot down.

The investigation initially ended the day after the killing. Then weeks later after the word got out on the internet the Governor of Florida had the sense to appoint a no nonsense pain in the ass Republican prosecutor to look into the case.

We have a case in Chicago where in 2004 the nephew of former Mayor Daley had a drunken confrontation with a much smaller man and killed him. A special prosecutor was just appointed after years of stonewalling by the police department and the States Attorneys office.


Many amazing things happened during that case. The cops interviewed no one for about ten days. The detectives initially assigned to the case miraculously soon went on vacation. Files disappeared. Some of the detectives involved retired and then were hired by the States Attorneys office as investigators. Witnesses lied and denied knowing that Daley's nephew threw the punch.

The lies and obstruction of justice would make the Kremlin proud.

The judge who ordered that a special prosecutor be appointed actually was visibly angry as he recounted another case from 40 years ago when he was a young attorney.


What really pisses off many people about the Zimmerman case is that there is no doubt among reasonable people that he killed Martin. His wannabee cop stupidity provoked the situation and he needs to go away as a guest of the state. The question is not whether he should go away, but for how long.

I expect that the hardass prosecutor will indict him within a week or so. At least I hope so.

IrishPirate said...


Joe S said...

Peter, here is an op-ed that makes the same point I tried to make, only more effectively:

PCM said...

Interesting, Joe. But I still say apples and oranges. In number of deaths he may be right, but there's still the fundamental issue of justice in America.