Wednesday, July 24, 2013






Say It Five Times Fast:  "Black-On-Black Crime"


Rapping with conservative talk show host Steve Malzberg on July 19, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin commented

It is just mind-boggling and, first of all, he doesn’t address the issue of black-on-black crime which is much larger, as you know, and much more of an endemic problem, and he doesn’t comment on every black kid that shoots another black kid.  Why is that? He is only interested in cases that can bring up the race issue? What about the number of black kids that are killed every week, every month in Chicago?

Whenever the topic of guns comes up, conservatives shout "Chicago!" In some cases, as in this, if the subject of guns does not come up, conservatives shout Chicago!"  It's good messaging because the right knows neither Obama nor Democrats will call their bluff.

But the Chicago Police Department traced the origins of 50,000 firearms it recovered from 2001 through March 2012 and, as The New York Times graphically displayed, it found more than half came from other states.  They came from places in which firearms in the hands of civilians are viewed more favorably than they are by, for instance, the Chicago Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, or the Philadelphia Police Department.  The origin of the weaponry cries out for national gun control but conservatives are deaf to the carnage those weapons bring to urban America.

Chicago makes an effective whipping boy, especially because the President hails from there and Obama is Rubin's primary target.    She claims he "doesn't comment on every black kid that shoots another black kid. Why is that? He is only interested in cases that can bring up the race issue?"

Why, indeed?  This is apparently a mystery worthy of John Grisham or Arthur Conan Doyle.  Or it could be the more than a thousand people who marched into Manhattan's Times Square July 14 chanting "Justice for! Travon Martin!:  Or the 700 protesters chanting "No Justice, No Peace" in Philadelphia.  Or the protesters in Miami, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, or elsewhere.  It was a pretty big elephant in the room to ignore, and that was before outpouring of the disaffected last weekend.

Unable to resist the fashionable cliche of the moment, Rubin contends the President "doesn't address the issue of black-on-black crime."  She didn't notice him say

Now, this isn't to say that the African American community is naive about the fact that African American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system; that they’re disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. It’s not to make excuses for that fact -- although black folks do interpret the reasons for that in a historical context.

Again, for conservatives out there:   African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system (and are) disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence. The President's is one of the few voices to utter those words, as he is to point out that street crimes "are issues of state and local government, the criminal code. And law enforcement is traditionally done at the state and local levels, not at the federal levels."

But for many on the right, it's not the issue of blacks as offenders or as victims which draws their interest. It's the phrase "black-on-black crime."   Addressing the disproportionate rate of incarceration among blacks, Digby remarked Monday "It has been so touching to see so many Real Americans express their deep concern about what they like to call 'black on black' crime in recent days. Their compassion for their African American brothers and sisters is truly moving."


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