“But what about black-on-black crime?” is a common counter-argument to Black Lives Matter. This argument is simplistic and attempts to cherry-pick a fact. It ignores systemic poverty in the black community, the disproportionate impact of the Vietnam war, and the ongoing legacy of black lives NOT mattering in America.
Slavery is pretty obvious. Black lives were mere chattel; to be bought, sold, moved, beaten, raped, and killed with impunity by whites for about 400 years. When this finally ended, reparations were not made to the freed slaves and their descendants. In fact, while emancipated, these African Americans were codified as second-class citizens for the next one hundred years. Black lives did not matter.
Blacks born in the 1960s were the first in this country to experience full citizenship. Think about that. Plenty of living African Americans did not know the full protection of citizenship until their adulthood. Black lives did not matter.
Black men were grossly over-represented in the ranks of the US Military during the Vietnam War. They experienced racism at home, overseas, and at home again. They returned to communities still mired in poverty and were overly damaged by drug epidemics. Higher poverty leads to higher crime. Black lives did not matter.
Black children are punished more severely than white children for the same infractions, this is what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Black lives do not matter.
People with “black sounding” names must submit twice as many resumes to get a call back as “white sounding” names with similar qualifications. Black lives do not matter.
Black people convicted of crimes are punished more harshly than their white counterparts. Black people are more than twice as likely to be shot by police than white people. Black lives don’t matter.
The US has been telling black people that their lives don’t matter since before the US was a country, we shouldn’t be surprised if a community treated thusly has an internal violence problem. More importantly, we (white people) must understand that while black on black crime is terrible for the black community, police killings of blacks (wherein the officers nearly always walk) rubs salt in an old and festering wound; that is, in the eyes of the US Justice system, black lives don’t matter, and never have.
As a people, white people do not have the moral standing to criticize the black community. We have a moral and historical obligation to right the wrongs we and our forbears have perpetrated. This is not about feeling guilty, this is about owning the truth. If we start there, we have a chance to re-balance the scales.
It’s just a red herring argument. “What about Black-on-Black crime?” Yeah, what about it?
Well written. First we all have to agree that civil rights is the law of the land. Some I speak to, young people, Black people, do not agree that Blacks are entitled to fair treatment. Second we have to in our daily lives do more to co-exist than what the law says; I agree that the civil rights laws and the enforcement by government agencies and the courts leave much to be desired. The courts can never be the solution of last resort because they enable the well connected to raise so many so called legitimate excuses for their intractable institutionalized racism. More government is not the answer. Each one of us should try to take some responsibility for how do we make things more fair for the person standing next to us.
Nice post Susan. But what is the solution? How can we get past this as a nation, or is there even a way to do it. I sure don;t have any ideas of a remedy as long as the very people being most harmed can’t rise above it.
Brilliant post. Well said.
Reblogged this on Susan Irene Fox and commented:
Let’s remember the Civil Rights Act was only passed 52 years ago. We need to acknowledge our white privilege and our own biases. We have a long way to go before we can move forward and find common ground.
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
“Stop talking about black-on-black crime” ….
I remember the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and later on, Affirmative Action. I agree that most of this has been just window dressing because I live in a poorer neighborhood and see this all the time. What gets me is this: the very self-same people who would have us denigrate the #blacklivesmatter movement are the very same people who don’t give a damn about equality for ANY minority, or anyone with a sexual orientation that is not one man + one woman. I often wonder when we are going to have an armed revolution in this country and I want to be this nation’s Trotsky when it happens! Great post!