Aug 5, 2013

The One Where Black People Don't Care About Black on Black Crime

So with the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, I've seen a good deal of hyperbole from a lot of people online. I've seen people on Twitter and on the various news programs, who would suggest that the controversy over the situation is entirely based around race, rather than reason.  That if Zimmerman were Black, then nobody would have cared that he killed Trayvon Martin, because allegedly nobody cares about Black on Black crime.

They point to Chicago where there's a horrible amount of deaths of Black people at the hands of other Black people, and say "where are the protests about that? Where are the cries of injustice about that?" to somehow try to make a point of a double standard at work.

And there are also those who say that because nobody criticizes the gang bangers and drug dealers in the inner cities, that it's hypocritical for those people who aren't protesting that, to be upset at police brutality. 

Now aside from the fact that nobody ever asks about "what are White leaders doing about this rash of White on White Crime?", the problem with those talking point is that it's simply not true.  There are many people on the streets in Chicago protesting violence in the community there.  There are many people on the streets of New York and Oakland and LA and other cities that are regularly working to fight the drug dealers and gang members that are making the streets such a danger.  Also the whole argument is flawed when it comes to the "Black on Black" crime aspect of it, because while between 1976 and 2005, 94% of Black victims were killed by Black offenders, the same situation applies to White people, where 86% of White victims were killed by White offenders.

And it caused me to wonder why it was that so many people believe that nobody is doing anything, when in fact there are people currently working hard to fix these problems.  After thinking about it, I believe it comes down to a handful of reason, but two specific reasons in particular.


1. People tend to try to relate the corporate owned media with the average person in the community.  They look on TV and see story after story after story about a missing White girl, or they see sensationalistic stories where race is involved, because that's a sexy story to tell, from their perspective.  They don't view the stories in the framing of actual people, it's angles and storylines that can get ratings.

And, sadly, to many in the corporate media, a story about Black people getting killed by other Black people, or drug dealers flooding the inner cities with their poison, just isn't a "story" to them.  They can't sell that story.  They need something that has a beginning, middle and end.  If they're gonna take a story, there has to be an end in sight somewhere, either the pretty missing White girl is found alive and the Heavens rejoice, or the pretty missing White girl is found dead, and there will be much mourning and platitudes thrown out.  Either way there will be secret rejoicing in the fact that now you can cover the impending trial of that person, which is another news cycle to take up!

So because these people don't see the stories on the major networks about inner city violence, and by extension, they don't see people on the news condemning it and protesting against it, then they conflate that with everyone.  So when you THEN see the stories that the media DOES decide to cover (either voluntarily or being pushed into it via pressure from civil rights groups as they were with the Trayvon Martin murder), you get the inevitable push back from people suggesting that there's a form of hypocrisy at work here.

Mostly from racist White people who don't like hearing about the historical racial oppression that have been inflicted upon African Americans in this country.  So they'll say "Well, I've not seen you protesting inner city violence! I haven't seen you protest the drug dealers or the gang bangers, so why are you suddenly upset at this?  Because a WHITE guy did it!"

However it's not just White people.  There's also some conservative African Americans who have taken that same tact, and also it's by other African Americans who while not conservatives, also have taken that same line of thinking.  Because they haven't seen the Civil Rights leaders such as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson on TV protesting the deaths of young Black men in the inner city, or the drug dealers or the gangmembers, that they are "race hustlers" and hypocrites to suddenly care because the perpetrator is White (leading back into the sensationalist angle that the media gloms onto.

However this leads into the 2nd reason that a lot of this comes about.

2.  They are basing their opinions on their environment, and those who they are around on a regular basis.

I know someone who hit me with that line of thinking in the wake of the Trayvon Martin murder and especially in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal.  They said "You know, I see all these people on Twitter going on about George Zimmerman getting away with murder, but I don't hear those people talking about the gang members in their cities, or the drug dealers.  I hear these rappers complain about the cops but not about the gangs and drugs."

And I think that is because of who you follow on Twitter.  And they admitted that a lot of the people that they followed would often RT a lot of "ratchet" type shit.  A lot of the types of people who are typing in "Free Max B", a rapper who is in prison for a long time over conspiracy charges related to kidnapping, robbery, murder and aggravated assault.  People typing in "Free Aaron Hernandez" and who believe the Boston Bombers were set up.   People tweeting ignorant things such as celebrating that their little kids are cursing or asking for alcohol.

The type of people who can tweet THIS one second praising God, and then send THIS out in the very next tweet.

So yeah, those types of cats are not the ones you go to for intelligent debate, or those who you look to for socially conscious political protest.

I make sure that the people I follow are those who I respect what they have to say.  If I'm going to be seeing stuff they post on the regular, I'm not suffering the ignorance.  I don't wanna see a bunch of nonsense conspiracy theorizing, I don't wanna see people bigging up murderous rappers and placing them in the same plain as actual political prisoners.

I follow people who are socially conscious, who are working on a street level to combat the problems that face those in the poor communities.  Not just from those on the outside looking to cause problems, such as corrupt politicians, or police brutality, but also from those on the inside, such as the drug dealers and the violent crime.

I follow intelligent people from all walks of life.  I'm not interested in being a "Team Follow Back" person, because 99.9% of the people out there morally offend me and it would seriously make me feel like I was just as bad as they were if I was following that nonsense.

So to suggest, as many politicians and political pundits have, that there are not groups that are very concerned about the problem of inner city violence, is a slap in the face to every hard working man and woman who gives everything they have and more to their cities.  It's a slap in the face to people like June Moses who works for National Action Network, which was founded by Al Sharpton in 1991, on the streets of Harlem on the regular, fighting for the poor, fighting to take the streets back from those who would make it unsafe.

I reached out to June for her thoughts on this, and this was her response, which I am quoting in full.

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, I am constantly bombarded with the ‘well what are you all doing about Black on Black violence’?  The answer to that is that the community is ALWAYS doing things to address that situation.  I work as a crisis assistant for National Action Network.  We do many things to engage and work, especially with the youth, to reduce the harm in the community. 
We partner with other smaller organizations such as Sister Iesha Sekou's Street Corner Resources and EricaFord’s Love My Life foundation to for instance ‘Occupy The Corners’ in NYC where we go out on the weekend evenings 11pm to 1am to engage the youth where they are.  Additionally, bigger organizations and their local chapters are doing more than folks are aware of so I urge people to get involved.  Figure out what organizations near you need the help, roll up your sleeves and dig in.  There is more than enough work to do and we all are grateful for the help. 

So I think that if you are someone who is insisting that the people who are outraged at the George Zimmerman verdict are hypocrites because you personally haven't seen them protesting the violence in their community, are simply looking at things from the wrong angle.  And while I am convinced that a big portion of those furthering that lie is doing so from a racist perspective, I do believe that sometimes that reason is not born out of malice, just out of what you personally see.

I wrote a blog post a few years back about a lot of the racism that you see from some conservative politicians, and how they'd forward racist emails about the President, and then when they got called out on it, seemed shocked and surprised that anyone would make a big deal about it.

And I mentioned in there how I felt that those people had most likely been sincere when they said they didn't see the problem, because they had grown up in this insular bubble of protection.  They'd probably never socialized with Black people at all, had never interacted with them, and so they told these jokes, passed around these emails, all the time and had nothing but positive reinforcements.

Then they go out into the world, which is decidedly more diverse, and often a society that is less tolerant of bigotry and racism.  Suddenly those same jokes that they always was lauded for, are getting them in hot water, and they genuinely seem surprised.  That's why it doesn't surprise me when they claim the old "everyone's so PC now".

Their logic is "Hey, I've been telling these jokes for years, and nobody had a problem with it, but now everyone's so PC and you can't tell a joke anymore!".  Because, to them, it IS a shock to the system that they can't make racist jokes anymore without people finding it offensive.

They are outside their bubble and don't know how to interact with people of a different background then them.  I grew up in Virginia, so I know what I'm talking about.  I grew up with plenty of people passing that stuff around, and sadly I did as well when I was really young.  Then as I got older, I realized what the jokes were, and suddenly I didn't find it funny.  At the time I didn't know, I just knew that when other people told the jokes, they'd get laughs, and I wanted to make people laugh too.

Unfortunately not everyone matures and grows when they age.

And I think it's that same mentality that a lot of people have when it comes to this.  They are trapped in a bubble of information on Twitter or Facebook, and they have a select group of people they talk to and interact with.  So when they don't see anyone complaining about inner city violence or protesting the gang members and drug dealers, but they ARE protesting the corrupt cops and George Zimmerman, then they view that as hypocrisy, when in fact it's more a situation of environmental.

So please keep in mind, folks: There ARE people in the communities that are fighting this scourge of violence and drugs, there are those trying to make a difference, whether you see it or not.  Consider that before you forward a tweet or facebook status pushing forward that meme.

Also one final thought on this.  In 2010, thanks to a heavily edited video by James O'Keefe released the year before, the community organization ACORN was defunded by congress and were forced to shut down because of a lack of funds.  Now the fact that they had to shut down, when there are many Liberal and progressive millionaires out there that could easily fund them and allow them to stay open, yet never did is another rant for another day.

However this highlights a point that I've made over the course of this piece.  ACORN was an organization that helped low income people in the community, many of which were African Americans.  They helped out with voter registrations, they helped out with various issues in the community, and as a result they were considered public enemy #1 by many Republicans, who accused them (Falsely) of voter fraud and trying to steal the election.

Since it was shut down in 2010, Republicans in Congress have voted to defund ACORN 12 times, with a current proposal being brought now that would once again defund it for the 13th time

Let that sink in for a second.  You get that?  ACORN, a group that is no longer in existence and hasn't been for three, has been "Defunded" 12 times since it was shut down.

In the 2012 election, the Republicans were faced with the realization that the lower income voters in general and African Americans specifically were not going to be stuffing the ballot box for Mitt Romney, he of the "47% of the population just want 'stuff' and don't want to work" mentality.   You saw a back and forth bouncing from the idea of trying to figure out how to appeal to African American voters, and the mentality of "they're all moochers and want stuff, and will probably just vote for the Black guy no matter what", and back again.

They go out of their way to disenfranchise an entire segment of the population.  They targeted a community group that specifically helps out that segment of the population.  They lie about them repeatedly, release a heavily edited hit piece video on them, get them completely shut down, and THEN if that wasn't enough, continue over the next three years to defund them 13 times, despite the fact that they no longer exist.

And they wonder why they get such a small percentage of African American votes.

So you have the same people who have gone out of their way to defund a group that no longer exists, that used to help the communities who are now insisting that nobody cares about the violence and drug problems that are within those same communities.

Am I the only one dizzy from their logic?

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